I Took A Physique 57 Class and Lived To Blog About It

by Marinka on March 17, 2010

Over the weekend, I get a great idea!

On Monday morning, I will take a Physique 57 class! I will do it early in the morning, so as to have more time to enjoy my new found fitness!

I read the website and learn that I need to wear socks to class. This is good to know!

I also learn that as a first timer, I need to come fifteen minutes early so that the instructor can go over some basics, review my fitness history and offer me encouragement. I am excited because I’m certain that by “encouragement” they mean “treats” and I really like those.

I set my Blackberry alarm for 5:50 am and go to sleep feeling all pre-in excellent shape! As far as I’m concerned, the hard part, taking the first step, is done!

I sit up in bed on Monday morning at 6 am. Apparently, when you’re setting your Blackberry alarm, you shouldn’t set it to “silent”. You’d think that there’s be some sort of a public service announcement about it, or a constitutional amendment, but there isn’t. More evidence of anti-semitism.

But “fortunately”, I am still on time to be fifteen minutes early.

The woman at the front desk greets me and tells me where to put my coat and purse and I immediately forget what she said. She tells me where the class will be and that I should pick a set of light and heavy weights. I assume that there are two types of weights and that I should take one of each, but in reality, there are a kazillion of them, ranging from one pound to twelve pounds, so I am instantly mathematically flummoxed. I finally settle on 2 lbs. as my light weights and 4 lbs. as my heavy weights. And yes, I did consider the 1 lb./2 lb. combination instead, but I’m here to “push” myself.

I sit on the floor and faux-stretch, because I don’t want to hurt myself unncessarily.

Then something weird happens. The room start to fill up with other women. But instead of normal looking women in sweatpants and hips padded for warmth, these are some sort of gazelle/Clysdesdale hybrids. They saunter in, one after another, and line themselves by the ballet barre and suddenly I realize who they remind me of, with their high pitched pony tails and perfect bodies. You know when all the Project Runway models are lined up at the end of Models of the Runway, wearing black and looking stunning? Yes. It’s like that except now they’re all in my class. And except for our facial features, I’m resembling a pregnant Heidi Klum.

But I’m still excited! Look, there’s our teacher! She is pretty and nice and hooks up one of those mikes to her ear that makes me think she’s Madonna or a control tower operated or that my references are really dated and she asks if it’s anyone’s first time, and I raise my hand and here she comes, smiling, to offer me encouragement. She compliments me on my baby weights (note to self: take steroids to power lift before next class) asks me what my fitness regimen is and I tell her that it’s limited, because I don’t want her to be intimidated by my yoga practice and she says “well, this is going to be challenging for you, but just remember to breathe.”

Which is fantastic advice. Fantastic. I mean, I feel like I should probably go home now and just think about the breathing, because if I don’t breathe, I’m dead and she just saved my life. I am high on oxygen and feel better already!

And then we all start some kind of arm waving, leg kicking nonsense and after a while I feel the great kind of burn that lets me know that I’m getting really toned, and boy, I could use a break and maybe a bagel and that’s when I realize that we are wrapping up our warm up.

I would love to tell you what happened next, but there I am at the ballet barre, squeezing “the playground ball” as it’s unintimidatingly called by the teacher, with what are supposed to be my abs, and thinking, “hey, this isn’t so bad!” when I start to see black spots before my eyes. And quite possibly the Virgin Mary as well.

“You’re doing great,” the teacher says as she approaches me and readjusts absolutely everything about my position.
I flirt with the idea of leaving the room to search for an oxygen tank, but decide instead to take a brief break to readjust my pony tail. Because if there’s one thing that’s important to proper form, it’s a ponytail.

The class continues. At some point, I become alarmed that I signed up for some kind of contortionist training. Women are doing things with their bodies that I’m pretty sure are illegal in the Red states.

I am in root canal calibre pain.

We are ten minutes into the 57 minute class.

But like Patty Hearst, I bond with the teacher. Despite the awful things that she is telling me to do, she leas me through everything. “We’re doing ten reps!” she tells the class, starts to count and then approaches me for the necessary adjustments. Unfortunately for my classmates, the count is be suspended for the few hours that it takes to get me into proper form, so instead of doing ten reps, they end up doing eight thousand. Which is really for their own good, if you think about it. As a matter of fact, I think that Physique 57 is probably going to hire me as a teacher’s assistant.

There is more playground ball squeezing, some floor work and then it is over.

The teacher congratulates me and tells me that she is proud of me for sticking with it.
“Thank you,” I mouth, because somewhere at minute 15 I made a bargain with God that I would give up the spoken word if He made this hell on earth end.

It’s now two days later and everything still hurts. I can’t wait to go back.

One year ago ...

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

the mama bird diaries
March 17, 2010 at 12:32 am

I’m so proud of you. It’s so intimidating to go to a new exercise class. And Heidi Klum is gorgeous pregnant so you must look fabulous.


