I could tell you that for years, decades really, my version of cardio was a gentle walk in the woods with my dogs. Period. End of Story.
There were several reasons I hated cardio:
1. It took effort. I am a sloth by nature, a textbook introvert, I love moving slowly, methodically.
2. After the early years of figuring out how to heal my body from RA, fast impact movement hurt. So I avoided it. I gave up skiing, horseback riding and anything jarring. 3. It was boring, time consuming and monotonous.
I avoided it like the plague.
I embraced yoga and pilates to move my body. It worked, I healed joints and toned enough, but not to where I was before RA or before kids. I asked a very fit student of mine years ago about how to loose the last 10, she said cardio. I remember when I asked her I was really looking for her magic pill. It felt like someone hit my ice cream cone out of my hand when she said the dreaded C word. I found cardio to be like going to the dentist. I found cardio to be disappointing. There was no way I could love it. I did try though. I have a DVD graveyard that includes but is not limited to Zumba, Kathy Smith, Leslie Sansone’s Walk fit, Step, all of Jillian’s flavours of torture and a few Beach Body work outs. I loathed each and every time I had to pop the DVD in. I hated it, so did I do it often enough to cultivate real change? No.
Then I met Audra. A lovely student of mine told me of a new studio opening up in town and that she thought I would be a good fit. She set us up and on one lovely cool day, we took a long walk down the river. We talked yoga, life, marriage, the whole kaboodoole, and we knew from the moment we laid eyes on each other we were smitten. Like meeting an old friend on a new journey.
She talked of spin and I recall glazing over and diverting the conversation. We talked of music, and I’m kind of a music aficionado so we shared our flavours and tastes. Then she suggested I should come and try it out. To be honest I was curious about this idea of great music, a dark room and working out? It sounded like the way I teach yoga, and the philosophies gelled. I agreed to come to her basement of torture where she was in full motion training her spin instructors.
My first ride was a blur. There was bike set up. Was I alone or was Sawyer there too? I was terrified. Did we wear clip shoes? What was the playlist? And the ride – I thought I was dying from song one. I definitely thought about puking. I felt like puking. I counted the beat to stop from puking. I asked myself again and again in my head when will this end. I swore multiple times under my breath, and when she announced the last song, my body did this hallelujah and amen choir. I remember wondering who in the hell loved this? and WHY? I was convinced that my cold bitch stare that I drilled through her when I could actually pick up my head during the ride – would likely not have her asking me to come again.
It took a few days for me to consider ever riding again. After the muscles in my body stopped whining about being woken up, I realized a few things. I kind of liked it. It really wasn’t that bad. It was hard but not awful. My body that I was always so very careful with was intact and could handle the intensity of the bike. Hips, knees, spine and ankles felt fine. Riding was intense but low impact. Hmmm I wondered. Had I actually found the cardio unicorn?
Audra nudged that I would be a natural teacher. My body awareness coupled with my love of music? Pffft. I balked at her and muttered something akin to when pigs fly. I told her I was curious about riding but was absolutely not interested in teaching.
Ride two turned in to three, four, five, six, twenty. It didn’t take long for my body to start changing, and for me to feel stronger with everyday routines. I could see the definition in my arms & shoulders from the weights. I loved the music. I really loved the music and the dark room. That I could get lost in the beat, and that it was actually FUN. It was the fun that hooked me. That a workout could be fun, and that that joy brought me back on the bike again and again. Joy. I fell in love with the bike. I finally started seeing me in that role, that I knew it would be an easy, but terrifying transition to actually teach. I think it was her master plan all along, and I love her for it.
I took out some really bad days this year on the bike. Its been a tough year for our family. And riding to the music is cathartic, transformational and healing. I say it again and again. Leave it on the bike. It works.
As I fell in love with the bike, I fell in love with my body. A new awareness. A new deeper feeling of gratitude for this human vessel. Grateful for the legs that got stronger. Grateful for those feet that hold the beat. Grateful for the breath, the pant that keeps the gas in the gas tank for the next song. Grateful for sweat running down my back. Grateful for finding freedom in movement. Grateful for the beating of my heart. I am grateful for finding something that will keep me strong. healthy and fit so I can share this and other passions with the world.
This gratitude has spilled over in my life. Grateful for the amazing women that have been brought together to “work” at My Rev. Grateful for clients who keep showing up because they are falling in love with it the way I did. Grateful for community. Grateful for connections. And it just keeps spreading.
I’ve always said to my students along the way. Small shifts=Big change.
And I experienced it myself as I stepped out of my comfort zone. That exactly where the growth really is. I’m proof.