I did my fit test yesterday. Generally that means standing in front of the mirror and waving my arms to see if I had flabby under arms. I did, it looked like pizza dough being swung about. So I joined the gym again after a 3 year hiatus. I’m surprised because I thought lifting a baby and cleaning most of the day would mean I was still keeping generally fit, but clearly not! Ah.. so I am back at the gym.. I think I have been a member half of my life and I have seen fitness fads come and go. I found myself sitting on my step waiting for my BodyPump class to start pondering how many classes I have done in my life and how rich Les Mills must be.
I come from the home of Body pump and the group fitness class. New Zealand has had these classes since the 90’s. Of course when I started at Canterbury University Gym in the 90’s they were called ‘Aerobic classes’. Most people didn’t care what they looked like, there were certainly no mirrors to look at your form in.. and no one was taking selfies of their hot gym bod (at exactly the right angle) to post on ‘Fit moms of Instagram’. I remember my Step instructor from 20 years ago who relished complicated routines (newcomers were screwed) and the feeling of satisfaction when you didn’t mess up a large combo. My slightly overweight, gay, Placebo loving instructor was revered and his classes were always full to the brim. The Les Mills fitness class had swept NZ and was slowly going global.
10 years later and many pump, spin and step classes later I found myself living in Melbourne. My gym was ‘Fitness first’, or Finance First, as my friend liked to call it as he always donated and never went. Richmond Fitness first was everything I hated. There were beef cakes owning the weights area, fake women with full make up and personal trainers soliciting for business. However, the classes were good and the fitness instructors had taken on a ‘Demi god’ status. You had to arrive 30 minutes early to get a place and during a particularly hard section of the class, random people would yell ‘wahoo’ just to get them through the umpteenth squat. (cringing as I write this!)
15 years after my first class, I did Body Spin classes in Sydney at the Sheridan gym. A corporate membership meant that we all went with our colleagues to the gym at lunch. It wasn’t as gym-like as Fitness first but the routines were the same and having a no-brainer on your lunch break was always a nice distraction.
20 years later, I am sitting on my step in a small village in the Netherlands still doing Les Mills Body Pump classes and loving the fact that even though it is in a different language I still know the routine from years ago. I have one of those super skinny instructors who has heaped the weights on her bar. I marvel at the way she doesn’t keel over and fold up under the weight of them. I look at my 2.5 kilos and think I’m safe. 4 days later and after 100 squats with those 2.5 kilo weights, I can only just walk normally again.
I do another ‘mirror test’ just to motivate myself to go back. It gets harder and harder to motivate myself to go to the gym but with the long dark days of winter ahead I need an indoor fitness option. Who knows, maybe I’ll still be doing les Mills classes in years to come!