“No pain, no gain.”
Vatsala constantly mutters this maxim under her breath as she walks into the fitness center for her daily workout. Five days in to the fitness center and it seems as though her entire body is on the verge of being dismantled, every body part yearning to fall of on the floor. She can feel cramps in every fiber of her body; honestly it hurts to even have a hearty laugh. But she cannot give up, not yet, not so easily, not until she has knocked down five kilograms to the least. It is the year of her graduation and she cannot walk down to her graduation night dinner unless she fits into a little black dress. Of course it is not what the protocol calls for, but it is simply for her own contentment that she desires to be a svelte stunner that night.
While she exchanges pleasantries with the new formed acquaintances, her mind is still torn between the tussle of pain vs gain.
“Today’s workout is for lean mean legs where we do a seven minute cardio warm up followed by two rounds of stretching exercises. Ladies is you commit yourself to this workout, your thunder thighs are going to be long gone.”, announced their instructor Sameer, who might seem not so rigid at first but is in fact a hard taskmaster. On Vatsala’s second day, he did not let her step out of the fitness center until she managed to get all the ten abdominal exercises correct.
Like every other girl in the room, Vatsala was beaming at the prospect of evanescing thunder thighs.
The first exercise for the warm up was Marching in place and Vatsala assured herself this couldn’t be any easier. The next one being jogging in place, Vatsala smoothly managed to jog her way through the sixty seconds. After some twenty seconds into the Jumping Jacks, Vatsala could feel the sweat rolling down her forehead and her eyes glued to the stop watch hoping for the ticking clock to pace up a little. When the Skip Extensions began, Vatsala was reminded of her discomfort with the verb skip since childhood, be it her inability with skipping rope or the horror of skipping a question in an exam, she has never managed to do anything skip. Perplexed between which leg goes back and which comes forth she reasons with herself, “Nah, I can’t do this one.”
At the outset the pendulum hops seemed easy, but at times her feet cannot juggle left-right, making her halt momentarily. Her neurons delivering a message to her eyes, to not lift the eyelids because Sameer as well may already be glaring at Vatsala, but then she shoots back at her judgmental brain, “Wasn’t assembled to be a pendulum, was I? In that moment of contemplation she misses out on the name of the next exercise but by the looks of it she chooses to call it the weird exercise where she has to kick forward and at the same time pulling her arms downwards.
“The last exercise in the warm up is Jumping Oblique Twists, if your legs jump rightwards your shoulders go left and vice versa.”, explains Sam who is asking everyone to buckle up because the actual routine hasn’t even started.
Horrified at the physical intensity of the warm up, Vatsala has another problem facing her. If you have been reading attentively, you would know that right-left or back and forth render Vatsala dyslexic and the poor girl simply wants to get the last exercise right so much that she stands in an oblique fashion before beginning the exercise.
“Vatsala, jumping crazily is not going to suffice for the missing oblique twist,”, reprimands Sam who cannot comprehend that how can someone go so wrong with a simple exercise.
The first exercise in the routine is Captain Morgan Eights where she is supposed to make lateral eights in the air with her leg while keeping her knee locked through out. Vatsala smoothly manages to make the figures and keep her balance uptight all along. “It doesn’t hurt at all except in a notch in the upper thigh. Like they say a medicine is as effective as much is it bitter likewise an exercise is as effective as painful it is. Maybe I am doing this wrong.”, wonders Vatssala. She steals a small peak at the ones around her but is still unsure if she is doing the correct motion.
Next in line is Static Ski Squats+Rear Leg Lifts. Sam stands next to her, pushes her shoulders downward, implying she needs to squat lower. Then she raises a leg backwards but very meekly or rather hesitantly. Sam shakes her head and stretches her leg in a straight line until she winces and involuntarily her body switches from a squat to upright position. For the next 45 seconds both Sam and Vatsala struggle to help her get the posture and the gesture right but as a matter of fact simultaneous movements is not her cup of tea.
Now she has to do the Inner Thigh W’s and then the Side Leg U Lifts. As she stretches her legs in different angles making alphabets in the air, she understands that the exercises are gradually rising on the scale of physical intensity or like she prefers to call it, are becoming ‘excruciating’. A thought strikes her mind, “If they taught alphabet like this in nursery rather than on paper the entire country may choose to go uneducated than endure this agonizing pain.”
She fumbles through the remaining exercises- Crossover Crab Kicks, Seated Leg Lifts, Frog Leg Lifts, Squats plus leg raises and swinging bridges. At times she simply can’t muster the strength to lift her legs and at times when she does lift them, she does the exercises at a hurried pace leaving no time for her brain to evaluate which part of her body hurts more than the other.
At the end of the day, as she walks down to the parking lot, her legs feel heavy, as if someone has tied weights to them. Finding comfort in the cushioned seat of her she puts the key into ignition and places her foot over the accelerator. Right then, she moans, taking cognizance of the strains that the stretching and cardio has left on her legs. In that moaning, lay the resolution that Vastsala will never ever step into the fitness center again not unless she is driven to be incapacitated for performing any other act in her life other than fitting into the little black dress.
P.S. The workout featured on this blog is not a fictitious one and you can find this at Fitness Blender’s Lean Mean Legs.