Friday, April 14, 2006

lying broken on the floor

Friday bottomed out at 12:35pm.

I had decided to attend the lunchtime group exercise class "Body Sculpt and Abs". I've been ill and not in peak exercise condition, but that's not going to get in the way when there are abs involved.

Anyone who reads this blog will realize that I went with fantasies of fellow exercisers showcasing perfectly sculpted abs framed by spandex. Sha-mayn later laughingly corrected me, "Those people don't go to abs classes! Group classes are for motivation!"

The instructor led us in exercises, starting with biceps, then back, legs, shoulders. "This is easy," I thought at first. 15 minutes later, not so easy. Another 15 minutes later, quite hard.

"I'll get a bottle of water," I said to myself.

By the time I walked across the gym to the water supply, I realized I needed to sit down, or would be forced to by my body going on strike. I dropped into one of the red velvety chairs, and rested my head against its cushioned back. I sat, my chest growing tighter and the desire to keep my head lower steadily increasing.

2 minutes later, my primary goal in life was to make my head vertically level with my heart. As it's not acceptable to suddenly lie down in the middle of the gym, I began the trek to the locker room. It was only 30 steps away, but made difficult by the bright white light coating my vision.

I finally navigated my way in, and was greeted by a woman inside. I said nothing in return, and still don't know who it was, since facial recognition abilities were long gone at that stage.

I stumbled past the changing area and into one of the shower stalls. As soon as I snapped the door closed, I collapsed onto the floor, lying face up on the chilly tile. Then followed wretching, 3 spasms over half a minute where I could feel bile rising up my throat. "Good thing I picked the shower," I thought. "Easy to clean."

It brought me back to elementary school, when I didn't know how to pace myself while exercising (a skill I only learned at age 20). All those sunny P.E. hours when I would be following instructions, running around the track or around the bases or around the field, when my throat would start to burn and an unbalanced pressure would tighten in my chest.

Staring at the grey shower wall at 12:35pm, I remember my childhood self and how fervently I hated exercise back then. There's a unique feeling of simultaneous strength and loneliness which comes from lying on the ground and fighting a battle within your own skin. Who knew I would go from that to one day running 10k races for enjoyment?

Just like all the previous times, suddenly I crested the tide, and the pressure began to recede. I managed not to vomit. My head cleared, and I went back to the exercise class to finish out calf exercises and the promised ab crunches.

Perhaps the class sculpts your abs not through strength training but by inducing vomiting and inability to keep down food. That should be their tagline:

"Want better abs? Find bulimia too difficult? Come to 'Body Sculpt and Abs' every Friday at noon!"

1 comment:

Adam Lasnik said...

My goodness, Niniane, I'm glad I went to the Friday noon abs class last week *before* reading this entry! :).

Luckily, I didn't have quite the nightmare time you experienced. But I do have not-so-fond memories of nearly passing out after crew (rowing) practice back in college and also puking after masters swim sessions. Yuck!