I hate institutionalised fitness. I hate gyms. I hate that healthy living and regular exercise has been commercialised. I hate that going to the gym is the normal thing to do – what happened to just going outside?

Today I went to my first exercise class in about eight years.
Yes, I have formed the above opinion without actually engaging in ‘institutionalised fitness’.

For the past 5 years I’ve lived a fairly active lifestyle. My average day involved walking multiple kilometres between uni and the train station and just general activities, the casual jog/ walk. Withstanding the significant 7-10kilos I gained in my short stay in America, my weight and fitness level stayed fairly constant – my binge eating of desserts, baked goods and regular hot chip sandwiches were easily rectified. The challenge of losing my American baby, was not the greatest of challenges.

Cue my first year of full time work. Hello sedentary lifestyle. Sleeping, sitting on a train, sitting at my work desk, sitting on a train, sitting on the couch. Notice the trend? Sitting. Lots and lots of sitting. Unsurprisingly really, I’ve gained 5 kilos this year.

So back to my first fitness class. Here’s how it went in my head:

Day my friend asked me:
Oh this could be fun. I’ve been wanting to try Pilates for a while, correct that poor posture in my office chair, that’s what all the articles talk about. Maybe it could my new thing. It’s not in a real gym so I’m not really backing down.

Day of class:
Crap, I can’t even do a sit up, how am I going to do a whole class? I won’t know anything. Strategy, copy – copy everything. Do what everyone else does. Okay yep good strategy, except the fact I have zero core muscles and probably can’t do everything. New strategy, tell the instructor you know nothing. Make a joke about going easy on me. Yes good strategy.

5minutes before the class:
Okay, yep copy. Okay yep mat goes here. Yep thanks for those 1kg weights, minuscule – what on earth can they do? Wow everyone else is stretching. I should stretch. Sure I could stretch but then they’ll know I can’t even touch my toes. Okay fake stretch, ah yes this is totally not working.

During the class:
Okay yep, I can do this. Wow that’s a new muscle. Sorry you want me to do 8 reps of that, I can’t even do one of it. Okay that hurts. Woah, a little shaky there. Okay full epileptic fit going on here. Rest now. No like really now. I really need a rest. Okay, we’re going to keep going. Keep it together Mel. Wow more correction, hips in, head up, align my knees. Oh and bend the knees – woah so many things to focus on. How long does this class go for? Wow, this is her eighth class today? I betcha she didn’t send like eighty emails today. I could totally take her on a typing test. Yes, good strategy, try and out type the instructor, that’s really going to help you lose the five kilos. Arms. I haven’t had my arms this long in the air since the years of netball training and spacial defense. Mmm like a bird. Yeah except a bird is made to keep their arms out. Wow my arms are so much flabbier than everyone elses? Focus. Shoulders back, core tight. Wow my left arm is significantly weaker than my right. Oo the shakes again. Ah the ballet bit now, I always wanted to do this as a kid. Mum said it would ruin my feet. Who cares about your feet when you can barely lift your leg? Plie, yes I can do these. Wow pointing my toes at this very moment is exhausting.

After the class:
Huh I survived that. Wow that only went for an hour? I’m pretty sure I did nothing right. She spent a lot of time correcting my. No right leg. No other arm with the leg. So much coordination, but hey I did it. Wow an hour went so quickly. Maybe I could do that again. It wasn’t so bad. It would be good for my core. Hmm should ask how much it is. Hmm $50 week, that’s a lot. That’s $200/month. Hmm maybe I’ll cash in on all the beginner packages. Ok but every place would be different and there will be more copying involved. Pretending to know what I’m doing. But still good for the core, would make my arms and core look awesome for summer. Mmm summer body – that’s what I’m about. I’ll wait for the pain tomorrow.

Morning after:
Okay, be prepared. Legs are going to hurt. Huh legs don’t hurt. Oo abs are little a sore, not awful though. Woah arms, they’re a little sore but not amputate right now sore. Oo the neck is a little sore, but not aching. I can’t believe I hurt more after a run.

Afternoon after:
Hmm let’s try a run. A nice tidy 4k, who would have thought.
I wonder if there’s a class nearby. In Camden? Who am I kidding.

Two days later:
Oh yeah, i’d be up for a barre class next week. Getting sweaty in lycra with colleagues, what could be awkward about that?

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