Occasionally, I change my step choreography routine. Sometimes the class likes the change, and sometimes they don’t. Last Thursday I introduced a new block to my routine. It included a backwards diagonal walk across the step.

Normally, participants greet my new routines with suspicion. They generate an air of intense concentration as they try to include the move into their muscle memory. The gym becomes a temple of serene contemplation. I certainly didn’t expect a shrill shriek to interrupt the serene and contemplative mood.

Surprising shrieks usually come from me. They mean I forgot a critical piece of the maneuver or I fell off my step. But someone else made this one. I know. I checked. It emanated from the throat of a woman in the centre row. Also, my shrieks never have the volume of this one. It sounded as if she just stepped off the Matterhorn.

The class continued the routine as I stepped off the step. I learned from experience that a shriek in class always results from something I did. I checked the rigging on my threadbare Spandex shorts and found duct tape firmly in place, thus preserving my modesty.

Scanning the class, I saw everyone still concentrating on the new routine. In the centre row, however, a woman struggled with her T-shirt. I approached, offering to help. I had no idea about how, exactly, I intended to help. I suppose I could have offered her words of encouragement.

“Fuck off,” she said.

After class, she told me that she got hot and took off her T-shirt. On shedding the garment, she learned she neglected to include her shorts in her ensemble. Evidently she gave everyone except me a glimpse of life in the fast lane.

“Too bad I missed it,” I said.

I went on to tell her that I have a good deal of experience at making public appearances in inappropriate clothing, or no clothing at all. My brain conditions me for it. When I sleep, I dream. My dreams don’t contain the casts of “The Night of the Living Dead” or any of the Freddy Kruger movies. My dreams contain normal people doing normal things wearing normal clothes. I always take a leading role in my dreams. My role is to perform normal things, except I’m always naked.

My brain recognizes that I have to condition myself. The dreams condition me to accept the fact that nudity is part of my avocation. Aerobics instructors have plenty of opportunities to appear nude owing to the fact that we have to change so often, and we need to rehearse our actions when these situations arise. If we don’t have these ‘undress rehearsals’ we might instill unruly mob behavior from our participants. Nobody wants to be the monster in the movie “Frankenstein.”

Being an expert in incidental nudity, I can identify three situations to avoid.

1. Don’t Forget Your Gear.

Fitness instructors need to change several times a day. Often they take their gear to work in a gym bag, and change when they get to the gym. I did this once before teaching a class a Trout Lake. I calmly opened my bag and let out a shrill shriek that interrupted the contemplative serenity of the change room. I forgot to include my shorts. My solution, due to my intense cranial conditioning in the land of Nye, involved teaching the class in twill trousers. To make myself more presentable to the participants, I tucked the trouser cuffs into my socks.

2. Huddle behind the lockers.

Be wary of swinging doors when you get changed. One private gym has a door that swings open at the slightest provocation. Then it stays open for everyone at the front counter to see. Over the years I learned that I am the only one who gets caught in this predicament. Everyone else huddles behind the lockers.

3. Don’t Take Short Cuts.

Sometimes timing of essence. After finishing one class, you have only thirty minutes to get changed and drive across town to another venue. You may be tempted to change in a corner of the now vacant gym. Don’t do it. The other day I found a nook in the gym at Renfrew Park. As I doffed my shorts, I became instantly surrounded by a gaggle of teenaged girls ready for a gymnastics lesson. Worse, they had their parents with them. The parents thought they had a serial rapist and chased me into the parking lot with torches, pitchforks, and axes.

Always change in the changing room – even if the door does stay open.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive

You can reach him at home at or at re looking for a change, start with a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all the above, he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia



  1. Sharon Says:

    Funny story, Mike. You have some wild adventures. How did the bears like you swimming in the nude? Couldn’t you drive across town to next class in your aerobics clothes and save a change? I know that woiuldn’t make the story as funny.

    Sometimes I hide in the second row of lockers, or at least the one in the corner – if I get there early enough.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: