“And hold, 2, 3, 4.”
“And jump; higher; HIGHER ladies.”
Pain rips through my reddening body, sweat drips down my back nestling uncomfortably in my knickers, and I jump, pathetically but I jump.
In front of me the gym instructor grins, unaware that I am moments away from death. As I ‘grapevine’ across the floor I wonder briefly what the cause of death will be if I expire in the studio. Can you blame the class or would it be more appropriate to blame two beautiful years of sitting on my arse drinking Pinot, eating delicious truffles.
I would blame the class.
The degree of my own unfitness is astounding. The day before, I sat on the bike in the gym and my cheeks squealed in protest. I cycled for one minute and began to ambitiously envision pedaling from London to Paris. I cycled for three minutes and began to think the Pru 100 mile race through London was probably more realistic. I cycled for five minutes and stopped thinking altogether as the sharp stabbing pain in my thighs made all rational thought impossible.
I made it to 10 minutes before I part climbed, part fell of the bike, making a strange sucking noise as my part of my lycra stayed glued to the seat with sweat.
I fared no better on the treadmill or that other instrument of torture; the cross trainer.
So I decided to stick to classes until my basic fitness increased from downright embarrassing to pathetically piss poor.
And here I am again, at Zumba, thrusting my hips in a way that would make he who helped create them think seriously about trying for a fourth child if he could get some of the gyration in the bedroom.
My samba step needs work, apparently, my cross step is awful and my tango is tacky. I nearly broke my ankle trying to pivot in a circle, whilst jumping towards the ceiling and screaming ‘hey’ in a motivated fashion.
Today I adopted the theory that if I was doing this fitness m’larkey, then I was really doing it.
My busom was secured by two bras, my thighs clad in lycra. I discarded the sweaty oversize t shirt in favour of a vest top and tried to ignore the flapping of my wings.
Then I hit Zumba with a passion. I was creative in thought and imagined I had necked a few vodka and red bulls before hitting the dance floor.
Which is how I ended up in this position, moments from meeting my maker, inches from death in a Zumba class. For thirty minutes I had done ok, clearly my lack of coordination meant I was jumping when others stepped and clapping when the rest were clicking, but I was sweating and leaping and twisting in a way Louise Spence would approve of.
I was officially exercising with enthusiasm.
But with 15 minutes to go I had seriously over done it and was knackered. I reached into my inner fitness guru and tried to access emergency stores of glucose. Turns out wine and chocolate don’t convert well to energy. Am gutted as it seems I spent two years growing fat not energy – why did no one tell me?
“HIGHER” called the instructor and I tried to make my feet leave the floor but I reckon the woman next to me had tied my feet down with lead when I was trying to work out my chachacha.
How I survived I don’t know, sweat blinded my sight and I flailed and stumbled through the last minutes of the class.
At one point I manage to squint through the water pouring of my forehead and see myself reflected in the mirror. Today I was looking like a black lycra python who had ingested a small child and had a tomato for a head with a tonne of wet look gel pasted on my barnet.
Not my best look.
I sobbed a little with relief when the stretching started.
I may have wept with happiness when I got back to the changing room.
I may have moaned in anger when I stood on the scales and saw that sweating and jumping and coming so close to death had only increased my body weight.
But at least I am still breathing – I have that to be thankful for.