Last Friday was the end of an era.
And it all started out as an innocent plot to lose twenty pounds in thirty days.
I know, I sound like a super sketchy advertisement for some sort of miracle Acai berry juice. (They don’t work…I’ve tried.)
Yet back in June of 2007, this “goal” seemed perfectly reasonable. I was getting married at the end of July, and didn’t have much time to drop the weight I had gained as an undergrad.
My master plan of three back-to-back 60-minute group fitness classes backfired after just one day.
The CVS cashier who sold me eighty dollars worth of heat packs and painkillers the following morning can confirm this.
Despite losing just five pounds before my big day, I did surprise myself in another way.
I actually enjoy exercise.
Heh. Go figure.
My new-found love of fitness was primarily due to the fabulous, 60-minute sweat session known as Turbo Kick.
It was love at first uppercut. Or booty shake. The beauty of Turbo Kick is that it marries the two in a hip hop diva meets Kung Fu warrior workout that it not for the faint of heart.
Just last week, in the midst of a heated dance battle with the young woman next to me, I decided to go all J-Lo, droppin’ it like it was hot as I performed the funky pump with every fiber of my being.
If that doesn’t burn calories, I don’t know what does.
I loved the class so much, that a year and a half ago, I became certified as a Turbo Kick instructor.
Which means there is a pretty good chance I’ll curb stomp you, and then freak dance around your broken jaw to a Ludacris song.
Just kidding…I would NEVER resort to gang violence. Although a round house kick to the gut followed by some celebratory shimmying certainly isn’t out of the question.
After a few gigs as a subsitute at 24 Hour Fitness, I was taken on as a full-time instructor at the in-office gym for a certain Seattle corporation that happens to be very large, powerful and delicious. Let’s just say I am a big fan of their products.
After six months of teaching Turbo, my class numbers began to dwindle. The Turbo format requires some serious coordination, and a love for either Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears or Ke$ha. Those who love pink spandex and Lady Gaga will also do quite well.
It eventually became clear that Turbo Kick didn’t quite fit with the target demographic of this particular gym. I was informed that in January, my class would be replaced by a military style boot camp.
This was the first time I was ever fired.
With the exception of the time I was working as a waitress Jake’s Bar and Grill in Nebraska. Technically they fired Scott first for sticking up for me when our manager tried to play some sketchy moves, then fired me for being associated with him. I immediately started crying and was re-hired.
Scott was not happy about this.
He was however quite amused upon learning that the gym was not firing me in the least bit. I would be leading the six-week military style boot camp.
I would have been offended by his response, but grapefruit juice flying out of the husband’s nose is hard to get angry at.
And so, in January of 2011, I set out on a mission.
A mission to make grown men cry without actually breaking a sweat myself.
A mission to use kettle bells and BOSU balls as torture devices.
A mission to somehow appear authoritative in spite of my hip hop fitness outfits.
And most importantly, a mission to figure out exactly how the heck I was going to run a successful boot camp.
Showing up fifteen minutes late to the first class after a trip to Vegas was probably not the best way to start the six weeks.
Yet on the morning of the second session, when one of the gentlemen taking my class informed me that he had never been so sore in his life, and that perhaps the class had started off a little too advanced, I knew things would be just fine.
Six months later, the class is still going strong. Many of the participants have been in the class from the very start. I’ve been so impressed with their dedication, their intensity, and most importantly, their bravery in the face of air jacks.
Don’t know what an air jack is? Trust me…you don’t want to know.
My awesome class members are the reason I was so sad to have my very last class last Friday. Due to some transportation issues (Scott and I share one vehicle…we’re green and Seattle-ey like that) I will no longer be able to instruct the 6:30 am class three days a week.
I was so honored when the presented me with a card (and a gift card!) for my last day. The most fabulous part was when I read a message saying I was the best boot camp coach they had ever had.
It wasn’t fabulous because I was the best.
It was fabulous because they called me “coach”.
Me. A coach!
I have since begun my strategic plot to become the real-life Sue Sylvester.
In honor of the last six months spent with some fabulously fit ladies (and a few men, too!) I feel it is my duty to come clean.
In the words of Usher himself, “These are my confessions.”
Fitness instructor edition.
