So as most of you don't know, I recently joined Gold's gym, since it's the only gym in my new neighborhood. I'm not such a fan of the classes -- they tend to focus around aerobics, and something about the bouncing and the arm pumps makes me feel like I'm back in my parents' house in the early 1990s, doing Jane Fonda workout videos. (I went through a phase.)
Last week, though, I went to a class that I actually found effective -- it had a lot of abs and was run sort of as a circuit. I was sore for two days afterwards. This, I thought, was the good stuff.
But when I went back yesterday, the teacher did something I think was totally out of line: she broke us up into two-person teams and told us that as we went around the circuit, we would be competing in a race. And, what's more, in order to win we had to be touching our teammate for the entire time. If you stopped touching? You had to start again at the beginning.
Let me be clear: I hate touching people. Especially people in gyms. Anyone who read this blog in the fall of 2004 knows that yoga partner exercises were a great source of horrified inspiration for me. So I was standing there, listening to her explain the circuit, wondering if anyone would notice if I slipped out the door.
I decided to stay b/c I wanted to actually exercise -- but further problems arose when we got ready to start and it became obvious that my partner, an older-looking Asian gentleman, either didn't fully understand her instructions or just hadn't listened to her. He went over to a step to prepare to do dips, but when I walked over to join him, he walked over to another step -- thinking, perhaps, that I was crowding his space. You can imagine his confusion, then, when she said "Go!" and I reached out to hold his hand.
For reasons still unclear to me, he seemed amenable enough to holding hands while we were actually doing the exercise (probably because I continued to follow him from step to step until he acquiesced). But every time we switched stations, a comical chase ensued with me running behind him trying to reach for his hand before the teacher could see that we had broken contact. This continued around the entire circuit until we were at the second-to-last station and a light-bulb went off. "Oh," he said, as we lay side-by-side on our backs, hands touching, doing hamstring curls. "It's a race!"
At this point, his spirits became much more energized. Still holding hands, we ran to our final station -- the step -- and went through a series of 60 toe touches that, if I do say so, was inspirational in its speed and dexterity.
And yes, dear Saltines, you correctly anticipated the outcome of my competitive streak: despite our early confusion, we won. Big time.
This is the blog for Salt Magazine.