I have now done something I swore I would never do again. Which makes me a Big fat liar. The fat part being the key word. I joined a fitness class. The above is my exercise mat. Never had one of those before. Apparently it is important. Which makes sense as the class is called, Mat Pilates.
I've been in various fitness classes of one sort of another before. Never with much success. I attribute much of the failure to myself. I have a bad attitude about group-think, I very much dislike being told what to do and very poor coordination - read as clumsy as a long ear puppy wearing socks. But something desperately needed to be done. Desperate times call for desperate measures and all that. My usual walking, biking, home exercise program were no longer sufficient to hold the ravages of time and cookies at bay.
Once upon a time I could stay fit by running. I loved running. Eat all the cookies you want without a single negative result. Man that is my kind of exercise. And the running as well was great. It was something I did alone, for one thing and it cleared my head. I solved problems while running. I wrote music while running. I wrote short stories while running. And sometimes I thought absolutely nothing at all while running and that was the best of all. And then I blew out my right knee. I had no insurance at the time (the original injury was many many years ago) so I wrapped it up tight and kept running until I couldn't run anymore. Than I walked and biked. But that just wasn't giving me the same amount of fitness that I was accustomed to.
It was very sad. Especially the cookie consequences now that I was no longer running!
But I realized that I had two choices, learn to live with body changes that I do NOT like or do something about it. I choose the latter. By happenstance, one of my neighbors is a fitness instructor. I learned that she was doing some small classes (less than 10 people on average) close enough by that I can walk to class. I had actually never heard of Mat Pilates before so I had no preconceived prejudice against it. Why not give it a try.
In the past I have taken various sorts of Fitness Classes. There were all kind of various dance-as-excercise classes, none of which were successful. I am not graceful, first of all, which was wildly apparent to Everyone in the class. I am apt to trip and fall or accidentally smack someone standing regrettably close by. And for some reason I could never remember the step combinations. Fail.
I took one straight on fitness class which was facilitated by a former cheerleader. I had to grit my teeth each class just to quietly endure listening to her endless mindless chatter and cutesy babytalk. And it was so hard to keep my mouth shut when I was the recipient of her sad little disappointed face when I was told over and again that I was "letting her down" when I couldn't do something to her satisfaction. That did not go well.
The last class I tried was yoga. Several fails there. I do not sit still well, I'm fidgety. I got bored quickly because everything moved so very slowly. And of course my tendency to topple over was a bit distracting. It was after the yoga class that I decided that I must just not be a group activity person and swore to never put myself through it again. So even trying this class is a leap of faith.
I actually attended my first class on Tuesday. I had no idea what Mat Pilates meant and to my surprise, I did NOT research it ahead of time. Quite unlike me. I think I was afraid that I would talk myself out of the class if I looked too deeply into it. So I walked into the room knowing nothing except that I knew that I already liked the instructor as a person. I like her even more now as the class facilitator. Being calm, gentle and encouraging is the key to my fitness success, I suspect and that is her. She doesn't expect miracles but does gently push everyone with a great sense of humour.
There were only six of us in the class, 5 women and 1 lone man. The instructor asked me to come 15 minutes early so that she could go over a few basic things. I liked not feeling totally ignorant once class began. The rest of the attendees were kind and encouraging too. I really appreciated that. There were some things I did fairly well and some things I couldn't do at all. Most things fell in the middle. The next day the instructor emailed me to see how I was doing. Wasn't that nice? And while I can tell still today that I did some serious work on Tuesday, I don't feel crippled from it which is a different experience from in past classes. I believe this may work out.
Tomorrow morning at 7:45, I will hang my fitness mat over my shoulder and walk over to the class for the second time. Hopefully this will become a new and very good habit for me. And give me the results that I'm looking for which would be a terrific BONUS. Wish me luck and perseverance.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.