Saturday, February 09, 2008

Let's Get Physical, Physical

Last Monday, something crazy came over me and I decided to attempt to become a group fitness instructor. Not a personal trainer, but the type of instructor who leads a bunch of middle-aged women through painful and awkward exercises in hopes that their clothes will magically get larger.

Really, I am all about where fitness and fashion intersect. I am mostly hoping to wear something like this:

I especially like the belt and the high-cut sides. As I always say, if you can't wear a shiny patent leather belt while you do some squats, when can you wear one?

I love this outfit, too. In fact, I think I already owned it when I was nine years-old, except they called it, "Get In Shape Girl."

I even get kind of jealous when I see some of the young darlings wearing their leg warmers today, but remember the fashion rule: If you wore the trend the first time around, do NOT wear it again.

Now this is probably my favorite, just in time for Valentine's Day:

Mostly, I appreciate Olivia's bandana that she careful rolled and tied around her head. Very functional. Just remember, it is better to look good than to feel good. Or something like that.

Back to my new I registered for this Primary Group Fitness Certification on Monday, hoping desperately to pass the written and practical tests on Friday.

No big deal, I foolishly thought. I've been going to group exercise classes for years and figured I could just wing it.

Then I received the study materials. ON WEDSNESDAY. Oh boy. The textbook was 503 pages and included a lot of muscles I'd never heard of. I was comfortable with "quadricep" but not so comfortable with the four muscles that make up the quad.

For example, rectus femoris did not sound like part of my thigh. I was thinking it belonged somewhere slightly to the north.

But now I know.

A college roommate instant messaged me during an intense study session last week, wondering if all this time cracking the books reminded me of our days back in college. At which point I kindly reminded her that I actually majored in Saturday Night Live Skits from the 80's...which did not require a textbook and had a lot of sight gags.

And the written test wasn't even the tip of the very large Iceberg of Exercise Knowledge.

There was a practical section for the test as well. Meaning I had to TEACH a group of people a cardio or strength technique.

Let me provide you with further context: Most people taking this certification were already group fitness teachers or just renewing their credentials. And have I EVER for one single second, taught a class? Um, no.

Between teaching first grade and attending group fitness classes, I thought I had it covered.

Not so much.

Fast forward to the certification testing on Friday: since I was a late registrant (to say the least), I was number 33 out of 33 people to demonstrate my strength "skills" and "techniques." (Apparently they use those terms loosely in the fitness world.)

I had determined ahead of time that I would teach the push-up because it's easy to modify and there is no choreography involved. I can't get tangled up on my own feet or miscount a grapevine-left-step-knee-KICK! when I am simply propelling my own body weight up and down. I came prepared with all of my alignment kinesology-babble and safety cues and a lovely two minute demo all planned.

Being #33, I had to participate in THIRTY TWO other demos before mine. To spell that out with absolute clarity, I was the "class member" doing various exercises while 32 people did their 2-minute segments.

Now for some higher math to show off my smarts: multiply 32 by 2 minutes and you have 64 minutes of cardio and strength exercise. Doing exercise for that long makes you TIRED.

To top it off, the two girls before me also decided to model pushups. That means that before my grand finale, I was pre-exhausting my poor pecs for FOUR minutes.

I am good to go with a few push-ups here and there, but I was shaking when it was finally my turn to teach this lovely segment. It's not really my common practice to repetitively do push-ups for six straight minutes. I am a Pillsbury Dough Boy Meets Soccer Mom--NOT a Marine. I briefly thought about calling an audible and switching to abs or lunges, but I didn't trust myself to remember what part of the kinetic chain needs to stay aligned during a those drills.

So there I was, in front of the class, exhausted and shaking, a novice teaching this strength skill to a room of certified instructors. Lovely. But somehow, I must have channed Mr. Incredible and my muscles didn't give out on me in my moment of "glory."

I distracted the judges with lots of jokes and smiling. I wanted them to think I was so obliviously happy to be there that they'd just feel BAD failing me.

But good news: I passed!

I'm debating what type of spandex/adult onesie/color coordinated gear in which to make my debut. Hopefully it will match my white high-top Reeboks. Glory.


Holly Schaefer said...

darn I was totally going to wear my pink & red spandex to your valentines party on thursday, you go ahead...

Tricia said...

You. Crack. Me. Up.

Lisa @ Take90West said...

That is so cool! Congratulations!

I will be the big middle aged woman in the back row looking like I should be sweatin' to the Oldies!