This Workout Class Was the "Missing Link" My Exercise Routine Needed

I've always considered myself an introvert, particularly when it comes to exercise. I prefer to run and swim and had never even considered a group exercise class. My weight loss had plateaued, though, and even my favorite running routes were growing stale. I knew it was time to try something new, and everyone was talking about Spinning as though it would radically transform my life.

I tried several evenings in a row to talk myself into going. Every night after work, it seemed another excuse popped up and I chickened out of trying my first group exercise class. I researched what to expect from your first Spin class and managed to get past my excuses.

Once my Spin bike was set up and I was in position and ready to go, the nerves started to subside. The music started, the instructor began, and I felt like I was flying. For 60 minutes, I pushed, pedaled, stood, and sprinted through a cardio class that had my heart rate monitor working overtime. The music propelled us all through the instructor's direction and on a cycling journey through mountains, mud, and races with our counterparts. Toward the end, though, the instructor stopped directing and let the music move us to do whatever we felt we needed or wanted in that minute.

The music started, the instructor began, and I felt like I was flying.

That's when it began to sync for me. The music was my director, pushing me with crescendos and the beat. I was exhausted but motivated and feeling the endorphins very differently than I ever had after a hard run or a hard swim.

By the end of the class, I was so sweaty, it looked like I had been for a swim. My feet sloshed in my shoes, my hands dripped with sweat, and my hair was thoroughly disgusting. And I felt amazing. I had found a way to surpass the boredom of just running and just swimming. I had found a new option that challenged me and forced me out of my comfort zone.

Even after that class ended, I still felt the benefits. I wasn't afraid of group exercise classes anymore and could even see the upside to joining others in a class. I had benefited from the energy of everyone else in the room and had found myself silently competing with the strangers on the bikes nearby.

Over the course of a 60-minute class, I had burned more than 600 calories, jumped out of my comfort zone, and pushed myself in ways that I hadn't thought possible. I had found a new challenge, and I loved the afterburn feeling of a great cardio class. By the time I woke up the next morning, every body part was more than a little sore. It was that good hurt that reminded me how hard I had worked the night before and how much room for improvement there still was in my muscles.

And so I went back. Of course! And I became a regular. The Spinning never detracted from my running or swimming but added a new dimension to my workout regimen. It was as if I had found the missing piece. Within months, I was registering for my first triathlon, confident that I could take my new-found love of Spinning to the streets in combination with my loyalty to swimming and running.

If you haven't tried Spinning, try it. If there's another class that you can't quite force yourself to try but remain curious about, just try it. You never know when you might find your own missing link!