Spin and youth and the like

I spent all night in that half-awake-half-asleep state that we all loathe because I was writing this blog post in my head. Of course the moment I gained full consciousness I forgot what I wanted to write about. But the urge to write is the urge to write and so write I shall.

Yesterday I went to a spin class for the first time in what must be 3 or 4 years. My mid-20s were spent in the bliss of dark and sweaty cycle rooms and I had really been missing the feeling of being suffocated by my own salty sweat – true liberation. So I got one of those ‘free trial’ things to a gym with a cycle room and the first thing I did was cycle. It was an incredible learning experience.

1. Spin is, and always will be, king of the jungle (gym). There is hardly a form of gym-related activity I have not engaged in (except cross-fit because I want to be fit not indoctrinated into a cult), but I tell ya, nothing releases endorphins like a spin class. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.” This quote courtesy of Elle Woods (played by Reese Witherspoon) is pretty darn accurate. I forgot how happy this kind of exercise makes me. Bless.

2. I am older now than I was 5 years ago. This is an obvious fact. You too are older now than you were 5 years ago. But my muscles, they suffered. I was fine during the class. I was even fine for a few hours after the class. But as soon as I sat on that train, I was ready to die. And by the time I had walked home, I was ready to cry. My husband assures me this is normal and in a few classes my legs will adjust. My husband is an avid cyclist and will not have me whine my way through any form of physical activity much less his beloved activity of choice. But I am his wife and I will whine if I want to. I feel fine today which suggests he might be right. But I have a healthy skepticism about these things. Ask my friend (I can’t use her name, she’s sensitive about these things) she’ll tell you that I believe nothing until it is triangulated.

3. People use Strava in cycle classes. For those of you who know nothing about the cycling world, I will explain. Strava is the equivalent of every form of social media combined, for cyclists. This is where ‘competent’ and wannabe cyclists log the time and speed of their rides and brag to one another about their achievements. Strava is the only reason my husband and I have considered couple’s therapy. The only thing Strava has going for it is that there seems to be no ‘humble bragging’. Everyone gloats. Or at least my husband and his cohort of cycle-addicts do. And now I learn that Strava is also used in the gym and that they make the bikes to have little phone holders to allow you to use Strava while cycling INDOORS. Today I turn my nose up at this. By next month I’ll be on Strava. I’m already ashamed of my lack of conviction.

4. The last thing I learned – which has little to do with spin class and everything to do with a world that sees women as valuable for their youthful beauty – is that I find myself ‘looking up to’ women who are younger than me. While I have no issue accepting that women who are 10 years my junior have things to offer, I can’t help but wonder whether I have some seriously internalised sexism going on there. This is particular to the health industry because I think a lot of the women who have gained exposure are young and I think I’m no longer ‘young’ by definition, even if I feel very young and youthful and I will have nobody tell me otherwise. So there’s a real idealism around the kind of bodies we as women are supposed to have. Anyhow, I will flesh this out more in my next blog because I do find it interesting.

Until then, happy weekend, kids!

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