I am not really a film buff but one of the films which I did really enjoy watching was Unbreakable, the one where Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson turn out to be polar opposites of one another; one a hero and the other a villain but to be those identities, they needed each other (sorry if that a spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched it but it came out fifteen years ago, so hopefully I am safe!). Now I am not painting myself out to be a villain, just because I enjoy a glass of wine and have a long term relationship with carbs but there are parallels, given the gulf between my lifestyle and that of a fitness instructor and I was keen to explore that further by spending a day in the life of an instructor.
I am lucky to have made some great contacts with a number of instructors over the course of my 100 sports and fitness class challenge and I knew any one of them would be up for me tagging along with them for the day. However, I needed to be selective. There is no point trying to spend the day in the life of somebody who delivers six Insanity classes a day. I would break! What I was looking for was a day of nice, gentle, low impact classes, ideally delivered to seniors.
Lumpy vs Jumpy
Dianne from Funfit Exercise seemed to fit the bill. I closely inspected her timetable to see that she teaches three group classes over the course of a Monday; Fitness Pilates, Pure Stretch and Powerhoop. I called her up and pitched the idea to her and after a bemused silence, she accepted the offer. Now, I am literally Lex Luther to Dianne’s Superman; she is all jumpy, where I’m all lumpy. She eats clean; I eat ice cream…you get the picture! As part of the day, I also agreed to eat the same as her, to ensure that I got the full experience.
First class was 09:30 in the middle of Bodmin Moor for Fitness Pilates, where pleasingly the average age was over 50. I helped unload the CD player and mats out of the car and generally acted as Dianne’s roadie. The class filled up and after introductions, the class began. When I wrote about my challenge, I had to focus on my experience, so it was refreshing to not worry too much about my breathing and where my legs were going but on how Dianne was instructing the class. I didn’t remember Pilates feeling so taxing but my core was certainly getting a work out.
We finished the class, packed up the equipment and after Dianne had paid for the room hire, we went back to her house. Dianne warned me that her Springy Springer Spaniel Honey, could possibly have a little wee in excitement and introductions were made outside, where Honey went ahead and urinated in glee at my presence. I didn’t mind though, any bitch with a weaker pelvic floor than me, goes up in my estimation and we immediately bonded.
Check out my superior face!
First things first and Dianne took me through her planning for her classes. She had recently signed up for a 12 month coaching course and talked about the challenges she faced while trying to run her business. I must admit that I am a little suspicious of these types of courses, which seem to promise the world and I hoped for Dianne’s sake, that she could get value for money. Her confidence which I had just witnessed for an hour in front of a class, seem to evaporate, when it came to the business of running a business and moving it forward. It seemed a lonely place, making decisions about the future direction and it occurred that we truly were opposite; I am confident with my decisions but lack all the positive attributes Dianne has, in terms of wellness and fitness. Maybe we could splice a bit of each other and clone a better version of the two of us?
After a bowl of pumpkin soup, which Dianne had pre-prepared (and was hotter than the sun), she broke it to me that she probably wouldn’t eat until after the evening classes. Seeing my face fall at the thought of no food for 8 hours, she tried to raise my spirits by saying I could have some fruit at 4pm!
After lunch, I was given the job of helping wash the powerhoops and then we parted company for a few hours, as I had to collect the kids from school. We met up again for the two back to back sessions, at a local school.
Giving the Powerhoops a wash down
The unconfident, unsure Dianne over lunch was nowhere to be seen, as Dianne the instructor led us through a class of Pure Stretch. She smiled, laughed and encouraged a full class through another challenging class. I didn’t think stretching could be such hard work! We bade farewell to one class and immediately welcomed the powerhoop lot. I have tried powerhooping before as part of the challenge and felt fairly confident that I could correctly hoop. Both classes were a lot of fun and testament to Dianne’s energy and sense of fun, even when she missed a step or dropped her hoop, it all made people feel comfortable and relaxed in her presence.
When the class finished, I helped load up the car, which was stuffed full of hoops, mats and balls. We gave each other a genuine hug for the day we had spent together and on the drive home, I reflected on our differences. We were very much opposites in many ways, especially when it comes to lifestyle but I really do think we could learn from each other and draw upon each other’s strengths. Dianne vowed to help motivate me to live a less sedentary lifestyle and advise me on my diet and in turn, I will be her business sounding board, so maybe she doesn’t have to make so many decisions on her own.
I don’t think I will invite Dianne to live a day in my life – I can’t imagine that she could be bound by a desk by day and then run around after three kids by night. There is no superhero or villain here, we are just different and that’s OK.
My name is Sam. I am a 35 year old, unfit, gym-phobic, mother of 3, who enjoys indulging in a glass of wine or two. I started the website sofadodger.co.uk this year, which is ironic as I am more a sofadweller than a sofadodger. So I have taken on the challenge of trying 100 different sports and fitness classes in a year. I shall be blogging about, what will be, one of the most interesting and challenging years of my life!