Comedy · Everyday Life

Tripping Over the Sofa With Aplomb

Recently I’ve begun to work out, and I’m sure that you can spot that this is a comedy post from a mile out. Let’s go with it.

Recently I’ve begun working out. This decision was reached after I ran up our apartment stairs and found myself out of breath at the top. Now, I live on the third floor, so that’s not that weird, I guess, but I don’t actually have to climb three flights of stairs to get to my apartment—only one and a half. I stood inside my front door, my heart rate elevated, and went, “Well, shit.”

I’m not really an exercise person, despite the fact that in some ways I’m built for it. I have a lot of energy naturally, I get major endorphins if I work out regularly, but I can’t be bothered, I guess. Or maybe I just never found my “thing,” the exercise that I really loved. Or maybe I simply hate the extra laundry that comes from sweating. (Actually that last one might be more true than I’d like to admit.)

More than that, I’m not big on workout culture. When I went to university, there was a huge gym on campus full of people in dedicated workout clothes and ponytails. In the midst of them was me going “I have no clue what a single one of those machines does, I’m wearing my old Girlscout camp shirt, and my iPod keeps falling out of my pocket. Maybe not.” I think I went twice. Ever.

That means that I when I decided to start working out, gyms were out of the question. Instead I did what modern people did: found some exercise videos on Youtube, changed into the pair of pajamas that could conceivably be construed to be workout clothes, and prayed no one would walk in on me.

The first video that came up when I typed in “30 minute aerobic dance” was some sort of glamorous studio featuring seven gorgeous dancers wearing the world’s most “club-tastic” workout clothes and positively gleaming with false eyelashes. It looked professional, inviting. The woman in charge told me to get ready to “move and feel good” and I was ready indeed.

You know, I’ve always sort of viewed exercise as the thing that I occasionally do to lose weight. Whether that’s a healthy approach or not, that’s mine. And because my metabolism is the bomb, I don’t have to do this often. The words “skinny doesn’t mean in shape” had never even crossed my mind.

Five minutes in, they bloody well had. We were sashaying back and forth, the instructor with great bounds, me with my shins glancing off the sofa, and I realized to my acute horror that I was already out of breath. During the warm-up! I was appalled and, well, glistening.

The instructor sure wasn’t. Her hair was done gorgeously and her makeup was perfect and, as the minutes went by, I began to realize she was wearing bronzing tights under her daisy-duke shorts. Bronzing. Tights. Meanwhile, I was attempting to shimmy my shoulders while being increasingly aware that there was probably more to shimmying than making my boobs jiggle, but I hadn’t a clue how to make that happen.

“It’s like a big party in here!” the instructor proclaimed, and I didn’t even have to breath to be cynical. As the time bar moved past ten minutes, I began to simply instruct myself to believe her. This lasted until she said, “Okay, we’re moving past the warm-up now!” and my automatic reaction was “Wait, this was all warmup??” Yet I persevered through the little routines, all the way to the water break.

Now, I have to say, that this was the best part of the video so far. If you’ve never watched a bunch of glamorous models attempt to make handing each other sports drinks entertaining and engaging, you are missing out.

“Carlos, ooh, that Gatorade.”

“Another, Monique?”

I couldn’t actually hear the dialogue, but just watching them attempting to use squeezy water bottles without making it look lewd cheered me up immensely.

By the time the lady in charge told me that the “fun part” was coming up, the “Bollywood routine,” I was actually feeling pretty excited. I’ve always wanted to try Bollywood style dancing, but haven’t because, well, no opportunities, but also a small worry about cultural appropriation. The whole “don’t just steal the cool bits” thing makes sense to me, and so swooping in and Bollywood dancing always struck me as something I shouldn’t do.

But the instructor was telling me we were going to do it, and I’d already committed to finishing the work-out, so I was stuck. Darn! I was ready for cool hand movements and some kick-butt sitar music.

What I was not ready for was the fact that after the water break the video dropped all verbal instruction whatsoever in favor of the world’s most complicated routine. There I was, jumping around my living room attempting to keep up with these people who’d been rehearsing for weeks and needed no cues whatsoever and I was failing harder than a Volkswagon at an upgraded emissions test. Sure, the dancing incorporated bits of the stuff we’d done before, but the instructor also kept moving back and forth ten feet at a time, a feat which I, in my six-foot wide space between the sofa and the TV, was hard put to replicate.

Up! Down! Forward! Shimmy! I don’t know how to shimmy! Oh wait, we’re not shimmying anymore, we’re rolling our arms and leaping like fools and oh god, when does it stop?

By the time we hit cooldown, I was bushed yet feeling good. The video was right! I did feel great about myself after working out. During my refreshing shower after, I resolved that exercise should become a part of my regular routine. So what if I couldn’t be bothered? This was my health we were talking, and I would learn that Bollywood dance, darn it. There were no downsides!

Except for the part where after dinner I sat on the sofa and realized that I could never lift my arms over my head again. That part of my life was over.

Anyone a fan of aerobics? How about Zumba? Or any of those other exciting dance work-out thingies that are around. Anyone find any good Bollywood dance exercise videos they want to share? (Oh yes please.) Leave a comment below! Funny stories, of course, encouraged.

Next week tune in for Exercise Part II, in which I attempt yoga and realize I can’t touch my toes. Want to make sure you don’t miss it? You can sign up at the top of this page to get emails when I update! You knew that, right? Of course you did. See you then!

 [photo credit: Zumba at People’s Park Davao City via photopin (license)]

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