Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone
It’s only 14 minutes into a 45 minute class, yet my right quad already feels like it may burst into flames - or just burst. I’ve been doing a slow, long lunge on the Megaformer at Brooklyn Bodyburn, a workout designed to completely fatigue the deepest parts of each muscle group before moving onto a new muscle group (once described as “Pilates on crack”). At this point, any athletic prowess I once believed I had, has gone out the window — not to mention my general pride — as I look down to see my entire leg shaking as much as it's burning. Just as I am about ready to fully swallow my pride and straighten my leg for just a quick (and hopefully invisible) moment of relief, I hear Tracy Carlinsky, Founder & Head Trainer at BBB say, “I know it’s uncomfortable. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable, that’s the only way to see change.”
Tracy was right. I came back the next week, and the week after that, and the week after that, until I no longer felt such an impulse to dip out of the moves. Pushing past my comfort zone had, in fact, made me - and my various muscle groups - stronger.
This certainly wasn’t the first time I had been taken out of my comfort zone, either in a workout or in life, but it was a strong reminder of the importance of doing so — and it is at the core of the Brooklyn Bodyburn workout, so it seemed a fitting theme for this week. As we head into our first “full” week of The Sweat Life, I think I may feel pushed further out of my comfort zone than ever before.
Starting The Sweat Life was the biggest leap: taking the risk to start a company and leave my former career, to follow my passion and make my own mark on the world. After that, I thought surely I had gotten to the other side of the hump. But each day of The Sweat Life is a challenge in its own way. Some of it is easy, as I really believe in what we are doing — giving a front row seat to health and fitness in NYC and beyond, so that readers can design their own healthiest life. But some of it (read: a lot of it!) puts me in places I have never been before.
If you haven’t noticed, my face is plastered all over our website and social media. Putting yourself out there in such a big, bold, and revealing way (literally and figuratively) is just plain scary. (Perfect example: Click over to my #Sweat Your Body Q&A this week for more Aly on display!) However, I constantly remind myself of how much I am asking others to also step outside of their comfort zones - trying new workouts, eating differently, thinking about their health differently. If I don’t push myself, how can I expect anyone else to?
At The Sweat Life, we are talking about health in a new and very honest way - which may or may not appeal to people. I am not a nutritionist, I am not a trainer, I am not a doctor — but I am a person who is keenly and personally aware that this conversation needs to and MUST change. We need to stop talking about “bikini bodies,” and instead put the focus on helping people find a healthy lifestyle that they love. But change is scary, and being the first one through the wall is even scarier.
In turn we are asking you, our reader, to have the courage to do the same - and push yourselves. Whether it be in life, in work, in relationships, in your health, or just getting a little more sleep each night, try leaving your comfort zone - even on a small level - and see what results may come. SoulCycle instructor Akin Akman changed his whole life after he was no longer on the track to pro tennis; Broadway star and Pilates instructor Alli McGinnis pushed herself to embrace her post-baby figure; and as I mentioned before, I bared it all this week to #Sweat My Body, the start of an ongoing series where people talk openly about their body image.
So, we offer you a Reader Challenge: Post pictures on social media this week to show us how you're pushing out of your own comfort zone – it can be anything. Add the hashtag #WeSweatChange and tag us @sweatlife_nyc. We want to see and celebrate your successes.
Until next week,
Founder, CEO, and Host
The Sweat Life