Last week—for “fun”—I tried out two new exercise classes. Now let’s be clear: I am not an athlete. I subscribe to what I call fair-weather fitness. A.k.a if it’s nice outside, I’ll go for a walk in the woods by my house. This exercise spree was strictly a social event.

And because I have many active friends, too often I find myself at gyms or studios wondering why I spent money to have an instructor tell me to stop lying on the floor and do the Warrior II pose for the umpteenth time. I would rather continue taking my nap, thank you.

In the spirit of trying new things, I agreed to attend a spinning class at a spinning studio. We arrived early to sign in and find our way around, and were greeted by an eager front desk employee and personalized water bottles (excellent marketing strategy).

We laced up our spinning shoes and filed into the dark room jam-packed with bikes, squinting to find the numbers that matched our pre-registered spots. As the cheerful employee helped us clip our shoes onto the pedals, I realized that if I wanted to escape mid-class, I would be putting on quite a show.

Class started with impossibly loud music and the first of many encouraging (and cheesy) catchphrases from our instructor (i.e. “Increase the resistance on your bike, but don’t let it hold you back” *insert eyeroll here*). A scoreboard glowed on the room’s monitors, showing exactly where each rider ranked in the class lineup. This was not my favorite feature.

After class, we detached from our bikes and wobbled out to the locker room where, amazingly, wine was awaiting us! This was a great improvement from the leg-numbing workout we’d just completed.  

The day after spinning, we decided hot yoga would be a nice change of pace. I used to go to hot yoga classes near my house in Michigan, and I loved them (especially during winter). But this was class different—it was the stuff of nightmares.

First of all, the whole thing felt like a trick. The instructor led us through a yoga sequence that seemed to last forever, and then finally had us rest on our backs and “just breathe.” She spritzed lavender around the room, and even opened the doors to let cold air into the 90-degree studio.

BUT THEN, instead of telling us class was over and to go eat some ice cream, there were three more rounds of strenuous poses. Not to mention the rules of the studio.

Unfortunate Yoga Rules:

1) No talking in the studio.
A.k.a I can’t sing when a Beyoncé song comes on? Unacceptable.

2) You can’t leave the room during class.
About to pass out from the heat? Just keep going with the flow! (Granted if I’d tried to leave I would have definitely stepped on someone’s hair, but still).

After braving these classes, a peaceful walk in the woods sounded ideal. I could tell there was a thunderstorm brewing in the distance, but rain was predicted the whole day and had not surfaced. So I set out after dinner for my usual three-mile hike.

About twenty minutes in, I could tell the sky was shifting. The sun was setting over to my right, and the tops of the trees were glowing against the deep purple sky looming on my left. Clouds faded from the ominous dark all the way to beaming sunset, and it was breathtaking. I quickened my pace as the wind picked up and thunder rumbled in the distance. Lightning cut through the clouds as I approached a clearing, and a wave of raindrops soaked me in seconds.

I was stuck in one of the worst places to be during a thunderstorm, but it was still better than hot yoga.

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