I stand in awe of the courage displayed by my new step class participants in recent weeks. On New Year’s Eve they made a commitment to themselves to get in better shape, and, by golly, they remain true to their word. They continue, with grim determination, to attend my classes in spite of the bone crushing manoeuvres I make them perform in front of everyone. Oblivious to the chortling of other classmates, they persist. In a few short weeks, they’ll be better at doing repeaters and lunges than ever before.

Just this morning, a trio of young women came into my class late, and set up their steps at the far western reaches of the gym. After the warm-up, I tried to encourage them to get closer to the middle of the class. “No,” they said. “We don’t want to disrupt the class.”

Such a noble and admirable display of courage can only come from a first-timer to a fitness class. Mid way through the first pattern, I noticed they were craning their necks so far back that I feared for their vertebral columns. I had to order them to the middle of the class for their own safety.

During the rest of the class, I noted from the expressions on their faces that they were having a good time. They laughed and chattered amongst themselves. Once they decided to take a break and went to the back of the gym for a sit-down. I put an end to that by suggesting they stay on their feet and walk on the spot and join us when they were ready. Instead, they ran back to their places and joined in with the rest of the class.

All of this action reminded me of my first step class. Ivan the Terrible – a sadistic instructor hired for his boot camp approach to fitness instructed it. The boot camp approach allows participants to explore the submissive sides of their natures. The music approached at least 156 bpm, and the patterns roughly approximated 32 beats. “Get ‘em higher,” Ivan screamed. Later I learned that nobody knew what he meant.

Getting ‘em higher meant our movements approached warp speed. I looked around at the other participants. The only details I could see were the screaming expressions on their faces and their hands covering their buttocks as if anticipating a stroke of the cane. I looked at my step. Sparks were flying out from underneath it. Smoke rose from the risers. I couldn’t detect whether the smoke was coming from the step or from my self-esteem going up in smoke.

I loved every second of it.

I want to assure my new comers that everyone in my class has done a first class, and I want to make sure that first class is a positive one – even if it is too complicated.

“I want to welcome all the newcomers to the class,” I say at the end. “If you thought it was complicated, it’s because it is complicated. Keep coming and you’ll get it.”

I Pause for a moment. “Remember,” I say. “. . . We’ve all been there.”

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 does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net   or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca.

If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates


4 Responses to “WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE”

  1. Tweets that mention WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE « SpinDoctorResumes -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Angela Russell, MikeBroderick. MikeBroderick said: WE'VE ALL BEEN THERE: http://wp.me/pKNZW-52 […]

  2. Sharon Says:

    Funny as always, Mike. good advice. Perhaps your classmates were holding their tushies because they were afraid they’d fall off from all the exertion.

  3. mikebroderick Says:

    You mean like a comment I made on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1609619556453&set=a.1608331644256.2086808.1115148138

  4. jimmy Says:

    show me

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