Back in the Saddle

It was 4:30 in the morning and I was sitting in my car trying to talk myself into what I recklessly signed up for the night before. Did I really register for Spin®?

Spinning® is a class that always intrigued me. There are two distinctive schools of thought with Spinning® it’s either emphatically love or hate. I’ve personally never met anyone who thought Spin® was just okay.

In my local YMCAs Spinning® is so popular that you have to sign up for a bike 24 hours before the class and you are often put on a wait list. This could be the standard but I’ve only experienced my Ys so I’m not sure. What I do know is that the Spinning® faithful will call as soon as the opportunity opens. They don’t play. 

It was 2013, I had recently gained back all of the 75lbs I lost on a medically supervised diet and a bit more. I decided to start swimming at the Y to try to lose my regain. When I was in the sauna after my swim two ladies were talking about Spinning®. They were definitely Team Spin®. 

When I left that day I asked the desk attendant if they had a spin class the next day. They had one recent cancellation for the 5am class and surprisingly no one in the wait list. If I wanted it I had to act immediately because the bike will go pretty quickly. I take the spot. What was I thinking? I don’t even know what happens in that class! 

That night I seriously contemplated calling and canceling. But it would be nearly impossible to get someone from the wait list for a 5am class. This is why I was in the parking lot before the sun came up completely unsure of what I was getting myself into while trying to muster the courage to go in. 

When I walked in I was instantaneously reminded of who goes to the gym when they open: Gym People. Gloriously fit people with minimal body fat and a heap of enthusiasm. I’m 400lbs and the only time I leap in any excitement is when I think there may be a spider on me or it’s Free Ben & Jerry’s Day!

If my level of anxiety wasn’t high enough, I went into the Spin® room and every single person there was beyond fit. It looked like a Tour de France training session. People had special shoes, bike shorts, and still not an ounce of body fat in the room. The instructor was kind and helped me get my bike situated. She went over the terms and how to use the bike and we were off!

The class was brutal. I don’t think I had been on a bike since the 4th grade Bike-a-thon and it showed. I was sweating like a crazy person while seriously contemplating my life choices and the class started 18 seconds earlier! This was going to be a long hour. 

From the first pedal I wanted to quit. Sweat was in my eyes, I was feeling like I was going to die but if I got off that bike I knew I’d be “that fat girl who quit.” I couldn’t stop. With each pedal I’m trying to think of what my obituary would read after I died in that class.

Regina Bartlett age 40.5 died trying not to look like a fat girl quitter in Spinning® class! 

At the end of class I peeled myself off the bike. People told me I did a nice job. Kind, sweet, lying souls. The instructor spoke to me after and said she hoped I returned. She was really nice and a great instructor but I knew when I walked out on wobbly jello legs I would never return. I was on Team Hate Spin®.

Flash forward to 2017. I’ve lost and maintained 250lbs, I’ve run the NYC Marathon, I’m a yellow belt in Shorin Ryu Karate, and I even work for my local YMCA! 

At my YMCA I’m facilitating a Fitness Challenge where I encourage the participants to try new things, vary their workouts, and really climb out of the comfort zone. The class meets on Tuesdays and in the entire week I didn’t try a single new workout. One of our Spinning® instructors, Kim, has asked me to try her class and I told her I’d be there Monday night. Then I forgot to call on Sunday and forgot to check when I was at work on Monday! 

I didn’t want to go back to the Fitness Challenge and tell the participants that I didn’t try something new. I also took a nice walk that morning and I have karate that evening so adding Spin® could be a bit much. I called and thought if the class was full I’d be unable to go! Nope! There’s a bike available. Looks like I’m Spinning!

The class blew me away! It was physically challenging but not impossible. I was impressed with how much my physicality has changed since that 5am class four years ago. I was stronger and more able to do the work. Kim’s instruction is so good and very motivating. At the end of class I felt amazing. Not once did I plan my obituary! My legs certainly felt like I worked out but I went to karate and did a bunch of kicking drills and survived that too.

When I opened my eyes this morning I was hesitant to move. What fresh pain would greet me? I knew it wouldn’t be debilitating pain but it’s usually the warning pain. The pain that’s like this: Oh, hello Regina. I’m just here to let you know that tomorrow is going to be utterly horrendous for you! I moved my legs and felt NOTHING! Zero pain! Not a twinge, not a spike, not a thing. Sometimes, I think I concentrate on where I want to go that I forget to recognize just where I’ve been! 

After my first Spin® class I vowed never to return. I wholeheartedly retract that statement and I look forward to Spinning again! I’m excited to share with the Fitness Challengers that I also spread my wings and tried something new this week! Looks like I’m back in the saddle!

Spinning® is a registered trademark of Mad Dogg Athletics. 

2 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle

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