Oh, the horrors I have witnessed today, in three minute increments. I inadvertently signed up for a workout at energyXchange that literally left me dumbfounded. Cheating was not an option. This one had no shortcuts – believe me, I looked. The class was called Cardio Gravity Strength, and it was loosely based upon all the recent sessions that I had been sampling, only with no rest for the weary.
There were two instructors, one for each half. It all started in the ‘training room’ where I, along with half a dozen other quasi-willing participants, were subjected to a bunch of seemingly innocuous exercises that were reasonably familiar, which lulled us into a false sense of security, believing that the entire workout just might be doable. Wrong!
We spent three minutes of personal hell executing each of the following activities while being strongly ‘encouraged’ by the enforcer with the stopwatch: bicycling, skipping, rowing, squatting with a kettle bell, running on a treadmill, climbing stairs, passing a ‘Swiss’ ball between our hands and feet while lying on our backs, and pulling ourselves up on an inclined gravity bench. Cue the nausea.
Did I mention that this gym believes in a barefoot policy? So not only were we running for what felt like our lives, but we were doing so without the luxury of cushy insoles, which is really one of the few benefits of going to a gym that a girl can appreciate: the comfy footwear. I mean, the fact that the exercises were each only a few minutes in length led us to believe that, much like a spy during the cold war, we could withstand any kind of torture for that brief of a period.
So, as we were relishing in our short-lived victory of merely surviving the first half, like lambs to the slaughter, we were herded into the larger workout room, where we faced a new enemy: the gravity machine. Each of us was instructed on how to adjust the incline and various attachments of the apparatus for every exercise that we performed on it, whose effort was compounded by our extreme perspiration at this point, which kept us struggling just to stay on the bench, let alone try a sliding plank on it.
In fact, the complexity of the machine proved to be a nice distraction, as did the mirrors, which confirmed just how un-Olivia Newton-John circa Physical album we appeared. We battled our way through a series of leg presses, planks, sit ups, leg lifts and arm pulls using our own body weight against us. When it was all over, we helped to disassemble the machines so that the evidence could be rolled away out of sight, obviously in case any random inspections of this voluntary Guantanamo Bay were held by the Human Rights Commission.
I managed to extract myself from the premises under my own force, with my muscles screaming at me all the way home in disbelief for what I had just made them endure. Yep, this one is going to leave a mark, no two ways about it. Hindsight being 20/20, I reminded myself that I did choose to go there under my own volition, with the primary purpose of getting my butt kicked, and, I have to say, mission accomplished. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate it. But maybe that’s just the Stockholm Syndrome talking.