I have a theory that there are two types of people who work out: those of us who “embrace the suck” and find solace in the burn of each rep or the quiet rhythm of breaths and footfalls during a run…and those of us who try to tune everything out and just push through the pain with the aid of numerous distractions.
Well, as much as I’d love to tell you I’m a member of the former group, I’ve got to admit that I’ve always tended to fall into the latter. That is, until I stopped into Revocycle here in Portland and had an experience that, quite literally, redefined my idea of a good workout.
In an attempt to mix up my cross-training, I decided to check out one of founder Michael Hosking’s early-morning classes a few weeks ago. He started off by helping each student find the proper bike fit, down to precise angles for a safe ride, while reminding us that our goal was to use excellent position and practice beautiful form in an attempt to notice the muscles and the movement and the breath.
Ohhh no, I thought as I started calculating my odds of getting noticed if I ducked out the door. This is going to be the longest 50 minutes of my life.
But after quashing those initial feelings of panic, I committed to opening myself up to the experience. After all, as Hosking explained, by paying attention to our bodies, pedaling exactly on the beat of song, tuning in to our breath and heart rate and engaging in mindfulness, we’d be maximizing the benefits of a cycling workout without putting ourselves at risk for injury.
And just because it’s not a loud, high-intensity workout doesn’t mean it isn’t tough; it just means you feel refreshed and rejuvenated after, rather than drained and exhausted.
“Finding the zone is about minimizing distractions,” he recently told Fitness magazine. “Music can help you do just that. If you focus on the rhythm and sync your pedaling or steps with the beat, you can help quiet racing thoughts. It’s moving meditation.”
And how! For the first time ever, I wasn’t tempted to speak a peek at the clock; time flew by as Hosking expertly intertwined music with instruction, and before we knew it, we were all drenched in sweat, smiling from ear-to-ear and entering our cool-down.
You see, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my approach to working out while in PT these past few weeks. Namely, learning that some of my major muscle groups had gotten lazy and stopped functioning — and that I hadn’t even noticed — has made me realize the importance of awareness with movement.
Clearly, my body’s trying to telling me that disconnection won’t cut it anymore. Removing excess ‘noise’ (both literally and figuratively) in workouts and getting into a more authentic ‘zone’ — in which I’m working hard and totally engaged, yet feeling profoundly peaceful — is not only more relaxing, but also powerfully effective.
And did I mention pretty darn addicting?
Portland-Metro area residents, your first two classes are FREE. Visit Revocycle.com for more information and to register.