Illustration: Jeff Rogers

Back in January, I had one fitness goal for 2020: requalify for the Boston Marathon. For years, moving forward as fast as I can has provided me health, purpose, and confidence. Then COVID-19 happened, races got canceled, and my once-meditative runs became stress-inducing gauntlets of mouth-breathing dog walkers and joggers. Clearly, recalibration was required.

Fast-forward a few months. Now I kick-ball-change. I pop-and-lock. I croon into my MacBook screen: “I don’t wanna be your fool ... in this game for two ... so I’m leaving. You. BEHIIIIND.” Thank you, Bobby Gouse.

Gouse is the cofounder of MVFitness, a dance-cardio boot camp. The bald, bold professional dancer had appeared on my Vimeo one day with a tantalizing proposition: Master the music video moves of my youth. I asked myself: Could an uncoordinated middle-aged runner really learn the routine to “Bye Bye Bye”?

So I signed up for MVFitness’s 45-minute, on-demand online workout. We’d warm up to Lady Gaga, and then Bobby would break down 'NSync's moves. All the while, he’d cycle through brightly colored wigs, swiveling his hips like a teen idol. At first, I struggled to follow, my cat scampering around my flat feet. But by summer’s end, I’d nailed the basics. Some days, I’d even skip the tutorial and go straight to the finishing “performance.”

Now, when the music stops, I return reluctantly to my regular pandemic life. For those 45 minutes, though, I feel like Britney Spears.

A $20 monthly subscription grants access to all of MVFitness’s online classes.