Whether you are a beginner, novice, or advanced fitness buff, we all have or develop a certain level of comfort. By this I mean habits or routines that we feel relatively confident in following. Trying something new can be inconvenient, awkward, or down-right scary. There is a catch…there is always a catch. And the catch for trying something new is that no matter how uncomfortable it might seem at first there is a reward once you work your way through it.
In terms of fitness, for a beginner, joining a gym can seem a little daunting. But if you do make the commitment to start a new exercise routine taking that first step is the hardest part. You will find that week after week you feel a little less uncomfortable at the gym. As you start to get in better shape and spend more time there, the gym start to feel a little at home. If you stay long enough and get into really good shape the fitness club will soon become a place you love to visit for your workouts. One tip that will make a big difference; go to the gym with a detailed fitness routine and hire a trainer for a just a few sessions to help show you how to do the exercises properly.
If you are a novice fitness buff, you have likely made a good amount of progress but you still wish to go from looking good to looking great. Another way to think of this is you already look good in clothes, but you want to look good naked! That is a big difference. We can all plateau in our fitness routines and diet and we need change in order to get further progress. For fitness that can mean anything from changing some of the exercises you typically do to changing the method in which you train. Most people traditionally mix moderate intensity cardio (jogging, walking, or biking) with some basic weight training. If you want to take it to the next level you will want to step up your intensity level and try something new for both cardio and strength training.
For cardio you could start doing intervals, begin a sprint training program, or join a running club. With this last suggestion you will still be doing moderate level cardio but you will begin to challenge yourself with how fast you cover distances and maybe even begin to join 5km and half marathon races.
For strength training you could try powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, kettlebell training, or complexes (such as Crossfit). To learn to step up to any of these routines you will want a little guidance from an expert in these areas and make sure you do your own research as well.
Whatever new routine you decide to do to step up the intensity, you will be trying something new and getting out of the routine you are now doing. Focus on the success you have had to date with your current routine. Remember the first time you started out at the gym and what that felt like compared to how comfortable you are now at the gym. You have to work through that awkward feeling all over again, but on the other side is the promise of a fitter, more buff version of you!
Lastly, let’s talk to the fitness buff. You are the kind of person who is pretty damn fit and you understand the value in trying new fitness methods and routines. Maybe you are looking for a new challenge. Have you ever thought about taking up a new endeavour out of the gym? What about trying a new sport? Taking dancing classes? Or train for a big event (a marathon, triathlon, mountain climbing etc.). Fitness doesn’t have to be an end-goal in and of itself. If you are fit it’s time to use that body to compete and challenge yourself. Becoming better at a sport, playing anything with friends, or overcoming big challenges is incredibly rewarding. You just need to have the guts to do it.
Stepping back from the suggestions above you see that fitness at any level is the same transition; challenge-work-reward. That “challenge” is the thing that forces you to get out of your comfort zone. What you will see is when you do get out of your comfort zone the reward makes you really happy you did. This realization will change you into the kind of person that looks for new challenges. You become the kind of person who is always growing and developing in and outside of the gym. This outlook will change your life.