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Tabata: or How to Kill Yourself in 20 Second Increments

I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne. I’ll admit it. I fucking love yacht rock. But I’ll tell you what I don’t love and that’s a little free class at the local YMCA called Tabata. Really, it should be listed with a subtitle: For those interested in killing themselves in 20 second increments. So, if that’s not selling it for ya, let me teach you about the wonderful world of HIIT training. That stands for Highly Insensitive Inconsolable Training. No, really it’s High Intensity Interval Training. The militaristic acronym is appropriate as I continually thought “Why are you hitting yourself?! Why are you hitting yourself?!”

The entire time I was trying to workout, a siren would blast warnings at you with the dispassionate voice of a B-list voice actor. He commanded, from unseen but overblown speakers, when to rest and when to get your big butt on the dance floor. It made me think of hiding under the nearest school desk and waiting for THE END. Well, naturally I had only endured 2 minutes of this crazy system of jumping up steps, squatting like an aerobics-inclined sasquatch and suddenly everyone is in a push up position, sliding around on these flimsy synthetic discs like they just drank two bottles of Pinot Grigio at the local skating rink and thought it was a good idea to play Twister.

I kept watching the clock and realizing, slowly but surely, I could not endure another 30 minutes of this ear-splitting, rump-shaking, thigh-quaking workout from hell. The buzzer frazzled my brains one more time before I managed to hop over various body parts to get out of the overcrowded classroom. And, oh yeah, the mirrors. The mirrors are wonderful until you realize, ugh, that’s me. Yep. That’s definitely me. Not the cute one with neon pink leg warmers, nice rack and perky, effortless updo. No, no no. I’m the round one. The one that looks like a chocolate chip cookie that just rolled out of bed, pulled on some rainbow stretchy pants [for fun] and a black Flashdance t-shirt so she could look like she had the Eye of the Tiger this morning.
Instead, I give my mommy friend who invited me to Tabata this morning, oh I give her the universal sign of slicing my throat to say I quit and I shake my head and laugh.
I step outside the classroom and breathe a big, chocolate chip cookie sigh of relief. Ah, no more air raid sirens. No more mind control commandments. Rest! Go! Work! Work! Work! Push it! 20 seconds! Push it!

Push what, exactly? I push the button for the water fountain and walk to my car saying, “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?”

I have not gone back to Tabata class, but I still hear the buzzer sometimes when I walk by and I give it a big middle finger with an acrylic nail that says “Love.”

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