I’d be lying to you if I told you fitness was something that always came easily to me. In elementary school, I tried all the sports, like soccer and softball. In middle school, I enjoyed a brief stint on the swim team. In high school, I found my niche with crew. I rowed for four years and we were state champs my junior year! It was incredible to feel like a good athlete; I’d never experienced that before. I was the most in shape I’d ever been in my life. Unfortunately, the catty climate among my teammates had me eager to get out by my senior year, and I didn’t pursue rowing in college.
College me spent all my time in the library, eating burritos and drinking vanilla lattes from Starbucks. The most exercise I got was walking to class. After college, I realized I should really be moving my body more. I joined Planet Fitness and exercised enthusiastically and obsessively, going 5-6 days per week. I would also punish myself for eating—like when I’d chow down on a Stouffer’s mac and cheese, then go to Planet Fitness and use the Arc trainer until I’d burned the same number of calories that I had just consumed. It wasn’t a healthy approach.
My next move was on to the RAC for Women. I loved going to an all-women’s gym, the price was right, and I became infatuated with a workout called “PiYo,” a hybrid of pilates and yoga. It was fast paced, had great music, and the instructors were friendly.
Eventually, my contract was up there, and I was ready to move on. After a few months off, my therapist encouraged me to get back to going to the gym. I’d been to a cycling studio called Compass a year prior and was too intimidated to try spinning again, but I gave their new yoga studio a try. My friend taught yoga there, and she graciously invited me to come to one of her classes for free. From there, I was hooked.
Last week I celebrated my 100th class at this studio in just eight months! I love doing yoga there and cycling (finally got over the intimidation factor). It’s a great way for me to unplug my brain, focus on moving my body, and feel good afterwards.
I’ve learned a lot over the course of 100 workouts at Compass Cycle & Flow, so I’m sharing some of those lessons with you today:
Showing Up Counts
Sometimes, I feel tempted to skip a class. Compass has you sign up in advance, and you pay a fee for bailing at the last minute. It’s a good mechanism to get you committed to showing up.
Even if you’ve had a tough day, showing up still counts. You can ride in the back row and take it easy. You don’t have to jump for all the jumps. You can take child’s pose whenever you need it. You don’t have to use weights during the arms section. Just showing up to do the work is the first step and the most important one.
Set a Routine
I’ll admit it: I’m a creature of habit. I don’t always go to the exact same workout classes, but I try to stick to a bit of a routine. I like to start my Friday mornings with yoga. I aim to go to cycling on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, or if that doesn’t work out, I’ll do Monday/Wednesday. I take full advantage of the flexibility of self-employment and go to the gym at off-peak hours.
Having a routine and recognizing that my cycling and yoga classes help me feel good day-to-day is key to getting me out the door and to my workouts regularly.
You Can Always Do More
Have you ever been in a spin class where the instructor keeps telling you to add more resistance? And you feel like it’s impossible, but then you do it? I’ve learned that even when I think I can’t handle any more resistance, or I can’t pedal a moment longer, I really can. The instructors push you hard, but it’s because you can do it.
This sounds cheesy, but I’ve found it to be true.
You Don’t Have to Do More
It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to do more every time the opportunity pops up. This is true both in cycling and in life. You can add more resistance if it feels good and you want the challenge. But you don’t have to.
You can say yes to additional opportunities and take on new commitments in your professional or personal life, but you don’t have to. If your bandwidth is limited and you need to rest, it’s okay to say no.
It’s Easier with Support
Compass prides itself on having a vibrant community. I don’t think I’ve ever belonged to a gym where people are so damn friendly. The staff know everyone by name and are always eager to help out if you have questions, your classmates will cheers you with a water bottle, and there’s generally an awesome feeling of camaraderie in each class. I’ve made a few gym friends along the way, and often find it easier to work hard when I’m in such a supportive environment. If you can find a place that supports and celebrates you, you’re golden!
In honor of my 100th class, Compass gifted me a special water bottle that designates me a member of the 100 Club, and they wrote me a handwritten note. I definitely felt celebrated, and it was fantastic.
Do you have a workout routine or fitness community you love? Tell me about it on Twitter—just tweet me at @servemethesky.