…and then I saw STARS

I WOKE up one day and realised my hiatus from exercise had hit the five year mark.

That’s half a decade of sitting on the sofa eating a box of Quality Street and not giving a second thought to the solidity of my thighs.

For at least half that time I had good reason to abstain from jumping around, but the last two years? No reason.

Just run-of-the-mill laziness and a begrudging acknowledgement that running up the stairs shouldn’t cause cardiac arrhythmia.

So I invested in a pair of children’s Asics (the silver lining to having freakishly small feet) and found a cheap monthly deal at a new gym minutes from home.

Even I had to admit my long over-used excuses – it’s too far away, it’s too expensive, etc – were no longer valid.

I decided to ease myself in gently, or so I thought, by joining a Thursday night Pilates class.

Lying around on a mat seemingly doing very little seemed an ideal place to start given that my muscles resembled something like blancmange.

My gym-buddy-in-shame Emily joined me and for the first 60 minutes we puffed our way through a series of deceptively painful contortions I am still convinced should not be performed by the average human.

Even now, some months later, there’s still no greater instruction than the sweet relief of Child Pose after a 30-second plank.

In the meantime I was interspersing the toning sessions with pushing myself to hit the mile mark on the treadmill.

Some may scoff at so short a distance but let me tell you, the Potts family were not built for long distance running.

For the first month I dragged my feet and watched with hatred as the numbers of the timer move with planetary slowness.

After four weeks I hit a mile without feeling like my lungs were on fire and decided to expand my cardio repertoire to Boxercise.

You wouldn’t know it to look at me now but once-upon-a-time I earned a black belt in Kickboxing and could deliver a swift roundhouse to the head of a six foot man.

In my mind I could still perform these moves with a semblance of grace so surely my body would follow suit?

Well for starters, the instructor is an Eastern-Eurpoean maniac whose routines are impossible to keep up with.

As luck would have it, my ability to perform a half-decent jab-cross-uppercut is surprisingly still passable.

Unfortunately, the other 50 people taking the class aren’t masters of co-ordination and after bobbing around to a Eurotrash remix of ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ for 45 minutes, the likelihood of leaving with a black eye was high.

So, with a new opening in my cardio workout, it was after some bullying on Emily’s part that I attended Boot Camp last weekend.

I made the mistake of reading a boot camp blog entitled “Then My Legs Stopped Working” shortly before attending the class which tempted me to wuss out.

Sadly for my sciatic nerve, I went.

A bird-like Asian lady –a deceptive appearance given that she turned out to be Satan incarnate – told us to jog around the room in a circle while she set up a circuit.

Then there was jumping onto a box and jumping off a box, then lunging while holding free weights, then attempting to lift dumbbells heavier than my entire body.

I quickly went bright pink, then chalk white, then a blotchy combination of the two. At one point I actually saw STARS – a phrase I never truly appreciated until that moment.

At the same time as appreciating the cheap lightheaded kick, I wondered as I gulped for air whether I may in fact, actually stack it.

Incidentally, I didn’t. But for the rest of the day my heart did strange spasms and on Sunday I was walking like John Wayne.

So yes, I am back at the gym, and undoubtedly, I must – or at least I chuffing hope so – be getting fitter with every session.

But the second someone invents a pill that mimics the effect of a thrice-weekly gym session, I’ll be chucking them back like a Valium-popping housewife.


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