“New Year, New Me!”
Hang on a minute.. What? I bet you’re thinking – ‘A bit late with this notion isn’t she? Did I miss Christmas? Isn’t it JULY?’
Well yes, we are already into the second half of the year but as I’m always late for everything, seven months is relatively punctual! (Take this post for instance, I forgot to schedule it as a Fadtastic Friday offering. It was the last day of term though, so I have a valid excuse!) Besides, I’ve never really understood the fascination with a fitness kick in the dead of winter. I’d rather be snuggled under a blanket, caressing a mug of something hot!
However, it’s no longer chilly in my part of the northern hemisphere and everyone’s harping on about being ‘Beach Ready‘. Where I come from, that kind of only requires you to have the manual dexterity to walk along the seafront dodging seagulls, whilst simultaneously eating your fish and chips! But to the rest of the world, it means t’is the season of Sun’s out: Guns / Bums / Tums out. So I thought it was about time I revisited my fitness regime…
Pfft! Who am I kidding using words like ‘regime’?! I’m not sure I could ever attest to having had one of those. At best, it would match its beauty counterpart – simple and basic! But I want to do something to get healthier and considering PE lessons destroy me these days, I also need to. So, as I have 52 days off for the summer, it seemed a perfect time to start.
Unfortunately, as with all my fads, my past attempts at fitness haven’t lasted. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lazy, I try to eat healthily (cake is my downfall) and rarely consume any liquids other than water and cups of tea. I’m just not ‘sporty’. Ultra competitive yes, an athlete no. Fitness is simply not my thing.
At school, the only sport I was remotely good at was hockey. I enjoyed whacking balls about with a stick until I smashed it into the teeth of another player. After that, the dreaded consequences of what she’d do in retaliation put me off the game somewhat! I was told I should be fantastic at netball. ‘You’re short, with a low centre of gravity’ my teachers would say. This apparently makes you fast and ideal to play centre position. I think it was just a polite way to say I had dumpy legs and child-bearing hips, because there was definitely no speed happening on my court!
Then there’s the issue of how bored I get doing a workout. It all seems so tedious, my mind racing over the other things I could be occupying my time with. So there’s no wonder I’ve sweated my way through all kinds of classes and activities in a futile attempt to keep me interested. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the evidence…
This was one of the more fun activities I’ve tried. Back in the days when Lara Croft and her provocative grunting had just been introduced to the world, I reckoned I could be her stunt double or a Tekken fighter. The fact I was a human and not made of pixels didn’t seem to deter my thoughts!
I was a bit rubbish at the ‘boxing’ part, having no upper body strength, but strong legs helped me lash out some hardcore kicks! Within 3 weeks I was practising roundhouses and reminding everyone that, ‘though she be but little, she is fierce!’
Then my best friend (who also attended) started dating the instructor. I say dating, it was one drink that made her realise he was actually a sleaze and wouldn’t leave her alone. So we left the country, went off-grid etc …or did whatever else you do to avoid someone who can’t take no for an answer – and so endeth my training. I hear Angelina Jolie got the part in the end…
This was okaaay… For a bit. But as I progressed from basic to intermediate, my coordination took a nose dive. Couple that with my ability to look like a beetroot on legs when doing cardio and I became a clumsy mess of flailing arms and toddler stomps. I didn’t want to risk actually falling off the step in front of Lycra clad nymphs either, so I packed up and moved on.
Ooh, swimming. I like that. At least I like being in water and wallowing about like a languid hippo! Aqua aerobics will be a great combination of what I loved about step and being in a pool. Won’t it?
NO! Aqua aerobics will try to kill you. Forget all this ‘water puts less pressure on the joints so is better for beginners’ malarkey. It will attempt drowning. Remember that lack of coordination? It will take that and add on an extra hazard of a slippery underfoot that winds up with you face planting the water and crying like a baby because of all the liquid you’ve just snorted.
I can’t even look cool in front of pensioners… They’re laughing, look!
