Hello! It's nice to have a chance to step out from behind the curtain of facts (so to speak) and address my fellow RydeOn! indoor cycling family directly – specifically now that I've joined you as a member of the second “class” of RydeOn! University.
However, in this article I don't want to talk about the bad habits that led me to become an out-of-shape fitness writer or the decision tree that led me to join the happily sweating indoor cycling ranks. Those posts may come later – along with lots of facts about what I'm starting to think of as “the mathematics of fitness.”
Instead, after four sessions of indoor cycling, I'd rather share with you the two most important things I've learned so far:
- Listen to your body. I first tried a RydeOn! class a bit over a year ago. At the time it had been a bit over a year, or perhaps closer to two years, since I'd worked out regularly with martial arts. For whatever reason, though, I failed to take into account the toll that a year of sedentary living had taken on my body. After all, I was a tough, full-contact martial artist! Oh, and did I mention that I have asthma? So of course I went for broke – and “broke” myself, at least as far as kicking off an asthmatic attack. The point here – and one I'm learning how to live with each and every indoor cycling class – is that while overall fitness is a science, each individual's fitness journey is more like an art. Every RydeOn! instructor gives options for each of the sprints or climbs during our hour-long Rydes. If you're new to exercise, returning to exercise, or even an old hand at exercise – forget who is doing what around you and concentrate on fitting your workout to your body's needs and your body's limits.
- Fit the bike to your body – not your body to the bike! At 5'1” I'm hardly in the ranks of the tall – or even the average – indoor cyclist. Not only that but, like everyone else, I need to adjust the bike to the length of both my legs and my arms; this means moving the seat forward, as well as down to fit my height. In addition to adjusting the bike, I'm adjusting myself in terms of finding the right gears for my flat road and the gear/s I climb to for standing. I'm still searching for the exact formula, but I will continue working with my instructors until I've got it down. And believe me, my sore behind will thank me!
Getting fit isn't about proving how tough I am. It also isn't about making myself endure an improperly-set indoor cycle the way I used to tolerate ill-fitting shoes (that's another story involving size 4 ½ feet and a dedication to being cheap). Instead, for me getting back into fitness is about pushing myself enough to get results, but not to the point of exhaustion or injury, and making sure I do everything necessary to enjoy the process.
I deserve this level of dedication to my comfort as well as my health and fitness. And guess what? So do you. Please, take the time to find your perfect “fit” before and during every RydeOn! indoor cycling class you take – and during whatever other exercise you do. My best educated guess – it's been only four classes, after all – is that doing so will take exercise from being just another task on your to-do list and turn it into an eagerly anticipated break in your day. What I do know is that I've been doing this for a week – and I'm already hooked!