I hate working out. I hate sweating. I hate the gym. So when my boss approached me with an idea for an article that involved reviewing classes offered at the Recreation and Wellness Center, I really, really did not want to do it. Alas, I felt the need to educate my peers about workout classes was greater than my disgust for physical fitness. Plus we made Aaron eat a dozen hot wings for an Edge article, so I figured the least I could do was sweat for an hour.
As I glanced at the schedule of group classes, I crossed off those listed as “for intermediate and advanced levels.” I also crossed off the choices that I didn’t understand. (QiGong? What is that?) Ultimately, I decided to take a barre/Pilates class, figuring I could finally fulfill my childhood fantasy of being a ballerina. Heck, maybe I might even get to wear a tutu.
There was no way I was going to go it alone, so I enlisted the help of my roommate, Other Mary, whom I affectionately label a “health nut.” Mary was ecstatic that she now had a workout buddy. I was reluctant to notify her that I only asked her to come with me because I was afraid I would get lost in the rec center. Mary, being her proactive and eager self, “pregamed” the workout by concocting a spinach and avocado salad and a healthy smoothie. I prepped for the workout by eating a sleeve of Keebler Elves cookies and chugging a bottle of Cherry Coke.
Mary practically dragged me to the rec center promptly at 5:30 p.m., and we met our class instructor Tammi. Tammi flashed us a smile sweeter than the cookies I just inhaled. Little did I know that Tammi would cause me unspeakable pain within the next 15 minutes.
As the other pupils funneled into the workout room, I noticed a huge difference between their appearances and mine. While they all opted for cute tank tops and patterned leggings, I chose to don bulky shorts and a gray T-shirt.
While I mentally slapped myself across the face for wearing a color that emphasizes sweat stains, Tammi began the class. Equipped with a yoga mat, plastic ball and small weights – sadly, no tutu – Tammi led us through a series of light stretches. Cool, no big deal. Then, Tammi instructed us to pick up the small weights and hold them at a 90 degree angle and “press, press, press!” From looking around the room, I could tell I was the only person struggling with this movement. When I thought my arms were going to fall out of their sockets, Tammi told us to stop and stand on our mats. Thank the lord.
We suddenly switched from arm exercises to squats. Luckily, I wasn’t the only student who thought this was brutal. I think we all wanted kill the unnecessarily perky Tammi by the end of the last set. Next, we were told to move up against the wall. Finally, we were going to do some ballet-inspired steps. Tammi told us to place the blue plastic ball between our legs and go through a series of toe-pointing and squatting motions. To distract myself from the burning, and because I am an OT nerd, I focused on which muscles I was using. “Quadriceps Femoris, Sartirious, Tensor Fascia Latae.” And they said I wouldn’t benefit from those anatomy classes!
Tammi led us through a few movements of basic Pilates which had me feeling like a human pretzel. Right when I thought I couldn’t take another Pitbull/Ke$ha remix blaring from the sound system, the class was over. We rolled up the mats, imbibed water from our respective Gannon bottles, and went on our merry way.
While we walked back to the locker rooms, Mary nudged me with her elbow and asked me how I felt. As much as it pains me to admit it, I did feel better after exercising. Additionally, I liked the group setting because, as opposed to suffering through a workout individually, we were all suffering as a group. Another great aspect of the group classes is the cost – free. In fact, all classes are free with a Gannon ID.
Afterward, Mary suggested we hit the sauna for a celebratory sweat session. I agreed because 1) saunas remind me of fancy spas, and 2) saunas smell like toasted marshmallows, which I am always happy to ingest. As Mary babbled on about future workout opportunities, I cooked in the sauna with a smug smile of accomplishment on my face. Maybe I’m not a “health nut,” but I could see myself going to the rec center more than once a semester.
Recommended: Go to a class. They’re free, good for you and only an hour long. Also, bring a friend. Not for encouragement purposes, but so you have someone to document that you actually went to the rec center. Click here for a complete schedule of fitness classes.
Not recommended: Wearing gray, chugging carbonated beverages prior to physical exertion, Pitbull/Ke$ha remixes