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Can You Feel It, Can You Feel It? Can You Feel It!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Rats, I can't sleep. Of course not sleeping is not being helped by the two cats that are lurking about in protest at the torrential rain, one of which has started to smell. And I'm bloody freezing too, or rather the bits of me that aren't under the duvet are freezing, my nose could probably drop off it's so cold.

If it weren't cold I could go downstairs, get my sketch book and continue my pumpkin designs; though it would give the two cats false hope that I'm about to feed them (they've had food already, furry gutsbuckets), and, since they're spoiled, they become plaintive if denied. Do you know what, I think they both smell. Urgh.

Enough of the fluff, let's get to the bones of this post.

It's day 14 of the Sarah Conners' diet and exercise regime - not that Sarah Connners dieted; she just did pull ups while she waited for Skynet to fire up the machines, and I can't do pull-ups, so ... well it's a bit of a misnomer, but it does make me feel kind of, y'know, "grr", and like I mean business.

The whole shebang's been going relatively well; exercise has been steady and the calorie counting is still novel enough to be interesting. I feel like I could do more, especially with regard to exercise DVDs at home, but I'm not slacking off, and thanks to additional walking (I do love to walk) I'm beating my targets.

Today I mistakenly went to an X-Biking class. I was trying to make up for missing Tuesday Kettlebells for the opera (I can haz culture, and I'd booked the tickets months ago, before kettlebells had come back into my life). X-Biking, is, for those who don't know, a class where you cycle indoors but pretend to go up hills and down bumpy roads by wobbling the handles and altering the bike's resistance. I'm sure it's great for some. I'm wouldn't try to denigrate any form of exercise - even singing and dancing in the kitchen, but...

If, like me, you thought the 'X' lent the bikes an air of superhero bad-assery, you, again just like me, would be wrong. What the 'X' in question actually stands for is 'X-tremely uncomfortable' or 'X-tremely invasive', or 'X-owch-owch-owch-owch-owch'! Safe to say, it's not my cup of tea.

The whole affair got off to a thoroughly bad start too. On arrival the crabby looking instructor took me to one side to ask about my basic level of fitness - a reasonable enquiry based on my tendency to jiggle in the slightest of breezes.
"Have you ridden an x-bike before?", I shook my head.
"Have you been spinning before?", again I said no. The instructor looked unimpressed, which was paradoxically pretty impressive given that she'd looked rather less than enthusiastic to begin with.
"I can ride I bike", I ventured.
"This", she paused "is nothing like a bike".
Handle-bars, pedals and a saddle.... you could have fooled me.

I'm being a touch uncharitable: the X-bike doesn't have wheels or breaks or gears, or, as I'd find out, much of a saddle. It is still known as a 'bike' though, and I'm pretty familiar with that kind of technology, even if I haven't used it in a year.

"Don't stand up, don't push yourself and don't try to keep up with these guys", she gestured at a group of women, who (hmm, how do I say this in the nicest possible way...) with one or two exceptions looked about as (un)fit as me. I'm sure they're amazing x-bikers (I didn't pay attention during class due to other pressing concerns), but on first glance not a one would make the next Olympic 'stationary cyclists' team.

Nor would you expect them to either! This class was being held in my local recreation centre, affectionately known as the 'rec' (wreck) by its Lycra swaddled denizens. A place that aspires to give everyone the feeling that they belong, whether they're fit or flabby. After all we all go there for the same reasons. The X-Biking instructor however seemed inclusive, and that was a little bit discouraging - it's always nice to be told to "have fun" or "do your best". Maybe she was having a bad morning. Maybe she knew what she was in for...

Did I let it put me off? No. I'd paid for the class and I wanted to burn some calories (I tend to picture them as space invader style aliens). At the most basic level the trainer was trying to be informative and impart some reasonable goals, albeit in a surly manner. I understand that. I'm no hero, I'm not fit. However, I am there to try my best and to do so safely, all without injuring myself.

I just wish someone had told the saddle that.

I'm not sure at what point that narrow monster declared war on my amply cushioned backside - probably around the twenty minute mark, as that's when everyone else in the class started to stand up ("don't try to stand up"). Perhaps the saddles are deliberately created to be jabby, thoroughly vicious blackguards in order to motivate you; perhaps the damn things were designed by sadists. I don't know. What I do know is that I can still feel it. Jabbing. With every move I make.

Quite frankly whole experience made me appreciate kettlebells - hard work though they are, and my fun class where you're given every motivation to aspire to mini goals and beat them, no matter what your fitness level.

Here's to turning bright red under that friendly auspice next Tuesday. May I never see even the barest shadow of another x-bike again.
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