Thursday, March 15, 2007

Me and the Desperate Housewives

At 10:15AM this morning, while miming Kung Fu moves to a rave version of “Rock Me Amadeus” with two-dozen desperate housewives, I started having flashbacks to my days at Centerville Junior High.

Back in the seventh grade, Friday gym classes during the winter months were spent in haggard rows facing a small television set, staggering around to an aerobic workout that was usually led by Jane Fonda or Lyle Alzado. I liked the Alzado workout the best, because he would sneer at the camera.

Eighteen years later, I bounced in place while tossing out badly-formed upper-cuts and jabs in the Body Combat class at XCel Spa and Fitness. Ironically, the class instructor was a girl I had gone to junior high with.

In a determined effort to work out the bits of my body that actually needed working out, I’d joined one of the free classes that came with the gym membership I wasn’t using. After glancing nervously at the class from my weight bench for two weeks, I had worked up the nerve to try the class myself.

I had two primary concerns: the first was the fact that the class seemed to be made up entirely of women. Usually such odds work in my favor, but I had the suspicion that a guy infiltrating a gym class full of women would be seen as a pervert, especially since I guessed most of them would be married. I also figured they’d assume a guy who attended a gym class at 9:30AM was unemployed.

My other concern was that I am horribly out of shape. It would be tough enough to walk into a class full of females, but it would be even worse to have them watch me get carried out on a stretcher five minutes into the workout.

But life is all about taking risks, so this morning I marched onto the hardwood floor of the workout room as if I were bravely facing a firing squad. I took up a position two strides from the exit, in case I needed a quick getaway to go throw up or spontaneously combust. While waiting for class to begin, I darted my eyes around the room, being careful not to land on any one class member long enough to make anyone think I was leering.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. Once the workout started, I was too busy watching the instructor and trying to figure out what the moves were to get distracted staring at any of my classmates. It also conveniently prevented me from getting too tired, since I spent a lot of time standing around while everyone else kicked and punched in precision time. Plus there were two other dudes at the front of the class, so I was in fat city.

Actually, if I manage to make it to a few of these classes, I’m hoping to get myself out of fat city; at least out of the fat city that has been going through an urban renewal around my midsection. I don’t know that my Kung Fu moves will help much, but if I ever go to a rave in Salt Lake I may spontaneously burst into a killer series of jabs and roundhouse kicks.

So after an hour of kicking, punching, hopping, and standing around, all while listening to the kind of music they usually use to flush out hostiles in hostage situations, I made it through my first Body Combat workout, and left with the full intention of going back next week. I may even try the Yoga class sometime. Just as long as I can stay close to the door.