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
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.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE ART.
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.
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