Letters to Holly

Monday, May 16

Body Combative

I have friends from high school who are now certified Body Combat instructors. They needed a weight-loss program, found this program at the same time, became addicted, and now have part-time jobs teaching it. They live about as far apart in the contiguous US as people can, and they get together to attend BC events and camps. They post about it on Facebook from time to time. I saw enough to be curious, and I certainly saw the results. Rebecca, for instance, lost 100 at least pounds. Looks great.

I knew the local fitness club sometimes offered the class during open houses, and Your Sister told me about the latest round of such classes this weekend. We arranged our time around the sidekick, and I went Saturday morning. I thought "open-house classes" meant "introductory classes." This is not the case, and now I am wounded.

There were three instructors in the BC regalia: camouflage and hands wrapped like boxers. I had Googled Boy Combat the day before, and I knew to expect bouncing and fight moves. Not Tae Bo. No, this is faster and harder. I expected that. Everything else was a surprise.

Such as:

1. No stretching beforehand. Maybe fitness classes expect you to stretch before you walk in the door. I have not taken any kind of organized exercise class since Brevard College. That's 20 years ago. I didn't know the class time would not include this. And I need to point out that the club folk were very cavalier about a brand-new face walking in. I approached this as a prospective relationship, a first date maybe. I fully intended to sign up for a class if things went well (Spoiler: Things did not go well). But when I walked in, I had to approach people and ask what we newbies should do. The people behind the counter seemed disinterested, and when I saw the sign-up sheet for newbies, I understood why: I was the third name. That means they either had only three new people this fine morn, or people had wandered by without talking to the counter folk. There was a third possibility that occurred to me later: The "open house" was designed for existing customers to branch out to new classes, and the public were a secondary concern. But I'm a prospective customer. I thought I'd be, you know, aggressively welcomed.

2. Hit the ground running. After a few walk-throughs of punch styles, we were off. This was when I realized that we would not be working our way up to the regular class pace. We would start fast and only get faster. It seems like I was the only new guy there, and let's talk about that noun choice.

3. Don't be the only guy in a class of women. I think I threw off the usual class vibe. Not only was I a stranger, I was male. It's possible they thought I was arrogant about taking this class the first time among all the ladies.

4. Don't exercise up front. The back section of the classroom was nabbed quickly, and I was left working the open space facing the elevated stage and the instructors. That prevented me from watching and matching the effort of my classmates and left me to try to mirror the teachers. That is where the pain was born. Even though they would say things like "kick lower, this is Level One," they would soon say things like "Come on! Harder!" So, mixed messages. I was working on a varsity level from the get-go.

I had to stop a few time when my thigh locked up, and I suspect my fighting stance was too wide. I could also feel my ankles, probably from all the bounces (or "pulses"). Today, my arches are sore, and I blame that on my shoes. I think I would have been fine had I done that work barefoot or in other shoes. These are running shoes, not cross trainers.

Eventually, I had to pull over and stretch, and another class member came over to ask if I was light-headed. I explained it was only my legs, and I immediately 'fessed up. "I wasn't prepared." My own expectations did me in, not their program. I went out to get water and was met by someone with a cup of fruit juice. Word had apparently gotten around, and there was concern that my heart was the problem. Nope, I said, lungs and heart were fine. I just burned out my legs. I noticed we were 40 minutes into the class, and I decided to tough it out. I could shove through 20 more minutes, I thought.

But as we did a move mimicking a kneelift to an attacker's head, I came down bad and rolled my ankle. That was enough. I know that when I get so tired that I get sloppy, that's when I'll get hurt. I grabbed my towel and keys and walked out, thanking again the lady who checked on me. The instructors didn't say a word to me. I don't know if they had any reason or obligation to, but I walked out of the fitness club with no one saying anything to me. Again, I feel like they were underselling the experience, and I'm left thinking I needn't go back.

I want to get in decent shape, and that class might be the way to do it. But if I have to get in shape to take the class, by the time I get into shape, I won't need to take the class.

+  +  +

I finally have a flyer at Malaprop's. I took the flyer long ago earmarked for that store during a lunch break. I was told it will be posted on their board Thursday. That's not as much exposure as I'd prefer, but they do get much more foot traffic than any other place hosting my flyer. True Blue had taken down my coupon flyer, and I gave them a regular one to put up. Apparently they had forgotten about the similar one I gave them weeks back. Anyway, I was assured they'd put up the one from today, and they seemed happy to post Fanaticon material.

I scouted the museum to check parking and loading access. I wanted to see inside, but they are closed Mondays. I instead went by the bank to get my money to make change at the show.

The only thing I would do between now and the show is cut out more blank sketch cards. I assembled my displays. I customized my portfolio spine, I printed my Monster Comic page for those who buy a minicomic, and I bought the vertical holders for the eMMA comics. That's all there is to do.

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Your Sis and I are gonna get in shape. We're adjusting out dinner and dessert portions and committing to moving round more. We got rained out of a Saturday walkabout, but she did bike while I was destroying my legs at Body Combat.

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The boy won't sleep through the night, even as we pack him full of more food and get him moving more. This situation is not making for happy parents.

Picture of the Day
Watch the hands, mister.

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