Stepping Out of Your Fitness Comfort Zone

Whether you’re bored from doing the same exercise every day for the past 5 years, or you’re just wondering where to start, it can be hard to build up the confidence to try a new type of exercise. if-it-scares-you-it-must-be-good-chelsia-hart(picture source)

But if you don’t continue to mix up your routine, you may end up bored, injured, burned out, or missing out on a form of exercise that you really love!  (See this post on the benefits of mixing up your workout routine and this post on how to increase your exercise without getting injured for more information).

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 10.06.57 PMOn Monday, you may have seen on Instagram that I went to Body Pump for the first time in about a year.  I got really into Body Pump in the summer and fall of 2012 and was going consistently, but then I fell off the wagon at the beginning of 2013.  Of course, I’ve stayed in shape with running, biking, yoga, circuit workouts, bodyweight strength training, and who knows what else.  But something about going back to Body Pump really intimidated me!  What if I couldn’t lift as much as I used to be able to lift?  What if the instructor realized that I hadn’t been there for a year?  What if the routines were so different that I didn’t know what I was doing?  What if I accidentally took “the” spot that someone stands in during every single class, and they were glaring at me the whole class? whatifbuttons-300x260(picture source)

Well, I decided I needed some strength training, and I walked into class anyway.  You’ll never believe what happened…

  • No one called attention to the fact that I hadn’t been there in a year.  The instructor smiled and said hi when I walked in.
  • No one really even looked at me – everyone was minding their own business and enjoying their own workout.
  • I started with lower weights than I was used to so as not to hurt myself, and no one was judging me for using light weights.
  • I still got an amazing workout, and felt a bit sore yesterday without feeling like I had overdone it or couldn’t walk.
  • I had a blast, and remembered why I enjoyed going to Body Pump so much in the first place!

I know, it’s shocking.  (Have you gotten my sarcasm yet?)  It was so fun that yesterday, I decided to try another new thing, and went to a new-to-me yoga studio that I’ve heard so much about.  I went through the same emotions (“What if this yoga studio is different than the dozens of other yoga studios I’ve been to, and I somehow end up looking like a total idiot?”), but it turned out great! try something new 2(picture source)

So please, try something new this week.  Go in, tell the instructor you’re new or ask for help, start out slowly, and then put one foot in front of the other and just do it!  If you don’t like it, you can always try something else.  If you mess up and look stupid, you’re probably the only one that notices.  If you can’t run for more than 10 seconds or can’t get into a yoga pose or can’t lift a weight that everyone else is lifting, well, at least you have something to work towards now!  And I guarantee you that you’ll feel more accomplished for trying something new than you would have if you had stayed on the couch. try something new(picture source)

**If you happen to be in Austin, check out the *free* Texas Training Kick-Off Party that’s happening Sunday, January 26th.  It’s going to be a great time full of running, new friends, and refreshments – wish I could be there!  And remember, if you’re up for the ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon in Austin on April 12th, use discount code TXAMB8 for 10% off!**

So tell me in the comments … Are you good at stepping out of your “fitness comfort zone”?  What’s the last new thing you tried, fitness or otherwise?

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Comments

  1. says

    I actually have stepped pretty far out of my comfort zone this week and done two days of weight training. I am so sore but it is a good sore! I feel like I finally took that plunge and just made it happen! Great post Megan!

    • says

      I feel your soreness pain … you know what was most sore on me after I did Body Pump and a new style of yoga? My NECK!! I still can’t figure that one out … so strange!

  2. says

    I love this post! I told Enoch just recently that I need to put myself in more uncomfortable situations. It really helps you grow when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. When I started college I made a rule that every semester I would take some sort of fitness class. This really helped me stay in shape while juggling a heavy engineering load. I took classes like aerobic dance, kick boxing, salsa, yoga, swing, weight training, etc. I might not of been good at the dancing but enjoyed it very much! :)
    Angela Nadler recently posted…Café con…almond milk?My Profile

    • says

      I think you guys just did something uncomfortable by going to Ecuador … it’s experiences like that that really push you! I love the idea of taking a new fitness class each semester – that’s such a great idea!

  3. says

    Hilarious! I love the sarcasm (as you noted in a recent comment of mine!).

    Today I posted about bodyweight exercises – because of unexpected ice there was no way I was risking injury – and that takes me out of my normal comfort zone. But not a big deal really, still alone.

    But when I look at the past several years, I have had to conquer those fears – when we moved here I had to join a gym, which meant working out (and showering) with others for the first time since high school. Amazingly I not only survived, people actually talked to me.

    And in 2012 I ‘ran in public’ for the first time, despite being a runner for 23 years. I always did pre-dawn, which kept me mostly ‘hidden’. Suddenly I started running on weekends and daylight hours and so on. Inconceivable!

    And finally – I entered a road race. In spite of what was drilled into me as a child, I wasn’t the slowest thing ever, in fact I was entirely unremarkable in my first 5K, ending up in the mid-pack with not a single person pointing or laughing at the fat slow guy who dared take to the road.

    And over the last couple of years, aside from a couple of arrogant jerks, I have found a community that celebrates newcomers, welcomes them and hopes they gain as much satisfaction and pleasure from the various sports and workouts as they do themselves!
    Michael Anderson recently posted…Icy Roads Means Bodyweight Exercises the BMAX Way!My Profile

    • says

      When I first read this comment, it made me SO happy to see that you had related it to your situation, too! I literally thought as soon as I hit publish “oh man, Michael won’t like this one since he just said on Sara’s blog that he only runs and doesn’t do anything else and I agreed that for a very small group of people this would work.” Ha – you proved me wrong! I’m glad you got in some bodyweight exercises! And you’ve definitely had to put yourself in uncomfortable situations … the thought of you not wanting to “run in public” kind of makes me sad, but even though I know that running is such a welcoming sport in general, it must have been hard to ‘put yourself out there’ when you had previously been so uncomfortable with yourself. Kudos to you for sticking with it!!!!