I can’t call dancing as a whole a fad, as it was a big part of my life growing up. However, after I gave up on performances of modern and jazz, I still had an itchiness in my feet so I embarked on other styles. That clearly didn’t last…
I love Latin American styles of any description, along with the music. Salsa is sexy and exciting and gives a great workout to boot (and booty!). That’s the image I had in mind, but it seemed that was only in a TV universe or perhaps if you’re lucky enough to live in Miami or Cuba. My reality wasn’t at all sexy, especially when surrounded with wheezing, dripping participants in scruffy jogging bottoms. It was the wrong take on Dirty Dancing, so off I went.
I did this when teaching at a school summer school and thought I’d love it. ‘Here’s something I can get my teeth into.’ I mused – I’m a fan of all things vintage, so again I thought I’d fit right in. What I didn’t expect was to develop vertigo and motion sickness as I was flung around in my ankle socks! Over and out…
- Pole Dancing
Classes for this began springing up everywhere a few years ago, aiming to focus on the amazing gymnastic workout it gave, not on how to earn a living in a gentleman’s club. Whilst I can’t deny it was a great talking point, even if everyone did expect me to become an expert in stripping, the last thing anyone wants to see, let alone pay for, is me juddering down a metal pipe, whilst my skin gets torn off with friction!
Oh my, and the bruises! I never thought they’d go. Bruises in places I didn’t know had touched the pole and aches in parts of my body I hadn’t even considered existed. Whatever your views are on women who do pole dancing as a living for more insalubrious reasons, I have to admire their skill (because there is a lot needed), not only from a fitness and gymnastic point of view, but also how they make it look remotely seductive. Once I started doing inverted crosses, blood rushing to my head, vertigo threatening to throw me to the ground in a cursing heap, I knew I was beaten.
Hmmm…What can I say about this? I think I’m too aggressive for this activity. Or too childish. I decided to give it go as I wanted to take advantage of its calming effects. Unsure whether I would enjoy joining a class until I knew some basics, I bought a book and a DVD. I soon got bored however, probably because it was too calming and I simply don’t have the patience – it never felt like I was achieving anything. Plus I felt pretty ridiculous with some of the poses. I’d try to empty my mind and take deep breaths, but usually end up in a fit of juvenile giggles.
Maybe joining a class would have focussed me, although I think it was less offensive for mankind for me to keep it within my own four walls! The Lion pose finally broke my enthusiasm – when your cat plonks himself in front of you, staring at your tongue lolling out your mouth, in that disdainful, disapproving way that cats have, it’s time to have a word with yourself and reassess!
I used to bike everywhere, then I learned to drive and became lazy. But last year, I fixed up my old bike and began doing 5K each day. For about two weeks. Then the British weather turned gloomy again and I started with the excuses of too cold / wet / dark for a bike ride. Besides, my idea of a nice cycle jaunt involves a picnic at the end or at least a basket on the front that I can fill up with baguettes. And that’s as French as it gets. I’ll never be in danger of donning a yellow jersey!
Or in my case, wobbling. I just don’t do running. I mean, I can run, if I’m being chased or I think I can beat an 8 year old to 4th base in rounders, but I’d rather not unless I’m forced! I’ve taken part in the 5K Race for Life (I did actually run most of it) and tried out the Couch to 5K app, but I seem flat footed and slap my feet along the tarmac, sending shock waves up my bones and confirming every stereotype of how girls are perceived to run!
Several friends and colleagues love it – the freedom, being able to zone out with your music on etc, as well as the health benefits, and I’m quite jealous. But I simply don’t get it. This girl can’t.
There have been many more attempts at fitness, including hula hooping, zumba, two gym memberships, numerous workout videos / console games, 80’s power walking and an array of home gym equipment that generally end up serving as clothes horses! Nothing so far has captured my interests long enough or been at a level appropriate for me to see the benefits. Therein lies half the problem with any activity I do – I expect instant results, even though I know that’s impossible, so give up too easily.
I need something fun and competitive, that doesn’t require a great deal of skill, as clearly nobody would pick me for their team! So what do you suggest? What has the potential to be a lifestyle choice and not another fitness fad? I’d still like to learn a martial art, maybe the kickboxing was a good indicator of permanent enjoyment. If blogging was an exercise I’d be dropping a dress size in no time!
Oh wait, S has just asked if I want another piece of cake and there was absolutely no hesitation with my affirmative response. There is no hope…