My spine is not what it could be, after two spinal fusion operations, one fractured vertebrae and a couple of pregnancies. Carrying around one tiny person and one chunky one is taking its toll. I’m trying Pilates to get my body in shape for the physical marathon that is motherhood.
Pilates works to strengthen the core muscles of the trunk. Now I’m getting a little more use to it, but for my first session I think my internal organs got a serious massage. I got gassier and gassier as the hour rolled on. While Tony, the earnest, camp instructor crouched with his head at my belly to see if I was getting the stomach breathing right, sweat beaded my forehead as I tried desperately not to fart.
Then Ange worked on my pelvic floor, the muscle that means you don’t wet your pants every time somebody tells a good joke. Ange wears cats-eye glasses and has the twitchy demeanour of a school librarian who hasn’t quite got the dosage of her medication right. Beside me on her hands and knees, Ann leaned in and stage-whispered ‘You must work HARD on this muscle for SEXUAL reasons; it will improve the FEEL of you for your partner and really STRENGTHEN your orgasm.’ Ew! Ew! Worse, then her partner arrived, a weaselley little man with a Hitler moustache. I just kept picturing Ann and him having sex and him complimenting her pelvic floor as she smiled proudly.
I hate gyms. The vibe of the room is always wierd, and you sort of have to pretend you're really happy to be there, rather than watching the clock, planning dinner and not farting. The trainers constantly laugh at ordinary conversation, while any attempt at actual funny sinks like a stone.
Tony, for example: Feeling cranky tonight. Must have missed my coffee!
The room at large: Ah HA HA! Ah ha ha HA HA!
Tony: Keep your feet in place there. We really don’t want any broken bones in here!
The room: Ooh! HA! Ha ha ha! Oh, Trevor.
But when a ball I was holding between my feet fell to the floor and Tony picked it up:
Me: Hey, I think my balls just dropped.
Tony: Now, that’s because you lost pressure between your feet. Let’s try again.
At least I didn’t wet myself, or audibly break wind. I’m counting that as a social success. And hey - my stomach muscles might not get any tighter with Pilates, but my sphincter could snap a pencil.