“Look at where my ball is!” shouts the instructor. But I can't look as I'm struggling to get up off my knees, after a strange press-up routine, and I barely have time to switch to the next movement.
Soon afterwards John, our apparently tireless leader, comes by and tells me that my sumo squat is "fabulous". Very nice of him, but I don't feel fabulous. I'm dripping with sweat, and my legs are quivering.
Thursday night, you see, was my first MetCon3 class. No, I haven't joined a secret government military unit, I've just become a (temporary) member of Equinox, the smartest new gym in town.
The class description promised to "tax all three energy systems" (who knew that there were three?), acting "like a fat-incinerator". Looking at my party-paunch, this was exactly what I needed.
As you might guess, I've decided to get a bit fitter. I had been thinking about it for a while and realised that February and March were the times to do it. Through past experiences and watching friends and colleagues spend their Januaries in misery, it's clear that the beginning of the year is the wrong time to do it: a post-Christmas detox is too big a shock for the system. Drink in moderation, I say, while no one else is doing so, then slide into a March get-fit spell.
After an "Equifit" analysis, where special machines measured my hip-to-fat ratio, muscle imbalances and my bad previous attitude to exercise, I was allowed to book a personal training session. Bianca, my trainer for the day, also had a degree in history, useful if you want to discuss the historiography of the cold war while nearly overheating from strenuous exercise.
With its purified air, scented towels and nutritionists on-hand in the café area to make sure that your post-workout meal is an appropriate one, it's easy to see why this is becoming one of the most popular (and expensive) places to go.
In the past couple of weeks, I've spotted pop stars and fashion designers and a handful of "other halves" of the city's famous and beautiful people. Which, hopefully I'll start to resemble by the time my membership's up.