About a month after I had moved to China, the Spring Festival had ended and life was returning to normal. People returned to work and Shenzhen started to come to life after its New Year lull. There were no more unexpected parades, firecrackers and random fireworks, and the decorations started to come down. I was beginning to feel the after effects of overindulging in food for more than two weeks. It was time to eat healthy and start exercising again. It felt strange to me that I had to go through this process twice this year, but with all the adventures I had already experienced, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
Flora introduced me to her gym, Super Monkey Fitness, and this gym had branches all over the city. Each branch offered different types of classes, which you could book via their website. You could simply book a yoga class at one branch for today and a boxing class at the next branch for tomorrow. I was amazed with how simple the process was – but, then again, everything seemed to be simple in China, apart from all instructions being in Chinese – and was a bit nervous about the spinning class Flora and I would be attending.
I had previously only gone to one spinning class. It was way too early in the morning (and I don’t do mornings). I had to endure sever squinting and a throbbing head due to the bright lights. I was also the youngest person there by a few decades, and this was emphasized by the 90’s techno music playing in the background. I was sincerely hoping this class would be better.
The spinning studio was situated on the 25th floor of a skyscraper in the middle of the city. The spinning class only started at 7 pm so it was already dark. As we entered the studio, my jaw dropped all the way back to the first floor. It was safe to say that it was the polar opposite of my previous spinning class. The room was completely dark and the only lights in the room were coloured panels dimly lighting the room. I should actually have expected this – the class’s name was the Dark Tour. I was still the youngest one there, but I noticed that everyone attending the class was in their 20’s and 30’s. This class was going to be spectacular.
Everything about the class made it feel like being in a night club which made it a million times more enjoyable. The music was modern and not overbearingly techno, and every time we had to spin flat out, the bass of the music would drop and the lights would go crazy. At one stage the room went dark and everything that was neon glowed in the dark. At the peak of the workout, the trainer said that we could freestyle at any pace and resistance we desired (or maybe needed in order to stay alive). All the lights were turned off and it was pitch black, you could not see the person sitting next to you. Gladiator-chariot-racing-inspirational type music played and the spinning instructor was shouting something very motivating in Chinese – I couldn’t understand a word, but still found it very motivating! All these factors combined actually encouraged you to spin as fast you could and make you feel as if you were the most important and powerful person alive.
Suddenly, the music slowed down and the panel covering the one wall slowly lifted. The city lights streamed into our pitch black studio and all heads turned to gawk at the magnificent view we had. In those few moments, I felt unbeatable. I didn’t care that my chest was on fire and that my legs had turned into jelly. For a small moment, I was invincible and felt that I really could conquer the world. I would have laughed with joy, but I had no energy left after that workout.