"Get out of your saddle." These five words have transformed me. I am not talking about riding a horse. I am referring to my latest obsession: The Dailey Method Cycle class. Spinning classes are not new. I first remember Kelly Ripa raving about them when spinning hit the New York City exercise scene. At the time, it sounded interesting, but I had no time to even consider adding it to my already over-scheduled calendar.
Last year, a close friend recommended the book, What Alice Forgot, to me. "This book will change your life," she promised. I devoured Liane Moriarty's novel about a 39-year-old woman in the middle of a nasty divorce who (in a nutshell) falls off her bike at spin class, loses consciousness and forgets the last ten years of her life. She regains consciousness as her happily married self, helplessly trying to retrace the steps of her life to figure out what went wrong. In the process, she rediscovers herself through her 29-year-old eyes. It's the age-old question: what would you do differently if you got a second chance, with a different spin (literally).
Maybe it's because the heroine is my same age. Maybe it's because I sometimes wonder what the younger version of myself would think of the life I have forged. Maybe it's because I have traveled the journey of divorce with so many clients asking the same question. Whatever the reason, this character resonated with me. I connected with her on a primal level.
With this reflection, it made perfect sense to me that I should also try out a "spin class" of my own, thinking that maybe it would change my life too. As fate would have it, my neighborhood workout studio just opened a brand new cycle class, at the beginning of the year. I signed up and have not looked back.
Dailey Cycle is the ultimate spiritual, soul-seeking workout experience. Messages of empowerment are everywhere, even adorned on the tanks sold in the studio. We are grateful, tough, fearless warriors with courage and strength. You "own" the next 45 minutes, pushing boundaries and challenging yourself, in hopes of developing a strong, tight body in the process. There are candles. The music is loud. You sweat. You smile. You sing. Your body is seemingly transformed right before your eyes. I have been an athlete my whole life. I even played on a collegiate level, NCAA Division I team. Ironically, I have never felt as fit as I do now, after taking this class.
Here are the top seven motivations Dailey Cycle has given me, one step at a time:
1. Respect Your Journey: We are all living our own unique life journey. Whether this path is easy or hard, you always have to respect the road you are on. The journey is where all of the magic happens. Acknowledge it and respect it.
2. Honor Your Efforts: We begin each class with the admonition that every day is different and each bike is different. Some days you will feel stronger, like you can conquer the world. Some days you may feel like you are struggling to keep up. Wherever you are on that particular day, always honor the effort that you are able to put in. It does not matter if you are the best in the room. It only matters that you are the best that you can be in that moment.
3. Find Your Beat: One of the best things about cycle class is that you ride in sync. You have to find the beat of the music and keep up. When I ran a half-marathon, I felt the harmony emanating from the thousands of heads systematically bouncing up and down in rhythm at the start of the race. I get the same feeling in cycle class. It is feeling part of something bigger, only in this case it's more like a flash mob on wheels. Try to find "the beat of the music" in everything you do.
4. Be Brave: Bravery has been defined as showing courage, facing fear or gearing yourself to endure pain. In cycle class you just have to show up and move your legs! Life is much tougher. There are moments of great joy and times of unfathomable pain and suffering. The feeling of turning that knob on the bike and knowing that you can ride harder and be stronger than you ever imagined makes you want to apply that same mentality to other life challenges.
5. Be Big: A call to be big is motivation to be the best person you can be in cycle class and in life. What you put out in the universe undeniably comes right back at you. Make every step forward count.
6. Be Strong: After I started Dailey Cycle, strength took on a new importance in my house. My daughter gave me a bracelet that says "Strength." She picked this bracelet out of a sea of other adjectives on the rack, because I am "strong" in her eyes. When I push myself in cycle class, my body gets stronger without a doubt. More importantly though, it is a reminder that to make anything else stronger in my life, I have to work at it.
7. Take Every Opportunity: In Dailey Cycle, the instructors tell you when you have opportunities to push as hard as you can. These opportunities come in many forms almost invariably to do with turning that knob on your bike or sprinting home. I have always been a rule follower, so when I am told to take it, I do. I encourage everybody else to do the same. There are so many opportunities in life to challenge yourself and be big, brave and strong. Take them. Otherwise, you we never really know your true capabilities.
Luckily for me, I did not have to fall off of my bike to get these reminders. Answer your own personal call to get out of your saddle, find your beat and rediscover yourself one step at a time.
Kudos to the amazing team at The Dailey Method in San Jose, California. It is so much more than just an exercise class. This class is the real deal. The instructors are just about the coolest people I have ever met. Yes, I am talking about you Jennifer C. and company.