Who wants to sit on an indoor bike and have someone scream at you to go faster while listening to very loud music in the dark? Not me!
I’ve been declining my daughter’s requests to join her in a spin class for months. I had all types of legitimate excuses like: a tender tailbone; arthritic hands; too busy working; too busy making dinner; too busy planning a Cub Scout meeting; too tired…you get the picture. But last week, after eating one too many Christmas cookies, I turned the tables and asked her to accompany me to a class at the local YMCA.
The instructor immediately took us under her wing. She showed us how to adjust the bike, gave us towels so our hands wouldn’t slip and recommended that we go get water before the class started. She introduced herself as “Crazy Bethany”. Odd, but two minutes into the class it was clear why. The lights went out, the music went up and she started screaming things like UP, DOWN, FASTER and growling GO-GO. My legs started shaking hysterically while I was gasping for air, trying to control my breathing and my arthritic hands were throbbing from the death grip I had on the handle bars. In my head I was substituting ‘Bethany’ for another B word! Each time I awkwardly glanced at the clock, the hands barely moved. How was I going to get out of this? I’m supposed to be a role model to my daughter proving that we can do hard things. It would be too embarrassing to walk out in the middle of the class…
The Turning Point
At last, about three-quarters of the way through the class, instead of the fast-paced techno pop music that was playing, a song I knew came on. My attention began to shift from my panic and pain to the song lyrics as I started mouthing the words. I suddenly felt myself breaking down, partially crying and somewhat cracking up (not ‘cracking up’ ha-ha but mental collapse ‘cracking up’). That was the turning point. Once I made it through Castle on the Hill, by Ed Sheeran, I made it through the rest of the workout with ease. By focusing on the beat of the music instead of on how tough it was, I was able to loosen up a bit.
Just Keep Pedalling
I was astounded! I went from having a near nervous breakdown at the beginning of the class to planning my next trip to the Y by the end of the class. As a matter of fact, I took another class two days later and I can’t wait to go back. I learned a couple tricks to make things easier, for example, I now bring a pair of padded workout gloves for my hands and a gel bike seat for my booty.
It turns out that spin class is like quitting smoking, ending a bad relationship, hot yoga and (you fill in the blank). If you can push through the roughest part the other side is amazing. After the class, I felt a sense of accomplishment and was incredibly energized. If you’re going through something difficult and feel that you can’t continue down the path for another second, just keep pedalling. It’ll be messy, and you’ll get sweaty, but if you stick with it, you’ll find your own beautiful way through the mess.
Tell me this: What have you gotten through that you thought you never would?