I am always blown away by the people who come up to me (or who I have overheard) and say “I almost threw up during that class.” What?! Why?! Don’t get me wrong, I am the biggest advocate of working hard and pushing limits. I wouldn’t (loudly) encourage you to “go hard” or “pedal at your max speed” if I didn't want you to give it your all. But “giving it your all” should never mean you go so hard that you want to throw up. NEVER. How is throwing up (or coming close to) a sign of strength? I personally think it means you didn't listen to your body when it needed a break. Trust me, you can work hard and push your limits without throwing up.
And that leads me to the issue of “taking a break” - on both micro and macro levels. On the micro level, “taking a break” during class, in the past, has made me feel weak or not up to standard. I would compare myself to others and say “wow, they must be so much stronger or better than I am because they’re going all out with no breaks.” But my mindset changed when I recently overheard one of my instructors say to her class: “Taking a break shows a sign of strength - it means you’re working really hard.” Yes! If we truly tune into our bodies, know our limits, and give ourselves permission to take a break when we push too hard, we wont find ourselves running to the bathroom mid ride or feeling faint mid class. And that, in my opinion, is what makes us strong - pushing to the point where your body says “ok, hold on, I can go further, but you just need to hold on a minute.”
On the macro level of “taking breaks,” I am always amazed when people apologize to me for being away - either on vacation or because life just got in the way. Never be sorry for “taking a break.” The point is “you’re back!” So if we haven’t seen you this summer because you were on vacation or if you’re just getting back into the fitness routine this fall, don’t ever be apologetic for being away. You’re here and so are we and we will all make a commitment to listen to our bodies, push ourselves when we can, but also applaud our efforts when we just need to catch our breaths.