I used to go to the gym most mornings before work, because I didn't have to be there until lunchtime. Then my schedule changed, so now my day starts at 8:30. In order to take care of my morning tasks, get to the gym, shower, and drive to work, I'd have to set my alarm for before 6:00. I refuse to get moving that early!
It's too hot to do any type of exercise outside, so I've been trying to hit the gym on the way home from work in the early afternoon, with mixed results. I really do better with a structured class setting, and there's nothing available at that time. Using a treadmill (or cross trainer or exercise bike) is not something I enjoy. Yesterday I decided to wait until the evening and go for a class. There were three consecutive options, but the one that fit my schedule best was called "Dynamics". The name didn't give any clues about the structure of the class, but I figured I would give it a try, so right after dinner I put on exercise clothes (so I wouldn't get sucked into Internet World) and left the house.
The parking lot was packed, and shortly before the class started people started assembling in front of the group exercise room door waiting for the previous class to finish. When the door opened, there was a small group of 20- and 30-something women and several fit-looking men. And me.
The instructor, one of the gym's personal trainers, told us to set up the complete compliment of equipment: a step and risers, a barbell, hand weights, and a mat. While I gathered my things I checked out the competition. Some people were carrying six or eight risers for their steps and 10 pound hand weights. I decided to take four risers (two on each side), pairs of 5 and 8 pound weights, and a barbell with small and medium plates so I could be prepared for anything.
I claimed my favorite spot in the back of the room, right under a ceiling fan. That turned out to be a good thing. The instructor didn't wear a microphone, so it was hard to hear the instructions over the music, but from my vantage point I could watch everyone else and figure it out. I could also check out their progress. A couple of them were going all out, but I was pleasantly surprised that I could keep up with the majority of the group, except for anything that required shoulder strength (the right one is weak as a result of a stupid dodge-ball incident a couple of years ago).
The class lasted 45 minutes, and it was an intense series of circuit training exercises (one minute for each exercise). It helped that the music had a good beat, and it was easy to match my pace to it. At the end I was sweaty, energized, and happy. And ready to take 'em on again next time.