KEEP FIT MADNESS (IP)
I think it was around the late 1980s or early 90s,
that I want to tell you about. You see I used to
teach dance aerobics, I loved it so much, it was
exciting, challenging and rewarding. But the particular night in question that I want to talk
about, I was extremely nervous.
"Why?" I hear you ask.
Well for a starter my sister-in-law at the time,
had lumbered me with her baby, I told her I had a
class to teach, all I got from her was.
"Oh you will be fine, anyway you work better under pressure."
"Thanks alot," I said.
Before I got a chance to ask why, she was out the
"Sorry got to fly." She said.
'Well thanks for that, I'll remember tonight,
when I need a favour.' I thought to myself.
So anyway I started loading the boot of the car
with all my equipment, which in those days was
alot, there was the record player with speakers,
records (vinyl) yes does anyone remember those?
Keepfit mats, bag with microphone, register, health check forms, money box, routine schedule,
'Yes all present and correct.' I thought to myself.'
Now quickly up to the bathroom check in mirror,
make sure tummy is flat, no bulges, it's amazing how good lycra is, for holding you in. Hair fine,
Okay we're good to go. I pick up the carry cot with Lucy in, 'thats the baby if you didn't know.' Put her in the back of the car, shut front
door, get into car, seatbelt on, start engine, pray Lucy wouldn't wake up and we're off.
I arrive at the hall at 7.30pm, my class started
around 8.00pm. Lucy started to cry, so I took her
into the hall, filled the kettle with some water,
to heat the milk up. I looked over and saw a tea pot left out on the counter and thought to myself,
'I wouldn't fancy drinking out of that, it was
all brown and dirty, 'the teapot had seen better
Anyway I fed Lucy, then winded her, changed her
nappie, then put her back into the carry cot, I
could not believe it, she was asleep almost instantly.
'I'll just put her in the window sill and pull
the curtains, so we don't disturb her.' I thought
to myself. You see Lucy's one of those babies that can sleep through an atomic bomb.
7.50pm the first to arrive is always Joan, I don't know where I would be without her, she does
my register, takes the money as the ladies arrive, so I always give her a free class, she is
my life saver. I tell Joan I am just going for a
wee, honestly you wouldn't believe the amount of
times I have to wee before a class, I think it
must be nerves. It's 7.55pm I start setting the
record player and speakers up, put my microphone on, in those days it was a microphone that you
pinned to the front of the leotard. The ladies
"Oh hello Sue, hi Gussie, how are you Lyn?"
There are the older ladies, Peggy, Marjorie,
Barbara, Shirley, they always stand at the back.
I'm amazed I still remember their names after all
these years. Then there's John, the only man, he's been coming regularly for about three months, he doesn't seem to mind being the only
bloke. Then there's others, but I cannot remember
names. I always try to start by 8.00pm, but it's
always nearer 8.05pm. So with everyone ready, I
always start out by saying.
"Hello everyone, how are you all this week? All
fit and raring to go I hope."
They all look at me somewhat unsure, but smile
anyway. Every week I usually say,
"okay go for it, enjoy it, but remember if you
feel tired or start feeling pain, bring it down,
please stay safe. Anybody who's new or has any
health problems come and see me at the end of the
class. Right let's get started."
I put the first record on it's Kool and the Gang,
"Everyone let's warm up those muscles, let me see you smile, even if you don't feel like it."
The music is infectious, you cannot help smiling and singing along.
"Ya hoo! It's a celebration."
We start walking side to side, forward and back,
swaying, using our arms, clapping our hands and
"Everybody now come on, it's a celebration."
Soon the record finishes.
"Come on keep those bodies moving." I say.
I put the next record on, it's Tina Turner, The Best.
"Okay let's stretch those muscles in preparation
The music starts, we start to sing again.
"Your simply the best, better than all the rest."
Everyone loves this one.
"Don't forget to stretch those quad muscles, and
those calves." I say.
Now we can start the important bit, getting those
bodies moving. I put on Elton John's, I'm Still
Standing, that really gets them going. Then we go
into the Communards, Don't leave me this way.
"Come on ladies and John get those bodies working."
Then it's Dire Straits, Walk of Life. The heart rate is pumping, we're building up a sweat now.
"Lift those knees, let me hear you say, I feel
They all repeat back.
"I feel good Yeh!"
"Phew time for a cool down I think."
I put on Womak and Womak, Teardrops. We start to
slow down now.
"Okay shake that body out, let me see you take
some deep breathes in through the nose, out through the mouth." I say.
By the time the music is finished we've cooled
"Okay everyone, let's hit the floor." I tell them.
Everyone goes to get their mats, suddenly it goes
"Right everyone, I want you to work those stomach muscles, so lay out on your mat, knees bent, hands behind your head, keeping your elbows
on the floor, backs into the floor. Let's do some
I put on Give me Hope Joanna.
"Don't forget to exhale as you curl up."
They love working the stomach muscles.
"Okay next we will work the legs and bums."
I put on Maddona's, La Isla Bonita.
"Don't take those legs to high ladies, keep your
backs into the floor, when doing pelvic tilts.
Great now we will work the arms."
I put on Tanita Tikeram, Good Tradition, love this
"For those that cannot do pressups, I will show
you an easier move. Keep it going, those arms are
All to soon the hours almost up, we're coming to
the end. We finish off with, Whitney Houston's
Greatest Love Of All, beautiful ending to a brilliant night. We always clap our hands when it's over.
"Thankyou all for coming tonight, hope you've
had fun, let's do it all again next week, what do
They all shout "Yeh!"
New people come up to me, I ask them if they
enjoyed the class, they say yes, I give them some
health forms to fill out, then I talk to my regulars, we discuss routines and records that they would like the following week. Then as people start to drift away, I thank Joan for helping out, then I start to pack up, it's been a
When I finally have everything together, I take it all out to the car, then lock up. It's good when a class goes well. I breathe in the cold night air, as I get into the car and make my way
home. Driving across town, I'm almost home when I
realise something's missing.
"Aha! Oh my god, what have I done?"
Panicking I suddenly remember the babies still in
the window sill. I turn the car around, drive all
the way back, unlock the door, turn on the lights. Do you no something? Lucy had slept through everything. Now wouldn't it be great if all babies were that quiet. H'm then Mother Hood
would be 'as easy as ABC.'