Do you push your boundaries and challenge your comfort zones in life and training? If you don’t push your boundaries, how will you know where they are?! If you fail to challenge your comfort zone in life or training, you can’t grow; figuratively or literally. If your goals and dreams don’t scare the hell out of you, you’re doing it wrong! Specific to training and the gym, I see people going in the gym and doing the exact same thing month in and month out, year in and year out. They stay in their comfort zone. I try to suggest the guy who’s been doing strictly body building style training (moderate to high volume in the 8-12 rep ranges) for years to try some sled pushing, tire flipping, and heavy KB swings once per week for a change. Their ego, fear of change, and inability to train outside their comfort zone prevents them from even trying it in 99.9% of the time I find. Most athletes, even some top tier athletes, are virtually incapable of going outside their comfort zones in their programs, even when aware it could improve their performance! In life and in training, intelligently going outside your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries is how you grow, both literally and figuratively. Many will not do it because going outside their comfort zone is well, uncomfortable! It’s scary, or it threatens their self perceptions. There’s a risk they may fail, there’s a risk they may find they are bound by the same physical laws we all are and a risk they will not live up to expectations, either of their own making or that of others. There’s many reasons people are unwilling to push their own boundaries
into areas outside their comfort zones. Those who push their boundaries and take risks don’t lack fear, they have usually come to understand the fears, or self doubts, or racing heart rate are part of the experience. There’s a balance to be struck between taking risks worth taking and just being an adrenaline junky, but you’ll never know what that balance is for you if you don’t push your own boundaries.
For some that’s jumping out of a plane or climbing a mountain, for others, it’s just joining a gym and coping with feeling self conscious about being a new person in that gym. This life is not a rehearsal, and you’re not going to get out of it alive one way or another, so do your best to make the most of it, be it gym time, or other endeavors. I could use all sorts of cliche’s here, but screw that. As my mother used to say “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it” and she was right.
You may or may not actually enjoy the act of challenging your comfort zone while doing it, but the feelings of accomplishment and self confidence you’ll gain afterward are the rewards that will allow you to continue to grow and make progress in all facets of your life. Every time I get up to speak in front of twenty people or three hundred, I’m nervous. Years of public speaking, some times in front to tough guys like members of a SWAT team, or an even tougher crowed, a few hundred teenagers, and I’m scared stupid. It never goes away, but I always do it.
Public speaking has never been easy for me, yet people have told me many times how relaxed I seem. It’s really not in my comfort zone, but I can’t let that stop me. Frankly, I was less nervous jumping out of the plane than I am when I have to do a seminar!