All Hot and Bothered… Is the Gym Working Out for You?

gymALAN, OUR BUCKY BODY SCULPT class instructor at the gym makes me do bad things. After my 5,000th lunge at the cardio sculpt class I’m dripping sweat and trying desperately to refrain from panting and grunting too loudly. Luckily I’m not the only sweat soaked Boomer Chick trying to keep her mojo in this 7:00am stupid o’clock gym class.

Others are suffering with me.

For added humor during this hour of power, Alan has the nerve to cheerfully offer up a “don’t give up on me now, you can do it” along with “you’re almost done in…. twenty-five seconds”…

Come on, are you kidding me? My arms are trembling uncontrollably  as I attempt the impossible – the dreaded spiderman plank position. Face down, arms and leg spread wide, three inches off the floor.

gymThose twenty-five seconds may as well be an eternity of burning in hell. This gym workout is hard core.

Just before Alan, the drill sergeant delivers the next grueling command which I’m praying will magically give me six pack abs, a voice from the back corner of the room makes a despondent announcement.

“Women over 50 have to workout one hour a day, seven days a week for the rest of their lives just to maintain where they are now!”. It’s another one of Alan’s Boomer Chick followers and now I feel crumpled.

My goal, you see is to be able to do at least one full pull up and so far, my doorway chin up bar at home is still looking down at me in disgust. All I can manage is to swing from it like a monkey in heat.

I don’t mind taking gym classes but the thing is, if it’s true that all I’m doing is maintaining… It’s got to be some sick joke. Is one chin up too much to ask? Just one. Okay, I’ll take a six pack too. Please.

For the past two months I’ve been visiting the gym like it was a secret lover, hell-bent on executing that one, measly pull up. Six times a week I work out and oddly… I’ve made friends my muscles soreness. It’s a constant reminder that I’m working it hard.

So far I’ve been having torrid affairs with these these gym classes:

  • Body Sculpt & Cardio Sculpt
  • Zumba
  • U-Jam (hip-hop cardio dance)

To top it off I’m also having a fling with these hot little numbers:

  • Bikram yoga (a great facial, I leave looking like a tomato)
  • Vinyasa Flow & Power yoga (lotsa push ups)
  • bike riding on steep hills
  • hiking vigorously swinging wrist weights (great for chest, back and shoulder toning)
  • belly dancing (need I say more?)
  • sailing

gymYep, sailing counts as exercise, reeling in those heavy sail sheets while trying not to fall off the boat into frigid San Francisco Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge. Brrrr… I work up quite a sweat just putting on all those layers of clothing and then peeling them off as the hot flashes come and go.

The mummification process usually start with two wool sweaters, an undershirt, long johns a foul weather jacket, a silk scarf, four pairs of pants, a wool cap and gloves. Plus a pretty red Chanel lip gloss to remind me I’m a woman. It’s downright technical. Tell me that’s not a calorie burner right there.

In today’s chamber of torture gym class there is a new gal about my age, lips pressed in a tight line, her frustration is showing on her face. She is really struggling to keep up. At the end of class I time my exit so I can walk out with her.

gym“You made it through!” I encourage her. She looks about ready to burst into tears she’s so frustrated so I confess to her that my first day had me feeling like a total loser too for not being able to keep up.

“You did great, you showed up and you stayed. It gets better, just keep at it, you’ll see.” I know it does because I didn’t dare add that today I upped my weights.

Maybe I’m making progress after all.

Alan catches up with me in the parking lot and casually reveals how he has trained military personnel. Why am I not surprised? To my suppressed glee he suggests I join the women’s rugby team at the place he teaches boot camp.

Maybe I’ll never do a pull up but right now, I feel like Superwoman.



Esmée St James