My cheeks hurt after my workout this morning. And yes, I know after all the discussion about Toilet Sore around here as of late you all are assuming my butt cheeks are sore. (Okay, they are. They still really really hurt from CrossFit’s WOD two days ago. We had to do like 500 weighted overhead lunges!) This morning I tried out a new bootcamp class and left with my cheek-cheeks sore. As in I grinned so hard and so long that my face hurts!
Uncontrolled grinning and boot camp normally go together like Marilyn Manson and Mouseketeers:
When I think boot camp I envision screaming drill sergeants, G.I. Jane, Jillian Michaels. My instructor this morning must’ve missed that memo because he is the smiliest person I have ever met. He smiled introducing himself (normal), he grinned warming us up with side shuttles (slightly odd), he even beamed while talking us through a killer set of lunges (see butt sore-age above), push-ups and supermans (very strange). And I LOVED it!
The more he smiled, the more I smiled! I giggled doing butt kickers. I cheered doing bear crawls. I even cackled doing upright rows and I hate working my shoulders! Hate it!! By the time we finished class I felt as happy as when I discovered that they are making a Step Up 3 – in 3-D!! (Because nothing says Good Time like sitting around wearing dorky glasses watching the cool kids do things I can only dream about. Oh wait, that was my entire high school career.) Boot camp was good smiley fun.
It was not always this way. Back in Seattle I had an aerobics instructor – as in “Jazzercize, Jane Fonda called and she wants the ’80’s back” floor aerobics – who was as hard-nosed as they come. (Dearest L, you know exactly what is coming next.) Her classes were run like a tight ship. You did not walk in late. You did not leave your towel on the floor. You did not spill your water bottle. And you did not, under any circumstances, screw up the moves. (Which meant that you could not ever be new.) One errant hamstring curl while the rest of us were carioca-ing to the left earned you her pint-sized face in yours, screaming. She called people idiots. Losers. Stupid. She threw things, pushed people, stomped off in a huff. And even, on one memorable occasion, tripped someone on purpose and then yelled at them for falling. Injury, pregnancy, illness, stress – it didn’t matter to her. There simply was no excuse for not performing at your 100% best.
The craziest part about all this? People loved her. And not just loved but absolutely adored! One woman brought her hot Starbucks coffee (it was Seattle) every morning. Others had followed her for 15 years from gym to gym to gym as she inevitably got fired from one place and moved on to the next. But the most telling sign was that all her classes were offered at 5:30 a.m. and they were packed. It was like living in an alternate universe where the head cheerleader goes on to be principal. And the principal has a fan club like Jerry Garcia.
I avoided her. I took her classes – with a new baby and no childcare at that gym the wee hours of the morning were the only time I had to workout and I’m a group fit girl at heart – but I did my best to stay pretty invisible. I hugged the side-middle of the room. I memorized her patterns so I wouldn’t call attention to myself by messing up. I didn’t arrive super early but I wasn’t late either. I was respectful when I spoke to her but careful to never tell her anything personal. Didn’t want her to have any ammo to use against me.
See, for me, negative attention like that doesn’t motivate me. It never has. I don’t do well with “tough love” and screaming has me in tears before it makes me push harder. I like my workouts to get my heart rate up but not from stressing out over being publicly chastised. I’ll work 100 times harder for my smiley boot camp instructor than I ever would for her.
But everyone is not me. And that’s ok! I call it the Jillian Michaels conundrum. Heck, she’s made a very lucrative career out of screaming in people’s faces until they cry and then sitting on them. Some people really seem to thrive with someone nailing their butt to the wall. They feel patronized by platitudes like “You can do it! You’re strong and beautiful and awesome!! Yeah!!!” Others like me eat that stuff up like it’s unicorn meat in sparkle gravy with a side of kittens and rainbows.
I believe there is a middle ground – the rare teacher who knows when you need a push and when you need a hug – but that sweet spot differs for everyone. What’s your workout nirvana? Do you need some tough love to get your sweat on? Or do you prefer to be encouraged with You-Go-Girls? Anyone else lovelovelove dance movies regardless of how ridiculous the plot lines are??
PS> HUGE shout-out to reader Deb who came to my outdoor turbokick class tonight! Not living in California, I don’t often get to meet other bloggers/readers (is it just me or are there a disproportionate number of health and fitness bloggers in Cali?) so it was a real treat to meet her! She even stuck it out through wind and rain! Thank you Deb!
*For a good time, google “things that don’t go together.” Hours of fun!!