Some friends and I recently finished a 10 day challenge on Facebook. The goal of the challenge was to find one goal and encourage each other to stick to it for 10 days. Some folks chose a fitness goal, exercising for 30 minutes a day or planking. Some chose a nutritional goal, like eating clean or drinking a gallon of water each day. Others set kindness goals, affirming another person in a genuine way daily and my favorite, not yelling at their children.
I tried doing them all -- go big or go home I always say. I made it about five days with the exercise. Four days with the water and clean eating. I did hit the 10 day mark on giving compliments and not yelling at my kids, and frankly, those were the two most fulfilling.
Drinking so much water was hard for me, I don’t like how it … doesn’t taste. Water would be much more palatable if it tasted like Diet Coke or a buttery chardonnay! And the exercise challenges came to an abrupt halt when my son came home with strep and my daughter gave me her stomach bug. Even though I only made it a few days, I realized that doing just a little more moving made me feel better, more cheerful and energized. I need that in the bleak midwinter!
I casually mentioned to The Hubs that I liked exercising at home more than going to the gym. My gym membership has become a total waste of money because I don’t like going. I never know how the machinery works. I feel ridiculous studying the little pictographs when everyone else seems to know exactly how to do everything. It is intimidating. Plus you have to clean everything you touch. Seriously, I do more housework at Planet Fitness than I do at my own home!
And that’s when The Hubs surprised me -- we were getting a Peloton bike! If you don’t know what a Peloton bike is, it is a high tech, indoor stationary bike. It has a large touch screen mounted to the handlebars that streams cycling classes, so it feels like you are there in the cycling studio. The bike monitors how fast you are going and how much resistance you use so you can track your progress and how hard you’re working. It also has other fitness programs including yoga, meditation, strength training and more.
I have to admit, I was excited! Exercising while sitting down is my kind of exercise! Now, you do need some specialized equipment to ride the Peloton bike, which is designed like an actual bicycle. First, you need bike shoes. The shoes are hard plastic “boots,” and it feels a lot like wearing submarines. The shoes “clip” onto the bike pedals so your feet can’t come flying off the pedals by accident.
Next, you need padded cycling shorts. The bike seat is very small. And very, very hard. I do not know what that part of the body is actually called, The Hubs explained that the pads were used to cushion my “bony protuberances” when sitting “in the saddle.” This is fancy talk for saying that until your rear end is used to sitting on the bike’s pizza slice-shaped seat of agony, you need more cushion on your nether region. I may have also added a bath towel to the seat.
Now, everything else is pretty straight forward and there are set-up videos to show you exactly how to move the seat and adjust the handlebars to fit the rider. The Hubs made a little chart for me so I would remember where everything went. Then, he had me practice getting in and out of the shoes. Before you think I am completely incompetent, let me explain that they don’t tie like normal tennis shoes; they cinch up and down with a ridged piece of plastic that inserts into a buckle on the outside of the shoe. The buckle has a toggle that advances and retracts the plastic strap to loosen or tighten the shoe. The buckle is at a weird angle for me to reach and I lack basic dexterity, so wedging my feet into those shoes and fastening them is actually the hardest part of the workout!
Next, I practiced getting on the bike and clipping my shoes onto the pedals. You have to line the shoes up to a bracket on the pedal and then apply enough downward pressure to forcibly pop the shoe into place. When you want off the pedals, you apply downward pressure and kickswingpopyourankle out of the accursed bracket. But no matter how many times I practice, I cannot get my shoes off the pedals. I have learned to leave a little extra wiggle room in the shoes so I can pull my feet out of the shoes. Then I sortof tip over onto the carpet below me. My dismount needs some work! The Hubs has positioned the bike between the couch and the wall so I have something to fall onto or ricochet off if needs be. It ain't pretty, folks, but it works. I just leave the shoes hanging on the clips and let The Hubs deal with them when he comes home.
The Hubs was an avid long-distance cyclist back in the day, and he has thoroughly enjoyed the high intensity rides and the variety of coaches. In fact, the coaches are one of the best features of the Peloton -- there is one for every taste. If you like funny, there are funny motivational coaches. If you like hard rock music and grueling rides, there are coaches for that as well. Prefer calm, collected and doe-eyed? She’s there, too. But what I don’t like is that your Peloton friends can see your ride statistics when you take a class together online. So, if, say, you have mostly recovered from the stomach bug and are riding less enthusiastically than you should be, you will get a text from said friend during that ride. Those texts will say things like, “I am watching you. You need to move.” Or, “stop stopping.” And my favorite, “I said MOVE.”
But you will also get other sweetnesses from that friend at the end of the ride like, “I am proud of you, you did it!”
Now, y’all, don’t ask me how Posh Spice is managing to keep up with the online instruction, watch my stats and text me all at the same time, but she does it. She’s a lot more coordinated than I am. It’s all I can do to hold onto the handlebar with one hand and pick up the phone with the other! It's probably a good thing my feet are secured to the pedals or I really could hurt myself!
Now my new challenge is to ride at least three times a week -- maybe every weekday if my bony protuberances can take it! I have a feeling my friend is going to help me stick to it, too. Or else… If you want to send me motivational messages too, you can find me on the Peloton at MaxceyMum. Challenges are always better with friends!