For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with self-confidence and anxiety. A lifelong perfectionist, I have always been my own worst enemy and biggest critic, burying my negative emotions deep inside me and covering them up with sarcasm and self-deprecation.
My relationship with Flywheel began in November 2013 when I participated in a charity ride for my sorority alumni association. I’d taken other cycling classes before, but I had never found an instructor or a studio that I truly “clicked” with. In the weeks following that charity ride, my confidence and anxiety issues hit a peak that they had never hit before. My younger sister’s engagement, the stress of the holiday season and my upcoming birthday proved to be more than I was able to handle and I saw that I needed to make some drastic changes in my life. The day before my 28th birthday, my father sat me down and told me that he could see that I wasn’t happy with my life, but didn’t understand why. I told him I saw myself as “average at best” and didn’t know how to escape that feeling.
The next day, December 28th, my parents gave me the gift of a Flywheel 10-pack gift card and on January 4th, I walked into Ryan Makely’s 8:30 am Saturday morning class. I had no idea what to expect, but I do know that the last thing I expected was to have so much fun! Ryan was welcoming, friendly, and the whole ride felt like a party. In fact, I had so much fun that I signed up for both Ryan’s class the following Saturday and Natalie Cohen-Gould’s 6:00 am Tuesday class. Since January, I’ve been consistently attending both of those classes and they are two of the highlights of my week.
People ask how I wake up for cycling classes at 6:00 am and I tell them that I love the satisfaction of accomplishing something before most people have gotten out of bed.
While both classes appeal to different sides of my personality (I like to refer to Ryan’s class as my “party” class and Natalie’s class as my “boot camp” class), they’ve both given me change that I never could have predicted.
The first time that I looked in the mirror and saw muscles forming, I was in shock. I was so used to looking in the mirror and only seeing my flaws, but for the first time in a very long time, I was proud of the person staring back at me. I may not be the fastest person in the room or the strongest, but every time I start to think about that, I remind myself that being there is the hardest part of the battle and the TorqBoard is there as fuel to help me push myself further.
In addition to giving me confidence and physical strength that I’ve never had before, Flywheel has taught me the power of setting goals and how amazing it feels when you crush them. Over Memorial Day weekend, I told myself that all I wanted was to join the Power Up club by the end of the summer. I knew it would be tricky and would require me to push myself further than I’d ever gone before, but I knew if I wanted it bad enough, I could do it. In August, with about two weeks of class under my belt, I started calculating the math and realized that my goal was within reach. The day that I got to go up to Ryan at the end of class and tell him that I’d FINALLY Powered Up was without a doubt one of my proudest moments.
These days, I’m focusing on beating my current Fly60 personal record of 376 and if all goes according to plan, running my first half-marathon next spring. It’s a big goal and a challenging one at that, but if I’ve learned anything from Flywheel, it’s that the bigger the challenge, the more you will grow from it.
I’m a firm believer in the universe having a plan for everyone and that everything happens in due time and course, when the universe is ready to hand it to you. I think that I needed to reach my low point before finding Flywheel so I could learn what I am truly capable of achieving.
Occasionally, I’ll be in Flywheel classes where the instructor will ask us to close our eyes and think about who we’re riding for and why we’re there. Every time, I tell myself that I am riding for the person I used to be and I am there because I want to be the strongest, best version of myself. I’m so grateful for the person Flywheel has helped me become and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead in my Flywheel story!
Thank you, Lauren for opening up and sharing your amazing story with us. #FLYfam.
Read about how this Charlotte rider shed 70 pounds, and found her confidence at Flywheel.