A friend of mine that teaches group fitness started a private page on Facebook to challenge and motivate ourselves in many aspects of life, not just fitness. Our recent “challenge” was to step out of our comfort zone and do something uncomfortable, or something that might scare us a little. I don’t mean go grab a snake from the yard or go skydiving… but so many of us are afraid to step out of our comfort zone, especially when it comes to exercise.
Most runners find their comfort zone in well, running. Duh. So what is uncomfortable? Maybe signing up for a new distance (5Ks still scare me a little…) or trying a new type of cross training (pool running for example).
For me personally, strength training is slightly out of my comfort zone. I’ve never been “strong” when defined by amount of weight lifted. In high school I could only bench press the bar (45lbs) and I’m pretty sure I never touched the squat rack. I’ve always been tall and slender, and “weak”. I remember being hounded by my coaches to get stronger and get tougher out there. I was the tallest girl we had, so I was manning the post in all of my lanky glory in high school basketball.
There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m strong. I ran 26.2 miles, I’ve ran hundreds of miles leading up to that point. I don’t think physical strength is defined by the amount of weight you can lift, but I think there are so many misconceptions about women and lifting weights. It’s pretty darn intimidating walking into a big weight room full of dudes curling 75lb dumbbells and you grab the 5s. That’s the “stepping out of the comfort zone” aspect for me. Having confidence to walk into a weight room and do my thing, without worrying people are judging me for not being “strong” enough.
The weight room in our Y is scary to me, and it made me feel better to find out I’m definitely not the only one who thinks that way. So our challenge this week is to head to the weight room and confidentially rock our workout. I’ve found a love for lifting now that I have more time to devote to it (not in marathon training) and it excites me to get in there and challenge myself in a new way. I get most of my lifting routines from bodybuilding.com and I’m learning that it’s a PROCESS. Just like running. You don’t run 26.2 miles one day out of the blue, you work towards it. Same way with strength, and muscle building. It’s not an overnight process, it’s a challenge. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you right?