Monday, January 28th 2008
It Kicked

The gym I usually go to is a women’s gym. It’s not uncommon to see women there with full poufy hair and makeup and dangly earrings, even in a yoga/pilates class. It is yoga/pilates, but it’s yoga/pilates in Texas. A great many women do not show up to work out and also sweat – something i can totally understand. I really love my gym. But it’s not really an atmosphere of intensity. It’s more an atmosphere for… princesses. Or, at least, a Princess Friendly atmosphere. If you’re not there to really get your exercise on – no one would ever fault you for it.

I occasionally take classes at other locations, if my Princess Friendly gym doesn’t offer them or a teacher i like is somewhere else. That is how I ended up at the Opposite-of-Princess-Friendly-Gym. Some trainers had been talking about the new kickboxing class there and how great it was. They told me I should get me some big pink poufy boxing gloves (pink, with some of the profit going to breast cancer research), and go try the class. I know nothing about kickboxing, but I thought it sounded like a class that might be done barefoot, and so that raised another crucial preparatory step. I carefully touched up my toenail polish.

I bought the big pink poufy gloves. I showed up. And right away, there was a distinctly different… atmosphere.

At my gym the instructors DO the class with you. They show you. They sweat. And they also offer to help, explain things, offer to turn on and off the ceiling fans and make you feel your general, princessy best. The room where classes meet is pretty.

This room – in the Hard Core Gym – smelled. Of sweat. A. Whole. Lot. Of. Other. People’s. Sweat.


It looked like a warehouse. Not pretty. The floor was red and black rubber-y stuff that sopped up and held all that sweat rather well. There were big padded poles for all of us to kick or hit. I attempted to befriend a couple of women who looked like they knew how to throw and receive a few punches. They said I’d love it, and then gave each other a look that said ‘no way.’ I walked away and found a very nice British lady who told me to do whatever she did and I’d be fine. She was kind, but I didn’t miss the same skeptical look.

The instructor’s duty for the next hour was to yell directions at us. She did it well. She was not nice, or willing to demonstrate anything at all, and there were no ceiling fans anyway for her to turn on, but she really did the yelling thing well. By the end of the hour we had done hundreds of push ups and sit ups and thrown hundreds and hundreds of jabs, hooks, and roundhouse kicks. We did hundreds of spinning jump squat things and lunges, and lots and lots of bouncing and jumping jacks.

The guy next to me helpfully pointed out my mistakes and told me how to correct them. I kicked and punched my big black padded pole thing and did not think of my toenail polish once. There wasn’t time. Did you know how much HARDER it is to do push ups on your big pink poufy boxing gloves? It’s like a whole new exercise when you do it that way. And no one did their push ups on their knees, like at my Princess Friendly gym, so I didn’t dare.

At the end of the hour, every single person in there looked like they were going to faint. We were all dripping large amounts of sweat onto the accommodating ugly red and black rubber floor. The guy next to me overheard the nice British lady telling me that she was surprised since no one makes it through their first class. To which I wanted to say, “Nice. to. Know. NOW.” But I couldn’t breathe, much less speak. The helpful guy said, “This is your first time? I thought you knew what you were doing.” Which made no sense at all considering he’d just spent an hour correcting my every move. Again, I couldnt’ speak so I didn’t. He said that most people who come for the first time don’t bring gloves, and don’t last twenty minutes.

Oh. There must be some secret code among these people that you never say that to the newbies beforehand.

I went to put on my shoes, noticed the deplorable state of my chipped toenails, and the two rough looking women I’d tried to chat up earlier came and sat down. Again with the whole “Oh my gosh, you’re still HERE?” line of questioning. Apparently they had figured me for a princess who couldn’t keep up. Must have been the pedicure.

I really want to go back. It was by far the very best workout ever. It’s been a couple days and I can almost move normally again. I should be ready.

I’d love to take a little air freshener with me and make a suggestion about ceiling fans, but I won’t. I’ll just be all Hard Core like them. Well, as hard core as you can be with pink, poufy gloves.

update: a personal, private thank you to LaLa’s friend MKA because I DID NOT KNOW.


8 Comments on “It Kicked”

January 28th, 2008
12:51 am
January 28th, 2008
3:25 am

i have to say that i am jealous you have a reason to use pink boxing gloves. :)

January 28th, 2008
1:20 pm

I think they would have had to call the paramedics for me after about 5 minutes, but I have to agree with Emily – I’m a little jealous of the pink poofy boxing gloves. Also, the fact that you psyched out all those people who took you for a prissy little princess…that totally rocks.

January 28th, 2008
2:59 pm

See Kelsey…you are pretty AND your tuff!

January 28th, 2008
3:49 pm

Now I know the name of the quality I like about women-only gyms: Princess Friendly. That will help a lot in my future gym research. I’d have been the wheezing, panting, out at 20 minutes girl at the Hard Core gym!. You go, Tough Stuff!

Tiff@Three Peas in a Pod
January 28th, 2008
8:36 pm

WOW! You must be in pretty good shape to last the whole class. That’s why I stick with my Billy Blanks workout at home so no one can see me and I can rest when i want without looking like a wimp! I’m getting there though!

January 28th, 2008
9:36 pm

Wow! I wish I had pink poofy gloves.

January 30th, 2008
5:11 pm

I need a princess friendly gym… and the motivation to get my not so princessy butt to it. Sigh.

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