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Exercise

Indoor Cycling and the Battle Between Mind and Body

Wouldn’t it be nice if every indoor cycling class turned out exactly as the TV commercials depicted? The studio would be full of smiling faces. Everyone’s outfit would be fully coordinated. You would finish your class extremely proud of your accomplishment and ready to go save the world – after a shower, of course. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. Indoor cycling induces a battle between mind and body that doesn’t always look good on TV.

While professional models in brightly colored workout clothes make indoor cycling look like a day at the park, you find it extremely grueling to get through a 60-minute class. Forget about smiling. It is all you can do to stop yourself from screaming at the instructor to “dial it back a few notches before you kill us all!”

That’s the funny thing about exercise. Our minds tell us it is absolutely necessary to maintain good health. Our bodies have another opinion. And then for some people, it’s just the opposite. Their bodies crave exercise while their minds would rather binge-watch Game of Thrones.

When the Body Says No

The battle between mind and body typically has one side saying ‘no’ and the other saying ‘yes’. So what if your body is the one saying no? You might have a harder time than someone in the opposite position. When your body just doesn’t want to pedal that indoor cycle one more mile, your mind has to take charge and force you to push through. For a lot of people, that’s not easy.

Your body gives very clear signals about what it does, and does not, want to do. Half-way through your 60-minute cycling class yours might be telling you it has had enough. You are gasping for breath while your calves feel like they are on fire. And of course, you have enough sweat dripping from your body to fill up small swimming pool.

If you don’t steel your mind to keep pushing through, your body might win this one. You just might not have enough gumption to keep up with the instructor for the final 30 minutes. You will coast more than you pedal and standing up is completely off the table.

When the Mind Says No

What do you do when it’s the mind saying no? The experts at Mcycle Studio in Salt Lake City, Utah suggest a distraction, like choreographing a spin class to music. If that distraction can enhance your workout, all the better. That is one of the reasons cycling studios combine music with their spinning classes. Music is both a mental distraction and a source of motivation.

At home, you might be halfway through a 60-minute session when your mind starts wandering. You start looking at the clock only to discover that you haven’t seen it run so slowly since the seventh grade. You have flashback memories of waiting for the clock to strike three so you can peel out of class and jump on the bus.

Back in the moment, your favorite TV show could be just the distraction you need to keep pedaling. You have 30 minutes to go. That is plenty of time to catch an episode of Seinfeld. By the time Jerry finishes his closing monologue, your session will be complete.

Though this post was intentionally lighthearted, the battle is real. Indoor cycling is no different than any other form of exercise and that it takes real willpower to stick with it. Your body may not want to exercise but your mind knows you should. Or your situation could be just the opposite. Most important is which side wins the battle.

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