Kendra Ekelund is a member and guest blogger at Club Fit. She recently overcame a battle with cancer and is on her path to wellness. Hear about her exciting journey full of ups, downs, ins and outs in her blog "Superhero Transformation."
I am trying really hard to resist sharing all the terrible, awful spinning puns I came up with in my mind when I took a spin class last night. “If I throw up in this class, do they call a spin doctor?” Forgive me. It was only to distract myself from the intense burning in my legs. Holy bicycles, what a workout!
I have to be honest. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was pretty ugly. I was breathless, panting like a dog and sweating more than I have in years. I had forgotten what it was like to get sweat in your eye. Ow. In the first 10 minutes of class, I came to a crashing realization that my fitness level has decreased significantly in the past two years that I’ve been ill. In hindsight, I can’t imagine why I expected to be able to pick up where I left off in terms of ability. I guess that’s always been the case for me. Suddenly, it wasn’t.
Suddenly, I was having to sit down in the seat of my bike while everyone else was hopping up and down. Suddenly, I found myself having to turn down my resistance because I’d overestimated what I could do. I felt awful. Our instructor was incredible – every few minutes she found a new way to verbally coach and inspire us to turn that resistance knob up and challenge ourselves. I shamefully turned mine down and hoped no one would see. I struggled with self-evaluation. “Am I being responsible, or am I being a quitter? Am I doing the right thing by listening to my body and doing my best, or should I really be pushing myself into the unknown? Should I be pushing myself yet? Should I stay here or should I go elsewhere?”
An incredible thing happened. A mountain of viable excuses were piling up in my brain, but I didn’t give up. I didn’t walk out halfway through class and console myself by saying I’d start with something easier. I stayed, and told myself that even if I couldn’t keep up with the class, I would just keep pedaling at the highest resistance I could. When the time came to push myself, I turned up that knob as high as I could and pedaled as fast as I could. Finally, when it was all over, I felt amazing. When I got to the stairs, my legs felt like jelly and I had to carefully hold the handrail on my way down so I didn't fall. Still, I felt incredible!
Spin class was more than a lesson in fitness. I learned how emotional a workout can be. I know that I sweat my face off, got great cardiovascular exercise, and helped tone my leg muscles, but the most personally rewarding thing I took from class is that I did my best and didn’t give up. Also, I know that next time, I can do even better. I feel good that I’m on the right path, and I definitely feel like a Superhero today.
UPDATE: Two weeks later, I have tried two more spin classes, and I’ve felt remarkably better each time! I’m amazed at how quickly I improved. It was such a pleasant surprise, and so inspiring, to exceed my own expectations of my abilities. My advice to anyone trying spinning for the first time would be to try it more than once. You may surprise yourself!