I have been exercising for a few months now on a stationary bike as part of the Peloton exercise program. Peloton connects me to a wide variety of workouts via a streaming service that you can purchase on a monthly basis.
By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, I have no financial interest in Peloton nor am I a paid promotional agent for them.
But I do love doing my daily rides. I cannot wait to walk down to our basement, clip in to the pedals and get started. In fact, I think I may be addicted to it. It gives me pleasure. It makes me happy.
The workouts, which can be joined live or later by replay, are definitely challenging. They are led by instructors whose goal is to get their students to achieve greater and greater levels of physical performance. The session instructor is seen on a screen demonstrating the technical details of proper bicycle riding as well as exhorting his or her students to give ever increasing levels of effort. A display of the actual work performed, updated instantaneously, appears on the lower portion of the screen. On either side of that number appear controls which govern the degree of physical challenge to which the rider chooses to subject him- or herself.
So, the overall goal of the instructor is to encourage their student-riders, over the course of their Pelton experience, to make the choice of incrementally turning up those controls, increasing the physical challenge, so that they can achieve higher levels of performance that result in improved overall health.
They, in essence, are “personal renaissance” trainers. When I listen closely to what several of the instructors say it becomes clear that they have an understanding of how positive personal change should take place for the maximum benefit of the individual.
One of the instructors with whom I am most familiar, Hannah Marie Corbin, demonstrates this so well, that I wonder if she read my book, “The Pursuit of the Personal Renaissance Experience”.
In one of Ms. Corbin’s workouts she demonstrates an understanding of many of what I consider to be the important features of living a happy life.
In my book I point out how we risk being unhappy when we choose to live through time rather than in time. When we exercise a personal role just going through the motions, thinking primarily only about the reward at the end, we can inadvertently create an existential void resulting in deepening unhappiness. That is why we often hear about the importance of “living in the moment”.
Just imagine how bad that would be for a human being in a fitness program activity where the participant is supposed to be under varying degrees of self-imposed physical distress! How do you live happily in those moments?
Well, Ms. Corbin ably addresses that concern by sprinkling in these bits of advice for her trainees in one of her advanced beginner workouts: “Say: ‘I’m here. I showed up!’”; “you have nothing to prove…and everything to gain”; [you] “improve in the moment”; “you have lots of chances to correct last week’s mistakes”; and “don’t compare your Chapter 1 to anyone else’s Chapter 1.”
By saying “you have lots of chances to correct last week’s mistakes”, she is asserts that you can learn from your past but do not allow yourself to become a prisoner of your past by letting perceived shortcomings define you in this moment, your now, that is, that time in which you declare “…I’m here. I showed up!”. She is also saying that one should not let something that may or may not happen in the future, that is, any kind of expectation, change your approach to your now (“you have nothing to prove…don’t compare your Chapter 1 to anyone else’s”).
She is essentially saying: what goes on in the now of these workouts should be devoted to personal change; it should be an opportunity to “improve in the moment”, an opportunity to be embraced with passion.
For insights into how these principles apply to other aspects of life, please take a look at “The Pursuit of the Personal Renaissance Experience, Finding Opportunities for Happiness in the Ever-Present Now”.
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