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Looking Good While Getting Your Butt Kicked

The day I realized I need all the help I can get

Writer Alisa in her new, fancy workout gear Photo credit: Julie Shapiro/The Well

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Everyone around me jumped up and down in Lululemon workout gear, while I sported the very latest in ratty maternity wear, circa 2005. Not that I just had a baby or anything as frightening as that. It’s just that all my comfy old maternity clothes wound up as pajamas, which at times double as gym clothes. So you see, I’m not only incredibly fashionable, I’m practical too.

In truth, the ladies weren’t all wearing Lulu. There were some Hard Tails thrown in, one girl sported Nike and two were wearing outfits I couldn’t identify. I tried to get a close-up look, but it got a little weird. I guess I should have waited till they were done with their squats.

I concentrated on the fashion parade to distract myself from what I was supposed to be doing-–exercising in skinny, sadistic Stacy’s boot camp class.

“Twenty-five burpees!” She yells, slim as a string bean with two little peas for boobs and a butt. The biggest thing about her was her mouth.

We hurry to comply and commence with quick jumping squats to plank. Again. Again. Now, I’m no exercise novice, but burpees are something that you can only effectively do if you’re in your 20s, are super fit or are a frog. I am none of the above. When I do a burpee, it looks more like a throwupee. I’m a mess, a splatter of limbs on the floor, and I can never keep up the pace.

“This is your hour!” skinny, sadistic Stacy screams. Damn, I think. This is my hour. I look at the clock. Is it almost over? I want another hour, one that involves someone massaging my back and me sighing deeply instead of panting in pain. Why is this my damn hour?

“Squats!” She yells. “Stick out your butt, ladies! Lower! Again! Again!” She sticks her peas out to demonstrate.

She is the exercise Nazi. You didn’t squat low enough! No breathing for you!

“Run!” she screams, her voice hot on my back. “R U N!!!” She is scary. And loud. I wish there were a skinny, sadist Stacy mute button.

“It’s your hour!!! PICK IT UPPPPPP!” We all run faster. I’m closing in on one of the women whose clothing brand I can’t determine. If I can just get a little closer…

“Jumping JACKS!!! GO!”

Old maternity clothes may not be fashionable workout duds, but they do the trick. Photo credit: Julie Shapiro/The Well
“Damn, I think. This is my hour. I look at the clock. Is it almost over? I want another hour, one that involves someone massaging my back and me sighing deeply instead of panting in pain.”

The woman stops short to jump and I crash into her. It’s not pretty, but we both brush it off. There’s no time for injury or conversation in Stacy’s class. I’m jumping. And sweating. And I may have peed in my pants a little. My body feels old, but I keep jumping, because SS Stacy is on my ass. I think I feel my knee give a little. I may fall down. That would be embarrassing. I slow my jacks, and just do the hands-up part and hope no one notices. My friend across from me gives me a wink. Of course she notices. She does kick-ass burpees, too.

Finally, thank God, “my hour” is over. I’m putting away my weights, dragging my sorry, sweaty, old maternity clothes mess to the exit. I glance in the mirror as one of the Lulus pass. She’s perspiring, but her outfit is cute and fitted. She looks good and healthy. I’m sweating like a pig and my clothes hang from me, dampened, like I picked them out of my grandmother’s dirty laundry. I’m exaggerating, of course. I picked them out of my dirty laundry.

I put my equipment away, ridiculously happy that the class is over and I have survived. I really hate the class, but in a twisted way, I love it too. I need to have my ass kicked. Doing it on a regular basis makes me feel better about myself for the rest of the day. Especially when I hit the ice cream at night.

As I hobble out and try to convince my friend to go waste lots of money with me at Lululemon, somehow Stacy overhears. She obviously works her ear muscles, too. She beckons me to her and I’m afraid she’s going to make me drop and do 20, but instead she says, “It’s not the clothes that make you look good, or even the body. It’s up here.” She points to her head.

Go figure. Skinny, sadistic Stacy knows what she’s talking about.  I don’t need new clothes - I need a new attitude. Now, there’s something I can work on. No sweat.

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Published February 20th, 2018

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