Saturday morning found me at the gym, which was a reasonable place for it to look.
Weekends are good for real workouts, a long cardio session on Saturday and one of my Workout Of Death routines on Sunday, as opposed to the quick weekday sessions I manage to squeak in when I’m not “writing,” which sounds more impressive than “sleeping in”.
This past Saturday, I was there for an instructional clinic for a suspension training workout called TRX.
You might be wondering what TRX stands for. So did I and that is where my tale begins.
Earlier in the week, I’d checked out the company website and didn’t see the answer there, so as the instructor reviewed her notes, asked if there were any questions before we started, and — assuming there would be none – began her introductory comments, I asked what TRX stands for.
She glanced at her notes and, finding nothing there, looked at me with an expression that conveys a different three-letter acronym.
You know the one. It starts with W, followed by T and. . .you know.
I know what that one stands for.
I resolved to work harder to compensate for the slow leak in my cognitive / verbal filter — one of the many glamorous side effects of being a woman of a certain age — because she kind of looked like she could kick my gluteus maximus and I had just given her good reason to do so. Besides, I already stood out like an Amazon Worrier in this class of exactly three students.
If you’re like my lovely daughter, you’re thinking what she said: ”Only three students! A small class! That’s good!”
I just adore her cheerful, optimistic, “yay, you!” nature, which is why I felt bad snapping back, “No. NOT good.”
It’s ok that I was snappish. Today is her third day of law school. No doubt by Day 3 she’s learned that the law can be a snappish profession. It was like homework.
The other two students in the class were about 5’1.5″ and 5’2″, respectively.
The first, weighing in at maybe 75 pounds, appeared to be one of the many super fit ladies I suspect live in the yoga room, emerging occasionally for half a piece of arugula and a bottle of Perrier. Think Natalie Portman in Black Swan.
The other was one of the gym’s Pilates instructors, now in training to become a TRX instructor. Think Mary Lou Retton in her prime.
I mean this in the most complimentary way. Together and individually they were the vision of femininity, elegance, grace, strength, and beauty.
And then there was me.
The middle-aged tall girl with a 5’8″ wing span, trying with little success to recover from an injury that’s kept me from doing anything too taxing for about a year and a half and tragically losing the battle with metabolism that is yet another glamorous side effect of being a woman of a certain age.
What was I doing there?
That’s a question that would come to me repeatedly over the coming 90 minutes, beginning just about the time the instructor got to the part in her notes explaining that TRX was developed by Navy SEALs who wanted to keep fit but had to travel lightly and leave little footprint.
Engage filter. Do not giggle, thought my woman-of-a-certain-age brain.
Why was I stifling a giggle?
Because she said “footprint,” instantly focusing my attention on her webbed-foot shoes, the kind that only a few days before I had read about on this fine blog.
There I’d boastfully commented that, although I’d seen them on tourists around town, they had not yet appeared in my gym.
And now here they were.
Honestly, sometimes it’s like the Universe wants me to giggle, maybe just to see a rock-solid fitness instructor kick my gluteus maximus.
Did she say “Navy SEALs”?
What am I doing here??
Her presentation brings us to the part of her notes that explains that Navy SEAL Randy Something was one of the developers who fashioned this equipment from parachutes and rubber rafts or. . . something.
I don’t remember the details because at this point it occurs to me that maybe the R in TRX is for Randy. Maybe T and X were Randy’s SEAL buddies: Tom . . . or Trevor . . . or Tex. . . or Tiffany . . . and . . . Xavier.
My mind wanders to how many Navy SEALs might be named Xavier (engage filter – do not giggle!). I wonder if his parents envisioned a Navy SEAL future for him when they gave him the name Xavier and I decide to add them to my Imaginary Dinner Party guest list to ask them personally.
I think I’ll seat Xavier’s dad next to Dorothy Parker and his mom next to Charles Dickens and although one obvious place for Xavier himself might be next to Jesus, given Xavier’s military background it might be a more interesting choice to put him next to the Dalai Lama.
