When I walk in there’s a burly-looking guy with tatoos up both well-muscled arms patiently sitting at the front by the mirrors, and my heart sinks, because a gleeful inner voice dripping with Schadenfreude whispers boot camp. I hold out a little hope that he might be just another person come to join the workout who simply looks like he really, really knows what he’s doing, but no, there’s his fitness headset.
Welcome to my first ever belly, butt and thigh workout, OR legs, bums and tums in British English OR Bauch, Beine, Rücken, Po (BBRP) in German, because we just have to one-up everyone else, so we added the back to the name.
The trainer starts talking with ten minutes still to go until we start. He seems to enjoy hinting at push-ups and “using our whole body weight”. I knew it, they can read minds, tapping into what probably 80 percent of the audience is trying hard not to think about.
The room is filling up fast and the air is thick with energetic apprehension. Or is that just me? There are two other guys in the crowd of women. Everyone is looking focused and the trainer suggests taking off our sneakers and removing our socks if they aren’t slip-proof. Two women look around and proceed to do so. One of them is me. I wait a few minutes, notice no one else, the trainer included, has done this. Damn. He got me. If it was a trick to make me laugh, it didn’t work. If it was a trick to make me a tiny bit angry, it did work. All the better for the workout?
My inner swearing count goes up dramatically and one F-bomb actually escapes my mouth, but the music is so loud and with the uneven noise of sneakered feet repeatedly hitting the floor I am unheard. No, the answer is just no. Same for the full-on plank, though I try my best with three restarts, which we’re encouraged to do. We’re asked if we’re doing OK and since apparently no one but me feels free to confess their grunting inability of doing anything remotely push-up related, everyone collectively grumbles “Jaajooooojaa”.
We lie on our backs, legs bent to one side, arms spread on the floor, stretching, and I can feel the temporary relief before the next ab-strengthening exercise, pulling those knees up to your raised chin while still positioned on your side. I don’t even want to think what I look like right now, but it’s probably more spectacular than that time I was trying to follow those zumba arm movements and made the impression I was trying to awkwardly cross myself.
We’re praised to the skies at the end of the session and I don’t have to hold on to anything to get up, which is a bonus, but ask me again tomorrow. For now I feel pleasantly energized, but also like I deserve a reward, so I buy all my favourite breakfast food on the way home.