As humans we tend to want to stay in the comfort of our regular routines, regular schedules, we hang on to doing things the same way for years and keep wondering why things don’t seem to change. I get it, I like to be in control, I like to have routine, to have a plan, to have regularity in my life. However, I have learned something about myself that has been in there for all my life. I love a challenge.
Challenge to me is something that gets you out of your comfort zone. A challenge is completing something that people around you never thought you’d actually do. And a challenge is showing up and being great at something that maybe wouldn’t typically be your “thing”. To me challenge is not competition. In fact I actually do not enjoy competition. Competition adds stress and anxiety to the mix for me, which is why I’ve always been drawn to solo sports like horseback riding, running, and my gym workouts.
When I had that lightbulb moment of how much I enjoy a challenge it was a time when I was just sitting and reflecting on things I want to achieve before my 30th birthday. I realized for a moment that I have actually kind of been the odd ball in many of my life experiences, putting my introverted self up to challenges that at the time I was uncomfortable with but also found joy and energy in!
Some examples include, in college rushing for sorority at University of Delaware when at the moment I was more of the “punk rock” type but still became a Chi Omega with these amazing women that I cherish forever. Right after college when I got my personal training certification I landed a job at a prestigious Country Club as a young 20 something in a group full of trainers who were veterans in the training industry and in the gym itself. I then went on to finish races such as half marathons and marathons, kind of getting shocked faces from those around me when I signed up for those in the first place. When living in a small town no longer suited me I moved half way across the country, tried all the jobs, and really have said yes to all the challenges that have come my way.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from experiences such as those is that it is so important to say YES to these challenges. It literally can change you’re whole life for the better.
Same goes for fitness.
You cannot expect to do the same thing over and over and over again, expecting extraordinary results. I get it, not everyone wants to be a body builder, not everyone has the same idea of what the “perfect body” is, but I can assure you that your body needs to be challenged in order to elicit change.
Think about it. Think about the workouts you have been doing. Think about when you first started that workout how hard it was but now you can probably breeze through it in a half hour without hardly breaking a sweat. In the beginning when you first tried that workout you might have even seen weight loss, but now you can’t seem to get that scale to budge. The reason why this workout feels easier and why you are not seeing results is because you are not being CHALLENGED.
Now let me change the scenario. Lets say you have been doing these killer workouts, you mix it up, you sweat, you work really hard majority of the week. You go home and you eat the same way you’ve been eating before you even started your workout program. You are getting stronger for sure but you aren’t where you want to be in terms of weight. Well there could be a few things going on but lets just stick to your nutrition. You can’t expect to sweat out a bad diet. You need to CHALLENGE yourself to be healthier and hold yourself accountable on what it is you’re putting in your body.
What does all this mean? For one I am not telling you to go to extremes on either end of fitness or nutrition BUT I am telling you to maybe try something different.
If your car doesn’t start in the morning and turning the key obviously is not working, do you just keep trying to turn the key or do you try something else like calling a mechanic?
There are so many ways you can change the way you workout and the way you eat. To not overwhelm you I’ll just tell you what I currently am doing to give myself that challenge!
For one this whole year I have been challenging myself with this Pilates comprehensive certification. Forcing myself to try to master the moves of Levels 1-3 (and let me tell ya it is not easy). I have also been challenging myself in the weight room by working on some of my weaknesses in order to grow them into strengths. A few of those weaknesses include my hamstring strength, my overall mobility, and my push-ups still quite have not been the same since my elbow tendonitis so I am working on improving those. In the weight room I am also starting to challenge myself with a different type of training. I am going to start using heavier weights with less repetitions and slightly longer rest breaks to see what that does for me. I tend to love the training where I lift moderately heavy weights then keep myself moving by going to something else, leaving me mentally focused, which there is nothing wrong with, however, I just want to see what this type of training would do for my body personally! Lastly I am on the prowl for a new fitness endeavor to complete! I’m trying to think outside of the box from running races and possibly try something new! Any suggestions are welcome!!
As far as my nutrition goes over the last month or so I have been doing my own version of intermittent fasting, mainly during the week . I say my own version because with my schedule the whole 16 hours does not work for me (it would require me to be done eating at 2pm in order to have breakfast in the morning and I typically am still working at that time or working out). So instead, I do about 12-14 hours depending on my work schedule. This allows me to have breakfast before my clients in the morning, which trust me, if I did not have breakfast I am pretty sure I would not have a job anymore because I am not my fun loving energetic self without it! I am doing this because of the research that shows the benefits it has on inflammation and overall digestive health. I have been loving it so far and have noticed that overall I am sleeping better because I am fully digested before I go to bed, I have more steady blood sugar levels throughout the day, and for the most part I don’t have any digestive issues like bloat. This has been a challenge for me though because I tend to think that I need a little snack before I go to bed at night in the beginning but I just realized that it wasn’t because I was hungry, it was because my body was used to eating at a later time so was trained to turn on those hunger thoughts at the time I would regularly eat. (To get over this in the beginning I would just have some tea instead and that did the trick). I have also been challenging myself to take my nutrition a little more seriously. As you all know I can become obsessive with tracking foods, however, I think it can be a good tool to utilize if you want to really get an idea of what you are consuming. So, I am challenging myself to pay deeper attention to what I am consuming through tracking macronutrients WITHOUT becoming obsessive. (I have already told my boyfriend to let me know when I start getting out of whack with it all!)
**Note, the ways I am challenging myself are less about what I look like and more about what goals I want to achieve. Instead of focusing on what you look like start to focus more on how you feel and use that to drive you to your next challenge, by doing this the physical part will eventually follow.
I hope that this blog post has helped you feel inspired and ready to tackle your new life! TRUST ME if this introverted girl who always likes to be in control can find love and joy in challenges that keep me away from all of my comforts then YOU CAN do this too!