I gym. I try to Crossfit. I am, at times, a gym rat. I like to move outside too, on bikes, on skis, and in boots. Generally, I try to work on my physical fitness, but I don’t consider myself athletic; I consider myself someone who likes to move her body in different ways to achieve results. I won’t ever be an expert at any one sport because masters become masters when they focus everything they have on that one sport and I just don’t want to do that. I’m good with that because we are all seeking joy and with variety, I get that. I love the sweat, the feeling, and the outcomes that come with being active, but like many, I struggle to reach my health goals. Everyday, I try. The other day, I decided that I would try something new. It was a class at my spin studio, but it was half an hour on TRX and a half an hour on the bike.
I arrived realizing that I didn’t bring any shoes for the TRX portion of the class and would have to do it barefoot. Bad sign #1. I am actually a hair late (bad sign #2), very unlike me, and I hurry to the dangling TRX hand contraptions, whatever those things are called. Suspension ropes? I had no idea how to use them and I got the feeling that I was too late to ask. I looked around at the rest of the class, which looked like a typical class-those that do this shit often, those that are practicing, and those that are new, like me. I was thinking, no problem. How bad can it be?
- I had one of those instructors that would demonstrate the move one time and then expect you to get it the first time. My vulnerability wasn’t because of her, but I sure needed more from her. I was thinking that maybe she wasn’t too keen on differentiation, but then later, she proved me wrong.
- I also had the bonus participate who likes to teach, who would say things like, “Watch me, see how I’m doing it?” “Wait, wait-you want your arms straight. Watch this.” Appreciated, but not wanted. I would say, “Awesome, but what if I can’t do that? What is the modification?” I felt like I had a second teacher, but didn’t ask for it.
- There are mirrors everywhere, letting me see how I don’t know what I’m doing, as if the feeling isn’t enough. Gulp.
- About five minutes in, I start counting the rest of the minutes, which is my code sign for not achieving joy.
For one of the moves, we had to get on the floor, get in an upright plank position, and do running in place with our heels in the straps. We would attempt that for 30 seconds, and then flip over, doing it in the regular plank position. Our instructor did give us modifications for that, thank God.
Summary: Uggh, it sucked. I don’t remember a time in my life when 25 minutes lasted that long. Then we went downstairs to ride, and all was well again. While on my bike, I was storytelling to myself about how great the ride was, and to get past the TRXing portion.
For me, there is almost nothing more vulnerable than going to something new that involves physical fitness. One of the reasons I even attempt Crossfit is because it forces me to feel vulnerable and challenged within about five minutes of my arrival each and every time, but one thing it doesn’t do is make me feel like I don’t belong. Everyone is supportive.
The other day, I was talking with a friend about how it feels when you are trying to learn something new from someone else, and put yourself out there. It can be very scary and vulnerable, but I think that is why we must keep ensuring that we put ourselves in a position to feel that way, as long as we feel supported that is.
I left my spin studio thinking maybe, just maybe, I am finally at the age where adding on another type of fitness just isn’t necessary. I should stay in my lane and continue to work at getting better at those things. Message received.
But, the next day, I woke up and I was sore. I had a sore butt, sore abs, sore thighs, and sore arms. 30 minutes of not doing the real TRX got me there. And you know what, in that moment, that’s when I found my joy.