I never thought I would be one of those people.
You know, those spin class people. Those intense Type As who sport shiny lycra from head to toe and obsessively show up to workout on a bike that goes, well, nowhere.
And while I keep my lycra to a minimum, as of January 2019, I am one of those people.
This is not a story about the benefits of spin and exercise. Rather, this is a story about resistance.
As much into personal development as I am, I am spectacularly good at resistance. For some reason, I like to shut things down right away and I make the call that ‘Ya, that isn’t for me’. Usually this is a fear-based reaction. I also got into the habit of doing the opposite of what everyone else was doing very young. I figured if I didn’t participate and try, then I didn’t have to risk failure, and then I could be safe. Fortunately, because of all the personal development work I have done, I see my transparent ways and realize this kind of behaviour does not actually serve me.
In May of 2018 a good friend of mine, let’s call her Maggie, asked me to to go a spin class. Of course, my immediate reaction was ‘Umm, no....’, but then I realized it was a great way to hang out with someone I adore, and oh ya, my sports med doc kept telling me to try spinning. I believe the doctor/patient convo went a bit like this:
Doc: I think you should try spinning.
Me: No, that doesn’t really appeal to me.
Doc: I think you should try spinning. It will be really good for your knee.
Me: Um, no… it looks really not fun.
Doc: I think you should try spinning. You’ll build the muscles up around your knee and it will help reduce pain.
Me: No… I don’t think so. When should I see you next?
Everytime I said ‘no’, I was in a state of resistance. I knew nothing about spin classes, but I was making the call it was not for me to protect myself from failure. I pictured a class chock full of judgmental super-athletes and then me: the out-of-step Amy Schumer of the class destined for Loserville (ouch - harsh, I know!). I just could not picture myself pulling Lance Armstrong moves and fitting in. Ironically, I was the one being super judgemental
And I was also seriously wallowing. Because of a torn meniscus in my left knee, I couldn’t do the exercises I loved to do: skating, trampoline aerobics, boot camp and power walking. I kept focusing on what I couldn’t do, instead of finding out what I could do. More resistance.
When Maggie finally dragged me to a spin class and I actually loved it, no one was more surprised than me. Of course, Laura knew I would enjoy it - don’t our friends know us better than us sometimes? - but I was shocked. I didn’t expect it to be such an amazing stress release and to feel an almost meditative/grounding effect after each class.
And it turns out, spin classes have participants of all fitness levels. Not everyone dresses a la Tour de France and you can make the class as easy or difficult as you want. No one really cares about your performance because they are so fixated on their on own.
And my knee? My pain has reduced between 50 - 75%. I literally feel like a different person. And miraculously, I have been able to ditch the hideous knee brace I used to have to wear in class that made me look like RoboCop’s wonky cousin. Woot!
The simple experience of trying spinning has made me examine where else I have let resistance creep into my life. I’ve asked myself these questions and I encourage you to do the same:
What am I always saying no to?
Why am I shutting out potential new experiences?
Where have I decided I can’t do something, won’t do something, or shouldn’t do something?
It is super easy to tell yourself something ‘doesn’t resonate’ with you, but is that always true? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Chances are it is a fear factor at play:
fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, or even fear of success.
It is a New Year. Now is the perfect time to ditch some resistance and open yourself up to potential joy. Why not let yourself be surprised at what transformative experiences are waiting for you?
To your brave success,