Ah, if only MyFitnessPal or SportsTracker existed 150 years ago. My kingdom for an app! It would have enabled my well-documented exercise obsession, allowing a quantitative measure of my efforts to maintain my 18-inch waist.
As it was, I would have put Jillian Michaels to shame. Biggest Loser, indeed! What with my bedroom trapeze, my mountain-climbing regimen, my strict diet of stag blood and milk, I would have made an excellent health and wellness consultant. Can’t you just see it? The Hofburg Boot Camp! Ladies would line up in the ballroom where I would distribute lead cannon balls. Everyone would grab a partner, and we’d have tight-lacing contests, similar to those kickboxing classes that are all the rage these days, where participants pull on elastic bands in rhythm to such ridiculous music as the Ninja Rap.
My version of Zumba would be a sort of speeded up waltz, with the Court composer flowering his musical ledgers with eighth notes and staccato. An assortment of Vienna’s frilliest dandies would join the class, happily flexing their ascot-festooned sinew, having rubbed slug paste on their shaved torsos to give off the perfect gleam underneath the ballroom’s heavy chandeliers.
Alas, they would have thought me mad(der) back in my day for even lightly suggesting that ladies should aspire to perspire. Aside from casual fanning (which amounts to perhaps 30 calories/hour), movement of all types was frowned upon. We were to maintain our lithe status through counting to ten between bites, and eschewing the extra shim of lard on our Sunday mutton. Indeed, they would have carted me off to the asylum had I suggested that a lady work towards developing six pack abs or buns of steel.
Pity. I would have so loved to see the Archduchess in a unitard, grunting away as she executed a series of roundhouse jabs.