Goals are easy to make, and easy to break. So I sometimes slump into the habit of multitasking in order to cram everything in my schedule. Every time I multi-task, I end up doing everything in a mediocre way. Yet, sometimes killing two birds with one stone isn’t such a bad idea. What about going to an exercise class with a friend? I’m able to socialize while getting one step closer to achieving my goal to get active. What if that friend is actually the teacher? Well, it turns out that a dear friend of mine is starting out as a cycle fit instructor. Given that I’m also a newbie, can anyone say quid pro quo?
Last week, I bumped into a friend of mine, Megan. Since we’ve both gone off to our separate areas of study it’s been hard to find time to hang out with her. In absolute shortened form, this was how our catching up went:
Me: “I’m the MoveU writer for the Life@UofT blog this year.”
Megan: “I’m instructing a spinning class at the AC this year. It’s twice a week, and a drop-in.”
Both of us: “Wow, I’m proud of you!”
And for some reason, nothing else but a synthesis formed in both of our minds:
“LET’S SUPPORT EACH OTHER! YEAH! AWESOME! GREAT!”
And the deal was done. I promised her that I would go to her class that week, and so I did. That meant getting over my fear of going to the Athletic Centre. I’ve only gone there once so far during my two years at U of T. I was honestly nervous about going in, and had my doubts. Since I was going into a drop-in class for the first time in a while, I was worried about whether I would be able to keep up with the rest of the class. Also, I would have to take the Queens Park and Hart House crossing path, where the zombie line of cold-ridden students still march to class (see last week’s post to get what I’m talking about).
But alas, the crazy things you do for friendship. So I did what any other (semi-) normal university student would do: blasted “Eye of The Tiger” in my iPod, and headed on out to the good ol’ AC. I entered the Pedal Zone to see her perched on the bike seat, poised to lead class, like she’d been doing it forever.
Since I tried spinning classes two summers ago, I wasn’t nervous about trying something new, but I was apprehensive being vulnerable. It was my first exercise class in a few months, so I had to break out of the mould of being self-conscious. As I slid my feet into the pedals and strapped them up, I felt the butterflies in my stomach. I knew that I was going to be the first one to break the sweat in class.
Yet, the thing is, vulnerability is also empowering. Every time I jump into something, I end up becoming more confident because I allowed myself to take that risk. When the class began, I decided to hit the pedal and turn up the resistance metre. Since I’ve only just been getting back to the groove of being physically active, the first set of cycling hills were a little too much for me. But what I like about spinning is that you get to go on your own pace, and if you slow down, it won’t be as noticeable because you control the settings on your own bike. You’re not holding anyone back, and you’re not pushing yourself beyond your limits. So by the fifth cycle up the “hill,” I didn’t care anymore. I felt like I was alone, and competing with myself for as long as I could take it.
And yes, I was the first one to break the sweat. But I owned it. As our class picked up the pace, I felt like I was gaining strength throughout the ride. I felt like if I was telling the whole room:
“OH HELL YES I’M WORKING OUT, AND SWEATING. CAN’T STOP ME NOW!!!”
But instead, I’d humbly patted my forehead with a towel, while looking at my cycling machine’s resistance metre.
Then suddenly, everyone stopped pedalling, and class was over. And as I looked around, everyone else was either taking swigs out of their water bottles, or patting their sweaty bodies with terry cloth towels. I wasn’t alone after all, and even if I was, I just didn’t care anymore. I got off my machine and headed to the front of my class to give my friend a nice, sweaty hug and we had a brief chat. It turns out she also had her “I’M GOING TO OWN MY SWEATINESS” moment too. I guess you’re not alone in doing anything when you have a friend along.
As I walked out of the AC and passed the zombie-students of the Queens Park and Hart House crossing, I decided to march along with them, not feeling dreadful this time. Yeah, my tendons were aching, and my feet were burning, but my heart was racing, and I felt conditioned. I did not feel sluggish or gross inside (however, I can’t say the same for my sweaty exterior). I felt jumpy and revived. I didn’t just break the sweat, but I broke the lazy mould that I was encompassing myself in for months. I did my first class, and for that, I’m proud.