My association with spin class or any gym class for that matter has always been a combination of dread and disgust. And probably a little envy. Envious of the people who just loooooved working out. Who got out of bed at an ungodly hour to run or bike or lift or whatever else one does in a room reeking of rubber and determination. Those people who would drone on about their natural endorphins. "Its cheaper than therapy!" "Its natural serotonin!" "It makes the day so much better when you start the day off at the gym!" they would cry. I would stifle a gag. I was just fine buying my serotonin. Therapy is actually cheaper than some gyms and as for the day being better -- I just didn't buy it.
I tried. I went to a 6 a.m. spin class last year and all it did for me was make me want a bilateral leg amputation and a long nap. It sucked. This woman who looked like a cross between Tina Turner and Glozelle (YouTube her. You're welcome) spent 60 minutes screaming into a microphone over the piercingly loud Kanye tunes to "JUST GO FASTER."
Then she got off her bike and played a huge congo drum. For real. With those big sticks with a cloth tip. Had I been able to breathe I would've asked "WTF?" but I was too busy trying to suck some air into my lungs. I didn't want to be the person who died in spin class and was attached to the bike pedals with those clip-to-the-pedal shoes.
My whole day was ruined after that early morning cluster.
So when a friend mentioned trying spin class again, I was apprehensive. But I had started runking months ago (read my last post) and felt like maybe I'm in better shape mentally and physically to give it another go. Maybe since I didn't despise exercise the way I thought I had I'd be better equipped to deal with Tina Turner screaming at me. Or maybe I could find a place that didn't have a congo drum.
I have a few rules about a gym. If I walk in and feel like sh*t about myself within the first minute, I can't stay. People have to look normal there. I don't need to be in a room of waitress-til-I-get-discovered types. I would rather not outweigh everybody else by more than 20 lbs. I need at least one other woman to look like she's in my tribe; the haggard and perpetually exhausted tribe.
My first class at Burn Studios in Atlanta was in one word -- illuminating. I walked in and there were pillows on benches and people chatting getting ready for class. Lots of smiles and an overall chill vibe. The people joining me in the class were a heterogenous crew. Moms and dads and maybe a smattering of grandparents. Ok, just one but he was super cute and fit. All body types were represented. I did not feel like hiding in the bathroom. I confidently got on the bike and listened to the spiel about resistance and RPMs and something else I can't remember. Full disclosure- I stopped listening after "resistance". The lovely guy who adjusted my bike seat so I could reach the pedals said to me with a warm smile-- "ignore the resistance; just try to keep your pace up". Got it, Yoda of spin class.
Jeremy taught the class (and is also the owner of Burn). To all future spin instructors I say : Be Like Jeremy. He is fantastic. Mostly because you can tell right away he really loves what he does. And his music is KILLER. And the best part is he sings out loud to the songs at exactly the time that I too was belting the words out. It's a challenge to dance on a bike but I pretty much did. It was something between dance and prayer that morning on the bike. The sweatiest bike dance you've ever seen. Its dark in the room so no one could see me with my eyes closed getting my Miley Cyrus on.
The 45 minutes flew by and I actually loved every minute. Ok, well maybe not every minute but no less than 40 of the 45 minutes. I surprised myself. Oh and this class was at 6 AM. So I voluntarily got up at 5:30am and quietly tiptoed out of a silent sleeping house when the moon was still up. And you know what? It was great to have the quiet time to myself. To get dressed without screaming at kids to find their other sneaker. To pee with no one else in the bathroom. To drive alone and not have to buckle one single child into a carseat. And to listen to Howard Stern.
And dare I say it-- I had a stupid amount of energy that day. It felt like what I can only assume happy people feel like. I may have had an extra shot of serotonin that day. It's true.
I've gone back and had the same experience so I know it wasn't a fluke.
So to all the members of the mom tribe I can say this is something you can do for yourself. You deserve the 45 minutes. You deserve the solo car ride. You deserve to bathe your brain in serotonin. If I can fall in love with spin class, than anything is possible because the chance of me loving a workout was about the same chance of me becoming a fighter pilot.
It doesn't have to be spin. It can be anything that gets you pumped and wanting to sing loudly and dance awkwardly.
Just ignore the resistance and try to keep up.