This past weekend I dragged Bry to a spin class with me. I’ve never been to a group exercise class before, let alone a spin class. I was nervous about what to expect but excited at the prospect of something new. It helped tremendously to have my best friend there for support! Bry has taken group exercise classes before and even a spin class so it was even nicer that he had some idea of what to do.
We walked into a completely empty room with bikes lining the walls. Bry immediately said “I’ll get you a bike.” I had no idea the first challenge would be moving a big ol’ stationary bike across the room. Thankfully I brought muscle 🙂 He set up my bike and then I faked confidence and went right up to the instructor and asked for instruction on how far back my seat should be, how high and where my handlebars should be placed. It’s insane how many components were involved in this class before I even mounted the bike. He was extremely friendly and understanding and helped me. Bry even peeked over to get some brush ups on the how to’s as well.
Once the bike was set up I hopped on and held on for a fun and challenging 60 minute workout. I didn’t know what to expect going into the class but was pleasantly surprised. I loved it!
What I loved:
-Our instructor was really upbeat and fun. He’d break out singing in a high pitched voice during some of the songs (and he actually had a decent voice!)
-Our instructor knew I was a first timer since I approached him before class but never made me feel awkward or stick out like a sore thumb. He’d make eye contact occasionally during some of the sets and mouth what I should do differently or that I was doing well. Sometimes he’d speak it over his mic but he’d address the entire group, never singling me out which I very much appreciated.
-I have a very hard time staying focused. Especially when exercising in place (read: the dreadmill, stationary bike, etc). If I don’t constantly stay distracted, I lose motivation. Spin class is wonderful in that respect because it’s basically a large interval workout so the sets are constantly changing which keeps your body and mind constantly focused and challenged. It was wonderful!
-The workouts were challenging without being impossible. I loved it because I could challenge myself as much or as little as I wanted to and when I was being wimpy, I had an enthusiastic instructor to tell me to take it up a notch. I never felt like I couldn’t do something or like I was wasting my time. The time flew by and I was decently sweat drenched by the end without fearing the inability to walk back to the car.
-It kept me going. On my own I probably would have stopped 30 minutes in due to boredom and monotony. I have a hard time motivating myself indoors. But being in a group setting really pumped me up and kept me focused from beginning to end. Plus having an instructor was similar to having a teacher. You were a pupil there to learn and give it your all, so I did.
-I was pushed further than I thought I might be able to do and was pleasantly surprised I could indeed keep up but when I needed to take a break, I felt like I could without reprimand. There was one set that had us biking in 3rd position in “wet sand” which was basically the absolute highest resistance you could still move the pedals at. I’ve had really bad pain in my lower back all week and didn’t want to cause it to hurt any more since my boss works me 24/7, requires being held, carried and lifted often and doesn’t allow breaks 😉 (I’m going back to my PT about this but it’s most likely due to my pelvis misaligning again–pregnancy and BFing cause more relaxin to be in your body which makes it more able to get out of whack. Last month when I went in for knee and back pain when running my PT found the problem was my pelvis was out of line and thus tweaked it back into place. I think it’s popped back out and it hurts like the dickens). So for that section I lowered the resistance a bit and just did what I could without feeling like I’d further injure myself.
What I didn’t like:
-There was one lady who was directly next to me (Bry was on my right, she was on my left) who caught wind that I was new. For the entire class she then instructed me on what I was doing wrong and what I should be doing differently. I’m sure it was her way of helping me and she was just trying to be nice (I was very polite to her) but it really made it difficult to focus and I could feel her constantly staring and critiquing me. After awhile I just had to smile and nod so I could keep focused on the instructor.
I’ve wanted to take a group exercise class for years but I’ve always stopped myself and made excuses. I don’t feel well, the time is too early, too late, the class sounds boring, etc. But the truth is I was scared. I thought everyone would know exactly what was going on and I’d be the odd duck, completely out of sync. I was embarrassed that I might not be able to keep up physically, that I’d fail in my own mind. But I have to say I am so glad I went! It was a wonderful experience that was fun, challenging and a wonderful workout. The best part though? I learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was and that the only thing to fear is fear itself. If you’ve ever thought about trying a new class: DO IT! I bet it’s not as bad as you think either 🙂 And if you’re really nervous, bring a friend! It really helped me feel more confident to know I had my husband there to support me.
Disclaimer: I have taken a yoga class before, after I had foot surgery and was sidelined from running for m0nths. I suppose that also counts as group exercise. I did take that class by myself (though after a few classes I brought my mom to some with me). I was more confident about yoga because I knew many of the positions before from practicing on my own (I’d never done cycling before yesterday, just gone on long bike rides or jumped on a stationary bike trucking along at a steady resistance). In yoga it was different, as well, because the lights are dimmed, the instructor walks around and quietly guides you into the correct position if you’re lost and there’s no giant mirror in the front of the room for the entire class to stare at you, dripping sweat and gasping for breath 😉