I have been wanting to try a cycling class (or spinning class) for a long time but have found myself pretty anxious about it. I finally worked up the nerve last night.
First, I want you to know that I really enjoyed this class. I do plan on doing it again.
Second, I want you to know that I have pain this morning. I forgot to wear my bike shorts- I think I was kind of hoping the class would be full and I would have to miss out again. And no cushioned seat. And I rode hard. And now I have soreness and rawness and ouchiness.
I got to the class about 5 minutes early. I walked in and the instructor said, "Have you ever done this before?" Great. I totally stood out as a newbie. He introduced himself (Greg) and helped me pick a bike and make all the adjustments- setting the seat high enough, adjusting the handlebars, explaining how the resistance knob works.
We ended up with only 5 people in the class so it wasn't nearly so overwhelming. The 2 men in the class had just taken the class that went from 5:30-6:15. Then there were 2 other women and me.
I don't remember every detail of the class. I don't remember when I first noticed the soreness.
We did intervals- 30 seconds on a resistance of 4 (and each resistance level is really your own personal level of that number- not like the stationary bikes where you set a resistance level) and then 30 seconds on 5, back to 4, up to 6, etc.
There is no clock in the room so I have no idea how long each segment was.
I can tell you that the first time we stood up out of the saddle, I felt like an idiot. I felt awkward. It's like my legs suddenly didn't work in conjunction with the rest of my body anymore. When I am riding my bike outdoors and hit a hill and have to stand to get up that hill, the bike moves with my body. When you stand on a spin bike, the bike stays still, the body still moves, and things just feel all gangly and wrong. We had a handful of intervals where we stood and I have to say that it really wasn't my favorite part of the workout. Plus, the standing was a much bigger challenge on my body- that was when I would really feel like I wanted to quit.
I was about out of steam and the instructor said we had about 10 minutes left. He started to talk us through a race- as though we were in 10th place and with each minute, we had to pass another rider. I didn't hear most of what he said. I was tired and wanted to be done. Then the song changed and it really motivated me. It wasn't even some favorite song of mine but somehow it really revved my engine and got me pushing hard through those last 10 minutes.
The instructor made sure to get all our names before class and would shout out encouragement to each of us throughout the class. There were 2 times that I remember that technique really helping me. First, I hit a point where I just couldn't continue with the standing interval and my butt dropped to the seat. Greg gave me a big old shout, "Come on, Liz!! Get up! You can do this!" And I did. Then we were doing resistance intervals where we would go in a fast cadence at a low resistance and then slow cadence at super high resistance. "Liz! Crank that resistance! Make it so you can't move your legs! PUSH!"
After the class, I thanked the instructor and he commented- "You like being yelled at, don't you?"
I hadn't thought about it before but... yes. I do. When I first joined the gym near my office, the owner was a guy named Brad. When we had Boot Camp, Brad was the one that would yell at us to push harder, do more, run faster. And while there is a part of me that hates the idea of being yelled at, when it comes to a workout, that kind of encouragement does something for me. When someone suddenly turns their attention to me and they can see that I can still dig deeper and do more and they give that yell- I dig deeper and find an ounce of oomph that I didn't think I still had in me. I'm not saying that yelling is the way to go all the time. If someone is screaming in my face, that is not going to work for me. But Brad even commented once that he could see that I would hit that tired point when my body wanted to stop and he could see me take a moment to focus and then I'd get that next wind and could go farther. And while I haven't figured out how to get that aspect of my exercise self to apply itself to running, it certainly did come back to me in that cycling class last night.
I will need some recovery time before I jump back onto a cycle. I am riding my bike on Saturday morning with some women from my church- we have a team doing The Girlfriend Ride next month and some of us are going to start riding on Saturday morning to get ourselves ready. So my girlie parts definitely need a bit of a rest until then. But I'm hoping that I can find a way to schedule this class into my somewhat normal exercise routine. I like cycling as exercise and I like a class that challenges me and I like using the strength in my legs and I like pushing myself to go harder and faster.