So I decided that to give my cycling a boost this year I would jump into a power pump class once a week. For those who don’t know power pump is a class of an hour long, consisting of lifting weights focusing on the back, legs, chest, biceps triceps and core. The idea is low weight and high reps. Well as a cyclist I was definitely keen on the back, legs and core side of things but I wasn’t sure how my puny cycling arms would hold up on the rest. I mean massive legs and puny arms is the hallmark of a cyclist, just look at Chris Froome, it’s all he can do to keep his puny arms latched on to the handle bars without them being blown off from the breeze created from just cycling along. In fact if he let go I could imagine his whole body getting blown backwards from the waist with his arms dangerously close to getting sucked into his rear wheel. I digress.
And so Monday evening after work I rocked up to the class, my puny arms flapping behind me as I walked into the studio. It very quickly became apparent that I was the only guy, in a class of about 15-20 women. I felt awkward. The instructor bowled in irritatingly chirpy and the class started. The first 5 minutes was a cardio warm up. The music fills the room and we started by jogging on the spot. Fine, I can do that, more importantly I can do it in a way that preserves my masculinity. Manly men jog on the spot all the time. I’m a manly man, I love jogging on the spot. But then this very quickly turned into something that I can only describe as a secret masonic incomprehensible sequence of steps coordinated with a system of complicated arm movements:
Forward step, side step, cross your legs, flick your heel. Breathe.
Arm flap, side step, arm flap, forward step, skip, flap, jump. Breathe.
Forward step, skip, back step, jump, kick, back step, flap…and…
Forward step, back step, side step, skip, flap, jump, flap, flap, step, flap, step, flip flap flap flap…I was all over the shop. Everyone else seemed to be executing each movement to military perfection. I was flailing around furiously like a demented sea gull trapped in a some plastic six pack rings.
Eventually my coordination came at which point I was becoming aware of something else…something didn’t feel right. It was strange. It was…it was starting feel suspiciously like…dancing.
I suddenly felt self-conscious. I mean I hadn’t before because I was focused on trying to coordinate myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a dance as much as the next…errr…man? But Dancing has its place in my opinion, and it wasn’t right here…or right now.
‘Oh God, I hate this’ was all I could think to myself. Forward step, back step, side step, skip, flap, shimmy. In my head, any minute now Footloose was going to start playing and we were all going to head out into the street.
‘I bloody hate this’.
Shimmy, dip, flap, flap, flap, shimmy, dip.
Of course I know that none of the other women in the class were paying the blindest bit of notice. Attention would only have be drawn to me if I stopped in protest. And that’s the hideous paradox…I have to carry on dancing away just to blend in.
‘You’ve no idea I hated that’ I said to Rachel on the way home afterwards. ‘ I really hated it’.
‘Imagine a thing you hate really bad, then multiply that about a million times, and you’re not even close to how much I hated that.’
This is all to Rachel’s amusement of course.
I’ve been going each week. And each week I hate it.
You’ve no idea how much I hate it.