      • says

        I have a draft around this topic I’m working on … :)

        It is funny, when people saw what I did in 2012 in terms of running and weight loss, I was treated like some sort of guru, with people looking for all sorts of advice. My mantra became ‘what works for me … works for me’. I am WEIRD. I can do the same workout, eat the same stuff and so on – and it is not a problem for me. That is unusual. People think because I’ve gone 25 years running without injury I have a secret – but I think any advice I gave would end up with someone getting hurt!

        I know I am unusual – and I see how many people languish or fail or stop because of boredom. Or just plateau. They need to mix it up, and I loved your post!
        Michael Anderson recently posted…Saturday Quickie – My All-Time Favorite Workout SongMy Profile

        • says

          I’m guessing today’s post was this post … it was a great one, and made me think. Yes, you are unusual, BUT you also know what works for you, and I think that’s hugely valuable for us all to read about. I can confidently say that *most* people would not thrive on your routine, but that’s why I’m glad you share it!

  4. says

    Such a good reminder! I am actually pretty good at stepping out of my fitness comfort zone — it evolved over time. I don’t want this to sound weird or self-absorbed but I have a bit of an “athlete” mentality and I usually think I can do mostttt fitness challenges. Crossfit scared me at first but now I am going a few times a week. It has definitely pushed me outside my fitness comfort zone and I am lifting the least amount of weight and I ask tons of questions but I think the key is to believe in yourself. Oh and have no shame.
    Amy @ The Little Honey Bee recently posted…Back to the Classic {WIAW 27}My Profile

    • says

      Amy, this is such an awesome point! I wish I was a childhood/ high school athlete for several reasons (learning the importance of fueling, respecting your body’s abilities, being part of a team, starting to run earlier in life), and one of them is the confidence in a variety of fitness activities and just being willing to put myself out there. Good for you! I bet the people at your Crossfit box just love you!!

    • says

      I have been thinking about canceling my gym membership, too, Davida … I’ve really only been going once a week for cross-training, but I’m going to see if I end up going more often now that I’ll be in town. Yes to everyone being in their own world – so nice!

  5. says

    I love to try something new and get out of my comfort zone at least once a day. Sometimes it’s VERY uncomfortable… But it’s worth it! It helps you GROW into the person you want to be!!! I remember when I never broke out of my routine/safety net – I was so scared to do ANYTHING. But I have COME SO FAR FROM THAT PERSON and I am happier now!!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Victoria Beckham Needs This Natural Prozac!My Profile

  6. says

    I can SO relate to putting all this anxiety and thought into something and then it happening and…turning out totally fine. Ha! I try to remind myself every time I’m future tripping to just let it go and remember the “last time”, when it all turned out fine.
    I try to do a different workout each day. Sometimes the benefits of switching it up are actually helpful to me mentally because if I’m feeling guilty for “only” doing a 3 mile run, I will tell myself that it probably made a big impact because I rarely ever run, so it’s good that I switched it up.
    Caitlin recently posted…Comment on Let’s Think-Out Loud (Let’s Think-Out Loud) by Amanda @ .running with spoons.My Profile

    • says

      Yes, we really do get ourselves worked up about some funny things, right Caitlin? Good for you for switching things up to keep it interesting and keep your body guessing!

  7. says

    Glad you decided to go. I think we tend to worry what other people are thinking about us at the gym, but they are thinking the exact same thing! :) I’m not too afraid of trying new things or classes…for me it’s more about cost. I look for deals occasionally on living social or groupon, and was thinking of taking a cardio barre type class once my 1/2 is over. I’m looking forward to mixing things up a bit then.

    • says

      I love living social and groupon fitness deals, Tonya – the yoga class I mentioned was a Groupon! It’s really the only way I’ll try a new place now, because I’m so reluctant to pay otherwise!

  8. says

    This is a great reminder. I am not very good at stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new. I have become so focused on running these days, I don’t find there is time for much else. I used to always try different things before I got into running (my fitness routine used to be more like a little bit of running and mostly cardio/weight classes). Now I always try to add a body pump class or online yoga in every week to to stay balanced. I always say that when I am not training for a race I will try some different classes, but then i find that I am usually either training or taking an all-around break from working out! I will have to keep working on this:)
    Lisa @ Running out of Wine recently posted…15 Random Thoughts During My 15 Mile RunMy Profile

    • says

      Lisa, in my opinion, I think this is the problem with marathon training … it just takes SO much time (and energy and thought and effort) that we have little room for anything else. For me personally, I can maintain a good balance while I’m training for a half marathon or less, but not so much for a marathon. I am constantly working on it, too!

  9. says

    The biggest thing I ever did to step out of my fitness comfort zone was learning to weight train a few years ago. It is the absolute best thing I ever did for myself, and I can’t imagine a training program that doesn’t include it anymore! I used to do zero days of lifting, now I do 4 days a week. Crazy how times change.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Signs You Are Old!My Profile

    • says

      Good for you, Megan! While I do lift some weights and do a fair bit of bodyweight work (mostly in the form of short, at-home interval workouts that I’ll tack on to my runs), I’ve always wanted to pick a period of time where I dedicated more time to weight lifting. Glad to see that it’s working for you!

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