Bianca March 17, 2010 at 1:04 am

You did better than I could have! Good luck at round 2


Sophie March 17, 2010 at 4:10 am

We also have a similar hellhing. It’s only 45 minutes a round, and I still hate it. 9 more months until my subscription ends. I can take it no longer.


Beth March 17, 2010 at 6:13 am

I felt this way the first time I worked out with a trainer. And did you know? All trainers are escapees from hell. So, you survived a day with Lucifer’s minion.


Line March 17, 2010 at 8:15 am

This is just priceless…:O)


Jeanne March 17, 2010 at 10:06 am

I didn’t realize your hair was long enough for a ponytail. Great. Now I don’t even know who to look for. Nor do you, because,, to be perfectly honest, I only slightly resemble the raisin avatar on my site…..

We’ll work this out….


Suzy Voices March 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Congrats on a great start!!


March 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Absolutely fabulous! Love it!!

Found you through Queen of Shake Shake, should’ve known you’d be this funny, since you love her.

Hilarious….worth reading at least 5 more times…

Thank you, I need my funny people. I don’t know any real ones!!

I’ll be back (not to put any pressure on you, since, who am I, right?)


Tiffany March 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm

good for you–i probably would have pretended i needed to pee then never came back. that’s probably why i’m still fat.


Sophie, Inzaburbs March 17, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Keep it up! I am sure it will only take a few days for you to become a Gazelle/Cydesdale hybrid yourself. I mean, if everyone in class was one, it follows, right?
I really admire you for getting to the place. I can’t even keep an appointment with Wii Fit. Last time I switched it on the Wii politely informed me it had been 234 days since it had seen me last. Then asked me if I wanted to weigh myself. Demoralizing.


soccermom March 17, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Sounds like punishment. Do they have anything that is a little easier or slower start?


Phoenix Rising
March 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Thank God you posted this. I was beginning to consider attempting to lose my baby weight (from my 8 year old; the weight from the 6 month old will have to wait a few years. I don’t want to pull a muscle.) but see now how important it will be for me to get the whole breathing thing down first. So I’m just going to head on over to the couch and practice breathing while watching Project Runway reruns….


magpie March 17, 2010 at 11:10 pm



traci March 18, 2010 at 4:17 am

I can’t tell you how many times I offered to give up the spoken word if one of my pilates students would get in proper form. But I am sure they aren’t like that at 57, I mean, I did work at the YMCA.


elenka March 18, 2010 at 6:17 am

You always give me the chuckle that I need. I looked it up….even buying their video tape is expensive!! Good luck to you. I’ll be exercising my fingers typing this comment. Good enough.


christy March 18, 2010 at 9:40 am

You are so funny Marinka! Thank you for making me laugh this morning!! I hope you give us more insights into your workout regime!!


anna see March 18, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I am impressed. I think it would have killed me.


March 19, 2010 at 2:13 am

First of all, I feel old that you had to link to Patty Hearst so people would know who you are talking about (also check the spelling error in her name).

Also, sounds like you did great, considering they only gave you 15 minutes of encouragement. Is this fitness place on 57th Street or is it called this because you must complete 57 one-armed push-ups before you can leave?


Birdie March 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Good news! P57 sells DVDs of its exerise programs on their web site, so no need to go into the gym for further humiliation. You can exercise at home without an instructor watching to make sure you complete all 57 reps of every exercise! Just ignore her when she looks into the camera and says, “No cheating, Marinka!”


March 19, 2010 at 11:27 pm

You are making me look bad. I’m going to have to find my Shred DVD now. I think this is some sort of anti-Catholic thing. I’m pretty sure.


Karen MEG
March 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Gazelle/Cydesdale hybrid is certainly something to strive toward.

You’re sore, so it’s working! Congrats!


sloher March 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Itoo have subjected myself to Physique57… I have a good 20 years on the others in the class, but recently decided it was time to lose the baby weight (my kids are 25 and 22 – years that is). It’s pure hell, but I’m trying to stick with it.


Jessica Smith May 22, 2010 at 12:48 am

Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I ordered the DVDs earlier this week (after trying the Insanity workout…and realizing the insanity in that). I ordered the 3 DVD set with the playground ball…now I’m even more excited…they arrived tonight!


Candace July 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I am a physique57-er- of the dvd variety. I am laughing so hard through this whole post I can hardly read for the tears! I would be intimidated to be at a class from the sound of the lithe beauties you mentioned- I’m working to stretch nearly as far as the group on the DVD’s do. Seriously, they must have some bionic legs. Anyway, I hope you keep up the work-out . The beauty of the DVD’s, is I can spew all can of four letter word phrases at Tanya during my pain and it doesn’t get to her at all!


Physique Addict July 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm

This post is great, it is exactly how you feel the first time you go to class. Somehow you just get so addicted to the class and want to go back for more torture. The place is so clean and nice, all the instructors are great and soooo nice!!! too bad it is soooo expensive!!


Maribel October 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I am going to my first 57 class today. I’m quite nervous but this just cracked me up! Thank you for much needed early morning chuckle.


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