We joined a gym recently. Or more precisely, we re-joined the gym where JB and I used to have a membership several years ago, which we eventually cancelled because neither of us was actually going there. I talked him into renewing the membership because I figured what the hell, in recent years I’ve tried DVDs, running, personal training, a tragically grubby little 24 Hour Fitness, hot yoga (briefly) (very, very briefly) (once, actually), and CrossFit—why not start back at the beginning, right?

It’s an enormous ridiculously fancy gym—excuse me, club—which we’d never normally be able to afford, but JB’s work pays for most of it. They have all kinds of classes in addition to the acres of equipment and squash courts and pools and whatnot, and I decided to try out something called “Kickbox BLAST!” tonight.

Now, I’ve taken kickboxing before. I spent months jumping around to Chalene Turbo Kick Johnson in my living room, and I’ve worn gloves and punched heavy bags until my knuckles bled. But I was woefully unprepared for the world of agony brought on by the BLAST! class.

I’m not going to give you a play by play, because basically it was over an hour of one hideously painful thing followed by another hideously painful thing, but I have to share this one awful moment that happened about halfway through. The instructor had everyone doing that high-knee running-in-place thing while some crazy half-metal half-dance music throbbed away, and right at the point where I started seeing black spots crowding my vision and I began thinking very seriously about whether or not I was going to 1) pass out, or 2) hose down the room with the contents of my stomach, the instructor leaped off her enormous platform thing and tapped a handful of people and told them to get up on stage in front of the class.

Friends, I was one of those people.

I can’t adequately describe how badly I wanted to die right at that moment, but suffice to say that after I engaged in a pointless little battle with her (which involved me desperately shaking my head and saying, “Nope. Nope. Nope.” while she barked “GET UP THERE” into her headset), things got a thousand times worse when I was actually on the platform.

Picture it, if you will. There’s like forty people in this fucking class, and I’m on a stage in front of EVERYONE with three other women, and we’re all running in place like goons while pumping our hands up in the air. And I’m about 98% sure I’m about to experience some kind of Loss of Sphincter Control, but I can’t stop or even slow down because OH JESUS I’M ON A GODDAMNED STAGE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE.

Wait. It gets worse.

After about fifty ice ages have gone by and I’ve entered a sort of horrible nightmare trance where everything I’ve ever feared in life is coming true right before my eyes, the instructor yells that those of us on stage should now get down and tap someone else to take our place. So now I’ve got to take this insanely awful situation I’m in and transfer it to a total stranger.

Now, a better woman would have just gritted her teeth and stayed on that stage, willing to gut it out until the fatal end, but at soon as I received my directive I hurled my body off the stage in a ridiculous and clumsy jump (while, a horrified part of my brain noted, the other three women turned and walked down the stairs), and slung one trembling, sweat-soaked hand out to pound the sinewy shoulder of a chick in the front row who clearly hadn’t spent her summer binging on carbs. Then, to complete my humiliation, instead of rejoining the class, I limp-scuttled off to a corner of the room to suck wildly at my water bottle—nuknuknuknuk—like a bug-eyed gerbil until my heart stopped threatening to explode out of my eyesockets.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure my entire body is going to be immobilized with pain tomorrow, and the memory of being on that stage is likely going to haunt my dreams for years, but I did live to tell the tale. If I’d have known what was going to happen ahead of time, I never would have even left my house, so . . . I’m sure there’s a lesson here somewhere. Like: as with juice boxes, gum flavors, Colt-branded malt liquors, and generic laxatives, beware any group exercise class with BLAST! in its name.

Comments

55 Responses to “It was a blast, really”

  1. Aimee on December 5th, 2011 10:22 pm

    Heh. We belong to that club. I’ve only tried the water classes, because the rest frighten me. I feel for you; the mortification of being in front of everyone…and at your first class??? No thank you.

    A couple of my friends swear by the circuit class. Unfortunately, it’s not on the “Free” list…

  2. Mama Ritchie on December 5th, 2011 10:24 pm

    I’m so glad you re-joined the ‘club’, if it means more postings like this. The cringeworthyness is like an episode of Seinfeld and It’s Always Sunny put together.

