10 Lessons I've Learned from Harness Cycle

Monday, October 15, 2018

I'm now 60+ classes into my participation in Harness Cycle, & sometimes, to keep my mind off how hard the rides are, I think about what the rides are teaching me. I wrote "Why I Ride"; now, here's what I've learned from riding.
  1. I can do anything for 45 minutes - or at least this thing. I've never, ever liked working out, & these classes are so hard for me. But now that I know the structure of the class & what to expect, & I know that if I can just make it a little bit further, I'll make it through.
  2. The best way to make it through a workout is to think about anything else. I have the hardest time when I think about what I'm doing & how much longer I have to do it, but when my mind goes elsewhere - to my to-do list, to my work, to my writing, whatever - it's a lot easier to make it through a difficult class.
  3. Boutique workouts aren't just for fit, athletic women. I mean, sure, there are a lot of fit, athletic women in these classes, but there are also plenty of not-fit women, & plenty of men, both fit & otherwise, & plenty of older folks. I am not out of place just by, like, being me & having the body I have. Working out is for everybody, even if the gym seems fancy & the Instagram is full of only skinny people.
  4. Fit, athletic women aren't scary or terrible. I knew that, of course, but as a plus-size woman & someone who always feels slightly disheveled, I've long been intimidated by fit, athletic women (who by their very nature seem to have it all together). This class has helped me see that whatever our bodies, we're all just people.
  5. I am the world's sweatiest human, period. I sweat so much that I ride with two towels. Once, I stopped by my favorite Lebanese place after class, & the sweet, elderly woman making my shawarma bowl exclaimed, “Oh! You are catch in rain?” Alas, no. The skies were clear. I was just that sweaty. I'm trying to live with it & own it & just accept it. Ew.
  6. I am more comfortable than ever with my bare face. Lately, I've cut back on my signature winged eyeliner, in part because I like to ride at the end of the day & don't like to have to wash my face beforehand - so on ride days, I don't wear much makeup at all.
  7. I do best when I set small goals for myself. Let's be real: I am not actually very good at cycling; I still can barely ride "up & out" (off the seat). But if I set smaller goals, like, "I'll ride up & out for 30 seconds, then I can ride in the saddle for the next 30," or "Just make it through this round of booty taps, then back to the saddle," I can usually push through.
  8. Good moves make the bad moves worth it. There's some "choreography" on the bike that I really enjoy, & if I tell myself that those moves are coming up soon - next, if only I can get there! - it's easier for me to push myself forward. They don't always come, but when they do, I feel rewarded for making it through the moves I hate (lookin' at you, jumps).
  9. I like working out at the end of the day. I know that for some people, working out in the mornings is a way to wake up & start the day off right. I'm basically never awake in the mornings (see: "Let's Talk About My Sleep Disorder"), but I also like riding in the evenings. It helps me flush out the stress of the day & end it on a positive note.
  10. Strong feels good. I haven't lost any weight - not a single inch or pound. If anything, I think I've gained weight, which feels deeply unfair. I do, however, feel stronger & more flexible than ever, which isn't a trade-off, exactly, but it's not bad, either. I may not look different, but I feel different, & that? Well, that feels damn good.
What have you learned from your workouts? What's your exercise of choice? 

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