The human body is a wonderful device. It has all sorts of clever ways of telling you when something is wrong with it. It can make you sick, it can make you pass out, it can even make it feel like your heart is about to leap from your chest in the search of a few fleeting moments of rest. Which is how I felt as her words were shouted at me.
“Okay, that’s it for the warm-up, now we can get started!”
This was my third circuit training class since a friend convinced me it would be a good way to keep fit during the summer with little or no football available. You know, when you write it down like that, it seems like a perfectly sensible, even logical argument, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, ten minutes in, unable to breathe and with the early signs of a cramp developing in my left buttock, it seemed so completely illogical a statement that it would probably drive Dr Spock to self-harm.
From this point on, my thoughts turn merely to damage limitation. You simply can not leave a circuit training class without looking like a wimp, and although my puce-faced appearance probably already classified me as such, I was going to try and retain what little dignity I had remaining.
I worked my way to the back-left corner of the room in the hope of being out of sight of the female instructor, as she began detailing the next thirty minutes of “military style fitness training.” However, it is difficult to ‘hide’ when the walls on three sides are covered by floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
Being shouted at by a woman to ‘work harder’ and ‘put some effort in’ is deeply unpleasant if you’re not sporting an erection. It’s not all that pleasant if you do have one, but at least it’s probably being made up for with other things.
Fifteen minutes in and I genuinely thought there was a danger I might die. Twenty-five minutes in and I began to fear I might not.
The final fifteen minutes or so are something of a haze. I have read that the mind can sometimes block memories of particularly traumatic experiences, and I am pretty sure that this is what happened here. Though I am quite sure that I am the first person to ever suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from a circuit training class.
“Good work, did you enjoy that?” asked the instructor as I staggered from the studio.
“Yes, see you next week,” I lied.