Getting To The Next Level

We all exercise for a reason. Whether it’s to tone muscles, increase fitness, lose weight, be able to do a fun run or even just to be able to keep up with the kids, we all have our reason for coming to classes and doing exercise. In order to achieve any of these goals, this requires us to push ourselves and even work our muscles more than our muscles are telling us they like!

If we are to push our bodies to achieve the next level of fitness, we need to be trying to work outside of our comfort zone and quite often its not our muscles that struggle, its our mind. For example, I actually hate running long distances. Growing up, I competed at State carnivals in 100 or 200m sprints and loved it because I could go as hard as I could and then it was over quickly! The only reason I ever competed in cross country races was to get out of school work because in reality, I hated having to pace myself and run soooo far! Despite my displeasure with running long distances, I know I have to do it to increase my cardiovascular endurance and get my fitness level back to where I would like it. On Tuesday I set myself a goal to go for a 40min jog, which is right out of my comfort zone. I got 10mins into my jog and just wanted to stop! I was about to stop running and ease back into a jog when I thought about what why I wanted to stop. It wasn’t because my knee was causing me pain or that my muscles hurt. It wasn’t even because I was super puffed. When I actually thought about it, it was because my brain was telling me I’d had enough and couldn’t be bothered pushing myself anymore. Once I had realized that, I was able to push myself and continue to reach my goal of 40mins. It was hard of course, but I did it!

Sometimes we can tend to play it safe when we exercise and just go at the same intensity level or use the same weights because we’re comfortable working out at this level. It’s not because we’re physically incapable, it’s because we have told ourselves this is as hard as we can work. If we continue to work like this, we will eventually plateau and not get to the next level of fitness or toning. You may think that you have reached the point where you can’t get any fitter but that’s not reality. Unless you are the fittest person in the world (whoever that is and however you would determine that!) you are always able to increase your strength and fitness to the next level.

I guess the moral of the story is that if you want to get fitter or stronger, tone up more, don’t be afraid to set your sights a bit higher. Use the heavier kettle bell, run that bit faster, try and fit in one more push-up. If you can act stronger and fitter than what you actually feel, your body will catch up very soon!

- Mel x

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