Thursday, June 30, 2005

Strip for me

Last night was my regular appointment with Cardio Strip. It is quickly becoming one of my favourite workouts (not least because I have to wear a stupid stack splint on my finger for SIX! WEEKS! in an effort to persuade my poor snipped tendon that it should straighten the hell out and stop being deformed. Yes, the plastic surgeon said I was deformed. Anyhow, said deformity and its treatment mean kickboxing=not so fun when you can’t make a fist with your left hand. Here’s a tip for you: if you’re going to smoke and snack, for chrissakes, use a good knife to slice the sourdough bread, lest you end up DEFORMED AND IN A SPLINT FOR SIX WEEKS DURING THE SUMMER. Ahem. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programme.)

Where was I? Ah yes, I love Cardio Strip. One, it does not require me to make a fist and hit a bag really hard. Two, the music totally rocks (High School Confidential, You Can Leave Your Hat On, Sexual Healing and, of course, Brick House).Third, the class is taught by Mean and Crazy, who comes off more Fun and Sexy in this particular 45-minute period.

But most importantly, Cardio Strip is a class in which having tits and hips and an ass? All assets. The class is just about always full…which at my gym means 20 or 25 women, and usually one guy, gay, also an instructor at the gym. Besides Jamie, the class is full of women with different kinds of bodies. Tall and gangly, short and trim, skinny, round, middle-aged, young. Doesn’t matter. What matters is a willingness to shake it. And a lack of propriety helps, too. It’s an incredibly playful class, with plenty of admonitions to “cover it up, ladies, you’ll never make any money if you show them everything at once.” Yes, at first you feel completely ridiculous covering your tank-top clad boobs with your hands, but after a bit it’s hilariously fun. You stick your butt out, you swing your hips, you wave your towel in the air like you just don’t care, and along the way you get one hell of a lower body workout. Plus, if you’re shy, it’s probably a great, safe way to feel at home in your body in public. Being not that shy, I couldn’t say for sure. Maybe it would be excruciating. But I guess if you thought that touching your own spandex-wrapped ass in front of other people (who are also, it must be noted, touching their own gym-clothed butts) would be tantamount to casually sitting on a restaurant patio sipping a latte in the all-together, Cardio Strip probably isn’t for you. And that is truly too bad, because oh my god the good time you are missing.

It’s not a brutal workout the way kickboxing is. You’re going to sweat, but you’re probably never going to feel like barfing. And have I mentioned that the people who do look a little silly in this particular class are the skinny atheletic ones? Because they kind of don’t really have any hips to swing. That said, it’s probably still best to avoid eye contact with yourself in the mirror for the first few classes because…well, it can make you feel absurd. But once you get into the swing of things, so to speak, it’s kind of awesome to check yourself out and realise, hot damn, I look sexy.

Honestly, I usually think that when I see myself in the mirror at home, but almost never do I think that when I see myself in the mirror at the gym.

And you know, we spend our lives in these bodies, maybe hating them, maybe ignoring them, certainly mistreating them—repeatedly—to the point that we have serious weight to lose. And it can feel like such a battle sometimes, you against your body; it’s such a struggle to figure it out, how many calories a day, how much exercise, what is the magic combination that will unlock the weightloss vault for me today. What a relief to spend 45 minutes a week revelling in the simple joy of some good old fashioned bump and grind. I should probably feel like a bad feminist for loving this class, but the thing of it is, any class that makes that many women caress their own buttocks with a huge smile on their face—not for the money they’re making doing it, not for the benefit of any audience, just for the sheer joy of being in their body and doing something good for it—well, frankly, if that’s wrong, sister, I don’t want to be right.


Blogger Wendy said...

OH MY GOD this sounds fantastic - sign me up! sounds like such a great time! and you're right, what an excellent excercise in not just getting comfortable, but getting your groove on, with your body. I'll have to see if I can check this out somewhere!

10:57 PM  
Anonymous dietgirl said...

:) fan-bloody-tastic... how cool to just spend some time enjoying being in your skin! you are so right on the money with this one :)

10:24 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

I love that you're doing this! Oh my, it's sounds AWESOME. I so wish I could do that. YAY YOU!

10:58 PM  
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6:57 PM  

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