50/50 – Year 2
In January I wrote a piece about my first year with 50/50 and my experience getting back to fit, losing 65 pounds, and becoming a spin instructor. It has been 7 months since then and here’s the thing: the second year is so much harder.
In January I shifted from actively trying to lose weight and build my fitness to trying to sustain my progress. To be totally honest, I haven’t done very well. I did all the things I said I wouldn’t: taking one day off and then another and another, avoiding working out, eating way too much. Each week I would try to regroup, and then I’d slip in some way and think: “It’s ok. I’ll do it right tomorrow.” Except that each tomorrow turned into a few days into a week into a month of tomorrows.
At the same time, I was looking around at all of the active, fit adults I know and thinking about the ways they have sustained health and fitness routines for decades. The thought of having to maintain a workout habit throughout my entire adult life got more and more overwhelming. I started thinking “maybe I can’t actually do this.”
I was telling this all to Katie a few weeks ago, and asked her what she’d think of me trying to write about it. Her first reaction was “Love it!” and then she said something like ” but here’s the thing Ryan. You can’t make it seem hopeless.”
So just to get it out of the way, I don’t think it’s hopeless. I just think that maintaining a healthy lifestyle for forever is hard. Really hard. REALLY. But there are a few things that make it a little easier.
The first is vulnerability. To me this means not hiding from the ways I’m struggling. Telling the truth about the 15 pounds I’ve gained in the last 7 months. Showing up and being seen, even when it feels embarrassing or uncomfortable. Sharing what is going on with the people who I see on the bike every day, because I know I am not the only one who has a hard time. Brene Brown says that “vulnerability is at the core, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” I agree.
The second is accountability. Tracking. Personal training. Signing up for classes and not letting myself cancel. Setting up my workout schedule with a friend. Putting checks in place that make it harder for me to avoid the gym or my health until the next day.
The last is community. When I joined 50/50, I definitely was not expecting to feel like a part of something, but that is exactly what happened. I love 50/50 not just because I like telling people what to do on a bike; I love it because of the energy and warmth I feel with all of you. The fact that we are working alongside each other is special. The way folks cheer and whistle at each other when I’m teaching makes me happy. I see the way members stand in the parking lot talking after class, sometimes for hours, before leaving. I feel pride when new people try their first class, because I know they are going to be welcomed and encouraged by anyone they talk to. And because we have such a strong community I want to challenge us to really show up and let ourselves be seen. To start a conversation with someone new about how things are going and be honest. To share our hopes and goals. To try, to mess up, to come back and try again. To sign up for a class right now if it has been a while. I’ll see you there.