So you’ve signed up for an Aqua Fit class in a very late bid to finally get fit. That shouldn’t be too hard, surely? It’s just a little bit of waving your arms and legs around in the water, whilst simultaneously having a chat with your friends about their day at work. Unfortunately, the sinking feeling hits when you understand ten minutes into the class that Aqua Fit does not take any prisoners.
Once you’ve entered the icy pool and bravely dipped your whole body under (welcome to the ice age), you’ll then begin the watery regime. Surprisingly, you may realise you’re already slightly out of breath due to the fast paced nature of the activities, whilst internally thanking your lucky stars that there is a surly looking lifeguard on the sidelines just in case you run out of breath all together.
In addition to this, you may be sharing the pool with some senior citizens, but breaks are not usually given. You splash from one exercise to another without resting, and as most classes last for around an hour, this keeps your heart pumping and conversation time limited throughout the session. Wave goodbye to the calm, relaxing images you initially held in your head pre-class.
The Hideous Realisation
At some point you are likely to peer down and become aware that your legs, to your horror, resemble a bristly cactus.
In defense of all women, the first day of September signified the short-lived summer we had in England was officially over – thankfully for some. The thick tights and leggings were dug out. Shaving fell rapidly down the list of priorities, being over taken by warm boots and winter coats.
This is the time to positively embrace the au naturel look. Rest assured that every other member of the class is also hiding their own stubbly secrets under the water as well.
Another moment of clarity comes when you realise that if your moves are completely inaccurate, you are not hidden from view. It may feel like being in the pool makes your body invisible, but due to that transparent quality of water the teacher can see every wrongdoing. The fun natured theme of the class however means that they’re kind enough to not point this out (luckily).
Now for the most unsightly realisation – about half way through the class, it will dawn upon you that a certain percentage of children will have used this pool as their personal toilet. Just keep thanking the Gods for chlorine.
The Talented Teacher
What is so enjoyable to watch during the class is how the Aqua Fit teacher manages to demonstrate various movements, positions and exercises you need to accomplish in the water, whilst not being physically in the pool themselves.
It is equally amusing and rather commendable how they valiantly demonstrate the under water jumps, kicks, and different swimming styles with such enthusiasm, because trust me on this one – showing a class with predominantly elderly participants the correct formation of an underwater tuck jump whilst on solid ground is no mean feat. The instructors’ resolute eagerness is enough reason to keep you working hard (with some added entertainment on your part).
A word of warning however – water resistance will force your movements to become a film-like slow motion version of the example you’re being given. This does seem like an obvious point to mention, but it can be a fairly frustrating experience if you are not very natural in the water. When you are being commanded to kick your legs as fast as you can, listen out for the mumbled chorus of “I would go faster if it wasn’t for all this bl**dy water in the way!”
The Heads Up
Once you finally start to get into the swing of things as the class plays out, your attention will be drawn to the varied selection of music, so embrace your inner synchronized swimming talents.
Warning: do not book onto this activity if you are a music elitist. Open your mind to a range of all genres, including highlights such as cheesy Elton John covers, eighties pop, and the dreaded Crazy Frog tune (yes, it is still around, and no, I really don’t know why).
The musical madness is what creates such an upbeat atmosphere in the pool, and keeps your spirits up whilst you battle against a tirade of accidental splashing and kicking from your fellow attendees. You’ll get used to hearing phrases such as “sorry, so sorry” and “sorry again” as you desperately try to brush water out of your eyes whilst simultaneously doing seven more star jumps before the timer goes off.