From running “Get in Shape Girl” sessions on my front lawn when I was little to working in a gym for years, exercise has always played a large role I my life (for better or for worse, as most of you know.)
In the early years, my basement made the transformation from Barbie wonderland/psych ward to aerobics studio, where at any one time I was doing step aerobics videos with the enthusiasm of a manic ex-cheerleader “turn stepping” for her glory days or getting my Body In Motion with Gilad on the beaches of Hawaii.
Not just a yellow leotard, but a yellow leotard with a belt. Hot!
These daily exercise shows became something I looked forward to, not because I was on a mission to lose weight—far from it—but because I was/am an attention whore and the coordinated routines and music made me feel like I was part of some great off, off, off Broadway performance.
I would sing and Sweat to the Oldies with Richard Simmons or exert my leadership skills by doing the Denise Austin step aerobics tape with the sound off, conducting the class by memory down to the little fake laughs and cheesy sentiments Denise would add in for encouragement.
I’m pretty sure he invented Jazz Hands, no?
Those early days were all about the fun and fitness factor—I loved dancing around and working at something while knowing it was good for me. Plus, I loved being bossy, so it worked out well—pun intended.
Now that I’m older I’ve noticed a couple things about these exercise shows that I hadn’t noticed before:
1. The instructors are a special kind of crazy
Aside from the boundless energy and Day-Glo white teeth, they basically spend the whole show carrying on complete conversations about you—asking questions, reminding you that no one likes saggy arms and shouting out encouragement—all without waiting for or acknowledging your reply.
Plus, they never let the pips in the background get a word in edgewise.
2. The fitness world is a melting pot, and they set out to prove it
I added the captions, of course.
Back in the days of Gilad, it was usually him on the beach with some busty women in thong leotards with a few old people (not in thong leotards) thrown in for good measure. These days, programs are much more politically correct.
If you don’t have three distinctly different looking people doing jumping jacks and push-ups, it obviously means that you hate America and think only white people should be instructed to squeeze and crack a walnut with their ass cheeks.
3. The videos make you feel great no matter what
Because of those one-sided conversations and the instructor’s never-ending faith in your dedication to their instruction, you end up feeling great after the show is done, regardless of whether or not you actually lunge or pretend to jump rope.
You can literally turn the TV show on, sit on the couch with a pizza and still have the instructors tell you you’re looking great, that you’re going to be fit and toned in no time and that you are far superior to those who didn’t just spend 30 minutes jumping around like a Polish pinball.
In other words, if your ass doesn’t get a boost, at least your ego will.
The Cool Down
So even though I’m older now and my fitness interests have evolved a bit, I like knowing that some things never change—namely fitness shows. I can still dance around my living room and act like a manic cheerleader cracked out on spirit all in the name of fitness, much like I did as a precarious spastic youth so many years ago.
The only real difference is that I have a harder time convincing people to participate in my “Get in Shape Girl” sessions on the front lawn these days.
Perhaps I should drop the thong leotard complete with fashionable black belt, but then again, I refuse to compromise my integrity.
This post is in response to this week’s RemembeRED prompt:
“We want you to think about TV show from your past. What feelings does the show evoke? What memories does it trigger?”