In last week’s post I referred to the SAID principal, the gist being our muscles change to adapt to the new demands placed upon them. This week I’ll be diving a bit deeper into the reasons you want your workout to make you a little uncomfortable, at least some of the time.
We are all tempted to do more of what we are good at and less of what we are not. Be it a yoga pose or recipe, the ego likes the feeling of being superior. And this isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes we need a little pick me up and going to a class where we know we can ace the workout and everything feels totally smooth fits the bill. The problem is when that becomes our entire regimen. When we stop challenging ourselves we stop growing. The same can be said for our muscles.
Think about your current routine. When was the last time you tried something new, moved in a different way, or felt truly challenged by the task before you? If nothing comes to mind check out the following tips and see if you can incorporate at least one into your workout life. Your mind and your muscles will thank you.
-Remember the 80/20 rule: You may have heard of this before in regards to diet. I like to think of it in terms of a workout plan. 80% of the time focus on simply moving your body in a way that feels good to you. 20% of the time do something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Are you someone who loves lifting weights but shivers at the thought of stepping into a yoga class? Challenge yourself to practice one morning a week. Does going to the gym mean 30 minutes on the elliptical? Start venturing into the weight room after a few of your sweat sessions.
-Find the beauty in “beginner’s mind”: Fear of failure or embarrassment can make our lives very small. Have you ever wanted to take up a new sport or learn a new skill but didn’t want to suffer through the inevitable growing pains? In fitness as in life it is necessary to start at the beginning. Remain open to the experience without judging yourself or worrying about others judging you. As I am always telling my clients “just give it a shot.” Exercise is all about testing your body. Instead of getting caught up in what you think you should be able to do, think of your workout as taking your body out for a spin. Have fun with it. Be patient. Get curious. We didn’t come out of the womb walking like champs. It takes time to acquire new skills and abilities. Put this together with the fact that our bodies are in a constant state of flux and it is truly amazing that we can perform any physical task consistently day to day. Start from where you are and realize that what challenges you one day might be different the next.
-Let boredom be your guide: Do you find yourself looking forward to your workouts or dreading another 30 minutes schlepping along on the treadmill? If your comfort zone has become a dull zone it may be time to rethink your routine. Like I mentioned above, consistency is fine but even the most avid walker needs a change now and then. Our bodies are capable of so much, why chain yourself to one way of working out? Adding a bit of strength training can freshen up a cardio routine and make you feel muscles in a way you haven’t before. Practicing yoga can literally breathe new life into a strength training routine by fostering breath control and increased movement quality. There is no one right way to work out. Even better, different modalities compliment each other to create a rich, well rounded routine.
Need a little more to get you motivated? Read on: