Title: Work (it) out!
Chapter 1: Step up!

Author: Ann
Rating: (G to NC-17): G
Spoilers/Warnings: After EOT
Summary: Ranger does a week of working out Stephanie style

Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. For more information on the workout-programs:

I thought of this story while I was working out in the gym this morning. I thought it would be fun to get Ranger to do my work-out schedule for a change! And for added effect I substituted myself for Stephanie. So really separate from the books and other stories., here's a little fun for all of us! Hope it gives encouragement to go to the gym if you need it J.

PS: the description of the program is the current program of Les Mills, so anybody participating in these programs: you know what I mean! J

Step up!

Stephanie couldn't believe her eyes when she walked into the instruction room of her gym on Monday morning. Ranger was standing there, talking to the instructor! So he was actually going to do it! She couldn't help but feel a mix of excitement, fear and humour. Whatever happened in the next hour, it would make her laugh for years to come. She had no doubt about that!

Last week they had gotten into a discussion about the differences in their workout programmes. According to Ranger, the only way to get fit was through running and lifting weights. She had argued that a balanced workout, containing muscle training in some form and cardio workouts could be just as effective as and maybe even better than doing the same things day in day out. The reason they had been "able" to discuss workout schedules had been for two reasons. First of all, Stephanie had noticed that she came closer and closer to death in her adventures, and realised she really liked to find out what life had in store for her even after 35. Secondly, Ranger had made it clear that all his employees had to have a basic level of fitness. And since she still worked for him (the money was good, the hours even better and view was the best) she had tried to work out in the company gym. But soon she realised that she didn't like the individual aspect of it. She missed people around her, music and fun. So she signed up at a gym near the office and learned all about Les Mills and his group lessons. Her trainer explained to her that 4 times a year there would be new programs, enabling her to get to know a program, but change before it got boring. She tried a few and had now fallen into a comfortable routine. She started her day at 8 am, worked until 9.45 and walked to the gym. Her classes were from 10 to 11 am, after which she took a quick shower and walked back to the office to start work again at 11.30. She worked until 6 pm and was finished for the day. She had made a deal with Ranger that, since he had wanted her to get fit, 30 minutes of the workout were paid and 30 minutes were her own time. He had agreed so easily that she realised he thought she wouldn't keep it up. But he had been proven wrong. It had been tough at the beginning, but now she had gotten to know a few people in each group and made some new friends. She liked the music and the workouts and had noticed the results as well. She had more energy, felt happier about herself, and most importantly: all clothes fitted her body without a problem.

But Ranger had not agreed with her argument for variation. She had retorted that he didn't know what he was talking about: he had never done anything else except running and weights. Than she had added with a very meaningful glance at him: you can only know for sure if you try it…. He had looked at her long and hard and than his phone had rung and he had walked away from her cubicle. She hadn't seen him for the rest of the week, and she hadn't given it another thought. But here he was, dressed in workout gear, talking to Eve, the trainer. She seemed very happy for him to join the class, even though he wasn't a member of the club. Monday was BodyStep day. And since the class had been running for a few weeks now, most participants were familiar with the choreography. Ranger had never done this before, so Steph couldn't help but smile. Ranger would have a hard time keeping up with this class!

He had placed his step next to hers while smiling at her. She noticed that he had put his step into the higher position. The advice to beginners was always to start low, and to build up from there. But he probably assumed that, since he was in such good shape, he didn't need to start low. Well, good for him.

The devilish grin on Stephanie's face didn't bode well for me. I still was wondering what I was letting myself into. When she had dared me, I couldn't respond due to an emergency call that had led me to Florida. After a few very busy days I had spent the weekend with my daughter and talked to my ex. She was a fitness trainer and had said that Les Mills was a good workout program. When I had explained to her what I was up to she had first laughed her head off and then offered to show me some moves and programs, so I at least knew what I was supposed to do. I had still doubted my decision until this morning when I saw Stephanie come in with her gym bag as usual. I just had to give it a try. I hoped it would also bring us closer. Morelli had been out of the picture for ages now, at least in the love area. They were spotted at ballgames, cinema and Pino's, but never more than friendly talk happened. My sources had told me that they had called the relation quits and lived happily ever after… as friends. I was very happy about that news, but due to many things I hadn't been able to approach Stephanie for a date. Also, with her newfound confidence and even better looking body, she attracted lots of men, and first dates were a regular occurrence now. Luckily for me, not many second or third dates happened, but she obviously wouldn't sit around and wait for me. Now, there was a first! I had underestimated her more than once, and I hoped that by doing her workout for a week (even if it started as a dare), she would see that I do take her seriously and was very happy with her for getting into shape. During the discussion I had realised that she had gathered quite some knowledge about fitness, health and food and I was secretly proud of her for taking her body so seriously for a chance. Didn't stop her from eating enough fast food and tasty cakes though, but well, that was Stephanie. So here I was, Monday morning at 10 am standing in a gym with only women around me and a step in front of me. Inside I was panicking, desperately trying to remember the steps that my ex had showed me. Outside I looked cool and completely at ease. I think everybody was fooled except Stephanie.

