What happened when... I joined a fitness class

Long-term readers and good friends will know that, given the choice, I'll always choose a good book and cup of tea over strenuous exercise or sport.

Before falling pregnant with Lily, and all the uncertainty I faced in those early days, I loved going to Zumba classes. They were fun but I still felt like I'd burned calories. It didn't matter that I can't dance. I just gave it my best shot and I was pleased with the results - not just in my fitness and how I looked but how I felt in myself. 

That rush of endorphins when you take part in exercise that you enjoy. 

Even if I was miserable at the start of the session, I was always happy at the end.

But over the last 6 years my physical activity has been... limited. I did try running last summer but it fizzled out not long after a nasty little kid laughed and called me fat. I had every intention of getting back into it but the anxiety was too much to face anything on my own.

So it was great to be offered an opportunity to try out a class at Wycombe Rye Lido. I'm not big on swimming, especially not outside (the pool is heated, but still...) and of all the classes I thought it'd be best to try something I knew and was familiar with. So I signed up to my first Zumba class in years and counted down the days to my Saturday session.

And then I arrived, was welcomed to the lovely facilities and introduced to the instructor who reluctantly informed me that the usual trainer was unavailable and instead she would cover the class and teach...

Body conditioning.

Oh. Bugger.

I was already in the room, I couldn't leave, I'd look like a right idiot. Surely it can't be that bad?


I didn't even know what body conditioning was. I was nervous and my trepidation increased after a quick text to a fitness-crazy friend who informed me that she 'preferred body conditioning to Zumba'. She loves intense workouts and does 1000-squats-a-day challenges for fun. I was pretty sure that anything she enjoyed was the sort of thing that could potentially kill me off in some form of exploding-cake-and-body parts fashion.

After all, this was my first exercise class in forever.

Clearly, I'm writing this and so am alive but it was touch and go after half an hour.

The instructor was lovely and took us through a simple warm up activity. So far so good.

Then there were some alternating periods of different exercises - squats, lunges and press-ups. Press-ups are my idea of hell. Seriously. In Heaven they sit around eating cream teas and reading books surrounded by beautiful countryside. In Hell they drink Green Tea that tastes of wee and do press-ups for fun.

Having survived that there was more: crunches, star jumps, arm exercise-things, burpees and another type of press-up that involved squashing my boobs into the floor and praying that I didn't faceplant onto my exercise mat.

Look, I know this doesn't paint a complimentary picture of me, my body and my fitness but I'm honest. I am so unfit I was genuinely surprised to get to the end without injuring myself, or knocking out the lady next to me with my star jumps.

That was all down to the brilliant instructor who encouraged in the right places, recognised when I was struggling, explained clearly how to do the exercises properly and gave me tips on how to improve and get the most out of the workout. I'm only joking a little when I say I could have kissed her each time she told us to pause and grab a drink.

And I walked out of there (which is pretty miraculous, in my opinion) and felt so happy (and kinda relieved) that I'd even consider going back. I'm over-weight and under-confident and I know it, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to be better and being the best I can for my kids. I want to have my photo taken with them without wanting to cry when I see it. I don't want to worry about scaring people off when they see me revealing my legs at the beach.

It's about the way I look but also how I feel in myself and how I model myself for my kids. Despite being shattered this evening I feel happy and relaxed. I'm thinking about signing up to more classes - even if those classes are Zumba ones next time! I do enjoy the classes that almost fool you into thinking you're not exercising.

That said I wouldn't say never to another body conditioning class. But ask me in a couple of days when the ache sets in, by then I may change my mind! That class was intense!

*I was invited to a complimentary class by Wycombe Lido, all thoughts and opinions are my own*
If you'd like to try out a free pass to the Lido you can find one here.

2 comments:

Kimberley Travers said...

Good for you for sticking it out, although perfectly acceptable to walk (or run) out when you were told it wasn't Zumba! I am one very proud friend indeed, and in the words of any instructor "the pain will get easier over time"
Keep it up! xxx

Stephanie Kirsch said...

Thank you Kim!
I thought it would at least be worth trying it out :) it does hurt more today! x