No Gazelle Here

I stand in front of the pellet stove, which also happens to mean I stand in front of the television.  My fitness diversion of choice for today is a video of hip-hop dance for a solid cardio workout.  The DVD is new to me, although I have had it for about a year.  I know my daughter tried it once and said it was hard, but surely it can’t be that bad.  I use the remote for the DVD player, squinting in the semi-darkness of the snowy early morning to find the play button.

The dance moves are demonstrated by a very cute instructor with a strong Spanish accent.  There is a dance class of four young women behind her.  They all have on dance shoes; I wear a ragged old pair of Asics runners.  They wear shirts that show their bellies; I wear a sports bra beneath a sleeveless summer running shirt.  They wear baggy pants, black, pink, white; I wear black nylon running shorts.  I’m cold, despite the stove blasting on high, and I anticipate the pleasure of feeling a little sweat roll down my back.   The instructor begins to demonstrate some easy moves involving stepping to the side, crossing feet, rolling the upper body in a serpent-like way that includes the shoulders, chest, and abs.    I try to  imitate what I see on the screen.  I feel grateful that there is no mirror in front of me, and even more grateful that I am not standing in a class in some gym where the rest of the class gets to see what a klutz  I am.

I notice that the women bounce through every move.  And after brief demonstrations of each move, the instructor puts the moves together in segments of three, all done at an easy pace.  I struggle to bounce as I try to do the moves, tripping over my own feet when she shouts “Now tempo!” and speeds up the moves to a pace that I have to just stop and watch.  I decide to try to jump back in, and it feels like the days on the playground when the kids jumped Double Dutch and I could never make it into the ropes without catching my feet and stopping the game for everyone.  I pause the DVD and go back a minute to try and get the moves down.  I make it through the first two segments and start to feel warm, but am still waiting to sweat.  The instructor begins a third segment, this one with a lot more footwork, and incorporating more upper body.  I can’t seem to make my feet do what they are supposed to at the same time my upper body is doing something else; it’s like the pat your head and rub your tummy trick my dad used to test me with when I was in kindergarten.  I’m definitely not bouncing during any of it.

I focus on my feet, ignoring the upper body moves.  I try to slide across my old oriental rug on my living room floor, but my sneakers stick in places and I end up dragging my feet instead.  I can’t help but think about how easy it is to run.  Just put one foot in front of the other.  The arms move along naturally, pumping harder and faster as the speed increases.  There is no thinking involved.  By now I’ve pretty much lost the third segment.  I cannot trick my body into thinking this is worth the effort.  I eject the DVD and take a long drink of water.  My heart rate only hit 80 beats per minute.  174 is my maximum HR, and I try to run at at least 75 % of that, which is 130 BPM.  There is not a drop of sweat anywhere on me.  20 minutes of pretty much nothing but frustration.

I dig around the video cupboard and take out a Women’s Health strength and cardio DVD.  The trainer,  Amy Dixon, leads a great workout with lots of jumping and lifting and a little bit of plyometrics.   I can follow her moves with no trouble.  Although it’s not running, I know I will sweat, burn some calories, and not feel so clumsy.   As I insert the disc  into the player, I remember what one of my neighbors once said to me.  She told me she waited for me to run by her house every day.  She loved to watch me go by because I was so graceful.  She actually used the phrase “like a gazelle” which embarrassed me a little but secretly pleased me, because I do not think of myself as graceful.  Ever.  When I’m out on the road, I think I am hiding out behind my sunglasses and that no one recognizes me.  Apparently not the case.  So it felt nice to hear that I don’t look as goofy as I feel out there.  Thank goodness she can’t see in my living room window.

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2 Comments on “No Gazelle Here”

  1. Pat Says:

    You have given a boost ( and hope) to those of us who can’t do a dance-workout DVD either..Ever try Zumba???

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Ah, but you ARE graceful! In spirit as well as in body. Shine on!


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