By Ann Rivera
My husband is a “Type 2 Fun” kind of guy. This refers to the type of exercise, adventure or training session that causes intense misery, but seems fun in hindsight. This type of fun is a strange beast, which delights a masochist Spartan with no threshold for pain– like my husband.
He shuts off all the receptors to the red flag indicator which most normal humans would respect. He thrives when the going gets impossible–like riding his garage bike trainer in winter for 125 miles without ever getting off and not even listening to music.
Who does that for fun?
While on his mountain bike his knee completely popped out from a torn meniscus and so he unclipped to...call me to pick him up? Nope– so he could slide his knee back in to continue his ride. This intensely enthusiastic husband of mine spends time with other guys who also revel in reckless Type 2 fun and they have a saying, which goes as follows:
“Training is like wrestling a Bigfoot.
Don't give up when you get tired; give up when the Bigfoot gets tired."
There was a time in my life where I relished in impossible feats. I trained at an elite level for volleyball and played professionally for a decade. I also walked 500 miles across Spain by myself. So I am no stranger to doing hard-core things willingly. Then came the next chapter where I pretended to like Type 2 fun in order to impress my husband- who was already my husband, and already impressed. But still– a deep desire to hustle for love and earn a bad-ass wife label pushed me to do things I didn't really want to.
Wrestle a Bigfoot til he taps? Sure that sounds great!
This brutal wrestling match came in the form of a 4,000 ft elevation gain hike. My husband brought gummy bears to lure me along, but it did little to stop my moaning and tear-streaked cheeks. I hobbled. I cried. I complained. I got angry, and not once did I step up my mental game to compete with the Bigfoot stomping my sanity. It was too much mental and physical torture to handle–but that’s what a Type 2 Fun fiend loves. I had to do some serious self-reflection about what my kind of fun was.
One thing was certain...
I no longer wanted to participate in activities that felt like a gritty-grind, pain train SUFFERFEST!
Then once I had grown and birthed two humans, there was an even bigger shift away from voluntary suffering. It was a motherly softening. There's still a competitive spirit roaring inside from time to time, but what I seek now is exercise that lights me up and doesn’t force me to have to wrestle a mental monster. Even being a sports mindset coach does not motivate me to regularly participate in activities that make me cry just so I can use my mental edge tools. So I indulge every so often just to keep myself relevant in my profession, but mostly I wave goodbye to my husband as he takes off with his Type 2 crew and thank my lucky stars I realized that his kind of fun- doesn’t need to be mine.
But what was my kind of fun?
Hitting up every free exercise class in town became my mission. I tried Orange Theory, Cross-Fit, Bikram Yoga, kickboxing, P90X workouts, and every other class I hoped might lead me to work out bliss. Instead, they left me frustrated and uninspired, so I chose an even softer route. I rode a stationary bike, did yin yoga, and aerial yoga. In almost all scenarios Bigfoot was still poking me, teasing me and challenging me to wrestle him.
And then... I FOUND IT.
My happy hour.
By accident, I took a dance class packed with elderly people. After the first song I was so LIT UP, tears of joy poured down my face as I got my Zumba groove on. It was a such a euphoric feeling that loud "Woop" sounds escaped my mouth. No wonder all these old-timers were there, they had figured out the secret to a long happy life. It was fitness in disguise. It was a magic bullet shot straight to my sweet spot. The instructor was a master of her craft with energy and pure joy oozing from every pore. The combination of loud Latin music and salsa dance moves fit my style and shocked me with a natural buzz that lifted spirit to a different orbit.
THIS IS IT! A total workout with cardio, conditioning, balance, flexibility and a serious dose of contagious awesomeness.
Once I had gone a few times and picked up on the routines I could just let myself go and flow with the music. When the instructor moved studios to reach a younger clientele– I followed. So now every week I get an hour of a pure body tingling, eye-sparkling, dopamine explosion. In the mirror I often see my reflection with a smile so big that top and bottom teeth are exposed. It felt a little weird at first, but then I realized that few things on this planet make me want to bare my teeth in such a huge geeky smile.
Through Zumba, I mastered the Bigfoot in my mind roaring at me to “Harden the “F” up. go big or go home!” or “There is no victory without suffering.” I’ve been there– done that and you know what? I would rather get my dance on. So instead of pushing myself until Bigfoot gets tired, I do some shoulder shimmies, pop and lock, a kick ball change, then mix in salsa hips then point at Bigfoot and say with swag, “let's see your moves big boy!”
Lesson: If wrestling Bigfoot is not your jam…challenge him to a dance off.
Shout out: If Type 2 fun lights you up feel free to reach out to Sam Rivera for a knee dislocating kind of activity, or you can join me for an hour of awesome that leaves you with a beaming euphoric glow.
Check out Sekse studio in Bend, Oregon with my all-time favorite instructor Bethany Burr.