You might not have paid attention or have never wondered about it but we all have comfort zones, whether it is at home, work, the gym or even on vacation. I believe, you’ve heard the quote:
“the magic happens outside of your comfort zone”
Or at least something similar to it, that is encouraging you to step forward, to leave your day-to-day routine.
But what exactly is a fitness comfort zone and how to get outside of it?
A comfort zone is defined as a place or situation where we feel safe or at ease without stress and anxiety. Imagine something you do all the time, like walking a dog or driving to work, or surfing the internet. Everyday activities that you’re used to won’t make you feel anxious and uneasy, so they’re part of your comfort zone.
OK, so now lets focus strictly on fitness… You are following your training routine day in and day out, because it feels comfortable and doesn’t require much effort. Sounds familair? Finding exercises and classes that you love and keep repeating them at your own pace over and over again, because, well… you enjoy them so much.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding workouts and exercises that you love and sticking with them! Nothing wrong if we are talking about staying healthy and considering working out, mostly as a way to hang out with friends or to reduce stress levels.
However, if we focus on sport performance and improving any fitness domains like endurance, strength, power, flexibility or speed, training outside your comfort zone becomes inseparable part of making results. Exercising within comfort zone doesn’t give you the same great feeling when you’re finally achieving something new or the confidence you feel when you attain a goal. Sure, you’ll be healthier, you’ll stay in shape, because doing something is always better than doing nothing, but you won’t see the changes and results you’ve hoped to achieve.
Getting out of your comfort zone, not only will help you to get results and become fitter and fitter. It may also help you to spice up your routine, break a fitness plateau, lift up your motivation and learn something about yourself and your physical and mental limits.
You may now think:
But why?, why?, why?
It’s amazing how quickly our body adapts to routine. If your body gets used to a routine of running 5k (at the same pace, just because it’s comfortable) a day, for example, you won’t be loosing weight as quickly as at the beginning of that routine.
If you keep doing bench press with the same weight (because it’s comfortable) over and over again, you won’t notice any significant improvement in strength.
Extensive research has shown that to keep noticing results from a training routine, it’s vital to regularly include intervals of higher stress and demand on the muscles and cardiovascular system.
Vast majority of people work out only hard enough to maintain their current weight and physique. Leaving your comfort zone requires adding some intense workout challenges to build muscle/lose weight and to get stronger, faster, fitter. Obviously, it doesn’t mean you are supposed to run 20k or work out 5 hours a day to reach your fitness goals 🙂
The point is to keep adding new challenges, new exercises, new activities and vary ways of pushing past your limits for speed, distance, weight etc.
Don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable.
Don’t let the fear of not having enough speed, strength, coordination or whatever your inner reasoning may be hold you back. Just go for it! Don’t be afraid of change!
Step past whatever stops you, step outside of your regular routine – your comfort zone – and give a try something new. You never know, you might love it and wonder why it took you so long to take it up.
To be honest with you, it’s not going to be easy. It’s always difficult to push yourself and to struggle just with your mind and body. It’s not for everyone, it’s not like having chocolate bar:) It is just strictly related to your fitness goals.
And if it turns out not to be your thing, that’s fine.
You gave it a shot. You dared to do something out of the ordinary.
That is exactly what breaking the barriers of your fitness comfort zone is about.90
Increase the intensity.
Do you always do 10 reps with a 10 kg kettlebell? Have you ever taken advantage of the running/cycling uphill? Tried to perform you favourite exercises (burpees 😉 ) faster? Ever picked up the pace while running (I am not saying about catching a bus 😉 )? Accepted a challange from a friend? These are all things that would mix up your routine and push you.
You never know, where your potential really lies.
A simple example of lifting up your daily running routine to the next level:
Do you always run 5k at pace 6:30 min/k?
Next time try intervals:
run for 30 sec – faster than your regular pace. Let’s say 5:30 min/k
run for 1 min – recovery time, come back to your regular pace or even run slower
Repeat, repeat and repeat…
I bet you will see results and improve your running faster than you expect 🙂
Taking risks is what helps us grow, and it is important for both personal and physical growth.
Always remember why you started, what is the reason you sweat, you run, you jump, you lift weights… If you have always wanted results, get out of your comfort zone and go for them!