Suicide drills. Wall sits. Jumping squats. Wall touches. Walking Lunges. Burpees. All things that I hate. All things that only the most sadistic of human specimens would jam together into a single class.
Meet that specimen. He is Brad Hedges — a compact, muscular ball of energy who reminds me of my middle school P.E. teacher, who yelled at me the time I brought canned water into the gym because he thought it was soda. I disliked Brad immediately.
It was clear that my fellow torture subjects felt the same way as soon as we began. I could see it in their faces as I looked around the giant circle we had formed for accountability. Brad knew all of their names, and was equally encouraging and taunting. And though the subjects met his orders with a groan, they didn’t hesitate to keep Brad on track when he forgot a rep. I was appalled.
After our circle of death featuring grueling ab work, we divided in groups of two. Half of us did wall sits while the other half skipped across the gym floor. It was like elementary school recess, but without joy.
Brad next took us through the circles of hell, with all the aforementioned exercises above. He attempted to turn us on each other by splitting us into partners, but that only made our bonds stronger. Because we were all dying at an equal pace. A pace set by Brad. And he was annoyingly cheerful about all of it.
At some point, I asked my partner how much time could possibly be left. She said 10 minutes. Then Brad announced we would be doing bear crawls. It was then that my legs stopped working.
While everyone else was limping along on all fours, I was crawling. Crawling like a straight-up baby. I felt a presence beside me. It was Brad. “Aw, you’re booboo bear, aren’t you?” he laughed. I wasn’t sure what that meant but I knew one thing – I was broken. Brad had broken me.
After a brisk cool-down, I approached Brad to tell him how I really felt. “Oh, you hurt your legs?” he asked, with genuine concern. No, Brad. You did. YOU did. And as soon as I can walk again, I’ll be back for another class.
FirstHealth’s Cardio Burn is offered on Tuesdays, at 9:30 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.; Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.; and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. See the full schedule of classes here.