So I finally returned my husband’s holey sweatpants and
invested in a pair of yoga pants. To
celebrate, I signed up for a spin class.
I arrived with my daughter this evening, late as is our custom.
We were woefully unprepared: We’d forgotten hand towels, of
course. And water bottles. One of the students grinned at us, taking in
our trendy yoga pants. “You might want
to invest in some thick bike shorts.”
I smiled. I didn’t
need bike shorts. What was a spin class other than riding a
stationary bike just a little bit faster than normal?
The instructor, a petite thing with maybe one percent body
fat, helped us adjust our bikes and showed us the emergency brake. I looked at V. “Really,” I scoffed after the instructor dimmed
the lights and started the music blasting.
“What would we need an emergency brake for on a stationary bike?” We giggled.
“Start cycling,” the instructor said. She was awfully perky. “Now arm circles.”
I looked at V. “Are
you kidding me?” I hissed.
“One arm up. Drop the
other to the side.”
V’s eyes widened.
After a torturous five minute warm up (Who knew you could do
crunches on a stationary bike?), the real workout began.
“Tighten the tension.”
I reached down and pretended to move the dial.
“A full turn.” The
instructor said, eyeballing me. “Now
stand for eight.”
“Now sit for eight.”
“Use your core to
pull up. Your core!”
Now, I know that somewhere deep within my body there’s supposed
to be a set of muscles—this core all the fit people talk about—that I’m
supposed to be using. But somehow, after
three children and thirty thousand cookies, I seem to have misplaced mine.
I sat. I looked at V. I looked at the clock. This was hell.
We went through the stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight
routine for about ten minutes, before the instructor came up with a new means
of torture: Sprinting.
My trendy yoga pants slipped down on my hips. I yanked them up. I wondered where I could find my core.
V’s foot slipped out of its cage. Round and round the pedal went, smacking her
in the back of the foot with every turn: thunkety
thunkety thunk. “This isn’t fun,” she
“Hit the emergency brake!”
I yelled, pointing to the red dial.
“The brake!” (V’s used to this kind of yelling from me: I’m
teaching her how to drive.)
I slowed my bike, ostensibly to aid my daughter in distress,
but the truth was this: I couldn’t go on.
“Now stand and sprint!”
I sat. I didn’t
sprint. I tried to slow my
“Do what you can,” the instructor said, too loudly.
The rest of the class glanced over at me.
I stood. I
I tightened tension.
I loosened tension. I stood. I sat.
And every time I sat, I became painfully aware of how essential bike
shorts are to this sort of thing.
“Now rest and hydrate.”
The instructor looked at V and me.
“Now you understand the importance of the water bottle.”
I reeled my tongue back in and tried to smile through
Finally, mercifully, the class ended.
We stretched and cleaned off our bikes and headed home.
“I feel like C3PO,” V said, as she headed in the door.
My toenails hurt. My
teeth hurt. Even my hair follicles
hurt. The rest of me is just blissfully numb.
So, if I can manage to make it up the stairs, I’m headed off to
Perhaps a cookie first.
And, hey, if any of you find my missing core?
Could you let me know before next week's class?
Labels: Creative non-fiction, Daughters, exercise