Important Life Lessons I Learned from my Spin Class
I am a strong proponent of the idea that fitness can have an impact on one's life in a much broader capacity than just physical fitness. I was a professional ballet dancer and when I went back to college, my essays deconstructed how my intense ballet training had carried over into student life — dedication, drive, hard work, never giving up... When I quit dancing, I failed to fill the void with a physical activity and I really lost myself (if you're interested in hearing more, check out this interview I did with Athlete Minded). A few years later, I started running and learned a lot about life from training for my first race.
Today I took a Flywheel class for the first time in awhile and it got me thinking about the positive impact it has had on my life outside of the spin studio. Five years ago, I did some work with someone on Flywheel's marketing team and they gifted me 10 classes. I was honestly terrified by the prospect of a 45 minute class spin class. I had never cycled before, nor did I engage in any sort of intense fitness program at the time. After the 4th or 5th class I was hooked and became a regular flywheel-er. In the beginning, the goal was to make it through the class, then the goal was to do exactly what the instructor was saying, then it was to surpass it, now I go in with a goal to place in the top 3 and maybe one day I'll start winning. Regardless, I have learned several life lessons from my time in class at Flywheel:
1. Never Coast. This is Flywheel's mantra and it is oh so true. The difference between a day where I score low and a day when I score high is usually because I stopped paying attention to my goal, even for just a few minutes. This is true in fitness and in life — lose focus even for moments and it is so easy to slip.
2. Set a goal every day. At the beginning of every class, I set a goal. Some days it is to surpass 300, others it is to simply finish class or to do all of the arm exercises with all 6 lbs. Regardless, if I have a goal in mind I don't back down when I start to get tired. I like to set goals every day in real life, too. Even if it's just 'today I'd like to make time to read a book' (today's actual goal).
3. Mind over matter. I just had a baby and get to hit Flywheel exponentially less than I did pre-baby. But, even when in not great physical shape, I'm able to push myself to a high score, simply because I know I am able to do it. I just feel a lot rougher after than if I'm in my best shape.
3. The greatest achievements often happen when you feel like giving up. Where I gain the most points or leap positions is usually towards the end of class when all I really want to do is hop off the bike and into brunch, but instead I dig in just a little bit harder.
4. Being surrounded by a group of positive people makes it more fun and helps you push yourself further. Every thing in life is better and easier when surrounded by positive people who are doing their best. Everything.
5. Loud music you can sing along to and a peppy person who is advocating for your success make the journey more fun.