Rummaging through a drawer two days ago I came across some old exercise DVD's. Among them was a Pilates video. Having a somewhat nebulous New Year's goal of "increasing my fitness" I decided to pop it in and give it a shot.
Now this wasn't my first exposure to Pilates. Back in the States I attended a class at our gym once. I was the only guy there. It was encouraging that the ladies present weren't all sculpted vixens--some actually were a bit pudgy, and since I was in pretty good shape I thought I could easily hold my own.
The exercises weren't that extreme looking, but I quickly found myself sweating, huffing & puffing, and totally unable to even perform some of the moves. Yet here were all the women, even the chubby ones, following along with the instructor with what appeared to be no effort whatsoever. Exasperated, my alpha male instincts kicked in (Damn it, if these ladies can do it---) and I tried even harder to keep up. I emerged from the class exhausted and the next day my body hurt so much I felt like I had the flu.
Against this backdrop I inserted the DVD and got started. This time I was in the comfort of my own home with no one watching. If I couldn't do everything, no big deal. I'd just do what I could and see how it goes.
Denise Austin, her little group of female students and I started out with a nice warmup. We did a few easy exercises to get started. Then as the intensity increased I noticed my form wasn't quite as pristine as Denise's. In truth I looked more like a fish flopping around on the ground after being caught.
We have very little humidity in Cuenca so excessive perspiration is rarely a problem. Yet here I was pouring sweat, beads rolling down my forehead. In deja vu fashion I once again found myself completely incapable of keeping up. But I was at home, right? It didn't matter, right?
Wrong. Not only were all those ladies effortlessly whipping through the routine, they were smiling while they were doing it! I could keep up, I told myself. I would keep up!
They glided from exercise to exercise. I---didn't glide. They moved on to the next method of torture while I struggled to even get in position. After 20 minutes that seemed like an eternity I lay on the floor questioning what evil spirit had temporarily possessed me.
The next morning when I got out of bed my body felt not so much sore as in a state of shock. My middle torso asked with a pathetic whimper, "What in the world did you do to me?" Today I'm better, but the area where the front of my legs join my hips doesn't seem to work quite right.
So after all that I'm done with Pilates, you might surmise. Oh, hell no. Perversely I'm thinking that something that makes me hurt that badly somehow must be good for me if I stick with it. I'm putting that DVD back in and going for it.
I can do it--I will do it! And this time I'll try to remember to smile.