Melissa Kaiser’s story is unique. The dedicated Flywheel Philadelphia rider has been FLYing for over a year now, all while enduring an illness that for years left her too nervous to be far from the comfort of her home. Refusing to let this hold her back, Melissa mentally pushed through the discomfort and found “euphoria” while on the bike. Read her story here.
“Please keep your conversation, your talking, to a minimum. Respect your fellow riders. You never know what others are going through.”
Flywheel instructor Utley Lee starts each class with this message. And he’s right.
For over a year, I was showing up at Flywheel with discipline and heart, four to five days a week, and no one there could have ever guessed what I went through each day to get out of my house and onto that bike.
I was suffering with ulcerative colitis, an irritable bowel disease that I was repeatedly told was not caused by what I was eating, and could only be controlled by anti-inflammatory medications—which for me had stopped working. Even after giving myself two hours to leave my house in the morning, I often had to stop during my drive into the city to use a bathroom. I got to know all of the temporary parking spots on my route and prayed one would be available if I needed it. Most days, I would rush into the coffee shop on the corner before class. I am sure everyone working there got to recognize the girl in the bright blue Patagonia jacket heading to the restroom each morning like clockwork. Once, I even stopped at a port-o-potty before dawn in the dead of winter, terrified to be there alone in the dark, and praying it would be unlocked and have toilet paper (thankfully it was, and it did).
When I finally arrived at Flywheel, I was greeted with smiles and hellos and this genuine happiness that everyone had to be there. Every day I would feel the same joy that I had made it. Even if I started my ride feeling a hint of discomfort, I would start to breathe as the lights went down and the first song came on, and everything would just vanish. Throughout the ride, I would start to find my strength, which I met with sheer gratitude and awe for what my body was capable of in that moment. When the instructor told us to push, there was no question I was going for it. Something about giving it my all made me feel almost invincible, which was a powerful antidote to the vulnerability and insecurity I had felt just hours before. When I gave it my all, my heart would open and I would feel like I was actually flying—euphoric, smiling, laughing even—like I was on top of the world. This is the feeling that motivated me to get there, no matter what else I was experiencing in my life, whether physical or emotional. It didn’t have to do with my results or my ranking on the TorqBoard, it was all about that feeling, and it still is.
Four months ago, I went to see an acupuncturist who recommended that I modify my diet by eliminating gluten, soy, legumes and certain grains. Almost immediately, the symptoms I had been experiencing started to cease. My body started absorbing nutrients again, and I began to gain weight and muscle. Today, I feel healthier and stronger than I have ever felt in my life, and I continue to give all that I have to my Flywheel classes. Because I can. When you face a debilitating illness, it puts a lot into perspective. And I will never, ever take for granted what my body can do. Never Coast.
MORE FROM THE FLY BLOG
Click here to learn more about the three new exciting challenge programs of 2015 – and sign up now! Starts January 26.
Check out what our instructors throughout the country whip up when making juices and smoothies at home and what they order at their local juice shop. We’ve also got the scoop on the latest app that helps you find the closest green juice bars, smoothie bars and health food stores nearest you. Click here.
“The reality is, Flywheel has been the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself. For the first time in my life, I’m not only in control of my health, but I’ve been able to set (and surpass) my personal fitness goals.” Read this FLY success story here.
KEEP IT SOCIAL
Follow Flywheel here on Facebook.
Follow Flywheel here on Twitter.