I’m into weird exercise.
Oh, stop it. I’m merely saying I get bored with conventional workouts at the gym, so I’m constantly on the lookout for interesting things to do to keep in shape. This all started years ago, when a friend hooked me up with her equestrian team and I did some show jumping and endurance riding. Unfortunately, while earning a pile of street cred for gettin’ my National Velvet on, I lost my butt financially, as everything about riding is expensive – from horses to hats to halters – and you need a Robin Leach lifestyle to support your equine habit.
My next adventure was Rock Climbing. Yes, a major adrenalin rush, but ultimately rather lonely, as I have surprisingly few friends interested in scrambling up 40-foot walls and falling back down them. I moved on to Bouldering, a more social form of rock climbing at lower heights, until I fractured my finger jockeying for cool points with a passel of monkey-jointed teenagers I could have easily given birth to. Belly Dancing? ::sigh:: Epic fail. When the instructor you are paying money to teach you looks at you in a pitying way and says, “Wow, you really don’t have any sense of rhythm, do you?” you know it’s time to hang up your hip scarf.
A spin on the "silks"
Most successful, so far, have been classes in Aerial Silks, also known as Aerial Tissue or Ribbons (think Pink’s 2010 performance at the Grammys) which is basically hanging mid-air from two strips of fabric doing flips and spins and acrobatics. Really, exceptionally fabulous, both because it’s a great workout and, most importantly; it’s the coolest freaking thing you’ve ever done in your entire life. My dreams of running off and joining the circus were forever crushed though, when I sprained my shoulder last April loading glass racks into the van for a wedding and could no longer support my full body weight on one arm. Farewell, Cirque du Soleil and Vegas. What happened there would have stayed there. Now, I make no promises.
Iceskating at Piedmont Park
Just this past winter, I learned to Ice Skate, which probably doesn’t seem exotic to many of you, but I grew up in Mobile, Alabama and I live in Atlanta, Georgia so ice isn’t exactly thick on the ground in any kind of conveniently recreational way.
Ice Skating is a ton of fun and it was fairly easy to nail the basics since it’s a lot like Rollerblading (yet another one of my fitness fads in the 90s). As a matter of fact, David and I went ice skating on our first date, a lovely piece of trivia you might jot down for your personal notes.
The negatives of ice skating are:
a) it’s seasonal (there are some year-round rinks in the ‘burbs, but nothing close enough to be practical)
b) the pop-up Holiday rink near me is attached to a bar. While handy for liquid courage and hydration, it adds a lot of dangerously drunk dudes to the mix, slamming around a very small rink. This reminds me I don’t have health insurance and significantly reduces the light-hearted diversion.
At last we come to my latest fitness foray, Krav Maga, which I stumbled on in an internet search for martial arts classes in my neighborhood.
Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art made famous by the Mossad, and is foremost about self defence. Krav teaches you to disable and beat the living
Jesus Moses out of an attacker, so you can flee to safety. This translates to a lot of punching and kicking, something I’ve never done before but that I find myself embracing wholeheartedly. I’ve been taking classes for about a week now, and I can see myself morphing into a cross between la Femme Nikita and Laura Croft.
David’s been amazingly supportive about the whole thing, even coming to my first class for moral suppport. I think he’s finally learning to take my wild tangents in stride, as evidenced by this recent text message.
Me: Hey baby. Finishing up early today. Yay! What r u doing 2night?
David: Washing car, doing some push ups. Reading.
Me: I’m going to punch stuff and yell, “Fire!!!!”
David: That’s nice.
Me: U really want me right now, don’t u?
David: I’ve never found u more desirable.
Me: R u being sarcastic?
The downside of Krav Maga is that you pretty much get the crap beaten out of you. I’ve never actually been in a fight so I’ve been a little shocked by the level of bruising and swelling of knuckles and knees. I’m working on a theory that cocktails before and after class could prevent inflamation by icing me down from the inside out, but David doesn’t think there’s any science to support this.
In the meantime, I’m just taking a lot of Advil and I bought some super cool boxing hand wraps, which are like spendy, bright red ace bandages to wrap around my hands to protect my wrists and knuckles. They can now join my collection of expensive weird excercise gear, which is packed into my hall closet gathering dust.
L - R, Clockwise: Ice Skates, Rock Climbing Shoes and Harness, Hunter/Jumper Helmet, Boxing (Krav Maga) Hand Wraps, Belly Dance Hip Scarf