Masochist, noun: a person who is gratified by pain, degradation, etc., that is self-imposed or imposed by others.
That’s how the dictionary defines the word. Going off that definition, I’m going to self-diagnose myself as a masochist. It’s not me alone, however. There were at least ten others in the spinning class I attended. I’m diagnosing them too. Masochists. All of us.
At the start of this year, I determined that I really wanted to try and pursue health in many areas of my life (very original, I know), so part of that included this novel idea called exercise. Plus, I discovered when I exercise, My Fitness Pal gives me more calories to eat during the day. It’s a beautiful system.
When I signed up my kids for swim lessons at the Y, it was only another $5 for me to join, so why not? Besides, by definition, my workout clothes should probably be used for exercising as opposed to the alternative to wearing pajamas all day.
My first class at the Y was a yoga class taught by this wonderfully amazing instructor, Silvera. Just hearing her name makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, mainly because she has this beautiful, thick, Italian accent which makes every word sound like it’s straight out of an inspiring aria.
Silvera was calm. Peaceful. The lilting musicality of her instructions coupled with her John Legend soundtrack took me to a happy place. I imagined traveling to Tuscany and sitting down with Silvera over homemade biscotti and rich espresso. (Nevermind that I don’t like coffee . . . it’s my daydream. I can imagine that I love it.)
So, when I saw that Silvera also taught a “cycle” class the following week, I determined that I would give it a try. When it comes to exercising, I’m pretty lazy. So with cycling, you get to sit down most of the time, right?
As a side note, I have taken one spinning class before in my life, about six years ago. I have faint memories. It couldn’t have been that bad, right? It’s this kind of thinking that makes women choose to go through childbirth again.
I showed up for spinning, told Silvera that I was a novice, and she assured me that it was no problem. “Joo vill be fahne. Just fahne. Brava.” Cycling with Silvera was going to take me to the Old Country, cycling on a sunny day as if I were Lisel VonTrapp learning to sing with Maria.
I start pedaling and think, “Wow, Leah. You are good. You haven’t worked out in 18 months and look how fast you can go on this bike. Joo vill be fahne.” At which point Silvera instructs us to turn up the gear to 10. Wait, there are gears on this thing? Oh great. I was on 2.
I make it through one song and discover that was the warm up. “Vee ahre buildink. Vee ahre buildink up now. Joo go vith me. 15! NOW!”
What the what?!? Aren’t we cycling on a scale of 1-10? Fifteen??? And Silvera . . . where did you go? Where is my calm yoga teacher? Where is my biscotti? Have you even seen the Sound of Music? And why are we standing up on our bikes now? What kind of bait and switch operation is this?!?
The lady three bikes down from me sounds like she is in labor. At least I’m not the only one.
I make it through another song and Silvera encourages me to go to the little water cooler and get a drink. “Joo get vahter. Joo need hydrate. Drink! Drink!” I realize everyone else has brought water with them. I forgot mine. I remembered my kids, though. And they were wearing shoes when I dropped them off in the childcare room. Do I get points for that?
“Counting Stars” comes on. Oh good. I like this song. Let me rephrase that. I used to like this song. Now this song simply reminds me of the agony that will forever be associated with it, like when you can’t eat a food anymore because you threw it up once. Why are you still awake, One Republic. Just go to sleep. Quit counting those stars and go to sleep! End this song and put me out of my misery.
The lady three bikes down from me has just gotten off her bike and walked out of the room. Wait, is that an option?
At least this class is almost over. I’m almost done, right? Because surely that clock on the wall is wrong and we’ve been in here longer than twenty minutes. Someone tell me that clock is wrong. Someone tell me that somehow, God has intervened in the workings of the universe and has stopped the sun once again.
“Now ve really go! Less go! Joo need to go to tventy!!!”
Silvera has clearly lost her mind. Someone needs to do an intervention.
Why are we pedaling like we are Jack Bauer chasing down a terrorist? You know that these bikes don’t go anywhere, right Silvera? You can slow down.
The next 30 minutes are a blur. Somehow, Silvera instructs us to get off the bike and leads us in some stretching. I look at her and she is smiling. “Joo did it! Brava!” I must’ve not been reciprocating her smile, because she switched to a concerned face and asked, “Joo feel strong now or joo feel blah?”
Strong, Silvera? Strong? My legs feel like hyperextended rubber bands. There aren’t enough paper, cone-shaped cups at this water cooler to begin to quench my thirst. I feel like I’m going to throw up, and the only thing I want to do is go take a three hour nap but somehow I don’t think my two and three-year-old are down with that option. So no, Silvera. I do not feel strong.
I do not tell Silvera this, however. I smile back at her and say, “I’ll see you next week.” Masochist, I know. But you already knew that.