Who knows? Maybe he and Randy and Tiffany were in some remote, undisclosed location in Tibet when they came up with this TRX idea.
Eventually my mind fades back to reality, where I have probably missed something important.
She’s trying to find a spot for me where my arms and legs won’t fling into someone else or the wall. I end up next to Mary Lou because, let’s face it, when she becomes an instructor she’s going to have people like me in her class and she might as well get used to it.
If you’re like me, you dread attending professional development training because of that one person who asks, “What’s a mouse?” or, “How do you save a file?” and you’re going to be the one who has to show them. Take that and put it in straps suspended from an overhead bar and that was Mary Lou’s particular nightmare on this Saturday morning.
We’re moving along and I try to forget about Tiffany and Randy and Xavier, the three of them holed up in some undisclosed location in Tibet and one of them — probably Randy (you know how he is) – thinking, “Hey, I know. Let’s make a Jolly Jumper out of this parachute and raft,” because it’s just now occurring to me . . . as the instructor gets to the part about how you can buy this equipment and hang it in a doorway in your own home . . .that TRX equipment reminds me of the Jolly Jumpers that were popular ways to keep babies busy long ago.
That’s when Natalie or Mary Lou asks how much the home equipment costs and the instructor says something like $250, which is apparently way more than my cognitive filter can fathom, so I helpfully suggest, “Or you could just get an old parachute and rubber raft and make your own.”
Again, the instructor looks at me, her compassionate patience struggling against that other-acronym look and I want to say, “I know! Can you believe I just said that out loud? What is the matter with me?” Only now the filter has engaged.
I kind of want to kick my own gluteus maximus.
I’m not enjoying being a woman of a certain age. It’s like I don’t know myself anymore.
She continues describing the equipment and informs us that the handle things are not called stirrups because that’s an unpleasant association for women. I suspect this is Tiffany’s contribution to TRX and I thank her for it.
They’re called . . . something else, but now that the instructor has said “stirrups,” that’s all I can think of.
Things are starting to progress and we arrive at some sideways contortion where I decide that it’s in Mary Lou’s best interest if I move over to the side where the only thing in harm’s way is the wall.
Soon I hit my stride and I’m rowing and planking and doing some sort of triceps thing that is so much harder but so much better than triceps free weights. I know this because my triceps are pleading for mercy.
When the instructor asks what we think, I cheerfully and optimistically offer, “It’s kind of fun!” ( my daughter came by her ”yay, you” nature honestly) and Mary Lou joins in, “. . . in a sick and painful way,” because, let’s face it, she can say anything now that I’ve set the bar.
I’m allowed to sit out of mountain climbing because
- I want to be careful with my lower back; and
- I am not Drew Brees; and
- Mary Lou and Natalie are way too good at this.
In fact, that’s what the instructor tells me: “No, really Hipster. You’re doing great. They shouldn’t be able to do those things in an introductory class.”
I think she’s feeling guilty about the other-acronym look. But I’m fine with it. I’ll take my “yay, you’s” any way I can get them.
Just when I’m feeling like this is pretty cool and I may start coming to class regularly, she says, “Ok, now that you know the moves, let’s put on some music and do the workout.”
That wasn’t the workout?
What am I doing here?
What part of Navy SEAL did I not pick up on as a clue to exit the premises about an hour ago?
All of this was a half-bottle of Advil ago and I’m feeling better now. It was indeed fun, in an intense and excruciating way, and I’m looking forward to telling my CrossFit-loving friends about it.
The instructor knew what she was doing and was incredibly patient with me. She even high-fived me and said I was a rock star, but she did it in that way that you do to the last group of kids to cross the finish line in the potato sack races at field day.
Still, I’ll take my “rock stars” any way I can get them and I do think I’m going to try it again, even if it means finding an old parachute and rubber raft and hanging out — literally – at home.