I was a burnt-out senior in high school the first time my very good friend Valerie had me get up at 5 a.m. to complete my first spin class. It was at our local town gym where we both worked as lifeguards, so we obviously took advantage of the free class for all employees. I remember having a Dunkin’ iced caramel swirl in hand, my hair up in a poorly brushed ponytail, and being extremely sleepy-eyed. Let’s just say I was very far from being the cover girl for the cycling edition of Sports Illustrated that morning.
I remember three things from my first class. One was that my butt was hurting like never before. Two was thinking over and over “why is it so cold in here? I’m freaking freezing.” And last but not least, number three was, “will this class ever end? I just want my bed.”
Flash forward to right now. I am a senior in COLLEGE and…surprise! I just got hired to be a spin instructor at our on-campus gym. However, I promise you I am much more mature and I am very passionate about spin now-not like crabby Hannah from high school with the ratty ponytail.
I actually went to a few more classes with Valerie throughout our last year of high school. Of course, this was partly because of promised iced coffee and bagels with cream cheese after. But, in all seriousness, I grew to really enjoy spin. The music was always upbeat whether it was an old Justin Bieber song or The Greatest Showman soundtrack. I used to laugh out loud looking over at my best friends standing up on the bike at the wrong time and the instructors were always sweet middle-aged women who were almost too peppy in the morning. It turned out to be something I looked forward to. I’m so glad I kept going. When I saw that UNH had spin classes, I went to one my first semester of freshman year- and the classes were even better.
I remember taking the spin classes at UNH instructed by senior girls who were everything I wanted to be. They were so fun, athletic and approachable. At the time, being a freshman, I didn’t think I could ever get up in front of a group of people and lead an intense workout. I just watched these super cool senior girls from the bike in the back row, admiring their every move.
This summer, years later, my love for spin has become a little more serious- and even emotional. I paid for a couple classes at Cycle Bar, a professional spin studio in my home town. These classes were more than just a way to get a great sweat out… it served as a distraction for me at a time where I was dealing with the loss of someone special. These classes gave me 45 minutes to focus on myself and not the person I was grieving. Whether it was going with Valerie and my other best friend Alana, or by myself once or twice, I served myself and my body well. I’ve finally learned that is what spin is all about.
This summer, there were times on the bike I felt like I was tearing up. “What are you running from?” is what Ashley, an instructor at Cycle Bar said into her mic once through an uphill climb with T-Swift in the background. SO many of her quotes hit me like a ton of bricks. “Why do you feel you need to prove something to anyone but yourself?” is another one I carried with me ever since. I quite literally wanted to be her. She was so strong, confident and motivational. She also had really nice arms, I’ll add. It lit a fire under me and I decided to send an email to Campus Recreation at UNH where they set up a time for me to do a demo.
I was extremely nervous to do the demo. I had never taught any kind of class and I was frantically texting every friend and family member I could asking for support. It’s over now and I can say confidently that I did pretty well for my first time. In the beginning of the class I was psyching myself out and just trying to get through the songs hitting the right beats. By the last song I really dug deep and used some of the motivational sayings I got from Ashley this summer and even made some up on my own.
By the time the demo was over, I was just proud of myself for making it that far and coming all this way. I am so excited to teach this year because this is something I never imagined would happen for me. It’s surreal I am in the same position as the senior girls whose classes I went to years ago. I’m not the same girl I was in high school who just did spin for a laugh with friends and I am excited to hopefully motivate others through my classes.