Today, I got off my ass and I went to a class.
A fitness class. My first one since 2012 now that I think about it, way back when I did a couple of pilates classes with a friend during my first year of college.
Truth be told, I do like fitness classes a lot. They push you past the point at which you would normally allow yourself to stop, and then they push you a little bit further as you fight to keep up with the rest of the class. Being, as I am, a serial self-demotivator, I find that support and that push so necessary. I simply cannot drive myself that hard on my own. I need the competition and the expectations. I might accept my own excuses, but nobody else will.
I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions post that I have been interested in taking up kickboxing. In fact I’ve been interested for a long, long time in starting some form of martial art or self-defence-style sport, as I find there’s something so enticing about having a hobby that’s at once practical, healthy, and totally badass. Anyway, once I got to researching classes, I found most of them to be too expensive, too far away, or both. Actually, it isn’t that I mind paying to learn. It’s more that I’m still not sure enough about my choice to justify the expense of joining a class and buying the suit.
Eventually, I did think to talk to my good friend Tina about it. Tina, who has a downright formidable history in martial arts, suggested that I start off with an exercise class that’s modeled on the sport, such as cardio kickboxing or boxercise. Sparring, she reasoned, can always come later. Also, as luck would have it, she herself had been looking to do something similar and so she found us a location and time (before working pretty tirelessly to elicit a solid “yes” out of me).
A problem I've often had with things like this, things like taking up a fitness class, is that I normally won't show up. I come up with an idea, think it's a great plan and tell everybody about it, but when the day finally arrives I get anxious. I worry about sticking out as the person who doesn't know what she's doing. I worry about keeping up, or the possibility of having to quit early. I stew in these fabricated situations, and I eventually decide that it's better if I don't go.
This is something I want to beat.
This being said, I knew once Tina got on board that I'd be showing up to this class. You see, there are very few realities in which she would not show for something, or lack the motivation. She was never going to wake up this morning and think "Actually I'm not really in the mood for this." To make a long story short, she's exactly the person I needed. To avoid disappointing my friend, I got out of bed this morning, I put on my gym clothes, and I headed out for a fitness class. Me. I did that.
The class that we went to today was “Thump Boxing”, the YMCA on Aungier Street’s take on boxercise. It was pretty rigorous, involving interchanging roles of boxer and pads, and seemingly relentless intervals of jabs, uppercuts and hooks. Despite the fact that it had the entire group worn out by the end of the hour, the class was definitely friendly to all fitness levels, as you could ramp up the toughness for yourself by throwing punches faster or harder, or you could simply stick to whatever pace and power you were able to maintain. I got on reasonably well, for example, by starting strong, taking it easier in the middle, and then finishing strong(ish) in each exercise.
Overall, it was a really fantastic re-introduction to the fitness world. Yes, there were times when I thought that maybe I wouldn’t make it through the whole hour, but that’s where having a friend with you turns into excellent motivation to try your hardest.
So what now?
My next mission is to get into some sort of a routine with this, and to give some of the YMCA’s other classes a go while I’m at it. Right now though, my body is more tired than it’s been in months, I’m full of pent-up energy and motivation, and I’m totally content.
It’s a funny thing, exercise. You forget how good it feels until you’ve done it.