I was having lunch with some friends recently when they got into a discussion over whether Zumba or spinning was a better workout. Honestly, they might as well have been speaking Mandarin Chinese, no more than I knew about either subject. At one point I had my mouth open to say "Don’t you get awfully dizzy?” – picturing in my mind a bunch of women spinning themselves wildly around and around in tight little circles (I won’t even mention my first mental image, except to confess that it involved actual spinning wheels) but then one of the girls said something about a stationary bike, which of course sounded a lot more like a legitimate form of exercise, although I don’t get why it isn’t called "pedaling”.
I only bring this up because I’m staring New Year’s Day right in the face, which means it’s time for my annual resolution to get more exercise, even though I’ve never had one bit of luck with that goal in the past. That’s because deep down inside I’m a sedentary person – a polite term for someone who’s incredibly lazy. Oh sure, I’ve tried to change my ways. As we speak, there’s an elliptical machine not three feet away from my desk. I bought it in 2004 and that baby must have a good four or five miles on it by now. What’s more, I happen to own a whole host of celebrity workout video tapes (yeah, you heard me – I said tapes, as in VHS) but to tell you the truth, there’s only been one celebrity whose workout philosophy I’ve ever fully been able to embrace, and that was Phillis Diller, who once said, "My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit.”
And that, in a nutshell, is the story of my effort to be more physically fit. But… (and it’s a very big but, no matter how you spell it) something tells me things are going to be different this year. Maybe, just maybe the reason I’ve failed so dismally in the past is because I’ve been trying to go solo. My logic for this, I’ll admit, is based on pure vanity. I mean, it’s bad enough to watch my own reflection in the TV screen as I struggle to do "crunches”. The thought of subjecting perfect strangers – not to mention people I actually know – to such a revolting spectacle is almost more than I can bear. And yet, as I listened to my friends at lunch discussing their workout classes, I heard an enthusiasm and a passion in their voices that I myself have never experienced with exercise (Dove Bars maybe; but never exercise.) It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps there’s something to be said for this group stuff – you know, social interaction, accountability, mutual encouragement – that sort of garbage. So in the spirit of "misery loves company” I have decided to join some kind of workout class. Now all I have to do is find one suited to my individual needs.
The best method for locating such a class, for me anyway, is by browsing the Internet (see the Phillis Diller quote above.) I started by Googling "Zumba”, which brought up a bunch of YouTube videos, but I only lasted about 15 seconds before hitting my mute button. This tells me perhaps I’m not cut out for Zumba. If they’d switch that loud raucous music to something a bit more soothing like the Carpenters or Henry Mancini, I might be on board with it. Otherwise – nix.
Next I searched for a name I at least recognized, and was excited to find a great Jazzercise class that fit my schedule perfectly but alas it was in Minneapolis. (I live in Miami, which would make getting to class on time problematic). I then looked for the workout guru whose mantra is "You grew it; you lift it!” – a message directed straight at me if ever there was one – but I couldn’t find any classes doing her stuff. Kick Boxing is out because I lack the aggression for it, and as for Belly Dancing, well, let’s just say nobody wants to see my midriff standing still, much less jiggling.
Yes there’s Pilates. Yes there’s Yoga. No, I don’t want to pay thirty-five bucks a pop for a half-hour session. So basically after wasting a whole morning on this, I’m right back where I started. Talk about spinning your wheels. Wait a minute! Wheels? Spinning? Do you suppose that’s what a "Spinning class” is all about? Golly Moses! If that’s the case, forget it!