FITNESS MUSIC


When I first started teaching fitness classes I mixed my own tapes from a vinyl records on a turntable. Unfortunately, I never was a fan of popular music. I like jazz. Jazz spells ‘danger’ for a fitness instructor as the rhythm and the time signatures change all the time. Fitness classes need dance music that is written in 4/4 time. That way, instructors can build elaborate choreographic patterns that begin and end with the right musical beat.

If a tune is written and played in a 5/4 time signature such as “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck, one feels like they need to grow an extra leg. Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo A La Turk”is partially 4/4 time, but some is in 7/4 time. That will take the extra leg and snap it off.

You can hear Take five at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwNrmYRiX_o and  Blue Rondo A La Turk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc34Uj8wlmE. Let’s see you do jumping jacks to these. That was from an age when the word “cool” really meant something.

I thought I would be able to step and kickbox my way to retirement ( in, say 20 years at the age of 81) using tapes and CDs. At least until last Wednesday when I received the following email from one of my fitness coordinators:

“I am currently looking into options of replacement stereo systems for all of our Group Fitness rooms.
This would mean that we would no longer have the option to play CDs or tapes (not sure how many of you use these anyway)Basically the ONLY reason to do something like this is that it has very few buttons and will be super simple to use.  The more buttons, the more problems we have and the more the repair bills add up. I don’t want to minimize options but I do want the new system to be VERY simple. This looks simple.I’d appreciate your feedback though.
Thanks”

So much for that retirement idea.  

I responded:

“Does this mean I’ll need to sing popular  those popular tunes that I dislike as well as cue the moves for the class?”

A while later, I learned I was a true throwback to the ‘80s and ‘90s as more emails joined in the discussion. It seems that everyone uses CDs, but only as a second choice. They use iPods, MP3s and some even use their cell phones.

I have seen MP3s and IPods. They’re tiny and they need recharging. This means I’ll end up driving off with it on the roof of my car.

I like big stuff.

When I do an archaeological survey, I take a camera with me. I have a big Nikon F that uses film – Fujichrome now because Kodak stopped making Kodachrome. (Please don’t take my Kodachrome away.) I don’t carry the light ones. Sometimes I need to stop and take some notes and dig some holes. I want to know that when I leave I have the camera with me. Instead, I leave my compass hanging from a tree. I’ve had helicopters rescue me several times because of this.

MP3s and IPods are too small, and I just broke the charger cord on my cell phone.

I once watched an instructor set her IPod up, and I asked her if they’re better than CDs.

“They are,” she said. “But it’s easy to erase the whole thing accidently.”

“Great,” I thought. I was thinking about a time when I stopped for gas on my way to class and someone stole my disks from my car. I had to teach a cappella – which was interesting for one class. The rythm all those feet stepping in unison made an interesting alternative to music. It was like a drumming circle.

 I found my CDs tapes later that day. The guy wasn’t interested. He was probably a jazz fan.

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. or at 604-464-4195.  If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

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4 Responses to “FITNESS MUSIC”

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  2. Sharon Says:

    Good piece, Mike. Loved the “don’t take my Kodachrome away” line.
    Technology – don’t you love it. 😦 I thought I was the only dinosaur around that uses 35mm film, getting harder and harder to find, btw. And all I do with my cell phone is make calls.

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