October 27, 2013

A Canuck in Kantuck: Inside fusion class

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — This morning’s workout involved me trying desperately to touch my toes. As I reached, I realized just how close the tips of my fingers are to them, and yet, as my hamstrings screamed in protest, just how far. Surrounding me was a sea of women not only touching their toes, but calmly pressing their palms flat into their yoga mats, the backs ramrod straight, their shoulders bulging with muscles.

This workout is my latest effort to get ultra fit, something I embarked on in earnest about three months ago. It started with getting in shape to run two half-marathons, which resulted in me spending a whole lot of time on the treadmill at the gym. While on said treadmill, my girlfriend Sarah and I noticed the aerobics room was getting packed many mornings with ultra-fit looking women. When we asked about it, we learned the class was called fusion and involved half an hour of core training, half an hour of yoga.

So we decided to mix things up. Running on the treadmill day after day can be pretty tedious, and my best friend Kristin told me she wished she had done some core strengthening before she ran her full marathon back in June. So, shrugging our shoulders, we decided to try the class. After all, I mean, yoga? Fffffft.

As we laid down our mats, I noticed again the degree of fit that had taken over that room. In this day and age, it’s not common to be surrounded by women who are of healthy weight, never mind sporting some pretty serious muscles. But these girls were buff in a long-limbed, ropey kind of way, their yoga clothes hanging on them in the way they’re supposed to look.

So the class started and the teacher started telling us what to do. I noticed she didn’t have the soft, gentle approach that some of my other aerobics instructors have had. She certainly didn’t seem like the seaweed-eating, wooden flute-playing, talk-to-animals kind of person I’d always expected from a yoga teacher. Instead, she was unapologetic and directive.

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