There’s a poster hanging up in the Edge office that really resonates with me. On the poster, a dog is shown standing in front of a pizza. The caption reads, “Yeah, I’m into fitness. Fitness whole pizza in my mouth.”

Okay, so it’s not the most inspirational message, but I think it truly captures my thoughts on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I try really, really hard to not be a human potato. But then the weather gets cold, the schoolwork piles up and suddenly laying down in bed for an hour or six seems like a much better option than hitting the gym.

This seems like an acceptable lifestyle for a college kid, but seeing as I’m going to be out of school in just a few short months, I should probably start taking better care of myself. After all, this metabolism will slow down eventually and then I’ll really be in deep, deep trouble.

I figured the best way to start gettin’ fit was to look at the classes offered at the rec center. As you may remember from last year’s “MK Makes Muscles” feature,  I’m no stranger to these rec classes. A bunch of the girls in my program gushed about spinning classes taught by the instructor named Sarah. As I poured over the class schedule, I realized the only time I could attend Sarah’s classes was at 6:15 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Well, I thought, go big or go home.

Fortunately for me, my lovely friend Kara was a regular at this class and offered to go with me so I wouldn’t have to be humiliated alone. She and I met up one particularly cold Monday morning at the crack of dawn and braved the elements to the rec center.

Once we got to the classroom, I met the renowned Sarah. To my surprise, she wasn’t some peppy middle-aged “Sweatin’ with the Oldies” instructor. In fact, she’s the same year as me and lives with one of my friends from my major. Huh. Small world.

Sarah had me get on the stationary bike and adjusted it so it fit me. Then she explained all of the monitors that appeared on a screen attached to the bike. There was a heart rate monitor, calories burned, and distance traveled. Sarah also taught me the different positions she would be calling out during the class. Varying up the positions lead to a more intense workout. First position was standing on the bike pedals with your hands low on the handlebars. Position three, the hardest position, involved standing up on the pedals and having your hands farther up on the handlebars. While Sarah was explaining this, I nodded, still half-asleep and not fully grasping the intensity of the situation. Suddenly, I was strapped into the bike and the class began.

All the students mounted their bikes and began to warm up while Sarah flipped a switch and upbeat dance music blared through the speakers. I had no idea what was going on, so I just kind of looked around the room and copied what everybody else was doing.  Sarah put on a headset and started pedaling on her bike, shouting out commands for various positions. Well, I guess I was finally awake.

Sarah yelled out, “Everybody up!” and all the students stood up in their bike and began pedaling faster. With a dumb look on my face, I rose to do the same, only to discover that it was really, really hard to move the pedals on my bike. It was like I had cinderblocks attached to my feet. I remember during my spinning crash course moments earlier that Sarah had mentioned something about changing the weight on the bikes. My starting weight was 16…nonchalantly, hoping none of the other students would notice, I adjusted it to a breezy 3. Am I in shape yet?

We stood up in our bikes for the remainder of the song until another dance-y track bumped through the speaker system. Sarah instructed us to all sit down and the next cycle would resemble a hill. Feeling guilty as I noticed the struggling students beside me panting on their bikes, I upped my resistance to an 8. During the hill, the resistance increased by 3 levels. By the end of this song, I was breaking a sweat. For the next song, Sarah had us alternating from position 1 and position 3 on the bike. RIP to my glutes.

The rest of the 45 minutes was filled with a lot of sweat and a lot of self-loathing. Sarah, a perfect sunbeam, kept us all motivated as we chugged along on our bikes, reminding us that we “get in what we put out.” I huffed in my bike, wishing I hadn’t ordered Porky’s Pizza the night before. The things I do for this publication.

Miraculously, Sarah told us we would be starting a cool down and we could dismount from our bikes and stretch. I peeled myself off of my seat and chugged my body weight in water. Sweet relief. As I went to go wipe down my disgustingly damp bike, Sarah came up to me and asked how I enjoyed the class. I stopped for a moment to collect my thoughts (and my breath). Surprisingly, I felt really good. Sure, I had wanted to die while riding that bike, but I felt full of energy afterwards. I told her I really enjoyed the class and thanked her. While I exited the rec with Kara, she informed me that I would be feeling sore the following day. Or in my case, days.

To my fellow students, I would absolutely recommend utilizing the classes at the rec center. It doesn’t have to be spinning (although my classmates are right, Sarah is a gem), it can be however high or low intensity you wish. Other popular classes include kettlebells and yoga classes. Pick whichever you like. You might as well attend as many classes as you can while a student at Gannon; they’re free and good for you! Take a buddy and grab some water. I’ll see ya at the rec.