Sunday, July 23, 2006

Noddy and the Jolly Fitball

Zoe introduced me to Fitball at the beginning of this year. She called it low impact hilarity. She wasn't wrong. While she's pulled back for more exciting pursuits like soccer and inter-campus bike-riding, I’ve kept going because it's the first exercise class I've ever been to where laughing is not only encouraged, but absolutely mandatory because it’s impossible to take yourself seriously when you're jiggling about on a large inflatable ball. The instructor (J) is eye-candy, the room is padded, and the music is now excellent, thanks to my introducing said instructor to the joys of arty fufkin and DJ Moule et al. J is hooked to the point of buying a broadband connection to cope with his joy, and we now bounce in mash-up heaven.

I'd like to introduce fitball to those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about.

Noddy (who had a bit of a rough day with a purple pen a few years ago. In our family he stutters in a very effeminate voice)
Funky the Lion (who used to wear a khaki safari suit and hat – what sick brain thought of that?!)
An odd imp dude (whose name escapes me. In fact he may not be named. For he is not one of The Four Who Survived Toddlerhood. He is temporary.)
Bertram (aka Ernie, but who has been renamed in an ongoing bedtime puppet play)
Bertrand (the pretender Ernie, found at a garage sale a few months ago, and briefly substituted for the real E. But discovered quickly, for there are no substitutes for a child’s first love)

The cream flannel sheets on Bumblebee's bed, in the hope that the various bits of fluff and detritus will echo the wrestling mat at the Strine Insetute of Sport, covered with wrestlers' bellybutton lint and leg hairs. Yes, ew.

The Arty Fufkin Workout Mix, 25 minutes of convoys, Daleks and other retro/po-mo delights.


We all choose a ball according to our tastes. Balls vary in size and softness, depending on how hard they are blown up. If you arrive late, you get the biggest/smallest/hardest ball. We all have our favorites, which can be spotted from a distance as they are released from the storage net, despite the fact that they are all large and silver. If you're not careful, blood can be drawn in the rush.

We start with bouncing up and down, side to side, and star jumps. If you're new, this is the first time you fall off.

bouncing gently warms the muscles
"Thank you Noddy, wonderfully gentle bouncing." "Oh, oh, oh... th th th thank you, Miss Duck!"

Then we start balancing: lifting one leg, boths legs, looking at the ceiling, lying back, each working up to our own levels.

balancing is a skill that must be worked upon
Noddy is learning to kneel on his ball.

Standing on the ball is pretty advanced. As is walking on the ball and bouncing around in a circle. I can't do those yet. I can, however, balance on the ball on one knee and one hand. This practice time is when most people have splendid falls off their ball. And laugh.

can I come down now?
Now Noddy is showing us how far he has come since his first class.

look at moie!
Now, of course, Noddy is just being a smartarse.

Usually after this we do exercises in a group, or we start the more deadly circuit. Today we will do a small circuit. Here Noddy is trying to lie on his back and hold the ball up in the air with his ankles. Unfortunately his head is too big.

bighead, la la la la
"I I I I'm doing my best, Miss Duck!" "I'm sure you are, Noddy."

Here Noddy is in the throes of an exercise whose name escapes me, but involves lying face down on the ball and raising your legs up behind you. Zoe used to crack me up during this by chanting 'I am a beautiful dolphin. I am a beautiful dolphin.'

I am a beautiful dolphin

And here is the infamous pyke, an exercise so horrid it makes grown women cry. Roll across the ball until it is at your calves, place your weight on your wrists, and push your arse towards the ceiling. Do a pushup. Repeat.

sadists thought up some of the exercises
"It h h h h hurts my wrists, Miss Ddddduck! Can I stop?" "No, only four more to go!"

The last five or ten minutes is made up of the most blissful stretches, and this makes all the pain worthwhile.


Then, at the end,


you collapse gratefully and crawl home to a hot shower and a good lie down. Then a spot of tea and toast (with marmalade) and a boiled egg. And lashings of ginger beer.

"Oh, I say, Miss Dddddduck! How spiffing! Can I invite Bertram?"


Boysenberry said...

So, it's based around the Pilates thing? I'd give it a go, but I don't have the time to make excuses up not to :)

Ampersand Duck said...

That's what I've been told -- I've never done Pilates by itself, so I'm not sure which exercise is what.

Zoe said...

I heart this post!!!

And you ARE a beautiful dolphin Noddy, you ARE!!

Cozalcoatl said...

I'v been doing some FitBall/weights combo classes. The Boxing and Cycling classes don't hurt anymore, but jeeze 20 minutes on one of those things and I discovered new painful muscles.
A nobbly ball may make things more interesting.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

geez, I've never done fitball with a knobbly ball... they really do things differently in Canberra, don't they Coz?

Enny said...

Anyone else hoping for fitball-no-grog-blog? ;o)

Ampersand Duck said...

Well, it was spiky ball or a balloon... and Noddy likes a bit of rough. BTW, both Noddy and Bertram tend to break into a thick Indian accent if hit on the head.

Enny, do you mean a fitball blogmeet!? Scary.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

and Noddy likes a bit of rough.


Enny said...

i think it would be hilaaaaaaaarious ;o)

Boysenberry said...

Umm, had to re-read the and Noddy likes a bit of rough... my mind added trade to the end :(

Ampersand Duck said...

Ha! Enny, if you're game, I am, but I have to warn you it's not a very glam occasion :) I'm the completely daggy one in the pilling tracksuit bottoms.

Val said...

Now this is most disappointing. I believe it was in your blog a while back, Duckie, where I read about your attending a fitball class, and I suggested, for hilarity's sake, you post some photos of yourself doing such a class. And here we are fobbed off with Noddy and his nobbly fitball. Pilling tracksuit or not, we want photos!

I am impressed though with the photo which shows Noddy being a smartarse.

Jennifer said...

definitley the best episode of Noddy I've ever seen!