Today was our last day with C as our substitue. I am sad, Internet. Last week, Michelle left this comment about C on Life in the Abbey:

I love this lady. I was told she is a former professional woman boxer. Unfortunately she is mainly only a substitute (she used to teach more classes regularly but they were taken away from her). I’m pretty sure it is because people whined and complained about her being “too hard”. More than one lady walked out when she subbed in the bodysculpt class I go to. Kudos to your perseverance! And challenging yourself!

I’ve been thinking about this all week: former female boxer, now teaching people who pay lip service to wanting to be in shape but can’t stand the heat of her particular kitchen. Here is a woman with a story. I filled in the blanks: her frustrations, her passions. Did I mention she has a southern accent? Needless to say, I was excited for today. I was pumped, as it were.

Plus I just read this essay by Sandra Tsing Loh called “The Bitch is Back.” It’s a wonderful, funny, tough as nails essay on menopause. I loved every single moment of it. And it made me think about all of the 50-60 year old women in this class who look good. They look very good. Muscle definition, gorgeous skin, bright eyes. I want to look like them now, not to mention later.

I was ready for class today. I was ready to give it my all and to have some fun. It seemed like C was ready to have some fun too. I think she was ready to enjoy this class of goofballs (I’m looking at you Mr 12.)

We marched. We squatted. During our bicep work, C came around the class, “ARE YOU TIGHT? ARE YOU TIGHT? I’M GONNA CHECK! THIS IS THE BEST PART OF MY JOB! CHECKING OUT YOUR GLUTES!”

I tightened my glutes, abs, grimaced for extra points, though the bicep work is my easiest exercise. As Fancyhats says, I’m putting on muscle like a Ukrainian peasant. In other words, I have guns. He asks me to flex at least once a day. Ukrainian peasant isn’t really the look I’m going for, but I can’t deny my genetics: Ukrainian peasants holla!

My breakthrough moment came at about the midway point. We’d just done 80 repetitions of the exercise where you stand upright, squat down and place your weights on the floor, stand up, squat down again and pick them up, stand up, squat down and place them on the floor again. We did 80 of these alternating them with arm work. By this point, I inhaled through my nose and sucked in at least a teaspoon of sweat that had dripped down from my forehead.

Class: “OOOOOOOOOOOOO.” But we all squatted down. Never mind the fact there was no chair behind us. Never mind that the classroom is all glassed in and all of our spandex-clad asses were sticking out at an angle that would make a gynecologist blush for the whole weight room to see.


At this point, my toes were numb and all I could do as my thighs were parallel to the floor was to stare at the wood grain (that one is wavy like the ocean, that one is straight like an arrow!) and at some point over the course of my thighs burning like the fire of 1,000 suns, I started laughing. I couldn’t stop. I laughed and laughed and the woman next to me started laughing too. We both squatted there and laughed.

We extended our arms with our weights in our hands so we looked like a T for another 60 seconds.


We did lunges, 60 push ups, endless crunches. By the end I was equally exhausted and ebullient. My entire shirt was soaked through. I said thank you to C for the class. I told her it was great. I left and felt sad that there would be no more C for a while. She teaches elsewhere in town. I know she teaches a kickboxing class at my gym in the evenings, but it’s right at dinner time. Dinner time is the most important time in our house, so I won’t be going to that class. But I’m not ready to give C up just yet. I need to figure out how to get more C in my life. I love the challenge, the soreness and I’m not ready to give up that feeling of letting everything else go and just laughing.