- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Expanding Your Comfort Zone
Everyone has a certain comfort zone that sometimes inhibits them from progressing in their goals of fitness. What is a comfort zone? Well it is where you feel comfortable, you know, before your heart rate goes up and you start to heat up internally....that feeling that most of us do not like.
Getting out of your comfort zone is where many people fail at exercise. As soon as they start to feel uncomfortable, they stop. I am here to tell you that if you do not get "uncomfortable" with exercise, you will not get the results that you are wanting.
There is a difference between being uncomfortable and experiencing pain. If you are experiencing pain, you need to stop and figure out what is wrong. Pain can be torn ligaments, pulled muscles, fractured bones, things like that. Being uncomfortable is part of the process of getting into shape. Know the difference.
By getting out of that comfort zone, you will start to expand it. For instance; if you are out running and you start to raise your heart rate, your body will begin to heat up inside. This happens before you break into a sweat. It is an uncomfortable feeling at this point.
However, if you keep going the body will begin to sweat (which by the way is your own air conditioning unit) and then you will acclimate to the demand you are putting on your body. Each time you begin to run you will be more comfortable with the process and that is how you will expand your comfort zone!
I find that people that have not had many challenges in their life have small comfort zones. Those that have had trials and tribulations seem to have the ability to handle being uncomfortable much better than those who have not experienced tough times.
Through the years I have seen this with the people that I have trained. The clients that have created their lives by working hard, or come from difficult and challenging backgrounds, seem to train harder and have the ability to be uncomfortable without quitting.
Clients that have been sheltered and always cared for have less ability to train hard and push through those uncomfortable feelings.
Expanding your comfort zone, pushing through those physically uncomfortable exercises, will not only make you physically stronger, but you will be mentally strong as well.
I have been an avid cyclist for most of my life. There have been many times when I had to climb up steep mountain grades where I literally wanted to throw up! My heart rate would be sky high, and my breathing labored, but I would stay with it until I reached the top. What a sense of accomplishment I would feel. I conquered my own desire to quit. I was mentally and physically stronger for it.
Whenever I am experiencing something in my life that is difficult or challenging, I think about climbing up those mountains. If I just keep going, I know I will reach the end of the challenge, and be better for it. It is a great metaphor for life....just keep going and you will get there.
Remember, when you get uncomfortable with exercise....keep going....you will expand that comfort zone and be able to be stronger on all levels.
So give it a try, get uncomfortable and keep going through it. Use this philosophy for your life. It will work!