My friend invited me to a Spin Class on Saturday morning. She tells me that we will be riding to raise money for a local non-profit in Fairbanks. Working for a non-profit, I am down! I always want to support what others are doing for our community- and if I can get a bit of a workout in also….let the fat melt!
I checked out the studio beforehand- pictures of women of all shapes and sizes, cultural backgrounds, and all of them smiling! I looked at the testimonials (because I am nosy), and there are people like me who have just been having a rough year and needed a little pick-me-up. I got excited. Okay! Let’s do this!
Saturday morning, I wake up, drink my coffee, work on my book, and then get ready for my first Spin Class. Now, remember- once upon a time- I would ride my bike 50,60, 100 miles in a day. I can ride a bike! That was years ago- but the concept shouldn’t have changed much. Right? I put on the only pair of workout pants that I have. I am not ashamed they are the ones that I have been sleeping in for the last year as I have NOT been working out. I put on a 10-year-old shirt that was loose and worn out. Put my hair into a messy bun and go with my water bottle and a bathroom towel out the door.
Walking into the gym- loud, booming music quickly hits me, intermixed with screams and clapping from the early morning class. I had no idea of what to do. There was gym equipment, mirrors everywhere, and nowhere for me to shrink into a dark corner and observe before engaging. I was swept into the back by a flood of women wearing cute workout clothes and carrying an extra pair of shoes in their hands. Unfortunately, I didn’t have cute workout clothing or an extra pair of shoes! I wanted to turn around and head back to the car for a smoke break- but I couldn’t because the next thing I knew, someone was telling me that I could use the locker next to hers. Somehow, that same woman got me inside this dark room full of Spin bikes, and all of a sudden, she is helping me adjust the bike and telling me how to calculate how far I had ridden.
What a nice girl!
Then she looks at me and says- ‘You are brave for taking this class as your first Spin class! It took me months to get to this level!’
Excuse me? What did you say? I looked at the website- it said nothing about having to be a professional. I thought we would spend the next 45 minutes listening to some good music, do an easy spin class, and then all head over to Denny’s for breakfast, patting ourselves on the back for supporting a good cause.
Just then- SHE walked in. I knew who she was from stalking the website before signing up for the class. Her name is Tina. Tina is the F&H Fitness Studio owner, and she was much taller than her photo led me to believe. Tina is also full of energy, spunk and loves to dance. Within 5 minutes, she calls out my name as a new student, and I have another fitness guru on my bike, making sure that I was comfortable and ready to go. All this attention- it is making me nervous. Do you think they notice I was wearing my PJ bottoms and walking shoes? Did they see that I was the oldest person in that room and by far- the largest? I prayed that the class would start so I could fade into the background.
The first mistake- there is no fading into the background in one of these classes. Nope. Tina takes the spotlight, lights go down to fun oranges and greens, and the music turns up. Someone closed the doors- my escape route was blocked! Tina somehow grows another 5 feet tall, and she takes center stage with a microphone, and we get going. Tina is not on a bike- she is on the floor dancing and singing with the music- telling us what to do.
She is so energetic and excited that I completely forget I am a newbie, and the next thing I know, I am leaning left, leaning right, twerking, hands in the air are waving like I just don’t care. Ten minutes friends- 10 minutes is all that it took to be covered in sweat, gasping for air, legs burning, arms shaking, and wondering when the break is. I have done enough at-home workout videos to know that I should be getting a water break every 15 minutes to shake out the muscles and get my breath back.
NOT IN TINA’S CLASS!
Then she asks- ‘Is everyone warmed up?’ Cheers and clapping filled the room- my fellow Spinners are getting excited. They are pumped and ready to get the workout started. I am writing my will out in my head. Warm-up? That was a warm-up? How long is this class? I never even thought to look at that vital piece of information. 75 MINUTES! Are you shitting me? Have I over an hour left on this painfully small seated bike?
I won’t go into the details of my thoughts throughout the rest of the class. But, I will say that I made it with only one ‘bathroom’ break. Bathroom break- aka standing inside the bathroom to get air.
An hour later- the whole group was standing outside for our ‘boxing’ portion of this new hell. I was the last one out because, during the class, my glasses fell off because of the sweat, landed hard on the earpiece, and slightly broke. By the time I got out there, everyone else had partnered off, and I was like the last kid at PE that no one wanted on their team.
Tina to the rescue. She made an instructor come out and work with me. Wasn’t that nice? Now, I had to face a professional and look like I was not about to faint from the 60-minute Spin Class for experienced riders / professional dancers. Another 15 minutes of hell. My arms burned, my thighs were shaking, my back was bruised from my ass fat hitting it during the ‘twerking’ portion.
And then it was the cooldown! I made it. We stood in a circle and stretched out our legs and then repeated after Tina.
I am Strong.
I am a Warrior.
I am Healthy.
I am Worthy.
I am a Bad Ass.
Twenty-five people all yelling these simple sentences, and the feeling was magical. I felt like I was part of the group- that it was okay that I wore my PJ bottoms to a nightclub.
It is Sunday morning. My lady parts hurt from the teeny, tiny seat. My thighs don’t want to walk or sit down without protest. Stairs are no longer something that I can manage without using the guard rail. My shoulders are suffering and protest me getting anything above eye level.
I just signed up for another class Wednesday morning- something called a Culture Ride. It says that ‘this class will change your life one turn at a time, one class at a time, one positive I am at a time!’.
Maybe I will get real workout clothes before then.
Wish me luck.