Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Step gone bad

Do you ever just feel old?  Last night, I felt old. And out of shape. And uncoordinated.  And kind of foolish.  Last night, I went to a step aerobic class at the community center. (You know the kind, where you have that cool plastic step and you do all kinds of fancy moves over, around and next to the step). Believe it or not, this was not my first step class.  Not that I'm a seasoned veteran or anything, but I actually attended a class on Saturday.  By some stroke of luck, the instructor on Saturday was a sub, and since she didn't know what kinds of steps the class knew, she kept it simple.  It was perfect for me.  I was able to pick up on most of the steps on the first try, and if not on the first try, then very shortly thereafter.  I got a great workout and it was pretty fun. Based on that experience, I decided to go again last night.

Last night was different.  The instructor was not a sub and he did not keep it simple.  The steps were incredibly complex, and had specific names.  And they were set to very fast music.  So he would call out a step, or a series of steps as he did them very quickly and I tried to keep track of where his feet went and how.  Of course, half of the routines he did had us turning around, so I would start the routine and be doing all right, but then would turn around and wouldn't know what I was doing anymore! As if that wasn't bad enough, apparently each step has an advanced variation that you can do should you be able to do the basic without tripping over yourself.  (By the way, I will likely never be coordinated enough to master the advance variations.)  Well, the instructor almost always did the advanced variation without explaining that there was a simpler way to do it.  I only realized the simpler way when I saw some others in the class doing it, and this was after I nearly killed myself trying to do the advanced step.

There were several points throughout the class when I just stood still, with a bewildered expression on my face. At some moments I found this comical.  I think I even laughed out loud, and may have uttered the phrase "Are you kidding me?"  At other moments I felt disheartened and frustrated, and came close to tears at least twice.  With the range of emotions I felt in just a short hour, you'd think I was pregnant! (I'm not, by the way.)  By the end of the class, I had kind of figured out some of the step routines, but by then I was so tired that my brain and body did not always want to cooperate.

I still got a great workout, and I will probably go back again on Wednesday.  But the more I think about the class, the more annoyed I am, and here's why.  The instructor could very clearly see that I was struggling - it was pretty obvious, after all.  Why didn't he stop and take just one minute to show me the steps?  Now, this may seem unreasonable to some, particularly any of you who are in the advanced step category (are there any you out there?)  But there are three conditions that I think make this quite a reasonable request.

First of all, there were only 7 total people in the class, and I was the only one struggling.  It t not have detracted from the rest of the class, and in fact, probably would have helped them as they wouldn't have been distracted by me fumbling and bumbling about.  If the class had been 20 or so, and I was the only one struggling, then I could understand just letting me figure it out on my own.

Second of all, there is no beginner's class.  The community center only offers two step classes, and both are in the same category.  Does that mean that since I haven't done step before, I shouldn't be able to go?  I don't think so.  If they don't offer a beginners class, then, in my opinion, the instructors should be more helpful to those of us who are, clearly, beginners.

Finally, this is, after all, a community center - not some fancy, schmancy, high-end gym or athletic club.  The community center clearly tries to be acessible to everyone, so by extension, I think that their fitness classes should also be accessible to everyone, particularly if they have only one level, as mentioned above.

I hope that, on Wednesday, I can pick up the steps a little bit better.  I may also just outright ask the instructor to help me out - I do have some agency in this whole process.  What do you think? Am I being unreasonable?  Should I have expected some help, or not?  Or, should I have not even gone to the class in the first place since I couldn't keep up?


  1. Keep going! And do ask the instructor for help or one of your fellow classmates (doing the easy steps) they most likely have been in your shoes at some point and you might make a new friend. That is my opinion anyway! :)

  2. I love step aerobics! I haven't been to a class in a long time so I am sure that I would be in your shoes. Maybe I will join you sometime if I can get a break from baby duties :)

  3. Ooh, Zoey, yes, please join me! That would make it so much more fun!

    Thanks for the encouragement, Julie.

  4. Because of the reasons you mentioned, you should have been entitled to some assistance. My assumption at first was that this was a big, advanced class. But if that's not the case: you should get some help.


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