I quit the Y a while ago - which, just so you know, I didn't do because of the millions of nude older women I kept involuntarily catching glances of in the locker room. I decided to switch to a gym that had better hours and was a little cheaper. Also, a few of my friends go to this new gym and you can't beat that. Friends are a great impetus to work out, because all of a sudden you can make plans to go to the gym together. And as hellish as that sounds, it gets you motivated. I've only been to my new gym three times and already I know it's not for sissies. I've attended two classes so far - one yoga class, which made my thighs burn - and at 6:45 this morning I went to my very first cycling (or spinning) class. I know that 6:45 a.m. is pretty early to get on a stationary bike and try to give yourself a heart attack all in the name of health, but a friend of mine is the instructor. Plus, I thought it would be a great way to kick off the weekend. I know that's crazy, I do, but I've been slacking big time lately when it comes to being in shape and now it's almost bathing suit season, I've got to convince myself to exercise a lot more than I have been by saying things like "Cycling class at 6:45 a.m. would be a great way to kick off my weekend!" That's simply what I have to do.
The good news is the class turned out to be really fun. No, honestly, there were fun parts, like the fact that cycling classes are held in this neon-painted room lit by black light and my friend played incredibly upbeat music, like Young MC's classic "Bust a Move." But it was also hard. Very, very hard.
One of the nice things about classes, cycling in particular, is that you control how hard it is, really. If you're having trouble doing a particular yoga pose, they always tell you to just lie down and relax. In cycling, you control the resistance level on your bike and therefore, can make the experience easier or more difficult and no one will really know the difference. And this could work to one's benefit - my benefit - in theory, but in reality I get strangely competitive about certain things, things like throwing the best parties, and beating my brother at the game of life, and doing stuff correctly when exercising and therefore I CAN'T make it easier for myself because then I WILL LOSE.
So the class, to put it mildly, made me feel, a little bit, like I was going to die, and when I feel like that while exercising what I like to do is think about people who have it way worse than me in terms of pain. I think about back surgery patients and people who live in the coldest stretches of Antarctica and people who have food poisoning and I then I realize how good I have it because me? All I'm doing is taking a one hour class, a class I chose to take, and I'll be fine.
So today, during a particularly grueling part of the workout, I started thinking about all the people who were most definitely suffering more than I was and I didn't mean for my thoughts to take this turn, really I didn't, but all of a sudden I realized that the Easter is almost upon us and that today is Good Friday, and being a trained, if not particularly good, Catholic, I know that this is the day that Jesus died for our sins, and I know how he died too, because Catholics remind you that Jesus died a lot - crucifixes everywhere - and I realized that if he could handle all that mess, I could certainly handle a few more minutes on the stationary bike. So I made it to the end of the class no problem, and even if I don't do anything else particularly Jesus-related today, I kind of feel that I've paid my respects.