Our ‘step’ teacher at the Karen Club who I love and admire, but who obviously finds me utterly maddening, was away for a couple of weeks, so I booked a kick boxing class, a one on one session with Isaac the instructor.
In Kenya we can pretend we are celebrities and hire a personal trainer to help us get in shape, without having to pay astronomical amounts for the privilege. My lesson did seem like the height of decadence, but hey ho, what’s the harm in trying something new once?
If you are ever tempted to do any one-on-one fitness training I would advise shaving your armpits especially if planning to wear a sleeveless top. Don’t be tempted to think; ‘not too bad’ as I was, then spend more than an hour regretting it during the course of the lesson, with arms firmly fixed by my sides. Second, make sure that your level of fitness is passable, as there is no escape and excuses won’t do when asked to repeat another set of ten sit ups or press ups. Joining a packed aerobics class and staying near that back is much easier, as you can easily skip some moves when out of breath whilst mopping your brow with a towel or taking some water. As my hands were being bandaged to protect my weedy knuckles and wrists and the gloves went on I did feel a surge of girl power although these thoughts quickly slid away when I felt the sensation of a drippy nose, an irritating itch that needed scratching and a desperate urge to grab my water bottle and have a long drink. Instead I was incapacitated by foam and red leather mitts wondering whether that was indeed cramp developing in my index finger. Isaac kindly held the water bottle to my lips and I felt this whole ‘personal trainer’ experience was getting a little too personal for both of us.
The punching and kicking was quite fun but having someone stretch out your legs and arms for you whilst lying on the floor was weird…and painful, especially the arm lock?! A five minute back massage was unexpected and very welcome, but when my hands were freed from the gloves they started uncontrollably shaking like those of an old lady. Applying post work out mascara was impossible.
After a few days, when the arthritic feeling in my fingers had finally passed, I decided I had enjoyed it, but perhaps the session should be a once a month thing, or bi monthly, maybe annual! A worse result of the lesson was that I went through a crisis that really life is too short for kick boxing and I should be doing something more worthwhile with my time, like charity work (as my Mum reminded me). All this keeping fit stuff is a drag, but working exercise into a daily routine is nigh on impossible, as we drive everywhere and are completely spoiled, never doing housework etc. I do think it was worthwhile giving a deserving Isaac 1,000 shillings, cash in hand, so perhaps that justifies the whole experience.