Fitness Fanatic in a Headbrace

No pain no gain, is Catholic Jenny's motto

I first came across Catholic Jenny when she was just another mom at the crappy gym I go to. I knew from the first moment I met her that she was a nut because she had bright blue eyes that radiated a messianic fervor and had the kind of chirpy upbeat personality that makes me want to stab myself in the eyeballs. She was always extra friendly to me while I did my best to avoid making eye contact. My instinct that she was a fruitcake was confirmed by my friend Sally who told me, "Avoid Catholic Jenny like the plague. She pimps out her kids. She arranges a playdate with you and then as soon as you've got to her house she lugs out this suitcase full of Avon Cosmetics and tries to make a sale. If you say you're not interested she starts hawking Jesus. I was out of there so fast I left skidmarks on her drive."

"Thanks for the head's up," I told Sally, rubbing my hands together with glee. I was going to alienate Catholic Jenny before she could invite me to her house, lock me in her basement and start chanting the rosary while waving an incense holder in my face. As luck would have it I am brilliant at alienating people and indeed this turned out to be a walk in the park.

So the next time I saw her, in the childcare section of the gym picking up her four kids (all under six!!) I got chatting and after a while I said innocently, "You're not Catholic are you?"

She said, "Yes, I am actually."

I looked appalled. "You mean like hard core? I mean do you use contraception?"

To which she replied (with a totally straight face) "Well only, you know, the Rhythm Method."

"Well it doesn't seem to be working does it ?" And ran off laughing.

Immature? Maybe. But effective. After that although she greeted me with the same inane smile I knew she would never dare to make a playdate overture. Result!

Then she became a fitness instructor and pretty soon the power of being able to proselytize her fitness mantra (Cookies are bad, overexercising is good) in class went to her head. When you go to her class you have to shout out what 'bad foods' you've eaten over the last few days. Sometimes she asks you to shout out your favorite cookie and then each time we lift our dumbbell we can visualize 'burning that naughty cookie.' I think it's a great idea - if we were all like, five years old.

Then there's the issue of her fitness injuries. She's always hobbling in wearing some kind of neck brace or wrist support and sighing in pain while saying, 'We don't always listen to our bodies do we?'

To which I actually replied, 'Well I do. If an exercise hurts I just stop doing it and lie down.'

Ignoring me she went on. 'I'm only thirty-six but I have all these injuries from pushing myself too hard. The doctor told me he wanted to give me steroid injections for my back pain but I told him it really wasn't necessary.'

Oh you brave little Christian solidier!

An ancient device used to torture heathens

Seriously, this woman is hawking shit make up and running three or four fitness classes a day, mainly I suspect because she gets the free child care at the gym, and crippling herself in the process by pushing herself way beyond the limits of what the human body can endure and get this, we're now meant to take the 'fitness advice' of someone two IQ points short of a George Bush seriously.

'Let me get this straight,' I want to say. 'You have four kids because you didn't fully understand that having unprotected sex would lead to having babies. And popping out four kids when you obviously have to work five jobs to make ends meet, well that's plain daft. Also, only rich people would have four kids who are sent to Catholic private school (I mean, come on, is there anything funnier than people actually paying for their kids to be brainwashed?) And then you act like you are an authority on fitness and actually shout out about how we have to 'stay focused on what we want to change. Think of yourself in your new swimsuit or that pair of micro shorts. What are your goals?' My goal is to avoid turning into Mama Cass in a Mumu riding around Wal-Mart on a motorized scooter. But this time I kept it buttoned and let her shout out her self-loathing garbage.

I don't usually go to her classes but the next time I go I really really want to shout out, 'Oh forgive me Jesus I had an ice cream sandwich yesterday and I'm gonna burn in hell for it,' while bursting into tears.

Am I a voice in the wilderness here or have you ever had a fitness instructor with a God complex who got on your last nerve?

And now, it being Friday, please join me in flogging your blog: