Just Trying to be One of the Ladies

So I’ve re-joined the gym. For a few years I was the “I’ll-stay-in-shape-by-doing a-marathon,” which meant running intensely for three months of the year and eating and drinking my face off the other 9 months.

After the marathon I’d buy a few groupons to a crossfit gym or a kettlebell class and use about 30% of the groupon…exactly the way they hope we will function.

This year, I just thought – rather than waste most of my money, I’d join the neighborhood cheap-ass gym nearest my apartment.

And actually? – it works. The lighting isn’t sexy, the towel service isn’t fluffy, but it’s fine.

So I’ve been taking classes because I just want people to tell me what to do. I’m no longer 25 and hoping to be an underwear model (which was always a pipe dream. I don’t have the wherewithal to live on celery sticks and Emergen-C over ice). Now, I just wanna maintain some leanness. So I’m all about having someone else boss me around.

For the past few months (even before New Year’s…this ain’t some fly-by-night new year resolution that’s gonna be abandoned) I’ve been boxing, spinning and “total body conditioning”.

You know those – the ones filled with women…so men think they’re too tough for them?

Yeah, those.

Every. Single. Time. I’ve walked in arrogantly thinking I was too brutish for the class. And Every. Single. Time. I’ve had my ass (and shoulders and abs and glutes and quads and biceps) handed to me on a dirty yoga mat.

Every single one of my dozen “this’ll be cake since it’s really for ladies” classes has gone something like this:

*** I walk in, assess the room. ***

Hm. Four middle-aged women. All older than me. They must be so intimidated, me who’s gonna come in and ruin their mojo cuz I’m gonna be so much stronger than they are. Wait. Are they older than me?

I glance in the mirror.

Never mind. I’m older. They’re still impressed I’m here. Cuz dudes don’t take these classes. Wait. That’s the teacher? What is she? Like 95? This is not sexy Equinox with a toned 27-yo model body. It’s gonna be jazzercise from the 80’s. Ugh. Wasting my time.

*** Warm up w step-touches, a few grapevines, and step-touches in a circle.***

What is this – a nursing home exercise class? This is embarrassing. The men lifting actual weights outside this studio must be judging me getting my Jane Fonda on. I’m sure they’re not thinking about their own insecurities and checking their body image issues in the mirrors.

***Lunges with weights.***

Lunges with bicep curls? Ok. At least we’re doing two things at once. Should I pick up my medium weights or my heavy weights? Well, these ladies are using mini-weights. I don’t want to seem too arrogant. I’ll do the medium weights.

*** And very quickly… ***

Wow. This is getting hard. At least we’re almost done.

***We weren’t almost done. We were on the first of 147 sets***

Ohmigod. I’m the only one wincing. This instructor has great form. Good for her. Wait, I just gave her a “good for her” sympathy thumbs-up, but she doesn’t need sympathy. This must be the big push at the beginning, though. And my legs are always the quickest to tire. Must be because I’ve got strong ones. We must be almost done.

*** “And another few sets, girls! Oh! And gentleman!” ***

Thanks for the shout out. I need to step it up. Stop looking tired. Wait. Another set? Ohmigod. When will this fresh hell be over? Let’s get to the arm workout. Then it’ll be easy for me. Keep…your…form…come on. Almost done. Come on…

*** We finish the lunges. My legs are quivering. ***

Oh, thank God.

Meanwhile, I’m totally judging the teacher’s choice of 90’s music boy band music…which I secretly love and know all the lyrics. Well, those leg sets were tough, but I’m sure the rest of the class will be easy and a waste of my time.

*** 798 shoulder presses combined with squats and standing-side leg-lifts ***

Come ON, Me! Keep your shoulders up. Wait, is this the Backstreet Boys? Or N’Sync? Wait. Do I like this song? Or do I LOVE it? It’d be a hell of a lot better if I could put these weights down. I’ve skipped, like, half this set. I’m skipping steps. Wait. Are they watching me? Are all these ladies who are doing their 478th leg lift looking at me? Stop being so narcissistic. They aren’t watching. They don’t care. Stop being such a man, dude – thinking they’re all watching; thinking they care that a man invaded the class. No one’s watching me, now…I hope. Because I’ve just collapsed and I’m skipping half these leg holds.

*** Push-ups. ***

Oh, good. Now I’ll regain my dignity.

*** Six push-ups, later…***

Ohmigod. Is this some sick kind of voodoo magic this unicorn-of-an-instructor is pulling? I can usually do 30 push-ups with no problem. But I’m collapsing at seven. I bet the women are all doing knee-push-ups.

*** I look around. They’re not doing knee push-ups. ***

I think I’m already done. Surely they’re all done. Wait, – one-legged push-ups? What’s going ON? And I have to do it again on the other side?

*** OK, ladies – and gentleman- now more arms. You might want to pick up a heavier weight. ***

I audibly laugh. She winks at me.

Oh, yeah. I bet she’s already like, “I knew you’d be dying, by now, kiddo…you and your arrogant, yet fragile, ego. I’ve seen it all, before.”

*** Time for abs ***

By now, I’ve reoriented my goal…just make it through half of these sets. Abs always suck in classes like this.

Yep, they sucked. I did about 30% of the abs. The instructor has done every single move all while coaching us through her Britney Spears microphone.

I need to re-tool my New Year goals: to merely keep up with the badass women in my “only-for-ladies” class.



  1. Ouch. Been there. I once waltzed into a class where the instructor was clearly pregnant- yes, pregnant- and so I thought: “how hard could this possibly be?” I don’t remember the rest of it , except for spinning out of control and nearly knocking / falling into others a few times.

    Liked by 1 person

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