Picture this: a fifty-something couple side by side in a crowded gym, sweating as they lift barbells to music from the 90s, played at head-pounding volume.
I suppose I could post an actual picture, but trust me, it would not be inspiring. And I may have to leave town.
Yep, my husband and I have been doing Bodypump classes at our Golds Gym since last October. I love them. Of course, I can’t help but notice parallels between the gym and the church. And I’ve noticed that the gym does some things better than most churches.
For instance, there’s the matter of dealing with routine vs. change. One of the important components of exercise is repetition, but one of the enemies of exercise is boredom. So this is a significant issue for fitness. To me, the parallel to spiritual fitness is obvious. Repetition is essential, but it carries the possibility of boredom. How to keep enough routine for comfort, but enough change-up for interest?
I appreciate the routine of Bodypump, and I appreciate the change-up of routine. Just like liturgy, with changes for different liturgical seasons.
Bodypump is a “Les Mills” workout, and like all of these classes, follows a set routine, with moves orchestrated to music. Every three months there is “a new release” which is unveiled with considerable fanfare. Each new release follows the same routine but with different music and different moves. Yet the overall routine is always the same: 60 minutes divided into 10 tracks (warm-up, squats, chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abs, cool-down).
The music is all over the map, but always loud. Hard rock, country, more hard rock, a little disco. Do you know how crazy it feels to sweat to music I once danced to, like “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones. It makes me feel old, but it’s also fun. Kind of like hearing old favorites that were once “cutting edge” in an elevator.
One reason I like the set music and set moves is that instructors can’t really mess it up, or spend a lot of time giving you little speeches. One thing I’ve disliked about previous exercise classes is that some instructors like to go on tangents, or spend too much time on one body part, or just talk too much.
(Do I really need to draw any analogies to church here?)
Tonight at Bodypump we did an “old release,” meaning the one we used last October when we were first beginning. The back track was so easy I felt like I could throw my barbell over my shoulder on the clean & presses. I wished I’d added more weight! That felt pretty great, a marker for how far we’ve come. The first few times I did clean & press I was in shock.
I have a suspicion there are many things the church could learn from Bodypump. What occurs to you?