If you are new to the US, what immediately strikes you is the abundance of sugar everywhere. It must be the new white gold.
The other day, I tried to buy a can of beans without added sugar. I spend about ten minutes reading the label of every brand and type of bean at the supermarket and ended up going home beanless. If it is not sugar, it is corn syrup, which is apparently the new gluten. Me and and my body are not used to this kind of unremitting sugar intake, so it is kind of obvious what is going to happen. On the bright side, it might include a lot of shopping trips for bigger clothes to all those great malls in and around Williamsburg. On the downside, it might mean that my friends over there might not recognize me once I get back.
So I decided to do what most W&M students do. After all, they are a pretty smart crowd and following their example is usually a good idea. Get some exercise! I went to the rec center and signed up for classes. So far, body pump has been quite an experience in many different ways. Basically, you are in a group lifting weights while the instructor (by default a really good-looking person who seems to lift all the weight of the world effortlessly and with a bright smile on their face) plays some catchy dance music and encourages you to keep going. So all in all, it seems to be quite a good concept and there’s always a really nice and motivating atmosphere that makes those 45 minutes go by very quickly.
Unfortunately, though, I am not exactly the athletic type.
Also, I might have studied foreign languages and literatures at university for a while, but the fields covering athleticism and sports were somehow never covered in class. This might change as soon as the first sports novel enters the canon, though. So let’s hope that at some point a talented writer will publish something along the lines of “Soccer Game Lost”, “Moby Kick” or “Racin’ in the Sun”. But I digress. What I am basically saying is that I am not only not sporty, but also unable to talk about sports. Or understand other people talking about sports in English.
So in my body pump class, I do not only stick out because of a complete lack of strength paired with the kind of clumsiness that is beyond not even cute anymore, I also stick out because of a certain inability to follow instructions. In a nutshell, it is a great opportunity for me to learn many different aspects of exercising in the US on both a physical and an intellectual level. At the same time, it is an accident waiting to happen. Until then, I keep being amazed by what I am learning. Apparently, you do not need to be a cowboy in order to walk like one if you have been to body pump. Also, I have experienced that “two by two” does not always equal four, but sometimes simply equals pain. And all this talk about “apps” (bless my German accent) does not need to involve smart phones. It can also result in your entire abdomen being sore.
But as I said: it is all a very interesting learning experience. I still wonder, how all the William and Mary students are doing it, though. I have never seen anyone of you walking like a cowboy. But maybe I am just not paying enough attention. So if you ever see me and happen to feel sore, just whisper the secret formula “Ich habe Muskelkater” into my ear. That’s German for “I feel sore”, or, to translate directly: “I have a muscle hang-over”.