  3. Elissa on December 5th, 2011 10:36 pm

    JB’s job pays for most of it? Is he still running his newish business???

  4. Elissa on December 5th, 2011 10:38 pm

    Oh! And the gerbil reference? Hysterical! Easy to visualize! :)

  5. Heather on December 5th, 2011 10:54 pm

    I am so sorry for that ghastly experience, sounds horrible. But thank you for making me laugh out loud (for real!) with the “nuknuknuknuk”, so funny, yet so horrifying all at the same time!

  6. Melanie Aldridge on December 5th, 2011 10:55 pm

    Funniest post yet Linda.

  7. JB on December 6th, 2011 3:41 am

    Dude. I’ve just rejoined the gym and one of my very best friends instructs some classes. My first “BodyPump” weights class with her included Nirvana and Roxette AND Eye of the Tiger.

    During the triceps track, when she was lifting 5 times the weight I was, I wished a plague on her and everyone she loved.

  8. NancyJ on December 6th, 2011 4:36 am

    I haven’t been in a group workout at a gym since the YMCA about 10 years ago.
    I obsessed about how gross I looked compared to everyone else – and this is the Y how bad could that be? – instead of focusing on the workout. I’m better off alone with no mirrors!

  9. Molly on December 6th, 2011 5:20 am

    Oh my god that made me laugh so hard I almost woke up the kids (noooo!!! 5 more minutes so Mommy can read her stories!). Thank you!

  10. Kaire on December 6th, 2011 6:18 am

    But you did it … and for that I’m oh so jealous.

  11. Melissa on December 6th, 2011 6:23 am

    This is like every anxiety dream ever. Shudder.

  12. Jen on December 6th, 2011 6:28 am

    Bugged-eyed gerbil! Good God, your imagery kicks serious ass.

  13. jonniker on December 6th, 2011 6:31 am

    Oh LINDA. I did that hysterical cough-laugh thing, because that just sounds SO UNBELIEVABLY PAINFUL AND OH OH OH.

  14. Deanna on December 6th, 2011 6:45 am

    ohh – I feel for you.
    On the plus side – 1. omg! *you* got up on a stage in front of people?! That is huge for you. Be proud. See, no one even realized you were freaked out! Might make something easier down the road.
    And 2 – At least you did not trip and touch her boob instead of her shoulder. Trust me – nothing worse than an accidental boob touch to a stranger. *shudder* I am still mortified that I did that.
    Go you!!

  15. Nikki on December 6th, 2011 7:01 am

    I don’t mean to laugh at your awkward moment and pain, but I am glad to know that these types of things happen to others – instead of just me! Good for you though for re-joining the gym! Note to self, never take a “blast” class! You should try zumba if they offer it!

  16. Ris on December 6th, 2011 7:02 am

    This made me straight up laugh out loud. If I were you I probably would have flat out refused to get up on the stage because Oh My God the HORROR. I prefer to sweat in relative obscurity, which is why I picked the very back of the class, thankyouverymuch.

  17. Sarah on December 6th, 2011 7:06 am

    Note to instructor: No means no.

  18. JennB on December 6th, 2011 7:18 am

    Sorry to laugh, but seriously that is hilarious. You capture the moment beautifully.

  19. K on December 6th, 2011 7:23 am

    That is very how much how I imagine group classes run in Hell.

  20. Christina on December 6th, 2011 8:21 am

    Tears… sorry. This is the reason I stick to solo projects like running! BLAST OFF!

  21. Manda on December 6th, 2011 8:25 am

    Bah ha ha!! This is why I just blast at home with Jillian. That way I can yell at her in the privacy of my own home!

  22. Liz on December 6th, 2011 8:32 am

    nothing like giving you an experience to make you never want to go back to that class again..UGH!

  23. MRW on December 6th, 2011 9:30 am

    Holy shit, you have just described one of my worst nightmares. It would take an appearance from God him/her/its self to get me back to a class after having that experience. Fuck.

