Aerobics fever: move over, Jane Fonda!

Redoubling my efforts to find a way to stay in shape while tennis elbow issues are keeping me off the court, I checked out an aerobics class at a fitness studio called Uforia that opened two years ago in a historic building formerly belonging to the AME Zion Church. It’s pretty cool to be working out and glance up to see stained glass windows.

The class was called “fever,” billed as “a fun and athletic aerobics inspired class.” Supposedly it would be “45 minutes of heart pounding, sweat pouring and smile inducing fun,” and no prior dance or fitness training was required, just a readiness to come and move. The description also added that “Jane Fonda won’t know what hit her.”

Aerobics fashion: check

Great, I was there. I showed up early, attired in black Nike capris and a racerback tank — clothes I thought would help me blend in, fashion-wise. I didn’t want to stand out as dorky, or edgy. As others arrived, I decided my clothing choice had been good, but if I continued with this class, I would definitely need to upgrade my shoes.




Aerobics moves: not so much

Our instructor connected her iPod to the speaker system and put on her cordless mic. After a bit of stretching and warm-up, we plunged into the moves. “Lunge right, feet together, lunge left, feet together. Now forward, two three four, back, two three four. Grapevine right, two three four. Left, two three four. Add a twist, two three four. Left, two three four.”

She shouted over the pulsing beat, pointing right and left to help us stay in step. By the end of the first song, I was back in the aerobics class I used to do in a converted store at the mall during evenings between my sophomore and junior years in college. For me, it was 1982. Jane Fonda had just released her first Workout video:

How ’bout those high-cut leotards? Hopefully they won’t come back, the way some fashions do. I was reminded of being on college tours with my daughter. When we visited my own school, our student tour guide was energized to hear I had lived in the residential college that enjoyed some small fame for an Austin Powers-style party. “Essentially, it mocks the ’80’s — it’s become quite the tradition, I’m sure you remember it.”

I had to remind him that actually, I was in college during the ’80’s, so it would technically be my generation that the party would be mocking. No problem.

Back to aerobics. As I continued my 1980’s reverie, I thought, “If only she would play The Pointer Sisters, this would be so perfect.” And I’m not kidding — the next song was Jump. Even listening to thirty seconds of it will lift your mood:

I used to be able to do aerobics

Funny how music takes you back. I tried to keep moving my feet, but I was so caught up in my memories of college, friends, parties, being young — I didn’t care whether my steps matched those of the other people in class. Now totally into myself, I thought, we have to play Earth, Wind & Fire. And for some reason, I wasn’t even surprised when September cued up. (Again, you might not want to watch the whole clip, but let nostalgia be your guide!)

After class, I thanked our teacher for giving me the incredible memories. I also asked when she had been born, because I was guessing she was still a child when I did a class like this in 1982 (she was). While I enjoyed the “fever” experience that day, I think aerobics are something that, like high-cut leotards, I need to leave back in the ’80s’s. It was too hard for me to confront the fact that, thirty years ago, I could actually do this stuff.

Uforia’s approach to aerobic exercise is fun — it offers an updated twist on the classics. However, it appears I need to find an activity where I can turn off my brain. This class wasn’t that, at least not the day I went. I might have to go back, though, as there’s one more move — kick ball change — and one more song I’m waiting to hear.


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