If the Exercise Class Descriptions From My Gym Were Honest

Posted on
Jun 10, 2015

As my recent foray into Paleo eating suggests, I’ve tried (and triumphantly failed) to be healthier. A big component of that failure isn’t just that I like eating things made primarily of butter – it has to do with my woeful attempts at exercise. I regularly take classes that, had I known what I was signing up for, I never would have agreed to while sober.

Part of the blame lies with me – I tune out the instructors because I’m trying to figure out how, in a room lined with mirrors, I can pick the wedgie my workout pants give me without anyone noticing. Whenever the music starts, unsure of what to do, I flail around like my sports bra is on fire.

But the gyms and studios I frequent should also be held accountable, because the descriptions on their website are woefully vague: “energizing,” “fast-paced,” and “emphasizing strength and form” mean absolutely nothing. I’ve had naps and bowel movements that met all those criteria. But I think gyms rarely use more accurate descriptions, like “vomit in front of strangers” and “question if that’s sweat or urine on your pants,” because these might deter a more discerning customer.

To spare others from a similar fate, I’ve created new descriptions for some of these classes.



Based on the premise that if you can keep your heart operating at maximum capacity for long enough, it will eventually explode, burning, like, a shitload of calories. You will find yourself repeating the mantra – “Just one more set, and then you get to barf.” (Note: in the 80s, this exercise was called “cocaine.”)



Medieval torture to the tune of $35 an hour. If you can’t do the exercises (and unless you are in Cirque Du Soleil, you can’t), don’t worry – you’ll just fall through the machine on to the concrete below. Your face will absorb most of the impact.

Scenes from an actual class:




Thirty seconds in, and I started thinking that my patronus was the decaying body of a beached whale. I’m pretty sure every single other Lululemon-clad woman in class was a former ballet dancer who quit to become a bellybutton model. The instructor kept telling us to “Contort yourself into a position that is profoundly uncomfortable and inaccessible to most humans. Now, PULSE!” (I might be paraphrasing.) At one point we had to interact with a rubber ball in a capacity that, in certain cultures, would constitute marriage.


Circuit Training/Plyometrics

High-speed interval aerobics that make you feel like your little sister was selected as tribute in The Hunger Games and you had to take her place. Often taught by a lean, tattooed gazelle of a human who bounds around class like it’s a fucking meadow. Fear him. He’s from District 1.


Spin Class

Just save yourself the middle man and take a hammer to your knees. Alternatively called: “Now I know why hamsters eat their young.”


Mat Pilates

Because sometimes you want to lie on your back, with your legs spread at weird angles, writhing in pain. Most of the exercises seem like grotesque attempts at simulating childbirth. At some point, I may have blacked out.



Bikram Yoga

This is one of the worst things I’ve experienced as a consenting adult. Great preparations are taken to replicate the conditions you’d find if you were to practice yoga inside a human body cavity for 90 godforsaken minutes. Perfect for those that enjoy passing out onto carpet that smells like a yeast infection. (Shit that the instructor actually said during class: “Take only tiny sips of water during class, and not too often. Think of it as a treat.” She described something that is ESSENTIAL TO ALL LIFE ON EARTH AS. A. FUCKING. TREAT.)


Body Pump

Even though the word “pump” has never been used in reference to the human body in any pleasurable way, ever, I took this class. There I learned that you don’t need proper form or supervision while weight-training when you can just herniate a disc while listening to Katy Perry. Note: You will make noises that sound like you are trying to seduce a whale.




It’s sort of like being a marionette, if the person controlling your strings was being electrocuted. By the time you figure out how to do the actual workout without strangling yourself, everyone will have moved on to another exercise that you will also suck at.

Everyone else:



Fail_trx_incline_press_ups (1)



Pelvic thrusts in public, for those who wish to eliminate whatever shreds of dignity they may have left after Pilates. On the plus side, you get to relive the humiliation and peer rejection of a middle school dance as an adult.


Tracy Anderson – Arms

(Note: Tracy is the fitness sadomasochist to the stars. She has tortured Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna.)

A series of arm exercises that, were they replicated in water, would conveniently signal to a lifeguard that you are drowning. Starts off fairly tame, and works into a crescendo of trying to dislocate your shoulder while praying that a well-intentioned neighbor doesn’t see you and call a paramedic.


Please note that the guy on the left is just punching the air at random.


Tracey Anderson – Legs

Do you remember that fairy tale about the girl who puts on a pair of enchanted shoes, and then she can’t take them off and has to dance until she dies? (Also, WTF were kids allowed to watch in the 80s?) Anyway, this workout is basically that. You hold your leg aloft and kick, ideally while crying. Complete one million repetitions, and you disappear in a puff of lavender-scented smoke and are reborn as Gwyneth Paltrow.


This isn’t a gif. It’s a live feed video of her doing it an infinite number of times.


And this, dear friends, is why in high school I lettered in Debate, Academics, and Drama.

Leave a Comment

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • I have lamented the existence of blue M&Ms (and mourned the loss of my beloved tan candies) for a long time. I've been systematically eating only the blue ones to try to return to my beloved 80s palette, and we're almost there.

  • We may have gotten a little drastic at the salon today and I'm so delighted. I forgot how much I love having short hair. ❤️💇‍♀️
  • Okay, so maybe this unexpected cameo had us cracking up and also screaming at the TV.
  • Whirlwind trip with Captain Twinkly Eyes now over. So excited to write about the amazing shows we saw. Thank you for a wonderful time, @osfashland! See you again very soon.
  • Last show of the weekend, and the third in 24 hours. Phew! Thank you, @osfashland. #hairsprayosf
  • Me: Are you cold? Do you want to borrow my giant scarf?

Him: Yes. (Minutes later he started singing American Woman because he apparently knows that meme.)
  • Show #2. Thanks, @osfashland. We're so excited for Cambodian Rock Band. The energy of opening weekend is just so magical.
  • Me: "I want to do an Instagram style vignette with our @osfashland tickets." Him: "I want to be in it." #cambodianrockband #osf2019 #oregonshakespearefestival
  • It begins! So excited for opening weekend of this season's Oregon Shakespeare Festival!
  • My brother keeps using his phone's autoresponses to reply to texts and the niceness is so out of character it alarms me.

#growingupwithsiblings #siblingrivalry #hessortofamonster

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.