Sunday, March 13, 2011

Step Out of the Comfort Zone - Throw Down Your Own Gauntlet


Answer quick: What's your greatest fitness weakness?? No stalling, first thing to come to mind...hehe! Well, for me it's got to be my arms. (Or chicken wings if you were to listen to one of my past coaches who would, in good nature, yell to me down the final stretch, "Pump those chicken wings...GO!!!!") My upperbody strength is probably my biggest weakness; though since I was always a runner I figured it didn't really 'matter' all that much. However once I did start doing more weights and core exercises I realized it did matter.

The more strength you have overall the better athlete you are, and even if you aren't competing for anything it still means the better all around, fit person you are. More arm strength meant that they wouldn't tire as much over the course of a race and I could hold better form; that meant I'd be more efficient...faster...etc.

So what is YOUR greatest weakness? Maybe you are someone who HATES running or can't stand cardio in general. Maybe you shirk away from the dumbbells or think that stretching is when you bend down at the end of your workout to untie your shoes. Whatever it is, I'm going to challenge you to tackle it.

Sometimes we are forced into staring down those glaring weaknesses; an injury disables us from doing what we feel most comfortable in doing. We are pushed out of our comfort zone...personally that's the case when I had surgery on my leg and am limited in what I can do. I got creative and tested out an arm bike machine. Amanda discovered a passion for rollerblading after her injury and loved it so much she integrated it into her ongoing training regime.

But I admit, cranking along on that arm bike wasn't pretty at first...nor much 'fun.' Then I thought of ways to make it better: loaded up fun playlists, toyed around with intervals to keep it interesting, and looked at it as just as much of a mental challenge as a physical one. If I was going to be pushed to tackle my chicken wing arms and their lack of strength then I was going to come out the winner!

I won't say that I could, or would even, ever compete in some kind of arm bike Olympics but it gave me a sense of satisfaction that even though I was out of my element I was making the most of it and getting better. I did at least begin to feel stronger on my arm bike and could up the tension level. Improvement is perhaps the ultimate motivator.

So I challenge you to tackle your own beast of burden. You may not be forced into it, but give it a whirl anyways. You don't have to do it FOREVER, but it can be fun to try something new...and it will probably make you a better, more fit individual along the way. :)

Let's hear some some people take the leap and voice the challenge they set for themselves...

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  1. Hi Amanda,
    I am so with you on this. And I surprised myself when I went way out of my comfort zone and found a new workout love, Zumba. Now I am kind of obsessed and I never thought I'd be a dancer girl. Who knows what you'll discover when you try something new...
    Steph (

  2. Hey Steph!
    GREAT to hear you were brave enough to push yourself to give Zumba a chance...and now you love it! My sister actually is a total dancer girl and raves about those classes too...I've always joked how she stole all the coordination in the family! But maybe I'll have to join her sometime and give it a shot. :)
    Take Care,
    Amanda + Cait