Never mind the sore muscles and slow strides down the steps on Friday morning. Free yourself from your normal routine and keep that body guessing.

I covered a high school football game last Friday night (some of you may have heard about Gardendale’s win over Class 7A second-ranked James Clemens).

As I went up and down the Driver Stadium home sideline, sometimes walking, sometimes running for a better view of a Steven Crowder touchdown, I was constantly reminded of my decisions on Thursday night.

It all started with a phone call from my younger sister, Jordan. She explained a fitness class at the Gardendale Civic Center scheduled for 7:30 Thursday night. “Do you want to go?”

Hours later I met Jordan and her oldest friend, Kara, outside the building. They closed the car doors and looked at me with devilish grins, as if they knew something I didn’t. Oh well, nothing I hadn’t seen from those two 1,001 times before.

The three of us paid our $3 apiece and entered a small, mirrored room on the second floor of the civic center. We joined roughly 15 others (80 percent female) in a synchronized series of jumping jacks and stretches.

After that, the music started... along with the sweating.

Honestly, I don’t remember much after that. There were a lot of squats and fitness instructors guiding me down the path to a noodle-legged Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The lead instructor once assured me that I was doing a “good job,” but I’ll debate him on that assessment whenever he’d like.

As I squeezed my way through another crunch, eyes tightly closed, teeth showing for all to see, the music stopped along with the yelling. “Done,” I thought as I prepared to hop off the floor and hide the pain.

By the time I rose, half the class was out the door in a dead sprint for what seemed like a million-dollar prize. I was already way behind and we weren’t half way through a 30-minute nightmare I won’t soon forget.

What seemed like an hour later, I fought through a few half-hearted high fives and limped down a flight of stairs, cursing through my teeth at the cruel irony of a second-floor fitness class.

Right before I closed the car door, Kara said something that’s haunted me for days: “Alright, I’ll see you guys next week!”

Wether you see yourself in good shape or bad shape or anywhere in between, always remember to step out of your comfort zone and try something different. It might just surprise you.

Erik is the Sports Editor for The North Jefferson News. He can be reached at or by phone at 631-8716.

Editor’s Note: We are looking for new things to try in the North Jefferson area to use as column fodder. Have a unique class or skill that you want to teach one of us? Been thinking about taking a class, but aren’t sure if it’s for you? Give us a call at the office (631-8716) or email or write us at P.O. Box 849, Gardendale, AL 35071 and tell us about it.

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