Fear of the Unknown

On the ride to the gym, I was apprehensive about mentioning the fact that Spin Class would start shortly after our arrival. I’d been talking about trying it for a few weeks and this would be the perfect time. Damn.

Because, I can’t keep my big mouth shut, I say it out loud anyway. I announce to no one in particular that a I am going to try Spin today.  Of course, husband is sickeningly supportive and he tells me to go for it.

A few minutes later, we park and walk into the gym. I tried to back out and Brad (that’s DH’s name – you’ll hear more about him in another post), promptly tells me no. He tells me to just go do it so I can finally stop talking about it. In short, he was tired of hearing my mouth. 

Between you and me (lean in because this is a secret), I was afraid. As I write this, I ask myself what was I afraid of. In no particular order, here’s my list:

  • Not doing it right – whatever that means
  • Not pedaling fast enough
  • Falling off the bike
  • The instructor yelling at me
  • Disappointing myself; not sure what that would look like

As you will see from the rest of the post, I am here to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Sometimes the Seat Will Hurt Your Butt

As I walked into the classroom, I saw the bikes. They looked normal enough. Because I was new, I didn’t want to select someone’s favorite bike. You know? Respect for the regulars. Eventually I chose a bike that wasn’t too far from the instructor, but not too close to the front either.

The instructor started to give instructions and make general announcements. Then came the dreaded question, “Any new people in the room?”. I raised my hand ever so slightly that he missed it. A few minutes pass and he asks for newbies again. Since the last time he asked, I had a conversation with myself that went something like this:

Me: I should raise my hand. Who cares if I am new. I showed up.

Myself: Umm, it’s just riding a bike. You’ve been doing that all your life.

Me: But I have never taken Spin. I’m sure this is different. I could hurt myself.

Myself: The floor isn’t that far away. Plus your feet are strapped in.

Me: My butt hurts already; this may be a bad idea.

Myself: Suck it up.

Me: If I have to sit here with a sore butt with the risk of falling off this bike, I am going to raise my hand so everyone will take pity on the poor new girl who doesn’t know how to ride a stationery bike. 

***RAISES HAND***

Instructor’s response: Welcome. I hope you have life insurance 

Myself: Told you so.

Cheat Days Can Turn Into Cheat Years

Theirs is where it gets good, so pay close attention. I was doing well. We were warmed up and ready to go. The instructor explained the three positions and how they will work my body. I kept up for the first few minutes with no problem. After 15 minutes or so, I got winded. John (names have been changed to protect the innocent) told us we could go back to first position anytime we felt like we were doing too much. So that’s exactly what I did. I figured I would just spend the rest of class here taking it easy.

I am 100% sure John heard me because he immediately said, “Don’t cheat yourself by not giving this class all you got.” Whether he was speaking directly to me or not, I will never know. I just mustered up some strength from who knows where and I got back in the game. 

This is the part that applies to you: don’t cheat yourself out of any experience.I really don’t care if you have the opportunity to bake with Martha Stewart or volunteer at a homeless shelter. Every experience in life deserves your best effort. That is the only way you will know if you liked it or not. If you didn’t like it, try it again to be sure.

Stay on YOUR Bike

Painted on the wall at the front of the room, there is a beautiful sky and road. It’s easy to let yourself get lost in it while you ride. I think that’s the purpose. Many times I found myself looking around at my classmates and how they were riding. Each time my gaze lingered on someone else too long, I didn’t perform very well. It took me a few tries to realize that my lack of attention to my own performance was causing me to ride badly. 

So here is the next lesson for you: it is very likely that there will always be someone better than you at whatever you are trying to do or learn. The most beautiful part of being a newbie is you can make a ton of mistakes and blame it on being new. Get out there and mess, screw up, do it wrong, and make mistakes. 

Next time you won’t be the newbie; you’ll be the expert.

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The Home Stretch

By now, I’ve been watching the clock for 35 minutes. I thought this was a half hour class. I definitely need to pay closer attention to what I sign up for. The realization that I have another 25 minutes of torture ahead of me makes me pedal harder. Thinking back, I am sure I was trying to ride away. 

The music hit a crescendo and I start feeling myself. I’m in third position. That’s supposed to my butt and thighs, so I am a happy girl. Who wouldn’t sacrifice a few minutes of pain for a perky booty? 

Suddenly people start to leave. It’s a small class so it’s noticeable. Maybe it was too intense. Maybe they were like me and thought the class was 30 minutes and they weren’t up for overtime. It’s also entirely possible that they were paged by the hospital to deliver a baby. Who knows? What I do know is that I was in it for the long haul. That should be your mindset too. No matter what you start, you should be prepared to finish. More than likely, you should be prepared to finish with less people than who you started with. 

On the flip side, you may be the one that has to bow out early, both are okay. Why? Because you’re the one riding the bike. You know your pain tolerance. Only you can decide what’s best for you. Just don’t cheat yourself out of a great experience because of fear, laziness, or the opinions of people who don’t want you to have new experiences because they are afraid to venture out.

Your Turn

What have you been putting off trying? Why have you put it off for so long? Can you commit to being COURAGEOUS enough to try it? Give me deets!!

In the meantime, be courageous.

Courageous Coaching with Sophia Antoine