The warm up started and I could keep up most of the time. Eve, the instructor, announced the new moves right before they started so I could anticipate. Despite that, I still missed out on a few things because I would turn the wrong way or didn't know what she meant exactly. I just tried to copy everything that Eve did. The step was higher than it looked, and a few times I almost tripped. Steph seemed to enjoy herself thoroughly and she moved right in time with Eve. She seemed to know every move. Side to side, tap up tap down, hamstring curl. I felt jealous.

The first 4 tracks all flowed into one another, which usually left me standing and looking lost at Eve. Eve was so kind to encourage me with: keep up, Carlos! I flashed 200 Watts her way, and was happy to see that she missed the next step. Take that! However, my Babe next to me wasn't missing a beat. She stepped with the best of them, and looked like she enjoyed it too. Corner to corner, T-step, kick. Why did I ever think this was a good idea?

Track 5 was sort of fun if you liked basketball, and I did like to play on occasion with the guys. It contained jumps and shots, well, the movements anyway. But mixed with all these difficult steps in between, I was still lost. I was sweating heavily by now, and was glad that the step was in it's lower position now. This track was not so fast, so I did manage to do a lot of the steps right. I almost felt proud of myself. But track 6 was fast again and I felt my head spin. Oh, when did this stop? Jump up, turn step, knee up.

With track 7 finally a track arrived that I could follow. The moves were much slower now, aimed at muscle strength rather than cardio. And suddenly I could feel that my legs had gotten quite a workout already. When I run (and yes, I did run my usual 5 miles this morning due to gross underestimation) I keep a constant pace usually. On occasion I would do interval, but not that often. I realised that the continuous change in pace during this steps lesson had made me feel more tired than after my run. Mmm, maybe Steph had been on to something when she started the discussion. I did like the music and the trainer wasn't bad to look at either. I could see why Steph liked this better than working out in the gym. She liked to be among people. When the next track started I didn't know what hit me. Eve did say it would be the "party step" and now I knew why. They were all dancing while working out. And it went fast. Luckily I am good at dancing and fast on my feet, but I did turn the wrong way a few times. When I looked at Steph she smiled at me. She was happy. Squad, chachacha, side tap.

I thought it couldn't get much worse, but it did with track 9, the speed step. I can move fast, but that is only useful if you know which move you need to make. More often than not, I had no clue. I just kept up the best I could. Eve gave me another couple of words of encouragement: keep moving, if it goes to fast for you, just do it behind the step! I smiled my 'thanks' (too fast, how dare she say that!) hoping she would get her legs in a twist, but that didn't happen. I could almost her Steph laughing next to me. I tried to sneak a glance at the clock. Another 15 minutes to go. Save me! Luckily everything ends, and so did the speed step. Now we were having our last Power peak. Eve looked at me and said: you'll be able to follow this one without a problem, it's just this and this. Indeed, I recognised the steps from other tracks. She didn't say it was a very long song, or that we had to move our arms as well. I was out of breath, sweat trickling down my front and back, but I made it. Over the top, repeater, basic step.

But I got my revenge at the last track before cooling down. This track was for the arms and stomach. No need to say I beat them all… thank god, because my self confidence needed a boost. I swear I heard Steph mutter a "show off" next to me, but that didn't bother me. The cooling down ended this 60 minute torture. Afterwards Eve wanted to know what I thought of it, and I could see Steph lingering to hear what I would say. The words interesting, intensive and different were all I could come up with, without lying through my teeth. Never again, impossible and horrible were more along the line of my thoughts, but I didn't want to upset anybody, since I had to come back another 4 days at least to win my discussion with Stephanie.

Stephanie was laughing on the inside. She couldn't help it. Deep inside, she admired Ranger for stepping up to her challenge and actually trying it. He had had almost a frown of concentration on his forehead throughout the hour and had tried very hard to keep up. He seemed to be completely oblivious to the ladies behind him who had drooled over his lovely backside. Especially during track 7, in which there were lots of squads, their eyes had been glued to him. He got his revenge during the abdominal/arms track, so he did end on a high. She wondered if he would leave it at this, or continue tomorrow. Then it was time for something a little bit more up his alley: BodyCombat…

Tell me what you think!

Tracks used in this BodyStep:

BODYSTEP® 64 (June 2006)

1

Start Me Up

DJ Denzi

2

Love Is A Crime (Thunderpuss Club Mix)

Anastacia

3

Life Is A Highway

Rhythm Twins

4

Gloria

KopyKatz

5

Slam Dunk (Da Funk)

Maximum

6

Let's Go

Pure Essence

7

Crazy Chick (Kardinal Beats Krazy Club Remix)

Charlotte Church

8

Dance Dance (The Mexican) Hex Hector Club Mix

Thalia

9

Great Gosh A'mighty

Southern Light

10

This Is How A Heart Breaks (Ford Club Mix)

Rob Thomas

11

Something (Buzz Kitchen Mix)

Silosonic

12

Stickwitu

The Pussycat Dolls