The need for exercising stroke me when my GP advised that my blood pressure was too high. I have never been a sporty kind of girl and the things that naturally interest me are not very active *someone give me a book to read in one sit!*. My job is office based too and even though I try to walk as much as I can during weekends and holidays, my body was not getting all the necessary exercise to be healthy and strong.
Like most people, I have tried a couple of gyms and joined some of the typical classes such as Zumba, Burnit and Clubexcise; but after the first month or so all the newness would wash away and I would find myself dreading to show up. I also had a go at having a Personal Trainer just in case the 1 to 1 sessions were more engaging, but even though my PT was a really good one *I never needed this*, I was not having fun and eventually gave up on our training sessions. It seemed that exercise was not something I enjoyed and keeping up with something that was not appealing to me turned almost impossible.
Last February I was having a chat with some colleagues at work and we were sharing our honest experiences about exercising and gyms. I am fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly fit people; the kind of guys that do triathlons and ironmen competitions as well as some power lifting girl bosses. They are definitely inspiring and I shared my true feelings with them: What is it that I am doing wrong? Why you all enjoy so much being active and I don’t?
Authentic raw conversations are always the best, even when it is difficult to show your true self because you fear other people judgement. I love these meaningful interactions even when they are difficult to take in because when you finally manage to embrace the message, you grow as a person.
My colleagues basically told me that exercising is tough until you get the endorphin kick. This means you have to endure through some weeks without feeling any reward but pain and tiredness. They promised me that I would be addicted to exercise if I managed to keep going until my body started to release all these good chemicals that would translate into enjoyment and satisfaction. Someone suggested to try a spin class (also known as indoor cycling) and I decided that this would be my last attempt at becoming an active person *so I could say “I told you” and go back to my book!*
I started spinning and the first month was painful. I would get sweaty, my whole body would hurt and I would be incredibly tired *like when you rather sleep than eat!*. I kept going to the classes, thinking that it was some sort of painful assignment or challenge and that after some weeks I would just stop it completely and forever.
On week six, something changed. I went to my Saturday morning class and I felt that the instructor hadn’t been challenging enough * !!! * . On week seven, I went to my Wednesday evening session and I was flying on top of the bike, twisting the resistance knob more and more. At one point, I wanted to shout “yeah!” or “look at me!” *I didn’t* and I realised I was having fun. I-WAS-HAVING-FUN.
I am now 3 months into this and the way I feel about going to the gym has shifted completely.
I look forward to it and when I miss a couple of times in a row, my mind is grey and bored and my body craves the movement and the effort.
Also I often find myself thinking how could I improve my technique to go faster and take more resistance in *spoiler alert: spinning is not just pedalling!* and have started to consider if I should put some money into cycling shoes, so I can be more comfortable when doing my climbs on the bike *even though they are so incredibly ugly shoes*.
I take and share with my girl boss friends a “gym selfie or it didn’t happen” when I am about to start the class *yes, people in the gym look at me as I pose with the bike*.
Despite the fact that it took me two months to feel the benefits exercising, I can see what my colleagues meant with addictive chemicals and the reward sensation after each class. More importantly, my blood pressure levels have dropped to normal values again, which made my GP incredibly happy and means that I have successfully managed to avoid any medications.
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