  24. Mary on December 6th, 2011 9:35 am

    Oh, lord in heaven. I’m having a panic attack just reading that.

    I would love to hear some of your very favorite at-home workouts, since you’ve tried a bunch. Did you like those kickboxing DVDs? Any other favs?

    If I can find a nearby, affordable, not grodie gym with childcare, I’ll do classes there, but sometimes it’s suddenly kid bedtime before I know it, and it’s either a livingroom workout or sitting on the couch with a bag of chips.

  25. JennyA on December 6th, 2011 9:57 am

    I’m getting the heebs just reading about that (though it was told hilariously, as is your wont), and feel compelled to trot out that hoary old internet chestnut: DO. NOT. WANT. Shouldn’t those class instructors have to take some kind of class to teach them that it took great effort for many in their classes to even work up the gumption to BE THERE, for GOD’S SAKE don’t make it worse?

    On another note, I drank a BLAST! on a dare once, and in a moment of inebriated stupidity texted something-or-other to a number as instructed on the BLAST! bottle. And that is why I get text messages from Colt 45.

  26. June on December 6th, 2011 10:13 am

    Terrible experience aside, I applaud the fact that a company is paying for gym memberships. Too often, employer-based health insurance will happily pay for the cardiovascular bypass surgery but refuses to subsidize gym memberships, if you know what I mean? Good for you for taking advantage of that perk.

    Oh, and I’m laughing at Deanna’s boob-touch comment, too. It happens!

  27. Reading (and chickens) on December 6th, 2011 10:34 am

    This was so funny I have an ache. Oh, so so good.

  28. Clueless But Hopeful Mama on December 6th, 2011 10:49 am

    What the hell is the point of the whole stage thing?? Jeezus. Is it just to keep you so socially terrified that you forget your entire body is screaming in agony?

  29. Dana on December 6th, 2011 11:26 am

    OMG I love how you jumped off the stage while everyone walked and realized it mid-leap.

    And when you stated that the woman you chose didn’t spend her summer carb-loading I lost it.

    Reading that was a work out. Guess I’m done exercising for the day!

    Who am I kidding. I wasn’t planning on exercising today anyway.

  30. Courtney on December 6th, 2011 11:36 am

    So the real question is… will you go back? Please, please do, if only for my personal entertainment value after you write about it :)

  31. Halyn on December 6th, 2011 11:36 am

    The way you describe it is hilarious, but this is why I don’t do group classes. No Effin way am I going to tolerate being singled out. In your shoes, I would have left the class and complained about the instructor to the management. Stuff like that triggers a pissed off reaction in me…sorry, I said no, and scream at me through that headset one more time and we’ll be finding out what kind of efficacy rating it gets as an enema.
    Sorry for the rantiness…Monday is spilling over into Tuesday, and I’m a bit cranky.

  32. Rebecca on December 6th, 2011 1:49 pm

    Also curious about JB’s job – thought he was running his own business?

  33. Linda on December 6th, 2011 1:56 pm

    I owe a lengthy update on what’s been going on with JB’s company, but the short version for now is that it still exists (and they’re STILL waiting for FDA approval), but he had to go back to work at Microsoft to pay the bills.

  34. Christine on December 6th, 2011 2:32 pm

    Zomg. I wanted to die for you. Hope your limbs are all okay.

