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There are some amazing looking women in their 40s. How do they do it? I know that it is important to keep moving, which is ironic because it gets so much easier to hurt yourself as you age. If I bend down to carry the laundry basket upstairs, and I move the wrong way, I hear an unpleasant noise, and my back will be in spasm for the rest of the month. Same thing with exercise-it is important to keep doing it, but you have to be so careful not to hurt yourself. Such a double edge sword. But you really do feel better after a workout. Or just keep telling yourself that...
Richard and Jane–the ultimate 80s workout buddies
In the early eighties, I had the joy of working out with Richard Simmons. He came out with an exercise album (to be played on my ultra cool stereo, that had speakers on either side of my room–the ultimate in coolness) entitled Reach (I think that was the title... the record is still with the rest of my precious collection, safe and sound within the confines of my white Formica bedroom set from Rooms Plus, god rest its retail soul). Anyway, in those days, you couldn't see what he was doing (which is probably a good thing) but he would describe the exercises to you and you were able to follow along, more or less. I figured I must have been doing something right, or very wrong, because I was always sore the next day and I managed to lose some weight. The songs were both emotional and catchy. Wonder if you could Google them...
Then there was the Jane Fonda workout. This was to be played on your ultra modern video tape machine. I liked that workout mainly because I would put it in the machine, my mom would think chubby Banji was partaking in some sort of physical activity that didn't involve climbing up on a kitchen chair to see what baked goods were being hidden from her, (yes I did that, yes I am proud of my actions) and then, with my mom safe upstairs, I would take a nap on the couch. It was win-win.
Stepping Your Way to Insanity
Over the years I have been to many gyms and have taken many different classes. I have always prided myself on being the fat chick who could keep up with the teacher. But, I'm sorry to report, that all of that changed soon after turning 40. My friend and I went back to the scene of the aquasize fiasco to try a "Step II" class. There was no "Step I" class being offered and since I hadn't taken a step class since the 90s, I figured how bad could it be.
It was bad. I think the teacher was on speed or maybe she wasn't a real teacher, but some sort of avatar that someone was pressing fast forward on because she was doing things on and off the step, at the speed of light and I thought I was moving in slow motion, backwards, with my feet in thick mud. It was the twilight zone of step classes and I was laughing so hard I thought I would pee my pants (another potential hazard after 40... or having kids, pick your poison).
We left the class and went down to the front desk to ask why the class was so complicated and why there was no 'beginners version' and the lady said, "Oh, the classes here are very difficult." All I wanted to say was, "Excuse me, but I was am currently a member of a very exclusive gym, where the most elite, malnourished women in my county spend their days burning calories that they don't consume and I keep up with them just fine. Your gym sucks." But, I didn't. My friend and I did the treadmill and will have fond memories of the establishment that we will not be joining.