She Wants to Move

'Banksy Hiphop' by Duncan Cumming, on Flickr I’ve been trying to lose some excess weight since… um, I guess, ever. I’ve always been on the full-figured side for people in my age group, so I’m no stranger to calisthenics and aerobics and basically anything that gets me to move my “humps” (or “jelly,” if you prefer the Destiny’s Child term). I used to work out using home videos, particularly the MTV “The Grind” workout series. The “Grind” workouts featured dance moves that were fun to execute even as I all too easily broke into a sweat.

When Marielle and I received our gym memberships at Gold’s Gym last July, I started using the treadmill and elliptical trainer machines for my cardio workouts. I didn’t get to bust a move much in the ten or so months that followed; the Gold’s branch we went to did have some aerobics and dance classes, but they were always scheduled during times we had to be elsewhere.

Our parents are enrolled with Fitness First, so when a promo came up, they grabbed Passport memberships for Marielle and me beginning last May. Since then, we’ve been exploring the group exercise opportunities that the Fitness First gyms have. I love the Les Mills BodyJam workouts they’re offering because the choreography is fresh (changed every three months), and after one or two tries on the dance floor I pick it up easily. I also attend a hiphop class where the choreography is more technical and changes weekly, but the challenge is what gets me out of bed on Monday mornings.

Let me tell you a little bit about my instructors, though I won’t name names. Let’s talk about my first BodyJam instructor. He’s this guy who’d show a new move twice or thrice, and then kick off into a full-speed rendition of it. This is great for people who’d already been through the choreography once before (say, a previous class), but I incidentally had started going to his class three weeks before new choreography was to be released. Thankfully I was able to keep up, but he liked to show off more complex moves on stage.

When BodyJam’s new choreography was released last week, I took a BodyJam class where he was the substitute instructor. Amazingly, he was focused on the workout at hand; there was no grandstanding this time, except at one point in the workout he came down off the stage and danced with me. Heh. Maybe I was feelin’ it too much? Ü He’s going to be away for two months. Guess who his sub is? My hiphop class instructor. This guy can really move, but he just can’t help himself and tends to yell his instructions when he’s really pumped up. I guess it’s his way of energizing himself. After all, it’s pretty hard to stay motivated for a 6:30am class, and he had to do that twice in a row this week for the hiphop and BodyJam classes.

If there’s one thing I don’t want to do in a dance class, it’s to draw attention to myself. When that happens, thoughts start coming into my head, like “Am I trying too hard? Do I look like I’m from the Pretty Fly (for a White Guy) video?” I suppose these instructors take note of people who look like they’re enjoying themselves, though. Two weeks ago I was attending a BodyJam class and the female instructor set up a dance-off, and she put me on the front lines. After a bout of stage fright where I messed up mightily, I really got into the groove and left class with a big smile on my face. Or maybe that was the endorphins. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!

One thing I can say: this isn’t me working out in my living room with the shades drawn anymore. With my videos the instructors couldn’t see me and I didn’t have people shaking booty alongside me. In dance class, I get feedback and encouragement from the instructors, and when I mess up a move there are other people who can see. Thankfully they’re usually also messing up and don’t notice.

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