I have had my high and low points with spinning as a form of exercise. The high in 2005 when I maintained a three month stint of cycling everyday at 6:00 a.m.; the low arriving this morning, as my alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. and I debated the prudence in letting $25 fall by the wayside in exchange for more rest. After ten years off the bike, I had resolved to get back on, and if this was any indication, it wasn’t going to be an easy ride.
I’ll admit: Over the course of my ten year hiatus, I’ve scoffed at spin-thusiasts. A resolved yogi, loud music and pressure of any kind were the antithesis of anything I wanted out of exercise. But I needed to add some cardio to my regime and my friends drank the Kool-Aid. So about a year ago, I went to a Flywheel class with Katie on a whim. As I clipped my shoes into the bike like I was about to go downhill skiing, I swiftly realized that, thanks to my self-proclaimed high anxiety, I was destined to spend the rest of class envisioning passing out into the adjacent rider while my shoes (and presumably my legs attached to them) remained spinning in place. I rode out the 45 minute class and managed to stay on the bike. But I wrote off modern day spinning almost immediately upon exiting.
Since then, in the name of fitness advancement, I’ve given all of the exercise trends – pilates, the barre method, rowing, Zumba – a quick revolution. I learned the following: Pilates and the barre method are great for toning but aren’t any more fulfilling than the yoga classes I love; rowing is awkward, made more so by me being in the boat; Zumba requires coordination and I have little, particularly early in the morning. I tried to pick up running for a bit in order to be outside, but had to give up thanks to a bum knee and a doctor’s order.
While my dalliances with different forms of exercise happened on a whim, they were of my own volition. No one ever told me that I needed to workout more, or that there would be consequences if I didn’t get my heart rate up. Until recently. About two months ago, my doctor started questioning my cholesterol levels – not to the point of concern, but to the point of “it’s time to start thinking about them” – and suggested advanced stretching might not be enough. I’m over 30 now, and that’s part of adulthood, right? No longer being able to keep lean and healthy while drinking cases of Diet Coke and eating pizza every night. (A tough pill to swallow, but one I have been choking down for about five years now.)
In a panic, I resolved to stop class hopping and commit to a cardio-centric workout at least twice a week – spinning, which was the only thing I have ever been able to do with any consistency, albeit ten years ago. I am now on my fourth spin class of the new year. Every time I wake up thinking, Maybe I’ll just stay in today. But then I remember the feeling of having a health professional tell me – someone who considered themself fairly healthy – that I needed to get it together, and I get out of bed and put on my Lululemon. Sure, I’m still struggling to keep my anxiety at bay as I ride it out while the music blares. But I’m also starting to understand what the hype was all about. Somewhere in the midst of my panicked pedaling, I’ve found what can only be described as endorphins.
— Lynsey Eaton