Vina invited me on Friday afternoon to join her to attempt three back-to-back-to-back Saturday morning aerobics classes at the GoodLife Fitness near our work. Hmm, third time hitting the condo gym in a week or a good excuse to get out of bed on a Saturday and meet up with Vina? I was all over the prospect! I want to do as many things with Vina as possible while we live in the same city. The three classes seemed to be perfectly scheduled so that someone could attend all three: hard-hitting high impact Body Combat followed by no-impact yoga class Body Flow, then some dance-inspired Zumba. Before today, Vina said she had only made it to two in a row. But I’m around now and we can conceive of and aspire to more and crazy things, haha.
The gym is just ten minutes from where I live while Vina was the trooper walking both ways at forty-minutes each. I arrived early and since I hadn’t time to make oatmeal at home, grabbed a hashbrown from McDonald’s. Sometimes that is the best part of the breakfast meal anyways. I couldn’t help it, the GoodLife is sandwiched betwen a McDonald’s and a Tim Hortons serving a greasier hashbrown!
Body Combat started at 10:30. The instructor, Renee, was upbeat and energetic, belting out along to some of the lyrics just like I would because I don’t know them all and it just releases pent up energy. I finally know that “Eye of the Tiger” song which recently came back in the spotlight as its composer sued to keep Newt Gingrich from using it during his campaign. Earlier in the week, I burned my left palm with a splash of hot soup and with the blister, I couldn’t make a proper fist and it took half the class to get into the swing of things. Renee built up each combination very well and I seriously chuckled when she introduced a ninja move I’d never seen before: downward- and forward-moving chops with huge knee-leading leaping steps followed by some vigorous side-to-side slashing! It’s just that it take a while for me to suspend my disbelief and just do the upper body movements properly and get the workout. Until then, I was more moving in time with the music, moving more fluidly like a dancer than a fighter. While some people envision someone they want to punch out, I don’t tend to do that. Instead I was thinking about how being so short, maybe I should “practice” by punching above me to be more realistic! Otherwise, my moves, if executed properly will only hurt someone who’s already down and at my level. :P
Nearing the end of the first class, instead of achieving a high from the workout, I was mulling over the point of spending three hours doing aerobics classes. The obvious answer is supposed to be that it leaves you at a higher level of fitness. But how long does this effect last if you slide back into sedentariness and bad eating habits for the whole week? What’s the point if you don’t do the marathon aerobics next week or ever again? I think this involves the issues I have with not being able to see my life as something that stretches out indefinitely in a clear fashion. I’m not sure that even something I’ve done for so long like running will be in my future. It’s just here with me today. I’m not sure if I’ll be small(ish) all my life and not one day irreversibly fat and hopeless.
What’s the point? An upper body workout is better than none at all. Sharing a really unique experience with Vina. Placing myself in a scenario where I am inspired to blog–this post! (And yesterday’s.) And that is a writing activity to keep that muscle used.
For Body Flow at 11:30 the lights were turned off. We fetched yoga mats and I removed my damp socks and runners. It was a brilliant break after a high-impact class and it was clear to me the benefit of Flow–stretching. I still don’t stretch before and after a run and we all know running destroys your flexibility if you don’t actively work against it. I loved the balance segment, the challenge of it being a dancer and all. While I’m a fish-out-of-water in a real ballet class, I’m more dancer than the rest of you in a yoga class, haha. We started with the tree pose (which I find so ugly compared to a retiré) which morphed into something like a warrior/virabhadrasana 3 pose that is a like doing a spiral I used to do in figure skating. Then we drew one knee in front of our body and morphed it into a “modified dancer”/natarajasana post. Dancer! I can do that! We left when meditation started as we didn’t want to lie down and be in danger of not wanting to go to the next class!
It was during the Flow class where I was thinking about eating healthy. Living out here on my own, paying gobs of money for rent, I’m missing out on eating out and with NPY. Even if we stay in and cook, I need to make it more palatable to him which usually involves richer sauces and/or or a heavier rotation of “bad” foods like rice and pasta. He wouldn’t eat veggie sautee and vegetables soups ad infinitum like I would. This year, I can really wean myself off greasy, salty HK diner meals, you’d hope.
I was reminded of recently reading the Gwyneth Paltrow interview in March 2012 Harper’s Bazaar. I rolled my eyes a few times because some of the writing is so cliche and the magazine has to fawn over the “perfect” celebrities. “As she falls naturally into yoga stretches during the course of the conversation, supple as a cat”–if so, I think it’s pretentious. Unless all she did was sit in an upright lotus position or vajrasana/rock pose (sitting on your knees) the entire time! Another cliche to make people feel better about getting old: “At 39, she she looks stronger than she did in her 20s, lean and toned, with the streamlined contours of an athlete.” It’s the carrot dangled in front of aging women to be better than before because we are evermore conscientious of the effects of time. I guess I’m going for that carrot, too. Count me as a typical woman.
What’s the point? Kick some stretching and flexibility into me that I’ll retain more than upper body strength. Inescapable time of reflection and make promises to myself.
There was no question we had made it and would do the Zumba class at 12:30. It was just a question of how long… Vina took a position in front of me and we’d leave as soon as one of us wanted to. The instructor, on my superficial assessment, looked old and not “authentic”. I was worried about managing choreography in the dance-inspired class after the previous two hours and being new to the instructor but it turned out I had nothing to worry about: there was zero choreography as it was a highly aerobics version of Zumba, like Zumba 1.0. All V-steps, “marching” which in Zumba is wiggling your hips on top of that. It was really odd that she did not use her headset; in fact, she did not talk at all preferring to use hand signals and I thought that was sheer laziness and lack of charisma. Finally, she used an awful mix tape where “DJ MAX” would announce himself every three minutes and the track was pop music set to latin beats. I wanted to scream when Maroon Five’s “Moves like Jagger”–I hate that song as I hate most all of the Maroon Five body of work. After the 27-minute mix ended, Vina and I made a break towards the door from the far side of the studio. But the first track of the next mix was a 2011 Spanish pop crossover which I’m tempted to say was Yolanda Be Cool’s We No Speak Americano (but wasn’t) and we stopped just at the door and continued! The music got better but not the steps. A couple songs later, it was Vina’s favourite, Don Omar’s Danza Kuduro! Good oldies like Gloria Estefan’s Conga and some Shakira song held us together and then it was a matter of principle of staying until the end! What’s the point? Nothing! Except to dust off the hips and fill up hour 3.
We did it!
I declined the idea of brunch after the workout but since we were in the area, Vina said we could finally have our “Ritz Date”. Ritz-Carleton? Oh, I had forgotten that I wanted to try Ritz Caribbean! Cari met up with us and it was so satisfying!
******** This is a blog series complementing my regular blog posts with the original idea was to share our parallel lives, NPY’s and mine, while I’m in Toronto and he’s in Vancouver, 3,400 km away. For me, it’s been pretty fun because I’m this long-time blogger and enjoy repackaging parts of my life in “blog bites”. It’s been more difficult for NPY who hasn’t experienced a change in scenery (although I do not think it is necessary) so I’ll be continuing this with just my photos. I might have something every day. I might not.