Comfort zone

This past weekend, I attended a group fitness instructor training focused on how to teach specific choreographed strength-based exercises while utilizing the tempo of music. The two-day Les Mills BODYPUMP training was mentally and physically challenging, but very empowering. It also offered the opportunity for me to reflect on what pushed me to start my journey as a fitness professional.

During my reflection, I realized that if I hadn’t taken that very first step out of my comfort zone over 10 years ago, then I wouldn’t have found my love for teaching group fitness.

So what’s holding you back from achieving your wellness goals? Doubt and the fear of failure could be what’s standing in your way. It’s natural to create negative “what if” scenarios. What if I get hurt? What if I make a mistake? What if people judge me? What if I’m too weak?

I’m here to tell you, “Stop beating yourself up!” It’s very easy to do — especially when we are attempting to do something we’ve never done before.

Even though I get in front of a group and lead workouts on a weekly basis, these were some of the same thoughts I had floating around in my head during my training. I was quick to doubt my physical strength and my skill set as a fitness instructor. It is not natural for me to teach to a room full of strong and inspirational instructors, while lifting weights. This was one of the requirements I needed to fulfill to pass the initial training.

But with every instructor training I take during my part-time fitness career, I always find personal growth and development after I tear down the walls of doubt that I usually build around myself. If it weren’t for the motivational support I receive from the trainer and the other participating instructors, I know I wouldn’t be able to accomplish this shift.

During the second day of my training, we were required to complete a physical challenge. I was already exhausted and I felt like there was no way I could get through it. We partnered up to push each other to complete the timed strength exercises. There was one specific moment during the challenge when I was on the verge of giving up, but I quickly noticed my trainer standing nearby as a spot while my partner was encouraging me. It was then that I managed to successfully complete the workout. It’s something I would have never done on my own.

So, if you have your own fitness obstacles, here’s my advice: Make sure you have a support system.

We all need the extra support to remind us that we can do anything — especially during our weakest moments. Stepping out of that comfort zone can be terrifying, but it can suddenly seem doable with a cheering squad in our corner.

As the common saying goes, “Great things don’t come from comfort zones.”

Stephanie Swearngin teaches group fitness classes at VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa and at VASA Fitness in Colorado Springs.

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