It has been brought to my attention several times prior to or immediately following class that I should dim the light. At my primary location, this is not possible, as the lights in the entire gym are either ON or OFF. We discovered this one night as I was trying to check in for my class and my daughter found the one button that controls those lights.
I have been in several classes where the lights are off or dimmed, or even better, with spotlights aimed at a disco ball. And I have to say, as both a teacher and participant, I'm a fan of spinning in the dark. It fits well with my imagined scenarios in which I'm biking madly up a hill and away from a pack of cycling zombies or using my bike in Jackie Chan-like stunts to kick my rival spy's ass and then hoping back on to sprint to the finish line, still placing first in the Tour de France.
Hey, whatever makes you pedal faster and work harder, right?
But alas, the lights at this one particular location can not be turned off without making everyone in the gym work out in the dark. And while I realize a lot of people take comfort in spinning in the dark, eventually you have to let go of that crutch.
The thing is, I think we all tend to go about life imagining that we are in a fish bowl; that everyone around us has nothing better to do than to watch and scrutinize our every move. This is just not the case. Sure, we all make observations about those around us and whether we mean to or not, pass judgment and/or compare ourselves to them. But think about the last time you actually paid attention to what a random stranger was doing. Chances are, you forgot about whatever it was you saw five minutes later.
How this translates to the gym is the way in which some people choose to work out, or worse, not work out when they feel like other people are watching. It's natural to feel a little self-conscious in a gym; we're all exposed in one way or another. But to think that you're the only novice to ever hop onto a spin bike in any gym, e.v.e.r, and that all eyes are on you because the lights are on? That's just silly.
My tip to get over what I call "Fish Bowl Syndrome" is to remember that at any given moment, those around you are far more focused on what they are doing than they are on you. I mean, consider yourself and what you're thinking of. You're too busy worrying about how you appear to others that you don't even notice the other people around you worrying about how they appear to you! We are all too wrapped up in our own workouts to actually pay attention to what others are doing, let alone criticize them.
So I challenge you to keep the lights on. Stop letting your eyes dart around the room and into the mirrors to see if you catch someone looking at you. Focus on yourself and ONLY yourself while you are working out. No one in the gym is doing everything perfectly. That's why we are there!