I’ve a small confession to make.
Running machines and I have never been the best of friends!
In fact, I used to hate going on treadmills so much that even when they were free to use, I would wait to get on an alternative machine (say the rowing or cycle machines) to complete the cardio part of my workout.
With that in mind, you can probably imagine how I felt when I first decided to sign myself up for a workout class at Barry’s Bootcamp.
If you’ve never been to one of these classes before, half of a 60 minutes session is dedicated to running on the treadmill (different speeds and gradients).
Of course, having not done much research into all of this beforehand, I only found this out when I was waiting to enter the room!
60 minutes later and I was lying on a bench, arms and splayed out, with sweat permeating every inch of my body.
And while I knew I would certainly be feeling sore into the next day, I felt unbelievably energetic and raring to take on the next challenge.
So much so, that I have since made it a habit to regularly attend these classes each month, in addition to the weight training and cycling I’m involved with.
At this point, you might be thinking “why would anyone pay to sign up for something as punishing as this?”
Don’t worry, those sort of thoughts also floated across my mind as I huffed and puffed my way up a 10 degree incline at speeds I’ve been more used to exhibiting when catching a train about to depart!
What you learn by pushing your physical limits, is that the biggest rewards in life will always involve some pain to get there.
And the feeling of euphoria is what you experience when you are willing to push yourselves beyond what you previously thought you were incapable of.
Avoid this pain and you avoid the feelings that come with rising above the ordinary.
That’s why we have this wonderful feeling of positivity powered by an endorphin rush after we’ve walked (or should I say crawled!) out of an intense, limit-pushing workout or exercise activity.
In fact, being uncomfortable is the only way to grow.
Muscle and strength is developed by gradually increasing the weight you use and number of repetitions you complete.
Stamina is raised by running, swimming or cycling that little bit further each time.
In doing so, we begin redesigning a new reality of what we’re capable of, which in turn, gives us a new perspective of what is now ‘normal’ for us.
Another important lesson I’ve learnt from pushing myself physically, is that you’re far more likely to move outside of your comfort zone when there are people around you to help inspire you forwards.
It’s why coaching, Mastermind Groups and mentoring can be so powerful and transformational, and, why many people often get so much more out of fitness classes and having a personal trainer than exercising on their own.
When you are surrounded by others who are in a similar position and on the same journey, we are often more compelled to persist, overcoming any temporary pain that may try and derail you.
Your limits will never change, if you don’t test them on a regular basis.
As one TED speaker once said, “Turn limits into milestones.”
How often are you testing yours and witnessing what you’re really capable of?
Chances are you could do more. We all can.
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