All my life I have been out of step with gym teachers and fitness instructors. A tendency to daydream meant that at ballet class I was usually burling ( a Northern Irish term for spinning on the spot) while others were bunny-hopping. I once wandered off to planet Blarney in a road-safety class when I was about six and so still had my right hand in the air when the Tufty Club teacher asked to see everyone’s left. She was not kind about the oversight.
Today in any kind of dance class or aerobics work-out I seem to start on the opposite foot to everyone else. I am out of step for step class.
The real problem though is breathing. Oh, I have mastered “in through the nose and out through the mouth” thing but I am typically inhaling while others are exhaling. I often have to work so hard to get my breathing in sync with everyone else’s that I have to abandon all other movements in order to get this right. It’s humiliating.
I had a turning point the other day though at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center when working with my personal trainer Racine. (Well, perhaps the possessive is overstating things slightly: I have worked with her once. )
We were on land, in the weights room. “Breathe out when you are working against gravity” she said ” and in through the nose when you’re not”. I got it immediately. In the pool it is the other way around—you exhale as your dumbells push down or out against the weight of the water. Easy when you know why…