Mary Lu Pabian is a huge bundle of energy and that makes her a fun teacher. I actually met Mary Lu on the Arkansas Queen a couple of years ago during the Club’s Christmas party. On the boat, she told me her story about how she came to be a teacher for the LRAC.
Mary Lu had been a member of the Club for years when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. While recovering from surgery and cancer treatment she discovered water aerobics as a new way to exercise. She fell in love with the whole shebang. She credits her classmates with being extremely helpful during her recovery and over time they developed into “family”. Eventually, she learned that the instructor at that time needed to give up the class and Mary Lu was scared that no one else would take it over. Not willing to let that happen, she talked to Lisa Cooper about how she could become a teacher and voila, a new instructor was born. Mary Lu’s been teaching at the Club since 2006 and her passion for water aerobics has only grown over time.
Mary Lu Pabian
Most of the regulars are back in class tonight and it’s obvious from the beginning that these folks know each other well. We warm up using a spiky rubber ball that we keep submerged and use for added resistance. During warm up – we form a tight circle and everyone is talking, seemingly at once, to catch up after missing last week due to spring break. Mary Lu tells me that she encourages this group sharing during warm up so they’ll get it out of their system and bear down to work for the rest of class.
True to her word, Mary Lu works us plenty hard over the course of the hour. I keep hoping that water aerobics will be a chance to ‘rest’ but once again, I find that if I try to do everything the teacher’s doing – it’s pretty darn tough. The fact that the class is done in water means that everything is “low impact”, which is helpful but it doesn’t mean (gosh darn it) that it’s easy.
Last time I took a water aerobics class, I likened it to spending an hour in a washing machine – tonight we actually do an exercise called “the washing machine” where we jump, twist, turn and shimmy over and over. The whole class is one version or another of this sort of move. I find that the class works my muscles in the same way that swimming does except perhaps with a greater range of motion and, of course, without getting my head wet. Mary Lu also likes to use ‘toys’, like the rubber balls or some ‘barbells’ that are utilized to increase the drag and make moving through the water h-a-r-d-e-r.
Mary Lu with her grandkids (Jack, Ava and Liv)
By the end of class, I can feel the accumulation of the day’s work and I’m ready to get something to eat and go to bed. I’ve already decided that I’m going to get up early and go to Kris Mougeot’s 5:45 a.m. Power Pump class on Thursday morning – am I glutton for punishment or what?
After class, everyone sticks around for the “drawing” and the newest member of the group; Gloria Futrell is the lucky winner of the $25 gift certificate. Everyone else bemoans their bad luck but I remind them there’s one more shot at Mary Lu’s Monday night class. I tell them I won’t be back here for a few weeks though – after the ‘washing machine’ I like to be put in the drier and pressed before getting washed again.