I took my RPM training about a year ago this weekend and started teaching group cycling classes a few weeks later. One of my brothers friends from university just happened to belong to the gym I teach at and I was able to convince him to take one of my classes. He had never taken one before and at the time he had been doing a lot of resistance and strength training. He had started lifting after his lower back disagreed with his dream of completing a marathon. After he stopped running he never found another appealing way to get his heart rate up and figured a cycling class may do the trick.
He liked it enough the first time he did it to come back and try another class. And then another and another. Over the first few months he took a lot of them and eventual stopped the weight training to focus on becoming a better rider. The body fat started to come off and he noticed that he had more and more energy. After about 4 or 5 months he bought cycling shoes and found that they made the classes more challenging and effective.
A few weeks later he finally had his first real break through on the bike. The moment is basically the same for everyone and it comes right when you think that you have nothing more to give and you suddenly find some reserves and push harder than you thought you could. It changed Clif as it changes many who have the experience. You go from being someone who is working out to being someone who is doing something athletic. It is a wonderful feeling and once you have it, your training is never the same. You have raised the bar considerably and each time you get onto the bike, you push harder than you ever thought possible.
I remember talking to him about the experience and finding a lot of validation in it. He is a determined guy who works hard but given that I had taken him to the edge and he had made the decision to push on, I realized that I could take other people to the same place and that maybe they would find the same thing within themselves to push on. Clif continued to go to class and work hard to find the training effect he was looking for. I thought the switch had flipped and that he was really enjoying himself. It turns out that I was wrong. His time on the bike was still really hard and that he hadn’t found it to be as rewarding an experience as I do.
Moving forward to last week. I taught RPM release 37 for the first time on Wednesday and after class Clif came up to me and said that he was actually enjoying himself now. He had become good enough at RPM to enjoy the classes. They were still hard work, but the work was fun in and of itself and not just because there’s the high feeling from doing something to improve your health. He told me that he “got it” and that coming to class was something he looked forward to and something we would miss if he wasn’t able to make it. It had taken almost a year for someone to find the joy in this, a brand new activity.
If you are just starting your fitness life take a lesson from Clif. While your health is going to start to improve immediately, it could take up to a year before you find the experience enjoyable. But it will become fun eventually and once it does, you’ll be doing it forever!