Spinning classes have the power to elicit feelings of misery and shame, as well as primal rage aimed at the instructor – which is why I haven’t been on a spinning bike in years. However, a colleague asked if I would participate in a spinathon fundraiser for a local charity.
Now, riding a stationary bike for two hours is on my ‘least favorite things to do’ list. I’m a mountain biker at heart so indoor cycling – not my thang.
But hey, it was for a good cause so I thought “why not? It could be good spring training for my cycling season”.
However, those two hours ended up being a roller coaster ride of emotions and physical pain that reminded me of Luke in the face-off with Darth Vader – would Luke prevail? Or would he succumb to the dark side?
Well, it was both. Let me explain.
Find Your Happy Place With The Intensity
My spinning ‘shift’ was the last two hours of the four-hour session – so at 11:00 am I walked into what felt like a sauna as 50 spinning bikes were packed into a small, poorly ventilated room. I grimly noted this and grabbed my towel and water bottle and got on my bike.
And then the music started. Two hours, it’s just two hours – I can do this – ! I heard LynnAnn’s voice (Green Mountain Fitness Manager) in my head – Your pace is THE pace℠!
Darn right it is, sister.
In no time I’m drenched in sweat, feeling the burn in my thighs because I haven’t been on a bike since last summer. I look at the clock…it’s only 11:10 am! “I’m screwed,” I think to myself.
Then I realized – I wasn’t honoring MY pace but matching the pace of the instructor, so I ease up on the resistance and slow down my pace – aahhhh, that’s much better.
The instructor is a good one – she also periodically reminds the group to honor the pace that feels right for our body. Find YOUR happy place with the intensity – she says.
I love her.
So I settle in to MY pace – and the first hour flies by.
One hour down and one to go – I got this.
Then enters an instructor who is going to lead the last hour of class, and the person next to me – who is a member at the gym – tells me that this instructor has a reputation for being a drill sergeant in class.
After she hops on her alpha bike she says, “If you all think this last hour is going to be easy – you would be WRONG! I am going to make you HURT, you will have nothing left when I’m done with you!”
I find myself in a situation that is the OPPOSITE of the Green Mountain fitness approach. At Green Mountain we teach women how to feel and then honor the body’s cues for optimal enjoyment so that movement can then become a way of life, not a grueling means to an end.
My pace is the pace, I gently remind myself. I will not cave to instructor pressure – I know better. So I settle in, the music starts up again and well – let’s just say the next hour was a test of sorts.
It’s 12:05 and I want to leave.
[quote]Her way of ‘motivating’ is to humiliate – and I kid you not – she actually screamed: YOUR PACE IS MY PACE!! IF I SEE YOU EVEN REACH TO DECREASE THAT BIKE TENSION – I WILL CALL YOU OUT! YOU SHOULD HAVE NOTHING LEFT WHEN YOU LEAVE HERE![/quote]
And then I think to myself: Oh No You Didn’t!
I longingly look at the exit doors. “I could just walk out in defiance,” I thought. But no – I decided it was…
I calmly went to my happy place on the inside.
- NOPE – I will not succumb to the pace of someone else who thinks pain is just weakness leaving the body.
- NOPE – I won’t even try to match the pace of my fellow spinners, but adhere to what feels manageable for my haven’t-been-on-a-bike-in-6-months legs.
- NOPE – I will adjust my bike tension up or down when I feel like it – not when she tells me to, and especially not when she glares at me while doing so in defiance.
- YEP – I will have that brownie you are offering me because there is 20 minutes left on this bike and I’m starving! (Best brownie I’ve ever had btw.)
My Pace Really Is The Pace
And I actually enjoyed the last hour despite her instruction style.
I was able to finish with my professional and personal integrity intact despite the pressure to succumb to someone else’s idea of what is good for me. Not gonna do it.
In the end – I was faced with the ‘dark side’ and I’m proud to say – I prevailed.