So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my fitness journey; a journey I’ve been reassured will have to go on forever and ever into infinity and beyond if I wish to remain ‘fit’. Which I think should be a firm lesson to those debating purchasing Lycra, and those little socks that don’t show over your supermarket trainers, to not fucking bother. I mean if you never start; you’ll not feel coerced and guilt-mongered into continuing. You see that’s what I’m up against. I attend the same four classes every week. At those classes I see relatively the same faces. Pale and tired at 6:30am, then purple and swollen by 7am. I’d like to say I’m not judging them but that would be a massive, shitty lie. I am judging and noting. I note new leggings or water bottle, deeper lunges and increased weights. I judge speed, form, the curve of the buttock and cinch of the waist. I see the journey on their faces too.
I see the determination that we set our alarm for the ungodly hour of 5:45am, we rolled out of bed and into chilly fabrics with little of no comfort. I know we’ve debated cleaning our teeth then didn’t bother because we don’t want to wake the kids. We’ve also debated whether or not to brush our hair or dab concealer on the more unpleasant looking spots that have reared their ugly head’s overnight (I don’t bother). We’ve crept around the house like ‘Wee Willie Winkie’ in a cast-iron sports bra and breathable Polypropelene. Then we’ve headed out, at certain times of the year, into the cold and dark; had to piss around, scraping the windscreen of the car with an old CD case, wondering if we’ll regain the feeling in our fingers in time to pick up a 5kg plate. Then we’ll drive with zero visibility because we haven’t the time to wait for the condensation on the inside of the car to clear. Hoping against hope the ratio of exercise and fitness to accidents in difficult driving conditions is weighing in our favour.
Finally arriving with ten minutes to spare.
Here genuine salutations and pleasantries are exchanged as only women can; “Crickey, it’s cold.” “Ooh I struggled with the alarm this morning.” Or “Shit I’m fucked; I literally can’t be arsed today…” (that’s me, lowering the tone.) Lining up sensibly we await the arrival of ‘her’. ‘Her’ that pushes us (ok, motivates), that dreams up evil, painful movements holding heavy shit that must be repeated over and over. ‘Her’ that stands before us, barely breaking into a sweat, like a Sargent major in a hoodie driving us forward (ok, encouraging) and generally forcing us to be uncomfortable. ‘Her’ whose levels of induration and strength I’m not jealous of in the slightest. Who’s fancy leggings I’ve not yet found; even after a thorough rummage in TK Maxx and ‘her’ that barks phrases like “Start your day right!” or “You’ve earned your breakfast ladies!”
Strangely one of these ‘hers’ I gave birth to, and that somehow makes it even more difficult, for I feel further coerced into impressing and astounding her with my fitness prowess. I find myself squatting lower, lunging further and reaching for a higher kg if she’s watching me. I also note the tiny raise of the eyebrow if she see’s me slacking or slowing down or daring to be out-of-breath. In short it’s not fun. But on the other hand, it kind of is fun.
Like a constant battle to be won. A daily (almost) reminder of our grit and determination; and that’s just to get out of bed. Our fortitude and strength of character to leave the home, get in the car, drive, get out, sweat our wobbly arses off, then get back and let’s fucking face it ‘START ALL OVER AGAIN’.
In most cases there are children who still need coercing out of bed, washing, breakfasting and dressing. We’ll squeeze in a short shower and complete transformation into whatever the hell we’re expected to be that day. Then collate book bags, PE bags, lunch bags and water bottles. Re-brush hair, scrabble round for clips, sign slips and stuff yet more money into all brown envelopes. Then gather our brood at the door in readiness for the school run and then, yes, only then our actual job.
With beautiful timing and the kids are now ‘handed over’ we’ll switch on Radio 4 and drive to work or wherever we’re needed next. We’ll take a deep breath (the first one in seemingly 2 hours) and the rear-view mirror will reflect a really fucking smug smile! A smile dripping in super-smugness, a smile we’ve earned, in sweat, will power and resolve. And for that short period of time; whilst it’s quiet enough to think clearly, ENJOY and rejoice in how utterly fabulous we are for we’re winning; one work-out at a time!
Incidentally for those faces I see most morning’s, I call Thursday’s class ‘Shit 30’! “Ssh; don’t tell ‘her’.”