It is freezing cold in London today. The sky is sometimes a beautiful blue, the sun shines weakly and the tawny trees are shivering so much their leaves are falling off. My words freeze like stalactites as they leave my mouth and my fingers and toes feel numb. But at least my leaves haven’t fallen off.
I braved the freezing weather to go to my Pilates class last night. I figured it was worth the walk and the frostbite on my ears because I love my Pilates classes. However, when I got to the gym, settled myself and my mat in my usual spot near the front of the class, I discovered that our lovely Pilates instructor couldn’t make it to the class. So we had a cover girl. Not that kind of cover girl, but a young woman who was sent to cover the class. Small problem – she was not a Pilates instructor. So she said she would give us a core strength workout…
Expecting a Pilates class and being offered a core strength workout? We all kind of looked at each other, bemused, and decided, unhappily, to get on with it. I thought I might as well get warm, if nothing else, to brave the frozen walk back to my flat. But I was not happy. It was like ordering a double thick chocolate milkshake and being given a glass of lukewarm tap water. Oh the disappointment.
So our Russian taskmaster instructor proceeded to torture us with work her way through floor exercises that could make you weep. We would groan our way through, like, a hundred leg raises, followed by two thousand leg crunches and then a gazillion pulses of the same thing. She would then say, “Okay, let’s repeat all of that. Set yourselves up. And we’ll start in one, two, three, four …”
A guy near me started to giggle because he was straining his oats so much he nearly burst. Giggling was the next best thing. Our unmoved instructor said, “What’s wrong? I can’t feel anything.” I guess that happens when they remove your heart and replace it with a metronome.
We moved from leg exercises to ab exercises and then she made us do the plank*. The first time we did it, we had to move our feet outwards, then inwards, then outwards, then inwards, then do the same with our hands. And then we had to hold the plank for an hour. She then said we’d repeat all of that and, I swear, she made us hold the plank for a month. It was November by the time she said, “relax”, and the clocks had gone back and everything.
So I muttered into the frozen air all the way home, and my muscles are reminding me today that I had a bootcamp session instead of Pilates. And it’s nearly Christmas. mutter mutter mutter
Sunshine, stiff-muscled and frilly-lipped, signing off for today!
*The plank: for those who don’t know, you start by lying flat on your stomach bent elbows under your chest. Lift yourself up by propping yourself up on toes and forearms. Stay like that until the summer. Oh, and pull in your abs and keep your back flat.