Friday, November 25, 2011

Killer Beth: the perfect after-Thanksgiving Step instructor

It was fight or flight time at approximately 8:35 a.m. today when I walked into the aerobics studio at the Y. I had seen her in the life center during the past year, killing it on the elliptical like someone cross-country skiing away from a polar bear. But I hadn't seen her in this setting for five years.

Killer Beth.

Years ago, the first Step aerobics class I ever took at the Y was at 5:30 p.m., and it was so hard, I had to leave halfway through. I asked someone the next day if Step classes are always so vigorous, and the woman asked me which class I had attended. When I told her the time, she said, "Oh no, honey. That's Killer Beth. You have to work up to her."

Never were truer words spoken. During the past week, I have been incorporating Step classes back into my routine, proud of myself for jumping right in with the risers and being able to finish the morning classes without water breaks. But I was not ready for Beth. Many of us weren't. A few people left. We were all taking water breaks. It's amazing how different that class can be with each instructor, considering it's the same equipment and the same basic movements. But Beth uses a faster tempo CD, so every movement is a half step faster. She's a fan of double and triple movements, which ups the ante again. And when class begins, it's work time. No messing around getting warmed up with easy movements at first. She's all in. All bidness. And yet, from start to finish, she has the sunniest demeanor, kindest voice, never out of breath.

The woman is like a beautiful machine.

And I was like a dumptruck stuck in neutral, grinding gears to try and lunge forward ... then backward ... then forward.

It's as if she knew what we all had eaten yesterday. She saw the words "pumpkin cheesecake" written on my forehead, and she responded accordingly with lunges. So many lunges.

It was agony, and it was exactly what I needed. So at the end of class, I asked Beth if she still teaches regularly. She does, at 5:40 p.m. on Thursdays. So I told her, "Well, I better start coming because that about killed me."

And fittingly, as I gingerly lowered myself into my car, glasses fogging up from my hot, red face, the song "You Must Be Out of Your Mind" was playing on the radio as I turned on the car.


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