The way you think about and respond to pain and discomfort in your body can…
Something I’ve learned over the years is: If I’m feeling it/thinking it/doing it, then others must be, too.
So here’s my honest train of thought this morning before and during my spin class, and how I got over my negative self-talk and won the day.
6am. My alarm buzzes on my wrist and I groan inwardly, knowing I signed up for a 7:15 spin class. This means I have to leave at 6:45. Already I’m grumpy. The last thing I want to do is go be sweaty and jiggly in front of a room of people. Then I sigh. Why can’t I just have the motivation I used to?
It’s almost easier to be a new exerciser as opposed to a seasoned ‘pro’ who was once at peak fitness and is now sitting in the mud at the base of the mountain again. You know how good it feels to be on top. So it’s extra crappy being laid low by lack of motivation, covid shutdowns, and extra restrictions.
6:15. I pour myself a coffee and sit, chat with the kids and Husband Jamie. I’m just not going to go, I think to myself. I have too much to get done, anyway. I’ll just head straight to work instead. Good. I decided. I sip my coffee resolutely.
Hold on, says my head, don’t be that guy. You’re not giving up. You’ll feel great after the class and you know it. Finish this coffee and get your ass in gear.
I know my head is right. Miraculously, I finish my coffee and find myself upstairs putting on gym clothes.
6:45. In the car, a slow song comes on to my playlist and I find my mood starts to head south again. Put on something upbeat, set yourself up for success instead of listening to this crap, I tell myself. I nod. I hit skip. Uptempo music carries me the rest of the way to the gym.
7:13. Waiting outside the gym and a guy (who I think works there) lets us in. Turns out, he doesn’t work there and I get called out for coming in when I shouldn’t.
Oh my god, says my head, are you kidding me? If that’s not a sign, what is? Get out of here and go to work. This is way too embarrassing.
I almost listen. But I’m in front of the spin room. I sit instead, and distract myself by scrolling on my phone.
7:14-7:20. In the spin room, setting up the bike, waiting for people to trickle in, my inner dialogue challenges me again. What the hell, there are only like 2 people here besides me. This does not feel like spin class used to. I want the people, the noise, the bustle! Not this sterile, quiet, eerie weirdness. Frigging hell, I hate this. Just leave. No one will call you out.
Somehow I keep setting up my bike and I force myself to get on it, make eye contact with the instructor. I’m here, I challenge my inner whiner, so screw off.
Class does not feel good. It feels all uphill. Moving has been sporadic this year, and it shows in my cadence and jagged breathing. My legs are on fire. I try not to look at myself in the mirror. I try not to feel my fat jiggling. I try not to allow my head to talk me out of doing something good for my body.
The whole class, I waver between loving and hating the peppy instructor, who, gods love her, is sweet as pie and trying her best to motivate a room of 7 people slogging a stationary bike through fake climbs and races.
“Is everybody reaaaaadyyyy?” she hoots at us.
Not hardly, says my head. I manage a weak smile.
“Can you give me moooore?!” Pep, pep, pep.
I almost snort. I turn my dial down a quarter turn.
“If you’re bouncing, turn it up!”
Oh, honey. That isn’t going to help. The bouncing will definitely continue. I look around, sure that everyone can actually hear my thoughts. Everyone seems preoccupied. I keep going.
“This track is pretty heavy in the back end,” warns Peppy.
Well perfect, I think, I’m already heavy in the back end. I feel like a winded rhinoceros.
Somehow, we make it to the last track. I look up; Peppy’s looking right at me.
“We did it.” She smiles at me. I see in this moment that she totally gets it. I feel like a shit for thinking bad things about her.
We did it. Despite my feeble output I feel pride seeping in. Are some endorphins possibly getting through?
I leave the gym smiling, the work behind me. My head is now playing the I-told-you-so card, ever fickle in its thoughts: See? You did it. I knew you could. You won today. You can do this.
I simply shake my head and allow the thoughts to roll on. It’s time to start the day.
Jen Wright is an RMT and co-owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff. She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves. She believes that pain-free is possible. For more about Jen, click here.