So, I had a three-day trial to the LA Fitness in Oxford.
For those who don’t know me, I don’t do gyms. I just don’t. The idea of going somewhere in order to exercise just annoys me. In my world, building exercise into your day so you don’t have to go anywhere else to exercise is the ideal, happy, peaceful, chi environment.
But then again, I read Runner’s World.
For those of you who don’t understand the world of running, Runner’s World is the bomb-shizzy of running magazines. It has really amazing articles to inspire you, educate you, and keep you moving. Every couple of month’s they send out guides that let you do things like compare wick-away socks, and if you haven’t made it to the point where you get super-excited about articles on wick-away socks then you aren’t considered a runner. No matter how fast you are. We do have standards.
Anyways, they did this article about all the things you need to do in your age group to continue to be a proper runner and obsess over wick-away socks. My “thing” is strength training. Apparently, if you don’t keep up with strength training the runner community will get together and take away all your wick-away socks. It’s that serious.
So… for the first time ever, I considered going to a gym. Back in the States my condo had a gym. The gym consisted of a treadmill that was usually working, one out of four stationary bikes that may be working, and a partially working weight set. Twice a week I would pedal 10 miles and do weights and feel proud of myself. This, mind you, is prior to the 35 miles I now regularly bike every week, plus all the walking I do because I live in the hippy town of Oxford.
Because I moved to hippy Oxford, I let strength training fall off to the wayside, believing that the reusable bags of fair trade co-op groceries I tote around would suffice.
But Runner’s World said nay to that.
It gave ideas… if you lived in a house where you had actual floor space (and closets, I miss closets sometimes). And it also suggested… a gym.
And so, through my very awesome private insurance, I found a gym with ridiculously good prices and decided to try three classes. Two yoga, one pilates. I called and got my little free pass and signed up dutifully.
First was yoga. I showed up half-muddy from running in that morning and made my way down to the studio where I was greeted by slivers of girls in adorable yoga-wear. My bright-red “don’t hit me” shirt and mud spattered tights stood in sharp contrast to the gray and muted pastels of the girls around me. I briefly had to remind myself that the median-age of a college town is considerably lower and that I was the hottest old chick in the room.
The instructor came in and was very cool, going through all different types of movements and even had us work on two that, no joke, will eventually lead you to being able to join you feet together in front of your face while your arms balance you. Now, she wasn’t expecting us to churn on this position right there at the first class – her joy came from the fact that we could lean forward enough without completely falling on our faces.
I left feeling considerably better, if not sore from attempting to bend in new and interesting ways, and was excited to return and try pilates the next day.
I returned in high form and totally within protocol the next day. First, I didn’t speak to anyone (apparently you aren’t supposed to). Second, I grabbed the same items that people who were in the room and looked like they knew what they were doing grabbed. Third, I chilled out. You are supposed to chill out for these classes, apparently. This was a lunch class and full of active pensioners, so I felt like the youngest chick in the room, but with hope that I would be as active and hot as the retirees.
That is, until the instructor announced herself. Apparently the pilates instructor could not make it, so she was subbing in with yoga. You would’ve thought the world exploded. The pensioners roared with rage and several stomped from the class as if they were going to go to the front desk and beat the assistants with their foam blocks until a pilates instructor arrived. Apparently, they had not chilled out appropriately before the instructor announced themselves. Having sent the rioting horde of plus-65s away, we went through a more standard yoga class, which I again throughly enjoyed.
My third day I returned to yoga with the same instructor from the first day. I learned how to balance at a right angle and pretend as if I was sliding up and down a wall. It made me happy.
Out of it I noticed two things:
- I wasn’t as stiff as I normally was after my running days.
- I felt a little bit stronger all around when I was running.
This is why Runner’s World is the bomb-shizzy. They actually do know what they are talking about sometimes.
So, I’ve decided to join the gym for a year, give this whole strength training class thing a try. And not because I want to balance my feet in front of my face or potentially lead a pensioner raid to bring about more pilates, but because it is fundamentally something new and different to keep challenging me to be healthy.
And further me onwards towards an even more hippy lifestyle that only Oxford can provide.