In my quest to discover a form of exercise that burns fat at the speed of light, I came across something called "British Military Fitness". I was flipping through a mag and there was a double page spread on this "revolutionary concept." Even better, classes were purportedly held at the James & Ethel Park which is right up my street – literally. I took this as a sign and decided to enroll. It turned out there was no need to sign one's life away since British Military Fitness was offering a free trial session. Not wanting to go to the army alone, I started a little recruitment drive and before I knew it, five of my mates were keen as beans.
Until the day arrived, that is.
Suddenly, I was bombarded with the lamest of excuses like "I went to gym this morning" and "I've done my back in" and "my gym clothes are in the wash". Thank God, one friend was too nice to bail and so together she and I headed off to Zoo Lake (where the current sessions are being held since the James & Ethel Park is apparently too dark in winter).
As my friend and I approached, we were greeted by the Sergeant in charge. The Sarge was lean and mean and was dressed in full-on camo gear. He basically looked as though he'd just stepped off the set of The Hurt Locker – only better. My friend (a fellow Smug Married) gave me a look that said, "our single mates would never have bailed if they'd known about this piece of eye candy". Oh well, served them right for bailing.
But then she turned to me with a look of sheer terror. She started pointing ahead of us, then turned to the Sarge and stammered:
"Are those… boys?"
"They certainly are!" the Sarge responded with a grin. "We run mixed classes!
Yippee. PT class. Only better. We got to compete with grown men.
Still in shock, we tried to fill out our little health questionnaires while our hands shook. The last question was:
a) extremely fit;
b) very fit;
f) strictly sedentary?"
Since I've done more exercise as a lady of leisure in the last year, than I have done in my entire 31 years on this planet, I was inclined to tick "fit". Something told me not to, though, so I chose to undersell myself and circled "average" instead. My friend took one look at the herd of muscular men, ticked "unfit" and then looked at the Sarge as if to say, "and what you gonna do about it, huh?". Because 50% of us had deemed ourselves "unfit", we were told that we'd be joining the "bottom group". My God, it was exactly like PT. I started having flash-backs to Std 3 Rounders games where the teacher would call on the two cheerleader-types to "pick their teams". I was usually about third-last to be picked and am still undergoing psychological treatment for this. Yet, here I was, in the middle of Zoo Lake in the pitch dark in the dead of winter, being sent to the "bottom team". What the frick was I thinking?
The best was yet to come. The "bottom group" gathered around to welcome us two newcomers, while the Serge made his little induction speech. Something about "it's not a competition" and "enjoy yourself" etc, etc. Whatever. Then came a statement which got my full attention: "Oh, and this is a park, so please watch out for ticks". WTF? Ticks? But before my mate and I could protest our team was "hup-two-three-four"-ing across the Zoo Lake grounds. The rest of the hour was spent jumping, hopping, press-upping, wheel-barrow walking and running around like little spastic soldiers. I discovered that the Sarge had unfortunately been very accurate in his categorisation – I was most definitely on a par with the "bottom group" and only just as fit as my so-called "unfit" friend.
What did I learn? PT is physical AND emotional torture whether you're 13 or 30. The only difference, I discovered, is that when boys become men they drink beer and so they're alot less intimidating during PT – well, at least that was true for the men in the bottom group. I don't think the one dude had lifted more than the remote control since high school. At least his heavy panting drowned out the sounds of our groans and complaints.
We finished off the session with stretches – whilst lying prostate on the mucky, muddy Zoo Lake grass. When I felt something crawling on the back of my neck, I remembered the "tick" warning. I think that about sums up how cut out I am for military fitness – be it British, Tibetan or any other variety.
The next evening, I decided that a leisurely walk around my suburb with my neighbour was a much better idea. We'd been walking for a little while when two enormous Doberman-type hounds came bounding over. I was pushing my neighbour's 1-year old in her pram when these dogs practically appeared out of nowhere and start jumping all over us – barking, licking, slobbering and generally going crazy. As we were looking around to try and figure out which property they'd escaped from, we heard a voice:
"Frankie-e-e-e! Rust-e-e-e!" We looked again. The voice was coming from the inside of an enormous Merc that had just pulled up alongside us.
"Sorry-e-e-e-e!!!" the kugel in the driver's seat drawled when she saw us. "Dzzon't worry, they're v-e-e-e-ry friendly-e-e-e."
Then she pursed her red lips together, made little smooching noises, and yelled ""Frankie-e-e-e! Rusty-e-e-e!". Then she started slapping her one hand against the outside of the her door and screamed, "Come boys, walkies!" before speeding off in her C-class with Rusty and Frankie following in her exhaust fumes.
So that's how it's done! So much for PT at Zoo Lake. I really must get a better grip on this Lady of Leisure thing.