  35. SO anonymous on December 6th, 2011 3:08 pm

    So a couple of weeks ago, I went with a friend to have her little sister put us through misery at her workplace–a physical therapy place that includes a gym, pool, etc. Nearly passed out by the end. My friend couldn’t go the next night, but I was determined to stick it out and work up to her full crazy workouts. I took another friend with me that second night and I was working hard and keeping up. We were about 3/4 through when I don’t even know what I was doing, but I was suddenly very aware of the fact that my pants were warming up. I excused myself and ran to the bathroom, which was at the other end of the gym. Yup, peed my freakin’ pants. I’d even gone at half time just to be safe. Short shirt, no jacket. Ummm. I tried to be nonchalant walking back (oh hey, yeah, my pants are actually patterned like that), and the sister said I hadn’t completed my set. Umm…? I said I’d need modification or something, so she had me doing standing/squatting ball swinging whatevers which only made me more uncomfortable in that now I was twisting and squatting in my urine-soaked pants and it wasn’t like I could hide? When my friend finished her workout and I was beyond humiliated, we made the trek across the gym to the car. Not MY car since mine was in the shop, but my MIL’s sweet drive with leather seats that I should’ve brought a towel for the sweat anyway but didn’t and NOW…. I haven’t been back. And I’ve been basically ignoring my friend’s texts and calls. Instead of running the town Turkey Trot I’d trained for with those friends that weekend, I ran a 5k on a school track where the public wouldn’t see me. I’d like to thank my darling boys for ruining my body. I’m back to hopping around my living room. Any faves?

  36. SO anonymous on December 6th, 2011 3:09 pm

    Also, thanks for this post! I laughed so hard! Glad I’m not alone in the mortified at/by the local gym dept.

  37. Heather F on December 6th, 2011 3:09 pm

    My god this reminds me of my recent experience. I also just recently re-joined a fancy gym after having done my own thing for years and I went to a “Circuit Breaker” class. All was going fine until I heard the teacher say “Everyone gather around Heather” WTH?? We all huddled up, sweaty boob of a stranger shoved in my face as I reeeaached to put my hand in the pile and shout “Who can do it? WE CAN” cheer over and over, I decided I was NEVER going back.

  38. Sarah on December 6th, 2011 3:58 pm

    I went to a Zumba dance class with my mom a few times, and the same thing happened to me: I was hopping around like a fool, embarrassed enough as it was on the GROUND, and then the instructor pointed to me from the stage and made me join her for the next exercise. It was one of the most psychically horrifying things that has ever happened to me. I would have just refused, but she literally pointed to me from the stage and singled me out… everyone in the room would have witnessed me stubbornly shaking my head and sulking if I hadn’t gone up.

  39. Jen - Mom of 4 on December 6th, 2011 5:16 pm

    Thanks for the great story! I take 2 class at my “club” and one of them is a kickboxing class. Our instructor is a fantastic looking 48 yr old, who had a special t-shirt made up that states “I puked in Adrienne’s Cardio Kickboxing Class!”

    I’ve lucked out and have not “earned” one of those shirts -but I’ve come pretty damn close a couple of times!

  40. Kristin on December 6th, 2011 5:16 pm

    I HATE when exercise classes are not what they appear. I went to a water aerobics class once. You hear about old people and whatnot doing it all the time. Turned out it was water fitness. My heart was beating SO fast from the workout that I thought I really was going to pass out and drown. I didn’t go back and it makes me scared to “try” another class.

  41. Christie on December 6th, 2011 6:30 pm

    Oh my LORD, this is why I don’t go to the gym, like, ever. In a brief moment of insanity I went with my husband a couple weeks ago, to the weight/fitness room. Spent 15 minutes trying to look like I knew what I was doing on the eliptical trainer while husband smiled at me from across the room where he was doing weights. Then he wanders over and whispers in my ear “Love, it appears that you are going backwards.” Riiight. Thankfully not many people around to witness. Can’t imagine the horror of being brought up on a stage for any reason, much less one involving coordination. Yikes!

  42. kim on December 6th, 2011 7:05 pm

    That was a very funny story — horrifying. Truly horrifying. But funny.

    And I have to say, that is a REALLY shitty thing for an instructor to do. I would have walked out of the class rather than let her bully me into going on stage. Fuck that shit, man.

    In fact, I once DID walk out of a kickboxing class bc/the instructor was a douche. Our regular teacher was out sick, so we had a sub who liked to “motivate” the class by calling you out if we were on the wrong foot, punching with the right hand, etc. And I was the one usually being singled out, because I have trouble keeping such things straight. After her third snarky comment about “the LEFT” (or whatever) while she glared at ME, I turned around & walked out of the room, red-faced & fuming. I go to an exercise class to exercise, not to be humiliated.

    No one should EVER be put in the position you were; no one should put up with it.

