My legs were burning, my heart was pumping, my breath was getting harder and harder to catch, my eyes were rolling at the fact that she snuck in another climb at the very end of the ride after an already challenging 28 minutes...I was on the verge of sitting my butt back in the saddle (on the seat for those of you who aren’t spin/peloton fanatics like me) and calling it quits. Which is the exact moment I heard one of my all-time favorite instructors, Emma Lovewell, say… “THIS is what it feels like to get stronger.”
My eyes instantly welled up with tears (as they often do when I’m on the peloton TBH) and my breath became even harder to catch. I thought to myself “Wow, how powerfully true is that.” It is hard work to get stronger. Not just when getting physically stronger though...mentally stronger, emotionally stronger, all of it.
It’s hard work and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean that it’s not possible.
It takes constant effort and attention. It takes dedication. It also takes trust in yourself, knowing that it’s possible.
It feels like stopping, starting, feeling tired, but continuing to move forward.
It feels like getting to the top of a really steep climb with your legs burning, heart pumping, and not knowing if you can make it one more second, but you brave the climb and see how incredibly capable you are.
If you didn't already guess...I didn’t sit down, I didn’t quit, I kept going to get myself up that last little (big) hill, and oh. my. gosh. did. it. feel. good.
As I was finishing the last minute of the ride both joyful and teary-eyed, I started thinking about how many wonderful and life-changing lessons I’ve learned from riding this bike that goes nowhere.
*If you’re not into Peloton, cycling, or any particular type of movement, I promise, all of these lessons I’ve learned transcend the workout realm, but learning them through movement is a pretty powerful route.
It’s not that deep, boo.
If I didn’t have at least one lesson from my definite favorite instructor, Cody Rigsby, I would feel like I failed you. So here it is. It’s not that deep, boo. Life, working out, trying something new, doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone, starting over, embarrassing yourself, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, sending out an email with a typo *there’s probably some in this post*, or trying and failing.
Whatever it is that you’re taking too seriously, or putting yourself down about for not doing it *perfectly*...let this be a reminder that it’s not that deep. Give yourself some grace and laugh off the mistakes, no one will even remember them a week, a month, a year from now.
Just go for it.
Inner critic vs. inner advocate.
I’ve been aware of the concept of inner critic for a while but when Robin Arzon, shared the phrase "turn your inner critic into your inner advocate," it just hit differently.
Maybe it’s in a workout. Maybe it’s in life. Either way...How often do we let that “you can’t do this” voice win? How often do we let not knowing how to do something stop us from even trying? Or even tougher yet, how often do you try something, fail, and think “Nope, never again, I never get anything right. I’ll stay right here in my safe little comfort zone.”
What if you started talking back to that inner critic question what it’s saying? Is it really true that you never do anything right? Is it helpful for you to say that to yourself? Could you advocate for yourself and switch it to, “I didn’t get that right just yet but I’ll try again.”
Advocate for yourself, and see the shift that happens in all areas of your life.
The only way out is through.
When I’m clipped into the bike, there’s literally no way to--easily--get out. I’m stuck there peddling my way to the finish line. The only way is to get out is to get through the ride. The same goes for life.
Do you ever shut the door on feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc. only to have them pop back up at the most *inconvenient* time? Well, guess what, that will keep happening, until you actually address the feelings, thoughts, emotions, and the sometimes hard stuff. You can’t get out of them, but you can get through them.
So the next time that tough stuff comes up, talk about it. Write in a journal, call a supportive friend, schedule a therapy call, or coaching session--I know a girl.
Feel the feels.
*For the record, I’m not really sure which instructor says this specifically, I do know several of them mention it.
You don’t have to. You get to.
I don’t have to move my body every day...I am, however, SO grateful that I get to. I’m grateful that my body is healthy and well enough to move in the way that it does. Are some days harder to make that choice? Yes. Do I always give my 110%? Nope. Do I choose to add in a low-impact workout or a walk on days when I’m just not feeling an intense workout? You betcha! Excercise is about honoring your body, not punishing it for...a meal you ate, a drink your drank, or a day you took off. It's about acknowledging what you need, and giving it to yourself. Just as movement is a choice, so are SO many other things that you get to do during your day.
How often do you say you…
“I have to work out.”
“I have to go to work.”
“I have to go to the store.”
“I have to send this email.”
While all of those things may be a necessity to you, they’re still a choice you GET to make.
So next time you say you HAVE to do something, walk that sentence back and say you GET to. Take ownership of all of the choices you get to make and see how empowering that feels.
Thanks to the one and only Jess Sims for reminding me that I get to.
If you're looking for a reason to start adding in some intentional movement...Let this be it.
While the world, social media, magazines (do people read magazines anymore?), and the news, may have tainted your relationship with movement and exercise and caused you to think of it as a punishment rather than a gift...I'm here to say, it's SOOO much more than that.
Here are some non-traditional benefits of movement...
Improves circulation and lymphatics
Improves self-esteem and body image
Allows you to connect deeply to yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally
Helps energy levels and mood
Combats depression and anxiety
Promotes natural elimination and detoxification
Prevents disease and imbalance
Movement is medicine for your mind, your body, and your spirit.
When we purchased our bike three years ago, I never thought I'd have finished nearly 500 rides, cried countless times while working out (out of joy/emotion--not pain), have learned SO many life-impacting lessons, all while having so much fun doing it. While this is in no way sponsored nor am I saying you need to get yourself a Peloton (although I highly recommend it!) to learn some life-changing things...I am saying...If you’re finding yourself in a funk, looking for some extra motivation, or needing a way to build some self-trust and self-love...get up and move your body.