Anneka Harry’s got a new gym membership and she is afraid to use it. She reports back on a week of sweating in front of strangers, Deep Heat and possibly damaged sex organs.
Firstly, let it be known I am raging that I can no longer do ‘the crab’. I crabbed my way through school with my summer dress above my head quite happily and effortlessly. So when Barry (also seething that my instructor is called Barry and not something more along the ‘Krishna Wolf Breeze’ lines) asked me to get into the crab I smugly went to launch myself off the mat.
My body apparently found my will hilarious. I lay on the mat for the rest of the exercise, until Barry’s elephant print pant-adorned crotch was dangling above my head and his hands were suddenly under my back. He didn’t even appreciate my joke about group sex parties.
Yoga, it seems, is quite hands-on and quite serious. I would also advise that if you haven’t tried it and may be considering, check you are not lying next to a mouth breather. It really throws you off your ‘practice’. The best bit about the session was the five minutes of ‘meditation and mindfulness’ at the end – when I could finally think about my emails.
Tuesday (aqua aerobics)
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is for old ladies and the cardio-shy. I arrived to a pool full of all sorts of Popeye’d muscley-ness; I was late because I forgot my flip-flops and had to manoeuvre my way from changing room to swimming pool in a treacherous game of floor tile verruca roulette. You just never know where those invisible little bastards might be lurking.
Aqua aerobics is a tricksy and scheming slow burner that will have you walking like a zombie that’s Immac-ed all over and can’t move about or sit down until it’s dry. I wondered how it could be real exercise if you’re not getting sweat patches in obscene places and feeling a bit murder-y.
“Exercising in the dark lulls you into a false sense of security: just as I felt the undeniable need to pull out my wedgie, the instructor put the lights on.”
Dare I say it, splashing about to 90s trance tracks and messing around with floats was fun. I made friends with a lady who told me she had a double Snickers before she got in the pool and had a stitch (new BFF for life) and hummed Chariots of Fire to myself as we were made to run from one end of the pool to the other.
Then the class was over and we had to GET OUT. That’s when your body lets you know that aqua aerobics is actually (and quite frankly) barbaric.
A class with flashing lights, loud music and a disco ball? I thought I’d struck exercise gold. After absolutely smashing my way through Sia’s Chandelier, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, Darude’s Sandstorm and Michael Jackson’s Beat It, I was halfway off the bike, patting myself on the back and looking for the exit.
My legs hurt and I had given it so much I hardly had the energy to turn my dial back down. That’s when my instructor announced that we had completed our WARM-UP.
So it turns out that spin is relentless. I’m also almost certain the instructor was out to get to me. Exercising in the dark lulls you into a false sense of security: just as I felt the undeniable need to pull out my wedgie, she put the lights on.
There was another incident involving me singing very loudly and the music being abruptly turned off. Screaming “Makin’ mad love on the heath / Tearin’ off tights with ma teeth!” midway through Faithless’ Insomnia would have been cool underneath the uber-decibel speakers, but not in silence. So look out for that.
Similarly, if you are fond of your sexual organs and/or your backside, take something to cushion the seat. I had to use three mirrors to get a good look at the bruising.
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. The amount of unknown pent-up aggression inside you may reduce you to tears. Take Kleenex and Deep Heat. Just keep the latter away from your leaky, bloodshot eyes.
“Aqua aerobics is a tricksy and scheming slow burner that will have you walking like a zombie that’s Immac-ed all over and can’t move about or sit down until it’s dry.”
Shaking weird maraca sticks and prancing about to Columbian hip-hop with a woman called Linda (who sports a belly chain and was full of stories about her ex-boyfriend and her cat) should have been dreamy. It turns out that there’s more to these routines than prancing about and shaking your weird maraca sticks – and the engrossing stories about how her ex-boyfriend was in the process of trying to take ownership of said cat were not helping me grasp the choreography.
The ‘basic Samba’ moves were really not basic and when Jennifer Lopez’s Get on the Floor dropped and I appeared to be the only one in the class who didn’t know the routine, I looked less like J-Lo and more like Pitbull.
How can the Merengue Six Step have about 40 steps to it? How can the Reggaeton Stomp feel like the biggest success in my head and look like a melted trifle in the mirror? Be wary of the fact they call this a fitness ‘party.’ There’s not a mojito in sight.
Saturday (abs blast)
If you must try this class, just blast them once and never return. Fake a new identity and change your contact details so they stop emailing you about it. If they track you down, emigrate.
Sunday (red wine, gin and roast potatoes)
They don’t call it the Holy day for nothing.4011 Views
Anneka Harry does comedy and hustling for a living. She smells like thrift shops and ambition. Stalk her here http://www.vivienneclore.com/artiste/anneka-harry/ and @Annekaharry.