Zumba, Kinesis, and Planks (Oh My)

In the spirit of losing pregnancy weight, and through a newfound YMCA membership, I have placed myself in a myriad of gym classes. Nothing like having someone else forcing you to run around while listening to their pump up music instead of yours.

It all began with zumba a few weeks ago. If you haven’t tried zumba, you really should. It’s the non-dancer’s dance class. With rhythmic Latin music, you are taught dance moves that are equally easy and funky and that kind of make you feel like you weren’t raised in a white, Anglo Saxon, protestant home, but in some dancing land where you’re friends call you “chica.” In the off chance that you look stupid, though, you always have the excuse that you’re just following the instructor and you weren’t doing this cause you thought it looked cool, psh, you’re just trying to get fit and this was the only open class.

Anyway, with this in mind, I excitedly showed up to the 9am zumba class. With the squeaky wood floors and the large wall of mirrors, I had my flash dance game face ready to go. Stationed safely in the back, I prepared to out-zumba all of these damas. And then the instructor hit play. Carrie Underwood, ladies and gentlemen. We began with a side-side-step touch, side-side-step touch to the twangs of country pop. There was no booty shaking. In proper WASP form, we remained rather unaware of our hips altogether with our Christmas-pageant circle formations. All so terribly disappointing.

Ready for something more intense, I proceeded to the kinesis open house. Kinesis, I found, consisted of 2-minute long, intense circuits of strength training with cable machines. When the instructor, Molly, walked in the room, I knew I was somewhere between doomed and in the right place. Her guns needed no flexing, no inadvertent flashing via a demonstrated pushup; nay, they looked at each one of us scrubs completely unflexed and entirely huge regardless as if to say, “Prepare to die.” It all felt rather hardcore until I found myself on my hands and knees with a cable across the bottom of my foot. As I straightened my leg against the force of the cable, it slipped off and slapped me in the back of the head with a loud crash of weights. Molly claimed it was an easy mistake, but out of seven of us, it only happened once.  It was $20 a class after that week anyway.

By invite from a friend who assured me, “If you like kinesis, you’ll love this,” I then attended horizontal conditioning. I must say, I was unprepared for this one. Women set up their stations (a step stool, a yoga mat, a weighted pole) practically on top of one another. This class was like the popular table, and if there weren’t seats, you could stand. Little did I know that Sandra, the class instructor, kind of invented this whole thing and had a host of videos and pamphlets and special tank tops—a workout dynasty. Arriving exactly at the class start time, I parked myself at the only available station, a bit too close to the front for my taste. That is, until the creator of said station informed me that you had to gather materials and make your own station. She kindly helped me set one up even closer to the front.

I think the name should have tipped me off. “Horizontal.” I don’t know if you’ve ever spent an hour doing thirty variations of the plank, but it’s rather like Chinese water torture. Except it wasn’t created by the Chinese, but by Sandra. And it doesn’t use water. Somewhere mid-plank, I looked around and realized that the front of the class was made up of the real housewives of Mountain Brook. My post-partum butt stuck out like a sore thumb in the row of toned, rich, 50-year-olds whose faces had been pulled so tight that they looked like they were in a constant wind tunnel. Not to mention the instructor was wearing her hair down under a visor. A visor. Inside.

Out of the entire class, not one woman dropped her plank (well, maybe one) or did a modification to make the exercise easier. It then occurred to me that my weighted pole was a different color from everyone else’s. The colors must represent weight. No wonder I was struggling so much! I must have accidentally grabbed the heaviest one. Upon the end of class, I checked to find that indeed the colors did represent weight and that I, in fact, had the lightest pole available. After two days of my shoulder tendonitis locking my arms into a mummy-like position out of sheer rage that I would do a plank for an hour, I came to the educated conclusion that perhaps I’ll just stick to running.