The whole at-home workout thing? Was fun while it lasted.
For the past year, I’ve been content to exercise at home. I became a total workout recluse, relying on my own spin bike, outdoor runs, and Core Fusion DVDs and classes streamed through YogaVibes. Without a gym super close, no desire to run on a treadmill, no desire to pay a monthly fee to run on a treadmill, and no motivation to do anything but spin, run, and Core Fusion, I’ve happily been a free workout spirit. But if I’m being honest with myself, I admit that I’m having a hard time getting it up for the at-home workout. Sure, I can make myself spin and I do Core Fusion faithfully, but something is missing.
I need an instructor. I need new playlists. I need people.
I start to research my options. Eric suggested I join his gym to take spin with him, which is so cheap and close to my job, I can’t think of a single reason not to do it. But while I like Eric’s favorite spin class, that will only get me two workouts a week. And Zumba? Ain’t happening.
I start researching Define Body, which, as far as I can tell, is a workout just like Core Fusion. I think it’s exactly what I’m looking for. I also think that the per-month price is ridiculous, although I’ve paid close to it for gyms that weren’t really worth it. After further consideration, I find three main ways to justify it.
- If I want my per-class average to go down, I’ll need to go as often as possible. This will force me to commit, and, by extension, will force me to get in great shape.
- I need a hobby. Preferably a social one. After years of team sports followed by years of sorority life, I’ve come to recognize that I absolutely love hanging out with my fellow females. Making friends with other women outside of college is one of the hardest things to do, but a workout studio like this, with small classes and a regular group of devoted attendees, might be a good place to start.
- The kind of people who generally pay that much money to work out are the kind of people who need to get in great shape for upcoming weddings or to avoid a divorce. And women like that always have the best arms! I want to work out where they work out!!! And even though I do not drive a Lexus, we will have our vanity in common.
So, in one week, I join two gyms. February! NEW GOALS!!! WORK OUT EVERY DAY AND BECOME SOCIAL AGAIN!!!!
“It may kill me when all is said and done,” I tell Eric. “But I’m going to be the hottest dead girlfriend ever!”
Once I come up with this fabulous back-to-the-gym plan, it occurrs to me that, Hm…maybe I’m not in such great shape anymore after taking a year off from the gym. At home, I’m the only one there to push myself, and I haven’t pushed myself to do a single jump on my bike in…months. And I’m heading into the spin class with the instructor who regularly brings Eric to a I-thought-I-was-going-to-puke level. Goddamnit.
And then by some awful luck, I end up right in the front, between Eric and That Guy, the one who loves to go bananas and show off on his bike.
And I’ve already done two days of Core Fusion this week.
I step on the bike and clip in my shoes as one of my favorite spin songs comes on. It is fast. But clipped in, so I am I. Like, holy shit! My bike at home doesn’t have clip-in pedals, so I forgot what a difference they make.
Speaking of forgetting, moments later I forget everything else, from what happened at work that day to how to put both a subject and a verb into a sentence because that class is BRUTAL.
Forty-five minutes later, I feel slightly like I’m going to puke, but I also feel amazing. I surprised myself by hitting almost every one of the fastest jumps. I was generally too focused on not dying to look at what anyone else was doing, but when I checked in periodically, I was really happy to see that I was more than holding my own.
I’m feeling more confident, but the real test is still ahead.
As I pack my gym bag Wednesday morning, I go to a special part of my closet, for what I think of as my “class clothes.” Class clothes are shiny, stretchy, and sexy. They are made of performance fabrics, even though most of the women who can afford them are the kind of women who don’t actually sweat in them. They are expertly cut to tuck and suck and lift wherever possible. They are the workout equivalent of my “Sunday best,” worn only when being seen exercising by the outside public.
They are lonely. They’ve been asking me to take them out on nice dates more.
I pack new black pants and a pretty purple workout tank from Victoria’s Secret that Kara got me for Christmas. Not only is it the first built-in bra top that I’ve ever found that actually eliminates the need for a sports bra, but the cut is just…sexy. I love it, but I don’t really get to chance to show it off much. It’s like workout lingerie, and I’m getting ready for my hot date that night.
Wednesday is an incredibly cranky day. Due to the cold snap, Houston is experiencing “rolling blackouts.” While this sounds like the kind of shot I’d love to try, it’s actually just a term for when the power company shuts off people’s power periodically for about 45 minutes at a time, making it impossible to get anything done at work. Mostly, I’m just annoyed because I need my eyebrows waxed like WHOA. I’m bushy. I’m over it. And I’m fucking cold.
I get to the pretty little studio and, after filling out some new member paperwork, I head into the class.
Luckily, the “Don’t divorce me/MILF of the Year!” crew is nowhere to be seen. My class is filled with totally normal girls who look about my age or even a little younger. I felt like I was back in my sorority house — everyone was cute, but normal. They are not all crazy skinny, toned, tan, or beautiful. So then I start to wonder if this place is really worth the money.
Then a girl turns profile and I see her ass. It might as well have said, “TESTIMONIAL” across it. Sold!
Because I was filling out paperwork, I don’t get in to set up until a minute before the class starts. The instructor introduces herself, shakes my hand, and helps me get set up. The class is arranged in a U-shape against the walls, but everyone else has fit against the two long walls. Except me. I’m set up against the short wall, alone. There’s no hiding now.
It briefly occurs to me that I hope to fucking God that this class is like Core Fusion, because if it’s not…I’m going to be in the spotlight and I’m going to be That Girl.
Don’t make everyone feel awkward, I tell myself.
The instructor gets things started. She’s so nice, so pretty, but also laid-back and funny. I just keep staring at her arms. I want those arms. I will do whatever she says.
And for the next 60 minutes, I do. When she tells us to keep our backs flat, I keep my back flat. When she tells me to point and flex, I point and flex. I’m not here to be a rebel. Then again, not being a rebel means my legs are shaking like crazy.
Though I am there as the new girl, I actually know exactly what to do because the class is so similar to Core Fusion. There are some new (amazing!) moves, but I just get it. I’m totally not That Girl. Not by a long shot, actually. And that is so incredibly satisfying.
Even though I am doing a similar workout to what I do at home, the class gives me exactly what I was missing. Good music, a different instructor, the fact that I don’t have every cue memorized — it’s what makes it worth the money. And for whatever reason (probably because I’m less likely to drop a plank when there are 20 people around me), the workout is just better. The hour-long class flies by and I love it. OK, well I hate some parts (OMG glutes! GLUTES!!!!!) but on the whole, I feel so fantastic and not at all like I’m completing a chore, which is how I’ve been feeling at home. As the hour flies by, I forget about the blackouts, the cold, my eyebrows, and just feel clear-headed and like myself again.
I catch sight of myself in the mirror and realize I was stressed for no reason. I feel like I totally belong here. And just like that, I do.