Let’s face we all stay within our comfort zone for pretty much every thing we do.

We get dressed the same way, have the same morning routine, drive to work the same way, keep the same hair style for years and even keeping the same old workout routine and meals.  Why do you think they call comfort food, comfort food?  Because not only does it taste yummy and sparks good feelings but because these are typically foods we grew up eating and that brings us comfort.

So if comfort makes us feel good then why would we ever move outside of our comfort zone??  Well first off most of us have dreams and goals that we want to reach and many times we can’t move towards them doing the same old thing.  In fact I think that is the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

My belief is that CHANGE IS GOOD and it leads to growth.  Think about this what it would be like to always be a 16 year old high school student.  For some of us that might have been a great time in our lives but for me it was a struggle.  I was so happy that I grew up and things changed.  Have you ever experienced a relationship that wasn’t the best for you and now, you are either better off and happier alone or you have the most amazing person in your life.  Yes CHANGE IS GOOD however it is also uncomfortable.

So again, why should we move outside of our comfort zone?  Well there are a thousand different reasons for moving outside our comfort zone, I am going to narrow it down to my top 6 reasons for getting outside of your comfort zone with fitness.

1) You may just find out you actually like something new or different. It could be a new routine or type of exercise.  I find that it is hard to say I do or don’t like something until I try it.  I have tried many different things on my path to a healthy lifestyle and for me one thing I found out is I hate running.  First I was never good at it, my body just couldn’t endure the long distance. Second I would get so bored running.  However I found that I liked trail running and sprints.  We have amazing mountain preserves for hiking in Arizona, so I found that I enjoyed hiking up them with my dog and then running down.  It was a challenge but I love it.  Also when I got my first competition plan from my coach and it had track sprints, I was open to them but I was concerned about whether I would like them (remember I hate running).  Now it is one of my most favorite workouts to do.  If I hadn’t tried these things, I wouldn’t have known I liked them.

2) Trying something new challenges your body and brain. I have been teaching a cardio kickboxing class for over a year and what I have found is that for the girls who try it and stick with it, initially they have a difficult time with the routine.  Their brain is on overload and they are just not seeming that coordinated, however it they are able to stick it out past that uncomfortable and awkward time and feelings, they pick up the routine perfectly and become models for the new girls (usually within 3-5 classes).  It has been talked about by healthcare professionals that staying active and trying new things actually improves not only your physical health however your mental health and your brain health.  Researcher have shared that the more active you are and the more your brain has to work, you are decreasing chances of getting diseases like dementia and alzheimer’s.

3) It challenges your muscles to work in a new way. When you continue to do the same old exercise routine, your muscles (and even brain) get bored. They aren’t being challenged to work and you might not be able to build new muscle because you are doing the same old thing.  So instead your muscle aren’t growing then are just enduring.  If you try new exercises not only do you have to move outside your comfort zone but so do your muscles and it can be as easy as changing your regular bicep curls to hammer curls.  Once your muscles are challenged they work more efficiently and become stronger and you grow more lean muscle mass which promotes fat loss.

4) If you are trying new things you can’t help but to grow and so does your comfort zone.  By trying something new, you are growing.  It might be uncomfortable at first, you will probably feel awkward, and maybe even look that way but the more you can tolerate those feeling the more you grow the better you get.  A great man I know once said “Practice Makes Progress.” (Jade Teta).  Then you are more willing to try new things, take me for example. I started with Kempo, then I started taking cardio kickboxing, which lead me to teaching it and that lead into my building BUFU and helping other women like me become fit and healthy and kick a some ass!

5) You are building your courage and facing fears.  As you know from reading my story, I competed in my first bikini competition in April of 2012.  It was a very difficult decision to make and I was really scared to walk across the stage in a skimpy bikini for such a long time which is why it took more forever to reach that goal (ok well maybe just a few  years, plus 5). However once I did, I can’t explain how unstoppable and fearless I felt.  It was amazing.  By trying something new and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, with the support of my coach, I was able to walk across the stage with no regard of how thin I was in comparison to all the other amazing women that I competed with.  Now I have agreed to compete with a team of 7 other people from my gym in the next Tough Mudder in February of 2013.  Who does that, this girl does, the one who grew and faced some of her fears and says bring it on I am waiting for your to try to knock me down.  My courage and comfort zone are much bigger now and it makes it easier (not less scary) to push and challenge myself.

6) Increased feeling of confidence and accomplishment. Looking back at my competition, I learned so many things, and one of the biggest is that I have increased confidence especially with my weight workouts.  I think and say usually in my head “damn I just curled a 25 pound dumbbell with my left arm!  Hell Yea!!!! ”  Not only does it feel amazing and I know I can do it but I feel like I have accomplished something not everyone is even willing to try.  Again, I wanted run a marathon for years after I decided I would probably never compete in a figure/bikini competition but remember earlier I said I hated running, so why would I want to do that.  Well for me it was about being able to accomplish something that only 1% of Americans do. But I haven’t done it and for I no longer have the desire to ever run a marathon.  I have competed in a bikini competition which less than .001% of Americans do, which to me is a pretty fabulous accomplishment.  So by trying new things, I was able to increase my confidence to a level where I could see the possibility of getting on the stage and regardless of where I placed.  I feel like I accomplished something I wanted to do so very badly.  Trying new things and moving through the discomfort of them, definitely increases your confidence and provides you with a an internal sense of accomplishment, which is something only you can give yourself.

I have provided you 6 reasons to get out of your fitness comfort zone.  Try something new – it could be a boxing boot camp, cardio kickboxing class, Kempo, (okay I am partial to all of those), but it could also be trying crossfit, yoga, weight training if you don’t lift or if you do lift with machines switch to free weights), sprints instead of running, and the list is endless.  Try to move outside of your comfort zone at least once a week.  You don’t have to stay there long, it could be you just walk to that section of a gym or go and observe a class before you decide to commit, but eventually you just have to “rip the bandaid off” or “jump into the dumpster of ice water” and move through the feelings of discomfort.  I have faith in your ability to challenge yourself in trying something, just one thing, new.

My challenge to you – Try one new thing this week and let me know what it was like!!  Much Love and Support, Amanda.