The Time I Cried at a Cycling Class

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

You know when is a really good time to learn how to exercise? When you work at a gym.

I did, in fact, once work at a gym - a really good gym - for more than two years. But despite the fact that I got free membership, I still didn’t take the opportunity to learn how to work out. So here I am, overweight & inactive at age 33, with no idea what the hell I'm doing when it comes to exercise.

In January 2017 - yes, more than a year ago - my mom bought me a 10-pack of classes to Harness Cycle, an  indoor cycling studio in Ohio City, so I could get in shape before my wedding. Want to guess how many of those classes I actually took? You’ve got it: zero. Want to know how in shape I was for our wedding? Not at all.

Honestly, I was just too scared to take a class. 

The idea of being in a room where everyone is fit & knows what they're doing terrifies me. They recommend taking their basics class before attending any others, but they only offer the basics class one Saturday a month, & the timing never worked out for me... which was a convenient excuse not to have to go. Ever.

When I again looked into taking a class & discovered that my pack was long expired, I sent the studio a desperate email, basically begging them to allow me to use my classes. They kindly obliged… which of course meant I had to start taking the classes.

Last weekend, I finally took the basics class at Harness Cycle's beautiful new downtown studio. Alone. Despite the fact that I was so nervous that I woke up feeling like I was going to vomit.

The front desk folks were very nice, but I was immediately overwhelmed by the lobby space, which was filled with chatty people who all seemed to know one another. This was the beginner's class?! I sat alone on a bench until the class began.

It turns out that a lot of the folks did know each other - because the class was filled with both newbies & longtime cyclists in training to become instructors. That meant that we new folks were riding with experienced riders who were there to help us - but who were experienced nonetheless, which was more than a little intimidating.

Classes take place entirely in the dark, set to the beat of pulsating pop music. Before the class started, we did some practice rides - lights on - to get a hang of the actions & the lingo, & even that was difficult for me. Truth be told? When the lights went down for us to actually begin, I started to cry. I was already so tired & sweaty & insecure - & we hadn't even begun. Seeing myself in the mirror at the front of the room, seeing how big I looked, how sad & scared... I just felt overwhelmed.

As the lights dimmed, I couldn't tell what was sweat & what was tears; I was crying too hard, & trying to ride through it.

And man, was it difficult.

During certain points, the instructor shouted "Up and out!" when you're supposed to cycle with your butt off the seat. Sometimes, they ask you to do push-ups against the bike while your butt is off the seat. Can you even comprehend how difficult that is? 

What I'm saying is that the class was really hard, mostly because I'm just so out of shape. I couldn't get my butt off the seat because I couldn't support my body weight, & when we used hand weights, I had to stop cycling entirely. And there were times when, even though I felt like I could've kept going, cycling-wise, I had to stop because my butt bone just hurt so badly - like, "That's gonna leave a bruise" badly (&, uh, it did).

The instructor was upbeat & kind, yelling, "You're here for a reason," & "Just do your best," & other affirmations. I wondered if she saw how badly I was struggling, even in the darkness; she must've. I chose a bike in the back, but my silhouette was moving more slowly than everyone else's. I tried to take her words to heart, but all I could think was, "I just want to be done with this & never return."

At the end of class, when the lights when up, one of the instructors-in-training asked me how it went... & I started crying again.

To a stranger.


She was super cool about it, but when I tried to explain myself, I only cried harder. I was so humiliated that I mumbled, "I'm going to go, thank you," & ran out.

Instead of feeling proud, I felt embarrassed & sad & overweight. My body was screaming in pain. I was the heaviest, most out-of-shape person in the room - even at the starter class. How could I ever take a "real" class?!

Still, I signed up for another class - a "real" one - tonight. Is that crazy? 

I have 10 classes to use up by June, after all. I have to do something  - & I guess, for now, it might as well be this, right?

No comments

Post a Comment

Leave me some love.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...