5 Things About Fitness Classes That Need to be Said.


Sunday morning is my favorite time of the week. Peaceful, quiet, and free of expectations. So it’s with reluctance, super reluctance, that I crash my zen, and drag myself to the fluorescent lit, metal clanking, vibe of my “you get what you pay for” $39.99 per month fitness club. After all, I am on a mission of reinvention, and that means putting in the time, even on Sundays.Just minutes into my 60 Minute Body and Abs class, I’m ranting. Not out loud. I’m not a lunatic. But in my head. And I feel the need to share. So here goes.

5 Things About Fitness Classes That Need to Be Said.


5- “You’re a fitness instructor- not Britney Spears.”

Dear Instructor,

Lose the attitude, lose the sound check, in fact, lose the headset mic strapped to your head. You’re not a NASCAR driver connected to the pit, nor are you working the drive thru at McDonald’s.  You look ridiculous. The room is not that big.

As a matter of fact, here’s a novel idea. How about if you trade that thing in for an iPhone- you know, like the rest of the civilized world? The one with multiple alerts.  So maybe you can set it and actually be on time for the class like the rest of us. Strolling in late, sipping Starbucks, messing with your music, unlocking weight racks, adjusting your outfit and chit chatting with the front row? All wrong. Very wrong. Do it on your own time, princess.

4- Again, “you’re a fitness instructor.” Would it kill you to shape up a bit?

So your job is to instruct, lead and inspire, right? Now normally, I’d be  the last one to cast stones as it relates to fitness and rightly so. But this has got to be said. No body shaming, (ever!) but I can hear you panting in that mic of yours. You’ve gotta walk the walk, girl!  


Let’s just say I decide out of the blue that  I want to be ….hmmm, let’s see…..an interior designer! And I invest two weeks and get the requisite training and certificate that I am sure you have in your field. The expectation would be that my own personal space would be, well…interior designed, right?

You see where I am going with this?  I’m not the only one in this room doing the math. You do these classes daily, maybe more. And you’re out of breath. We see you taking a break as  you stroll the room. And I’m not one for body shaming (ever) but as a fitness instructor you may want to mind the excess junk in the trunk. What hope  does that leave us mere mortals who eek out a couple classes per week.

3- I was told there would be no choreography.

I have been done with overly choreographed workouts since 10 minutes after Jane Fonda first felt the burn in her striped leg warmers. And she’s about a hundred now. When it comes to dance, or any other rhythm based activity, I‘ve got no game and I know this.  None, nada. I have stumbled my way through decades of step touch, V steps, mambos and fast feet shuffles. And I am done. Finito.  I do like a little cardio, and frankly, who doesn’t  love an opportunity for some well monitored aggression?  So I was all in for kickboxing.

Day 1. I was feeling it, mastering the jab, the cross hook, not to mention a mean uppercut. And I was really digging the sidekicks. Feeling all martial artsy. Ya Baby- this is my jam.

And then there it was. ”OK, now let’s put it all together.”  Just like that, a workout becomes a routine. “Now let’s add a grapevine. Grapevine right!” What? Damn you grapevine- you, the most insidious fitness move of all. Fast footwork designed to trip us up, make us look silly, to separate the ‘can do’s” from the “hell no’s.”  

Picture if you will,  the dancing hippo in Fantasia. (Her name is Hyacinth- Yes, I get the irony. ‘Hi ya Cynth!’)



I’m a tiny bit outraged. I was told there would be no choreography. There is absolutely no grapevine in kickboxing! When is the last time you saw that in the ring? Announcer: “Yes, it appears that Alexi is now grapevining right to elude his opponent! And it appears to be working. Moussi is confused.”

It’s a dance move, people! Don’t take my word for it. Ask Wikipedia. Because we know Wikipedia to be 100% reliable. So I’m taking a stand. Literally. No grapevine for me. I proudly stand my ground and front kick/ uppercut my way through the dance portion of class. And I will not be dance shamed.

2- Annoying people you’ll meet in class.

The OverAchiever.  You know her. She’s in the front row. She brings her own mat that likely has yoga looking icons or namaste all over it, of course,  matches her water bottle. Class has not even started, yet her sheer chirpiness is already pissing me off. As we wait for “Britney Spears” to get her sh*t together, OverAchiever (OA) is marching in place, then pops off a couple burpees- because she can. The class starts out with a standard march in place. OA ad libs with a jaunty little hop between each step. Yes, we see you.

Guessing she was the kid at the pool desperately yelling, “Look at me, look at me. “ Well into the third set of squats, “Britney” has lost count (surprise) and shouts out – ‘Where are we, guys?’  Uber-helpful OA jumps in ”seven!” and resumes the countdown loud and clear. Teacher’s pet. This happens 3 times. My thighs are burning, knees wobbling,  and I know the next squat may finish me. Looking around, I feel pretty certain I am not alone. Now, do ya think it would  have killed OA to shave a couple reps off the count?

And I decide right then I am taking OA down.At the first opportunity, which comes quickly. “How many more guys?” shouts OA through her cheesy headset. I shout it out–loud and proud. Just like that. “Two!” And the whole class happily chimes in with the count. “One!” And that’s final set. Take that OA. This is my class now.

1- It’s Not You, It’s Me.

Choreographic challenges aside, I’ve stuck with my cardio 4 times per week. And guess what? There is a little extra pep in my step.  My jeans did slide on more easily yesterday. The groceries were a bit easier to carry  this morning and my weight has dropped 14 pounds in the past few months since when I was at my all time high. So maybe I will endure for a bit longer, grapevine and all.  Besides, lost in my rant, who has time to watch the clock? And boom! One hour cardio down.


What’s the lesson in this for me? Doing it my way is just fine. But doing it is everything. Perseverance pays.  Always.No, I can’t keep up with the dance steps. Who care’s? The blessing of aging is that is that I honestly don’t care if I’m marching to my own beat, just as long as I can keep marching.

Oh, and my all time highest weight my curious friends ask?  That, I will take to my grave.  Rosebud.

Xox, Cynthia

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