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This Peloton Instructor Stopping Her Class Early Is Actually a Fantastic Mental Health Lesson

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“Listen to your body.”

It’s a phrase that is commonplace in self-help literature, therapy circles and eating disorder recovery discourse. But how often do we really put it into practice? How often do we give ourselves “permission” to truly listen to what our bodies are telling us?

If you are at all familiar with the Peloton universe, you have probably heard of Jess Sims. Jess Sims is known for coaching some of the most difficult classes Peloton has to offer — on the bike, treadmill and mat. And despite how hard her classes are, she makes it look effortless. She is strong, powerful and motivating.

She is also human.

On Monday night, Jess was teaching a live bike bootcamp class. For those who aren’t familiar, Peloton’s bootcamp classes are a 50/50 split between cardio training (on the bike or tread) and strength training (on the floor). During one of the bike segments, Jess was seen struggling to catch her breath before the class suddenly cut out and ended early. This was uncharacteristic of Jess, and people immediately flooded to social media to express concern and send messages of care and well-wishes to the instructor.

Jess followed up with her fans on Instagram later in the evening, posting a video to her story where she explains:

“If you were on my bike bootcamp tonight, you saw me say that I needed to listen to my body and I stopped class a little bit early. Obviously that’s not easy, but it’s something that was necessary for me in the moment, and it’s something that I’ve had practice doing as an athlete my whole life, of just knowing when it’s not best for me to continue doing whatever I’m doing.”

Jess is no stranger to listening to her body. Jess recently took a break from instructing Peloton classes. In an Instagram post shared on March 5, Jess announced to her followers that she wouldn’t be doing any live classes for a few weeks so she could “rest [her] mind and body.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JESS SIMS (@jsimsfit)

In a follow-up post on April 7, after Jess returned to the Peloton schedule, she shared nine things she learned during her time off:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JESS SIMS (@jsimsfit)

7. “Listen to your body. Your body is not just an ear to listen to you and what you want it to do. It has a mouth, too. Listen. You’re in a relationship. Learn its love language.”

Let’s just pause here for a second. Jess Sims, a lifelong athlete, and arguably one of the toughest Peloton instructors, stopped a live class, because her body was telling her she needed to stop. And she wasn’t embarrassed about it. She didn’t see it as a weakness. In fact — she saw it as a strength. She owned this experience. And we could all benefit from the lesson Jess taught us last night.

How often do we push ourselves past the point of exhaustion? How often do we keep going even though our bodies are screaming at us to stop? And more importantly — why? Why do we treat our bodies this way?

Exercise shouldn’t hurt. It shouldn’t feel like a chore, or something we dread doing. It is meant to be a celebration of all the amazing things our bodies can do.

So, Jess — thank you. Thank you for teaching us how to push ourselves toward growth and strength, but also showing us how to listen to our bodies. Thank you for modeling self-love and self-care. And thank you for always reminding us that “you can be a work in progress and a masterpiece at the same time.”

Image via Jess Sims’ Instagram account

Originally published: April 23, 2021
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