  43. kim on December 6th, 2011 7:06 pm

    ^^^ WRONG hand. i think you get what i meant . . .

  44. kim on December 6th, 2011 7:12 pm

    oh by the way, to christie above, sometimes people intentionally go backwards on the elliptical machines: different muscle groups get worked! so technically, there is no “backwards” — you were doing fine!

  45. rozie on December 7th, 2011 8:26 am

    I’ve been going to BodyPump and Cardio Blast (basically whatever the instructor feels like making us do for an hour) at my gym for the last few months. It took a few weeks to figure out the best instructor and now I basically stalk her from club to club to club because she is fantastic and motivating and receptive to sass and backtalk from everyone in the class. Somehow I’m not banned from the clubs or her classes. Yet.

    In blast last night she had us doing some wide stance squats and on the second rep she called out “this is a —- squat.” I could have sworn she said “whore” so I yelled “a WHORE squat?!?!” back at her. She smiled, nodded and gestured to how wide her legs were spread and said “this is how a whore squats!”

    Christ on a cracker, I knew I liked her but I’m pretty sure I want to go facebook official with her now, right?

    Then she cracked up and yelled at me. “No! HORSE. HORSE SQUAT!” and then started bouncing up and down and waving her arms like she was galloping along on a horse.

    The class just got dirtier and dirtier from there and ended with us laying down air thrusting for the duration of Personal Jesus.

    It’s really too bad that the guys waiting to use the training room looked in during abs to see if we were done, not the hip thrusts for glutes session.

  46. traci sabia on December 7th, 2011 8:32 am

    so funny. as a woman i visualized the blast class and feel ur pain. now if u added pics or video – even better!!!! ur pain keeps us entertained so thnk u :)

  47. Anne on December 7th, 2011 8:54 am

    Hilarious! Someone had to have been recording that, right?! :)

  48. Aubrey on December 7th, 2011 11:14 am

    I almost had a Mortifying Moment just reading this at my desk. So awful, and so, so funny. Thanks!

  49. Amy K on December 7th, 2011 12:02 pm

    Our husbands work for the same company, and I think we’re going to switch our family gym membership over to the fancy-schmancy place you’re talking about. I still haven’t seen it, but my husband went all misty-eyed telling me about how amazing it looks. Note to self: Scratch Kickbox BLAST off the list.

  50. sooboo on December 7th, 2011 1:39 pm

    What you described is pretty close to a nightmare I’ve actually had. She probably picked you because you looked awesome doing all that crazy stuff.

  51. Tracy on December 7th, 2011 1:48 pm

    Ha, you said sphincter! Best exercise class story ever.

    I stupidly soldiered on with my step aerobics class on Day 3 of the Atkins Diet a decade or so ago only to collapse with a calf cramp in the middle. When I told the friend who’d convinced me to try the damn diet about this, he was all, “Oh, didn’t I tell you that you shouldn’t exercise on this?”

  52. Shawna on December 7th, 2011 9:16 pm

    Dude, I’ve taught fitness classes for 9 years now (okay, I only teach one type of class (BodyPump) but still), and if I brought a group of participants on stage – whether they were willing or not – I’d get reprimanded the first time and probably fired the next.

    WTF?

  53. Stacy on December 7th, 2011 9:48 pm

    Just wait until you try spinning! I felt like I had the physical ability of someone who just woke up from a coma and was forced into the class.

    And the seat on the bike? Not even enough for one butt cheek to be happy. I think it took me three days before I could walk right.

    But it was fun and something new, so yeah!

  54. Renee on December 8th, 2011 1:44 pm

    Adding in the “I’m an instructor too!”

    Freestyle classes you have a lot more leeway. With a Les Mills class, you won’t be pulled up onto the stage. Ever. Unless you’re another instructor and even then, most times, it’s a prearranged thing.

    Part of people getting into the classes are the scary parts of not being “good enough” or whatever. Taking newbies onstage is so not cool.

  55. joaaanna on December 22nd, 2011 7:30 am

    Oh my gawd – I just died laughing reading this! Thank you for starting my day with laugh cramps!

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