Foils for each other

J     So I think that the fencing went well the other day. What do you think, Martha? I can’t believe what a great workout it was. My thighs were burning from that strange squatting position we had to hold while advancing and retreating from each other. I remember doing quite a lot of retreating from you. You’re an animal. (I’m still sporting the bruise on my leg and arm from where you got me.) I’m a little worried that if I continue taking lessons, after a few months my arms won’t match up. I’ll have one Popeye and one Olive Oil. But it’s such a great sport if you like to poetically poke people. I did a little research online and it said that ballet was developed to mimic the graceful movements of fencing. Come to think of it, I did feel quite graceful, albeit somewhat sweaty and swarthy. My hair, which had been fairly coiffed upon arrival, looked like it should have been the crowning glory on Bozo the clown. All I needed was a red nose.

M     You’re a natural fencer – and your left-handedness gives you a huge advantage. What I like about the sport is that men and women can face off against one another and men don’t necessarily have the advantage since strength isn’t as important as skill and finesse. And though I found the mask much too claustrophobic to add this sport to my exercise repertoire, I agree that it was a fantastic workout. By the next morning I could barely get out of bed, because all that lunging aggravated my pulled hamstring (compliments of Barry’s Bootcamp). I swear working out these days is one step ahead and two backward as something is always tearing, getting sprained or breaking down.

J     And I’ll just bet you know where I’m going with this one. My husband, who used to be a professional basketball player and still suffers from momentary bouts of youthful athletic passion, just tore his Achilles tendon on the first day of our 12-day vacation in the Bahamas. He was going up for a dazzling dunk shot while playing hoops with our 14-year-old daughter. And he’d only recently finished recovering from two knee surgeries. There’s an old joke that goes: If you’re over 50 and nothing hurts, then you’re probably dead. Well he’s quite lively. He hurts a lot. Which makes me thankful that I never played sports competitively when I was younger. All of my ligaments and tendons still seem to be fine and well-functioning. My lack of pain probably also has something to do with the fact that I don’t like to sweat, pound, pump or push anything, to any great extent.

M     It’s so true. A few years ago I was at a cocktail party with some of our neighbors, most of whom were in their mid-60s, and all but two of them had had their hips replaced in the last 10 years. The two who hadn’t believed exercise was highly overrated, while the rest of them had been avid athletes until they’d been sidelined by their surgeries. So much for the phrase “use it or you’ll lose it,” because I’ve noticed that my couch potato friends (one of whom defended herself by saying “I workout – I run my mouth, push my luck and jump to conclusions”) seem to be faring far better than those who are more active. You’d think we’d have inherited bodies used to hard-core workouts from our hunter/gatherer forbearers, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. And unlike you, I love to work up a good sweat. But now I’m wondering if sweat isn’t actually my body’s way of crying.

J     Well, I don’t like any class that has the words “boot camp” attached to it. I don’t enjoy standing in a pool of my own sweat while being yelled at to go faster on a hamster wheel (treadmill) when I’m barely hanging on as it is. If I had wanted to go to “boot camp,” I would have joined the Army. At least I would have gotten a free education out of it. That perk would have made the physical torment a tad more bearable.

M     I hear you and I, too, will be steering clear of boot camp workouts (at least until my hamstring heals). But I do love to Zumba! For me there is nothing better than shaking my booty and shimmying my boobies in a darkened room to current pop songs with a bunch of women, most of whom are (thankfully) close to my age and agility level. Now if only the clubs in New York City would admit me so I could show off all my new moves.

Wag Up

• The Fitness Studio in Ridgefield – It’s clean, it’s small, and most important, it’s all-women all the time! (M)

• The Lululemon fitness line. It’s so cool it makes you look chic even while you’re sweating. Sometimes I wear it around town just to give people the impression that I do exercise. (J)

Wag Down

• Too much vermouth in my martini (M)

• Too much pressure to look good in my bikini. Look, we made a rhyme! (J)


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