That one time we went to an Argentine birthing class

That one time…

Most of the world’s best stories start with the same four words: “Remember that one time…?”. Say these four words out loud and I’ll bet that your mind fills in the blank the same way google suggested answers pop up in your web browser. This column is dedicated to some of my “that one time” moments. Some (most) of these moments are embarrassing, some are hilarious, some are truly moving, and all of them are truly memorable.

That one time we went to an Argentine birthing class 

Well, not exactly.

After about two weeks eating my way through Buenos Aires, I started to feel as greasy as the wonderfully overstuffed empanadas that I was constantly consuming. I realised that something had to change if I wanted to remain my happy and healthy self. That’s how In Out Gym entered my life. I decided to buy a membership to this bare bones gym about three minutes away from my apartment here in Belgrano. My wonderful friend Natalie decided to join me.

The two of us went to our first “entrentimiento intensivo” (“intense training”, yup, just as painful as it sounds, but more on that later) class together. Walking into the gym was like walking into an 80’s workout video. Women in bright neon clothing were setting up their stations with dumbbells and bars. “Sweet!” I thought, “this is gonna be chill”. Oh how naive was I.

The class started out with your basic warm up: jabs from left to right, quick squats, some twisting up and down action (yes, that’s the technical term). Our lovely instructor, Paola, in typical Porteña fashion, went around and gave every member of the class a little kiss on the cheek. So far so good!

But then, Paola got serious. We started doing squats and lunges at a speed and intensity that my vacation body was not ready for. Nat… well, Nat’s a Division I fencer and her body is like 100% muscle. My body at this point is, you know, some percent muscle, but also a significant percent dulce de leche. What really killed me were these bridge exercises that we did. Holy shit my butt was on fire! Side kicks, bridges, side planks, lifting leg pulsing thing (these are all technical terms), were all par the course. My inner thigh has not really ever felt this way before. Speaking of which, my Spanish vocabulary has improved immensely as exhibited by the fact that I actually know how to say inner thigh in Spanish now (it’s vasto interno for all you pre-med-Doctors-Without-Border types).

Circling back to the title of this post though. There was this one exercise that Paola made us do where we laid on our backs and spread our legs wide open in the air and pulsed, pulsed, pulsed. I swear to god that my form would have made any 16th century midwife proud. In the midst of panting through this dreadful 21st century form of torture, I caught glimpses of all the other women through my windshield wiper-esque legs. I realised that this was a class entirely filled with women – all of us just trying to be our happiest and healthiest selves. There were women of all different shapes and sizes, all in varying degrees of neon, and all red and sweaty. There was a primordial sense of mutual suffering amongst most of us with the exception of a couple mullet-headed (I’m talking Billy Ray Cyrus level mullet) abuelas who were really putting the rest of us to shame. But hey, if an abuela with a six-pack isn’t fit-spiration then I really don’t know what is. If these women can get through this workout after having two, three kids… grandkids even, then I can certainly do this after having two or three, media lunas.

And Nat and I did it! We survived our first Argentine work out class and honestly I felt like I had given birth to a new me (I’m really hammering home the title of this piece but just go with it). Working out consistently has always been something that I’ve struggled with. I like being active. I like endorphins! But in the midst of college and what not it’s so easy to fall off the wagon. I’m trying to be better though and going to In Out Gym is becoming a solid part of my Buenos Aires routine. On that note, I’m so thankful for Nat’s fierce accountability, Paola’s vastos internos of steel, and for all the abuelas that are kicking my ass.

*Note on the photo. I figured that sweaty pics of me at the gym wouldn’t really go with the ~aesthetic~ that I’m striving for in this blog. Entonces, here’s an obnoxious photo of me and a pretty wall!

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