A few months ago while visiting my parents in my hometown, I went to the local YMCA for some upper body weights. The dynamic of this YMCA is pretty interesting, as the muscle-heads aren’t used to having women in the weight area. They either assume you are looking for a date – I’m not – or you are just going to be in the way – go to hell. Typically after a few heavy lifts with good form, they stop rolling their eyes at me and let me work in on sets if I need to.
On this particular day, I chatted with a few of the guys about CrossFit after noticing them do several sets of ten Burpees and Max Effort Bar Muscle Ups. One guy told me I needed to come to his 5:30am Boot Camp class. I let him know that if I was up, I would totally be there. He said, “Great! See you in the morning!” I forgot to mention to him that I don’t get up that early unless there is a CrossFit class or a fire.
I finished my weight sets and headed to the mats for a few stretches when the following encounter occurred with a really enthusiastic gold chain wearing Vanilla Ice lookalike.
VI: You’re not leaving already, are you?
Me: Yep. Just doing some stretches before I head out.
VI: You aren’t going to do any ab work?
Me: Just triceps and chest today.
VI: Chest, triceps, abs, it’s all upper body!
Me: Are you trying to tell me I need to work on my abs?
VI: Um, well I wasn’t saying that. Have you ever heard of a little thing called P90 eeeeeexxxxxxxxxxxxssssssssss?
He said it just like that, too. Dragging out every sound of that X.
VI: Have you ever done it?
VI: LET’S DO IT!
At this point I’m a little stupefied by his lack of ability to read my facial expression that is stuck somewhere between “I’m calling the police” and “Did they allow you to drive here on your own?” But because I’m polite and curious, I didn’t tell him to leave me alone.
Me: Um… okay.
VI: Okay, first move. On your back, feet in. This one’s kind of hard. You might not be able to get your feet up like this.
Me: I’m a yoga instructor. I’m pretty sure I can.
VI: We’re doing 20 reps. I don’t expect you to do 20, I expect you to do 15. Ready, on three. 1-2-3.
Vanilla Ice had all of a sudden morphed into an overly friendly personal trainer. I’m pretty sure he has watched his P90X DVDs hundreds of times in order to memorize every single word. It was like watching weird exercise karaoke.
Me: Are you an instructor?
VI: No. Ready? Next Move. Let’s go. On three.
I was having a really hard time doing any of this because I was concentrating on not laughing at the absurdity of the situation. I was wondering how many people were watching what was surely a spectacle, and how many people had been subjected to Vanilla Ice’s coaching in the past. All of them probably now know to avoid eye contact.
VI: Ready for the next one? It’s a real pooch burner. On three.
Me: Okay I really need to go now.
VI: Only two more exercises. Is your pooch burning?
Me: Did you just acknowledge my pooch?
VI: Only two more exercises. Ready?
By this time I’d been doing P90X with this random guy for 20 minutes, and my pooch was NOT, in fact, burning. I was just ready to leave.
VI: Last move. This one is tough. Only I can do this one.
Me: Only you, huh?
VI: Yep. I’ve got the strongest core there is.
Just let that sink in for a moment. He actually said “I’ve got the strongest core there is.”
VI: All these guys in here, they can’t do this move. Only I can.
He starts to do this weird oblique crunch I’m fairly certain is NOT a functional movement. And, by the way, I rocked that crunch. Suck on that, Vanilla Ice. So after 20 minutes, the ab class was over. I resumed my stretching.
Me: Thanks for the workout. See ya.
VI: Oh I see what you’re doing there. A little bit of Child’s Pose, Downward Dog action, huh? See I know your Yoga.
He now begins sloppily striking Yoga poses as he’s calling out their names.
VI: See? Warrior I, Warrior II, Triangle. I know your Yoga. My favorite is crane.
Me: Let’s see it.
Me: Your crane pose. Let’s see it.
VI: Well, I mean, I’m not in my zone.
Me: Oh no, you’d better do it. Let’s see it Yoga Man.
VI: Uh, okay…
He tries to get into Crane and he… wait for it… fell over. He fell the hell over. It took everything I had not to laugh at the man who, you know, obviously has the strongest core there is.
VI: I do a lot better when I’m in my zone. You know, when I’m doing P90X Yoga.
Me: P90X Yoga isn’t real Yoga.
VI (looking like I just punched his ferret – I’m just assuming he has a ferret, he struck me as that kind of guy): What? Why would you say that?
Me: P90X completely passes over the mental and emotional part of yoga. They take a few poses, do them over and over again, and miss the meditative breathing and the relaxation. The whole point of Yoga is to connect your body, spirit and mind. You have to quiet the movements of your mind to do that. They completely miss that.
VI (putting his hands out to the sides and closes his eyes): Okay, okay I get it. I’m hittin’ what you’re pitchin’. They don’t make you meditate. I get it. I get it.
Me: Okay. Well, bye. Thanks again for the burning pooch.
As I left I immediately called pretty much everyone I know so that I could tell them about my bizarre gym experience. I was more than a little surprised that everyone was more concerned about my inability to walk away. “You worked out with him for more than TWENTY MINUTES?!?!” was a common factor in most of the conversations. I think they were missing the point. Maybe I didn’t do his voice just right.
Regardless, I have now learned my lesson about talking to strangers. The lesson being that amusement is almost always in store.
Thanks for keeping me In Good Company.