The resignation time required for leaving my gym was greater than that for leaving my work place. So it was that my first step of commitment to making changes in my work life , was to give notice of cancellation of membership to this extravagance that I have become accustomed to. Considering that I have consistently achieved two or three visits a week since I determinedly made a remarkable new year’s resolution in 2006 to get fit, this represents a significant chunk of the life that I am set to change.
The need to cancel was as much psychological as financial. If sacrifices in spending are to be made then it is only right that I should be the one to experience the pain first. Furthermore, gym membership represents a cost saving which is instantly measurable, significant and clearly within my control. This now adds another challenge into the mix of the year ahead – how to retain fitness without the convenience of zumba, Body ‘this’ and ‘that’ classes and my more recent addition of spin and abs classes, all of these beckoning me from less than five minutes walk away?
On reflection tonight, perhaps it is just as well that my gym days are coming to an end. Attracted by the unknown quantities of a newly scheduled zumba class with Stewart, I abandoned our house which is now bathroom free and thickly laden with sticky consequential dust. I was ready to take on whatever challenge Stewart might throw at me.
My first zumba class several years ago, consisted of a few moderately challenging, regularly repeated moves, undertaken in a carefree manner with a hint of sensuality and a lot of fun. It featured many mambo steps to upbeat and delightfully uplifting latin music guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. But time stands still for no-one. Today I found myself reflecting for once, on the changing face of zumba, as opposed to my more usual preoccupation which is the changing face of information technology. I mourned the loss of the African drum beat and the solid accompanying graceless moves. I realised that I was performing some kind of variation to the infamous Village People YMCA dance ritual, to whatever that genre of music is that I feel a compulsion to switch off once it alerts me to the fact that it is Radio One playing in the car.
Then there is the matter of my attention span. Concentrating enough to avoid disaster by collision, is a significant challenge in fitness classes nowadays. Actually, it always was. After thirty minutes, the ability to remember which step comes next and to remember it in time to undertake it, quite suddenly disappears. This is followed rapidly by a feeling of helplessness, exhaustion and lack of enthusiasm for the rest of the class. The opportunity for learning is over and the opportunity for exercise is severely disrupted. I am reminded of how it felt in school when I was just about keeping up with the pace of the lesson and on the brink of fully understanding the matter in question, when everything would fall away and no amount of further explanation would do anything to assist progression. I feel for the generation of young people who may find themselves exhausted by brain gym before their lessons even start.
With all this in mind, and a year ahead of learning, catching up with what has been going on in the rest of the world beyond my little corner in the workplace and exploring new territory, I am going to need all the attention span, brain capacity and enthusiasm I can muster. I intend to train hard. The world will be my gym and in it I will walk, dance and learn new routines with renewed enthusiasm, and I will go where the music puts a smile on my face.
So thank you Stewart, for my lesson tonight. You taught me well and I wish you well. I enjoyed the first half hour really. Only sometimes, it is just right to move on.
Post Script: I was only sorry that my evening ended with a cold shower. If hot water doesn’t even come with membership nowadays, just what have I got to lose?