Sweat slides across my forehead. I kick my crouched legs into a pushup position and as pop-techno jams pulse through my brain, I desperately try and keep up with the petite blonde bundle of energy bouncing around at the front of the room.
“Keep moving guys! You can do it!” yells Lizzie Newton... and for a second I believe her. Until we begin one more round of modified burpees, and I feel like I may collapse into a heap of wasted potential.
I had arrived at Total Fitness in Seekonk 45 minutes earlier and, at that point, felt nothing but excitement. I naively thought that despite my yearlong break from a regimented fitness routine, I could handle a group exercise class, even one that holds the rather ominous title of Insanity. I was so stupidly confident; I hadn’t even thought to bring a water bottle. Obviously, I must be mad.
When Lizzie first greets me, her positive nature and infectious, upbeat attitude only adds to my false sense of security. She encourages me that this will be fun – challenging, but fun. My selective hearing only chooses to acknowledge the “fun” part.
After a few more bodies join our spandex-clad group, we enter the dimly lit room and randomly align ourselves in front of the mirrored wall. Lizzie briefly explains the class structure. “Alright, ready guys? It’s time for warm ups, let’s go!” Yeah! I’m pumped... let’s do this. And five minutes later, I’m dying.
But somehow, perhaps through sheer stubborn will, I don’t give up. It also helps that everyone in the class seems to be supporting each other – whether it be with an intermittent “whoop!” or “yeah!” or a smile of encouragement reflected in the mirror. After 15 minutes of constant squats, push-ups and jumping jacks, I don’t quit. When Lizzie asks us to plant our hands on the floor and hop over an invisible obstacle for minutes at a time, I persevere. I falter slightly, sure, but I surprisingly find myself enjoying this.
As the hour winds down my beet red, steamy self begins to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Lizzie slows the pace, we begin to stretch and as I catch what little breath I have left, the lyrics from Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” echo through the room: “I’m capable of anything...”
Sing it, Katy... because apparently, I am capable. More than capable. Not only that, as I leave I feel an endorphin rush that beats out any kind of artificial high I could have gotten from sitting on the couch watching the latest twist in a Game of Thrones episode. Insanity? Bring it on.