Monday, 17 October 2011

...And then I learnt a certain amount of etiquette.

( I also wanted to teach some too.)

Today's classroom of learning?
The gym.

Or more specifically perhaps - studio 2.

This evening, in studio 2, I decided to partake in a class. Gone are the aerobics and legs bums and tums that I can't keep up with... replaced with Pilates.
Having done it once or twice, buying a mat and DVD to do at home, and then losing interest, I'm not really sure what inspired me to go back. I think it may have been my lack of motivation to do anything remotely exercise based.
Unless it involved walking the mutt. Which I don't mind. Unless its raining or cold. Both of which it was this evening after work.

But today? Well something came over me.
I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill in the gym before going down to the studio so I was already suitably exhausted. And incredibly sweaty.
However, I had the forethought to take a change of clothes.
So I mopped the sweat off me, redressed in clean clothes (never that satisfying when your body feels gross) and walked into studio 2.

Lesson #1
Don't take someone else's Pilates space. People are (by nature) very territorial and the exercise studio is no different.

Lesson #2
Arrive early enough so that you don't have to place your mat by the door where you have to listen to the banter of lads preparing for an indoor football game whilst trying to find your centre. (It also means that you will be well and truly surrounded by other Pilates-ers when the person who's space you pinched by arriving early enters the room. This is tatical pilates play and should not be attempted by beginners. An advanced Pilates-er has a much stronger core than you. This is a secret strength and is deadly when used correctly.)

Lesson #3
It is advisable to do a little bit at a time. Don't try and be the best ever, most super pilates-er ever. Never overestimate your stretchiness because my god, does it hurt and you look like a moron huffing and puffing by the door. If at this point, anyone had not realised you were new... they will now.

Lesson #4
Never copy someone else. Chances are they're doing it wrong. The instructer doesn't have the heart to tell the woman who's been attending for weeks that the moves are wrong and actually she isn't doing pilates at all, instead she will tell you. Infront of the whole class and pull/push your body into muscle destroying stretches, while you do your best to hold back the expletives and tears of pain.

Lesson #5
If you have eaten brussel sprouts, beans, bananas, shredded wheat, raisins or any other fibreous food find a way of releasing the trapped wind before entering the class.

Lesson #6
If someone in the pilates class does happen to experience the ever-feared passing of gas - DO NOT laugh. You will be the only one who does so and there will be lots of stern expressions.

Lesson #6a
If the pilates-er who ate brussels was the same person who's space you pinched, laughing will make the situation much worse.

Lesson #7
Position yourself in such a way so that when attempting these core building exercises you do not touch anyone. At all. Pilates-er's do not like to be touched. Even a little foot graze is too much of an invasion of space. Apologise. Sincerely. Without giggling like a school girl and reposition yourself so that you hit the wall every time you move. Thus only injuring yourself without destroying the calm and serene atmosphere.

Lesson  #8
Do not offer your towel to anyone else. Regardless of how sweaty they are, or how much you think it might help. They will not only be utterly disgusted (more so by this than the wind with no owner), but they will think you barbaric and uncivilised.

Lesson #9
Avoid drinking lots of water. And if you must (because you did cardio before arriving) at least remember to go the toilet. Pilates is all about core muscles. Core muscles control your bladder. Excessive squeezing and releasing plays dirty tricks on your mind and you may think that you will wet yourself. If this is the case ... grin and bear it. Leaving a pilates class before the end is a sin, and you will be punished by the muscle stretching instructor.

Lesson #10
A true pilates-er does not flick the exercise mat in the air when rolling it up. A true pilates-er knows the health and safety risks of this method and will instead roll it along the floor, thereby removing the risk of whipping a fellow pilates-er in the face.

If you have learnt these 10 basic lessons, you may return to your second class. Or avoid the humiliation and never attend again. Perhaps try yoga instead. Similar exercise but you can start afresh with a new set of people.

And the etiquette lesson I should like to teach?

Lesson #1
An all-female changing does not allow you to walk around starkers. Women may appreciate that they are all-female, but do not need to see it all. Get yourself a towel for the shower (infact make that two towels so that you don't use the only one you have to wrap your hair up) and go into a cubicle.
The locker area is for changing shoes, removing layers and blow-drying hair once dressed, not for stripping down to bare it all.

Many thanks.