I am in no shape to get fit
October 19, 2007
This week, I began ski-conditioning class. By the time it wraps up some six weeks from now, I may be in no condition to walk, let alone ski.
My usual prep to the ski season entails bending at the waist to dig my ski boots out of the back of the closet. Then, I pop a beer and wait for the snow to fly.
But, I’m not getting any younger, and I figured the ski-conditioning routine might whip my legs into shape and, at the same time, provide a better workout than the one I was getting while I sat on my couch, thinking about going to the gym.
Right off the bat, I knew I was unfit for fitness class.
First of all, I have a sneaking suspicion the instructor is a former drill sergeant, or dominatrix, or something. Instead of ordering us to drop and give her 20, we dropped until we, well, dropped. I did more squats in 90 minutes than I’m likely to do all ski season, leaving me hard pressed to sit gracefully on the toilet.
It was disastrous from the get-go, sort of like college French 101, where I walked into a classroom full of fluent French speakers who were too insecure to skip the intro class. My classmates in ski conditioning were clearly well-versed in the routine. As soon as the instructor began sashaying across the floor, the class moved in unison without missing a techno beat blaring from the speakers. I was still trying to figure out how to cross one foot behind the other when everyone reversed direction. I quickly stumbled out of harm’s way. By the time I got the hang of the side-stepping, everyone was moving forward and backward, lifting and dropping their arms in flawless syncopation. I flailed like a marionette at the hands of a drunk puppeteer.
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After what seemed like an eternity that lasted all of five minutes, we switched to quick hops on and off one of those adjustable fitness steps. Every time I got the hang of one maneuver, we were off to something else.
When we started dropping from a squat position to a push-up pose and then hopping back into a squat, I collapsed to the floor in the guise of needing to tuck my shirt in before my classmates were treated to something as gasp-inducing as their exertions.
Our instructor bent her knees like they were wet noodles; mine had the flexibility of a soggy toothpick and the spring of a stick of chewing gum. When we went from the squat to a vertical leap and back into a squat, I cleared the floor with micromillimeters to spare.
My real chance to shine ” lying on my back with an exercise ball balanced between my feet like some perverse gynecological pose notwithstanding ” came when we raised our steps about a foot in height, straddled them and lowered ourselves into a sitting position above the platform. I figured it would be a chance to plop down with each drop, but our instructor barked, “No sitting.” We were supposed to lightly bounce our butts off the step and resume the squat. “I see people sitting,” she admonished. It certainly wasn’t me. I couldn’t bend my knees far enough to get my butt within sitting distance until I finally gave up and parked it on the platform until that particular exercise in torture was finished.
I noticed the endurance of the twig next to me ” she was at least 30 pounds lighter and 20 years younger ” was starting to wane, as well. In fact, fully half the class was either making a half-hearted effort at some of the routines, or just plain giving up. I think the instructor was the only person in the room still lunging by the end of one exercise. Show-off.
It’s a good thing skiing isn’t as difficult as the preparation.