Some call fencing one of the oldest competitive sports in history; I call it the enlightened woman's approach to a speedy butt lift. My backside made more progress in a couple of weeks of riposting than it did in a summerlong Bums and Tums class.
Not that my decision to duel had anything to do with a desire for a gluteus makeover. I simply wanted to add some verve to my yawn of a workout. As a new graduate student at Harvard, I suddenly had access to a class taught by the coach of an NCAA champion fencing team.
Once a week for an entire semester, I joined 15 or so classmates for what soon became my favorite study break. After a warm-up—bowing, parrying, advancing, retreating—we each lunged across a mirror-lined athletic studio for 45 minutes straight. And with constant shouts of encouragement from our instructor, we held our backsides taut along the way.
By week two, I'd lost an inch from my rear (yes, I measured); by the end of the course, I'd received a major windfall: no more jiggly butt.
And in addition to the spectacular results, I've gained a gaggle of new friends—women warriors all of them.