Working out the workout kinks

It worked a year-and-a-half ago. But, gosh, it is amazing how much tone the body can lose in just 18 short months.
And cardio? Forget it.
So I finally plunked down good money last week to motivate myself to start exercise classes, and it worked. I went to my first serious exercise hour the very next day. The following day, I believe my entire body decided to punish me for my insolence.
In class, I paced myself as best as one can when a manic, young instructor with zero body fat is doing her best to motivate an entire class of amateurs. I knew I was in trouble when she shouted into her microphone over the ear-splitting music, “This music isn’t loud enough, is it?” and cranked it up.
But I gave it my best effort, trying madly to figure out the low-impact version of whatever double-time move she dished up and I was elated when I wasn’t flopping like a beached fish before the first routine was over.
I worked up a sweat. I even breathed hard. But before very much of that even happened, my muscles were doing their own shouting. They were shouting, “What on earth are you thinking?”
One more knee lift or forward lunge and my thighs were threatening to simply lay down and take a nap. I really don’t remember when someone packed them full of birdshot, but based on texture and weight, it had apparently happened.
The next day, I expected soreness. I expected some fatigue. I didn’t expect to be flattened with waves of nausea and dizziness. The good news was, while I thought I was
coming down with the flu, it all eased up in a few hours. The bad news was, what else would cause these weird symptoms?
The jury is still out and we have experts weighing in from several corners of the globe. Apparently, being past 60 on the outside (I’ll always be 21 on the inside) has changed the game a bit. And I was not at all pleased when several sources suggested I study up on the symptoms of heart attacks.
I’ve decided to discount that for now, as I have no history of it. Instead I am admitting that I was probably dehydrated. I thoughtlessly mixed a failure to hydrate the night before with a strong cup of coffee the next day and may have just wrung my sad old self right out.
I have sworn on the head of my Irish father that this will not happen again. I have refilled water bottles and purchased sports drinks by the industrial barrel to keep my electrolytes in order, henceforth.
I am determined to get back to regular exercise classes and shake that buckshot out of my legs. I have vowed to be able to scamper about and jump rope again without needing a winch. I, at least, should be able to button my pants by June.
If, in the process, my 60-something-year-old “outside” should keel over for good, just kick that part to the curb and find a club where my 21-year-old “inside” can go dancing, OK? And make sure she wears her size 6 skinny jeans.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer seeking her illusive, much younger, much fitter inner self. Contact her at


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