1. We are not always in better shape than you.
I consider myself to be a physically fit person. But there are some days when if I do one more jump squat, I’m going to lose the half pint of ice cream I ate prior to class…and then nobody wins. Yes, fitness instructors eat ice cream. And doughnuts. And occasionally doughnuts and ice cream together. I’ve even been known to slap some maple syrup on the concoction when I feel like channeling the ghost of Paula Deen.
Calm down…I only did that once.
For the entire month of February 2011.
It was rainy and I was sad. Cut me some slack.
Also, when we walk around the room to “check your form” on those push ups? That means we are tired and need a break.
I have a feeling there are dozens of instructors who want to strangle me right now for exposing this secret. But at least I didn’t have to do all the push ups.
2. We get sweaty.
I can’t speak for other instructors…but I am most often times the sloppiest hot mess in the joint by the end of class.
3. We have to go to the bathroom, too.
Oh believe me we do…we just aren’t able to leave the room until class is over. If I’ve had a dime for every time I’ve almost wet my pants while jumping around, I’d have enough money to pay Google to permanently erase that hip hop fitness outfit photo from the internet. Forever.
4. Sometimes, we fall over.
I’m not always the most…um…graceful person in the room. There was the time I slipped in my own sweat during hot yoga and almost took out the yogi next to me.
And of course, the infamous falling off a stationary bike during spinning class incident. (The instructor later informed me I was the only person she had ever seen do this. Somehow, I wasn’t all that surprised.)
And let’s not forget the time I closed my eyes on the treadmill and opened them to discover I had been spit off the back and fallen into some poor Japanese tourist’s lap.
But nothing compares to the time I fell flat on my behind while teaching a kickboxing class and did this to my ankle.
Believe it or not, I finished remaining 25 minutes of class. Air jacks and all. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have a room full of people waiting for you to show them what to do next.
5. We don’t always say the right thing.
Not all the motivational phrases that come out of my mouth are inspiration gold. Perhaps the worst was “Take that, pecan pie!!!!” which I cried out during a post-Thanksgiving workout. I had consumed no less than five pieces of pie over the weekend, and was using the session to erase any evidence on my lower half. My students didn’t know this, and naturally looked at me like I was a crazy person.
The “Suck it, fruitcake!” comment after the Christmas holiday may have also been ill-conceived.
What can I say? I love me some Costco fruitcake. Also good with maple syrup.
No, I’m not related to Buddy the Elf. But his culinary prowess never fails to dazzle me.
6. We don’t always do the right thing.
I have a favorite cardio move that involves squatting down low, and shuffling across the floor as you quickly dribble a Swiss ball. (Those big workout balls that you can sit on.) During our “Balls to the Walls” class (a workout where we only used the Swiss balls) I tried to get my class to mimic the move.
This didn’t work out so well as our space is small, and there is a large structural post in the middle of the room. People were crashing into each other right and left…until I had the brilliant idea of getting the class to form a circle around the large post and shuffle in the same direction, rotating around the pole as they dribbled the giant purple balls.
And that is how I got fifteen adults to do an interpretive rain dance at 6:45 on a Wednesday morning.
At that point, I just had to go with it and act like it was the best idea ever.
I may or may not have yelled out “It works your quads!” in between giggling to lend credibility.
7. We sometimes forget the moves
Nothing is more terrifying than being in front of dozens of people and forgetting what exercise comes next in the routine.
There have been a handful of times where I’ve completely drawn a blank halfway through the workout.
And that’s when we do the running man.
If you’ve ever felt like one of my classes resembled an MC Hammer music video, now you know why.
8. Dirty looks work
There are those few instances when I get carried away on accident as I’m not struggling through the workout with the class. In fact, I’ve lead our group through many a sweat session that I’m not sure I myself would be able to complete that early in the morning.
So when I see you glaring up at me from the push up position, I know I’ve gone too far and will give you a water break.
9. We love your feedback.
Good our bad, we want to hear it. I once had someone tell me my see-through pants were distracting her.
See through? My pants?
Let’s just say that’s the last time I buy yoga pants off the clearance rack at Old Navy.
10. We really like you.
Leaving my morning class was rough–I had become friends with so many of the participants. They made me laugh, called me out when I needed it, and included me in all of the exciting locker room conversation. They were even willing to pose in the photo below, despite the fact that they knew I would be uploading it for all the world to see on this blog.