Damaged Goods

As a group exercise instructor (which, by the way, is just a fancy, more respected way of saying aerobics instructor. I personally love the aerobic instructors of the 80s, but I understand the need to sound more legit as the profession becomes more edumucated [sic]on fitness and health), I’ve had my share of embarrassing situations.Believe me, when you’re a natural klutz, put in front of a room of people doing choreography regularly, you’re bound to have a couple oh-God-please-let-me-die moments every now and again. I had two of those moments in one class recently. Pull up a chair. It’s story time, kids.

Wet, Damaged Goods: A Tale of Two Doozies
By: Grace

She knew something was amiss as soon as she awoke, just minutes before her alarm went off. Was it the overcast skies? No, with skin the color of ivory, she’d never been bothered by a few clouds. Was it a leftover feeling from a bad dream? Not likely, she’d slept harder than her husband’s weight rack. Was it an impending sense of doom? “I hope not,” she thought.

An hour later, she arrived for work, clad in her finest workout attire. Today, she was teaching a bootcamp class on the lawn of a respected art museum. She had long looked forward to spending time next to large sculptures constructed by well-known names in the art world. Soon after setting up her equipment, her participants started to arrive. She led them through a rousing warm-up, then a quick run around the museum, then lunges. Next, she instructed them to sprint to the farthest sculpture. Once there, the group did calf raises, using the sculpture for balance support if needed. Then suddenly, the peaceful landscape was broken by an abrupt noise.


Then a security guard approaching. “Ma’am, no one is allowed to touch the sculptures.”

Mortified at her ignorance and sheer lack of common sense, she apologized and continued teaching, instructing the class to jog far, far away from the sculptures and towards the spot where the class began and where the resistance bands were stored. She told the group to grab a resistance band and partner up. Off in the distance,a dark cloud loomed.

“One partner should wrap his or her resistance band around their partner’s waist. Then, squat down and hold tight while the partner runs forward, simulating an uphill climb,” she told them.

The group begins, “running.” Then, the sounds: POP, followed by “OWWW!”

Turns out, one of the resistance bands was faulty. A handle had popped clear off, clocking one participant in the arm and knuckles with the quickness of a Velociraptor, leaving a bruise instantly. As the instructor and the one in charge, she immediately ran in a panic for the first aid kit, rummaging through it to find an emergency ice packs. Thankfully, she found three of them and started massaging one to activate it. And then, something strange happened. The pack started to become warm not cold.

“What the &%$@#?!” she thought. She double checked the package. Nope, it said “Instant Ice Pack,” NOT “Instant Hot Pack.” She kept massaging, and the package kept getting hotter.

Freaked the heck out with her class watching this unfortunate turn of events, she tried another instant ice pack, then another. Same thing. All three of them were getting warm, not cold.

“Ah, to hell with it,” she thought, grabbing her ice water and pouring it over the participant’s hand. Thankfully, the water was cold enough to minimize the swelling and provide the poor woman some relief.

“Okay, back to the workout,” she told the class, as she pulled herself together for the last half of the class. “Everyone squat down, knees behind their toes…”

The class was interrupted by yet another noise: RUMBLE. RUMBLE. RUMBLE.

Then rain fell from the sky as if it had waited its whole life for this one moment. A moment to release its utter frustration on one abysmal bootcamp, ending what never should have begun.

“Class dismissed,” she told the group, hanging her head.

The end.

funny pictures

I’m not gonna lie; I went home, felt sorry for myself, shed a few tears and ate my go-to bad day snack: ice cream. There’s nothing worse than feeling responsible for another’s injury, especially when you’re supposed to be making participants healthier, not bruising them. Of the missteps that day, the injury was by far the worst.

Thankfully, these types of incidents aren’t the norm for me, but tell me, even if it’s just to have pity on me, what’s the worst workout experience you’ve had? Can you top that? Feel free to write in first or third person. —Jenn

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  1. Erica says:

    Hahaha- thank you for this post :). I always have this vision of showing up to class having forgotten to put on a sports bra or socks or something else ridiculous like that. We certainly all have our off days, but they make our days that we’re on that much better!

  2. zandria says:

    Oh, wow! That’s a lot of unfortunate events right there! Very funny in hindsight, though. 🙂

  3. Metroknow says:

    Great story Jenn – ever figure out what the heck was up with the so-called “ice” packs?

  4. Crabby McSlacker says:

    Oh dear–poor woman! But it’s not like you could really have anticipated something like that.

    And how frustrating about the fake ice packs!

  5. workout mommy says:

    Those bands are dangerous!

    I tore my meniscus using one about 8 years ago. I stumbled during the exercise and my knee went one way while my leg went the other. OUCH!

    as for my participants, one time I had a lady in spin class throw up b/c she was working so hard. Yea, that really put a damper on the class enthusiasm!

  6. Carol says:

    One day while in boot camp, we had to pair up and while one woman held my feet, I had to do sit ups. I accidentally loudly passed gas right in front of this woman’s face! So embarrasing! I would have felt worse, except this was the same woman who asked me how far along I was, and I was NOT pregnant!

  7. Jenn says:

    Oh my gosh, you guys make me feel so better! Everyone has a story to tell, right? And boy oh boy does it build character. 😉

    And no, the ice packs still remain a mystery! They were only about a month old and they were supposed to be the kind that you could store anywhere (AKA a car in June). I should complain to the manufacturer…

  8. eatingbender says:

    Ahh I really could relate to this post. Not because something like that has specifically happened to me, but because I am one of THE most unluckiest people in the world and once one bad thing happens, it starts a chain of unfortunate events, just like in your story. I can’t think of a specific one on the spot, but trust me – it happens to all of us ;o) Some – like myself – more than others! Haha, thanks for sharing!

  9. MizFit says:

    I love that you can look back and LAUGH (even through an icecream haze. here’s hoping it was the fancypants decadent stuff :))


  10. Angie says:

    OMG!! That made me laugh so hard! (Sorry Jenn) So far, nothing like that has happened to me in boot camp, but seriously is my biggest fear! Here’s hoping I don’t have a story to share for a LOOOONG time! 😀

  11. tangog1rl says:

    I’m really late but I just read this.I can say that breaking my ankle by falling off a rock climbing gym wall and landing on the *very padded fluffy mat* (?!) was the klutziest move…I didn’t know it was possible to land on a mattress and break something but the angle I landed just made it snap! And you could hear it! So now I am famous at the rock climbing gym for being the “girl who broke her ankle on the mattress”:)

  12. docsharon says:

    The worst fitness experience I ever had was in a Pilates class with Reformers. I was singled out in front of the whole class because I was a “reverse breather”, whatever that means. I was told that I could not come back to the class until I learned how to breathe correctly and should avail myself of individual instruction. I was so mortified that I never went back.

  13. Hannah says:

    My worst workout experience was when I had to borrow a school bike for an outdoor recreation PE class and I couldn’t figure out how to change the gears. I was working way harder than I needed to, and my partner who was supposed to stay with me the whole time kept having to stop and wait for me to catch up. After the first day’s “easy” warm-up ride, I felt like I was dying, and I ended up throwing up in the locker room. I switched to an aerobics class for my PE credit after that. I decided that biking was not really my thing.