Think of this as a sort of call-and-response. Or my way of saying, “It’s okay, Zack; I’m training for the apocalypse too.” Or something.
I’ve joined a new gym. In this gym, it seems everyone who walks through the door is already a powerlifter, obsessed with CrossFit, or otherwise just incredibly fit with a surprising amount of strength and energy. So I may or may not be feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I’ve jumped right into the routine anyway, figuring their energy might rub off on me and get my butt in gear. (By gear, I mean a smaller pants size.)
As part of my new routine, I dropped in for a kickboxing class earlier in the week. I figured it’d be a piece of cake, with all the time I spent kickboxing with the Marines etc. out in California, but boy was I wrong. I got a great workout despite the fact that I fumbled through most of the class, which, as it turned out, was full of people who clearly attend regularly and have the routine memorized. The moment the music started, the soft-spoken, sweet faced instructor instantly metamorphosed into a rough and tough wannabe drill instructor. She kicked, she shouted, she punched, she frowned, and all the while she uttered lines like, “Get it in gear! You’ve got to escape this fight alive!” or “Give ’em one right to the gut! Kill!”
I’m motivated by stuff like this, so I actually get something out of pretending that my reflection in the mirror is my enemy and I’m smashing their jaw with my fist or chopping their midsection with the blade of my hand. I’m also more than a bit intimidated by the thought that if I were to stop mid-way through the class, I’d get my ass kicked by the instructor, so all things considered the hour became a very effective workout for me.
We were 45 minutes into the workout when the sweaty, possibly testosterone-charged instructor decided to ramp up the intensity a bit by introducing a new enemy to the workout. Until this point she’d repeatedly coached us through imagining the person in the mirror to be an attacker or otherwise someone we’d just like to beat the living snot out of; the nameless, faceless enemy was motivation enough to punch harder and kick further. But following the standard operating practices of this particular gym, once we’d hit our max and we were already firing on all cylinders, the instructor wanted us to give it a bit more and push the workout to the point of ridiculousness. She pasted a face on that anonymous enemy attacker as she picked up the pace and screamed, “You’re in a corner! The zombies are all over you! You’ve got to hit harder and faster if you’re going to make it out alive!”
Yeah, girlfriend said “zombies.”
In fact, girlfriend actually screamed “zombies,” and had my brain not already been screaming for more oxygen I’d probably have lost what was left of my 1% remaining composure at this point in the workout. As it was, though, my pause had to be momentary and mostly internal before I launched into a more violent series of kicks and chops.
When I recounted the tale to B later that evening, he laughed and said, “Oh, that’s an easy one! That woman is dumb; there’s no punching or kicking involved with zombies!” Then he raised his arms, pretended to sight in a rifle, and pulled the trigger.
Who wants to bet on how my next kickboxing class will go? 😉