This Childhood Activity Is Now A Workout That Will Give You Killer Abs

by Gigi Engle

"Well, if we'd started with this trick, I would have felt much more accomplished!" I declared brashly, just as my pink, miniature hula hoop slipped from my hand and aggressively darted across the floor.

I was standing in the middle of a hula-hooping class -- in QUEENS, no less -- nervous as hell and therefore talking a lot. I don't always say the wrong thing, but when I do, I keep talking and make things worse.

By now, you're probably wondering, Auntie Gigi, why the hell were you in Queens and why were you at a hula-hooping class?

Because, dear children, I'm adventurous, and it's great for fitness. If you thought that hula-hooping was just a fun, easy activity you did as a child, you would be wrong. I learned this very valuable lesson over the weekend, when I made the fateful trek to Art of Fitness.

When I was first told I'd be hula-hooping in Queens, I was all about it, despite the fact that Queens is about 78,272 miles from my apartment. A little adventure, right? And a little adventure in the name of a hula-hooping fitness class? Yeah, I was doing it.

Celine Rahman

Hula-hooping looks easy. After all, we all did that sh*t when were six and killed it. But as I found out when class started, I suck as much at it now as I did then. I was messing up the very fundamental thing you need to do to f*cking hula hoop: Move your hips.

As the instructor pointed out after the fifth or sixth time I dropped my hoop on the ground, you're not supposed to frantically gyrate your hips like an awkward girl at a middle school dance. Instead, you're supposed to think of it as going through a turnstile. You spin the hula hoop and then powerfully move the lower half of your body back and forth to keep it elevated.

I had no idea hula hoops came in so many sizes and colors. But they do. And, as it turns out, the heavier the hoop is, the easier it is to balance. This seems counter-intuitive, but once I practiced with a medium weight instead of the lightest, I was finally able to stop looking like a f*cking idiot.

Just kidding -- I still looked stupid AF. I tried my best to get it to swirl on my chest but I'm far too uncoordinated and spastic to simultaneously push my chest out and balance a hula-hoop.

Celine Rahman

The thing I really loved was the encouragement. Having a playful, fun instructor is really important to me. And this studio had just that. It made it fun and not at all embarrassing. Even the other students were encouraging. I'm pretty sure I got applause at one point. (OK, yes, it was pity applause. But hell, you guys; I'll take what I can get).

Sorry to be self-bashing when we all love self-love in this PC motherf*cker, but Auntie Gigi knows when it's time to confess how sh*t actually went down. I looked like the ultimate doofus when I dropped that sh*t on the floor every two minutes, but no one made fun of me.

Of course, my co-worker Celine, who accompanied me to the class, was secretly a professional hula hooper and forgot to mention it. Thanks for nothing, Celine.

I learned some dope-ass tricks that I'm definitely going to use the next time I have access to a hula hoop ... which I literally just realized probably won't ever happen. F*ck. But anyway, I learned to spin the hoop with my arms. I figured out how to plié while spinning the hoop on my hips and even learned how to turn around with it.

I felt weirdly vulnerable working that hoop. It was likely the most fragile I've felt in a public setting in some time. It was like that insecure, 6-year-old self who blew at hula-hooping on the elementary school playground was back in action. Regression at its finest.

What was really the most stressful thing of all was how many times I nailed myself in the foot. We're talking BIG time. This sh*t KICKED MY ASS. I now have legendary bruises due to my own ineptitude. I think there should be a clear option that klutzes like myself get to wear sneakers.

By the end of class, I was experiencing PTSD and couldn't challenge myself to new and exciting tricks because I was terrified I'd f*cking hurt myself again. Damn. All that from hula-hooping.

As far as exercise value, it's not exactly spin class, but it was exhausting nonetheless. I definitely found myself checking the clock a few times, because I was winded AF. It's a good cardio and abs workout for sure.

I turned to Celine toward the end of class, mid-hoop-twirl, and said, “I'm going to have a six-pack after this, right?” I didn't, but I bet I would if I kept hula-hooping.

The next morning, my abs were screaming.

All in all, it was goddamn stressful. After class, I ate all the Greek food in the world and napped so hard I woke up not knowing what year it was.

Hula-hooping class was a really good experience, and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a fun and new fitness classes to try. Just wear f*cking sneakers, because your feet will die.