"Get outside your comfort zone
...this is where the change will begin to happen!”
I can pretty much guarantee if you’ve taken a single group fitness class of mine, you’ve heard me shout something like this at least once during the workout. Anyone who’s been coming to my classes long enough probably rolls their eyes when I say it because they already knew it was coming; and yes, it “coincidentally” tends to come right at the hardest, longest push in a class. Whenever I can tell the group is losing their drive, their energy, and their will to keep going, I blast them with this cliche, but completely true and relevant piece of wisdom.
I remember the first time I took a kickboxing class like it was yesterday: I walked through two doors into a room full of sweaty, tough-looking people, using their teeth to tear off their gloves and wraps, then passing by me with a look of complete exhaustion as they all made their way to their cars. I was immediately tempted to blend in with the rest of them and bolt out of there, but I stayed. My mom and dad had been taking and instructing these classes since I was 8 years old, and somehow, 10 years later, they finally convinced to try it out.
I had just graduated from high school, and knew it was probably time to start getting into some sort of exercise routine since I wouldn’t have cross country and track season to keep me in shape anymore once I left for college. Kickboxing sounded like something out of a Rocky movie, but I gave it a shot, and here was my initial experience: A full 45-minute class of endless helpful technique corrections from the instructor (because your home-girl was the most awkward/unathletic person you’ve ever met), loud music that made me feel like I was at a dance party, and the incessant urge to quit about 95% of the time. And somehow…. I LOVED IT!
Fast forward to over 5 years later, and I’m a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and fitness enthusiast. I am confident walking into practically any gym and coming up with a routine for the day. I love trying new equipment whenever it’s available and am always looking for a new way of doing something via all my lovely health and wellness IG’s I follow. But, as great as it is being confident and sure of yourself… There’s something to be said for when you are humbled and vulnerable, and trying something completely new!I went home, told my parents it was awesome, and I have loved working out ever since. I started going religiously 5 mornings a week before I had to be at my summer camp job. I wish someone would have gotten me on video for that first month or so I was there because I’m sure it was atrocious form, lots of water breaks, and bending over at the hips, gasping for air.
For the first time in my life, I had some definition in my mid-section instead of just a soft belly. I had biceps and shoulders which I had no shame flexing on everyone every day of the week (I was too proud of them not to show them off!). Not to mention, I found this new sense of confidence in my mental and physical capabilities unlike ever before. I felt just like how I first perceived all those people when I walked through the gym doors: tough. Like I could take on anything! And be anything! And hold my own if someone tried to hurt me (a little delusion never hurt anyone lol).
I live in a different city now, and have recently been looking for a gym that offers kickboxing and bootcamp classes at an affordable rate (none will ever be as my home gym though - shoutout to MA Fitness St. Pete!!), basically because I’m feeling stagnant and just need someone else to kick my butt for me right now. I pump other people up all day long, so when it’s my turn to get a workout in, I’m lucky if I can mentally even make it through my first set.
So I found this local gym on Groupon that I’m trying out for a month, and needless to say, it has kicked my BUTT. In the best way ever! I’ve been unintentionally having to take more rest days than ever before because the way they’re working my body is different than what it’s used to and is leaving me absolutely wrecked.
I was never the biggest athlete in school (lol if you grew up with me you can attest to this one), usually picked last in gym class, slowest on the cross country team, etc., so my confidence with any sort of sports conditioning drill is quite low. I showed up to a class with an obscure name (Blitz) on the schedule the other day, and the description said body weight/cardio conditioning. Sounds easy enough. I pictured us doing burpees, mountain climbers, jump squats, the usual exercises I do and have my clients do on the regular. What I was in for was sled push drills, assault bike intervals, and working on our jumping technique. I’m not being dramatic when I tell you that my hip flexors would not allow me to lift my legs higher than an inch for the next 24 hours.
Also, I was being completely obliterated by this mom of 2 kids who’s at least 10 years older than me. She acted like it was a piece of cake, while I was over in the corner trying not to cry. Some people might leave feeling defeated, never showing their face back in the gym again after an incident like this, but they shouldn’t. You have to find comfort in the unfamiliar, find inspiration in the challenging moments of your life, fill your veins with humility, and flood your soul with grace.
Let me know what workout you’ve always wanted to try out but have been too scared to in the comments below! And then, go sign up for that class and reap the benefits!! :) It’s the little things like getting out of your comfort zone with a new workout class that are going to add up to this awesome, well-rounded, resilient, humble and freaking strong human you have the potential to be and should be, if only you would let yourself get just a little bit uncomfortable! Not only can this mold you internally, but it can seriously shape you physically but changing up your routine! Feel like you’ve hit a plateau? Try a totally new way of training, or maybe even just replace your two spin classes a week with two boxing classes instead. Always lifting light weights with high reps? Try lifting heavier with less reps for a few weeks and see how your body responds! You won’t know your limits if you don’t ever push them.
Lots of love,