We all like to do things that we’re good at, because it makes us feel good. But every once in a while, I think it’s good to go outside of your comfort zone and do something that you’re not quite so good at — something that will humble you a a little bit.
Let me give you an example. When it comes to workouts, I know what I’m good at and and what I’m not. I tend to stay in the weight room, mostly because I really enjoy it but also because I know that I can kick some serious ass in there. I have seen great progress with my main lifts over the past couple of years, which is a huge motivator and keeps me coming back for more. In a nutshell, I’m pretty “good at” weight lifting.
Even when it comes to stadium runs — I’m not speedy, that’s for sure, but I enjoy it and when I train stadiums regularly, I can see great improvements in time and stamina.
Like, major suckage. Couldn’t catch my breath, want to vomit kind of suckage. I think you get the picture.
Despite this so obvious fact, last week when my friend Kristen was talking about her twice weekly bootcamp class that she teaches here at work, I asked if I could join. The class was a mix of two separate circuits, including lots of burpees, stairs, rope slams, planks, pushups, and more. We went through the first circuit three times, after which I was breathing hard but felt fine. Then came the second circuit, which consisted of 4 different exercises, 15 reps of each until the time ran out. This must have been when all of my muscle glycogen said “bye bye” and my body stopped producing ATP (geek time), because after a couple of minutes, I couldn’t catch my breath, thought I was going to vomit, and actually just wanted to lay down in a sweaty heap on the floor.
It was hard. I sucked. My body is used to low-rep sets with rest in between. Not non-stop high rep sets with little to no rest in between exercises. I was gassed, and I could have just slinked out of there with my tail between my legs, but I decided to just own my suckage and use that as motivation to do better next time. That one 45-minute long bootcamp humbled me more than the barbell has in a while, and that’s either a sign that I need to ramp it up in the weight room, or that I need to do workouts like this a little more often because clearly I need to improve my conditioning.
I still can’t quite figure out how I ran nearly 4 miles a couple of weeks ago. That must’ve been some sort of witchcraft on the part of New Balance or something.
Once again, just yesterday I joined her bootcamp class again. And again, just like the first time, I wanted to vomit by the end of it. My legs felt like jello, even though I hadn’t lifted anything more than my own body weight with them, which is humbling in itself. I had, however, lifted my body weight with jump squats, lunges, etc. for what felt like 40,000 reps. I digress.
This was only a 24 lb bar. 24 pounds, which is very light for me for an overhead press, had me ready to say “uncle” by the end of my first set of 30 reps.
Anyway, while I could just say “forget it” and hole up in the weight room like I’m used to, I think I’m going to try to stick with bootcamp once per week throughout the summer. It’s not so much that it’ll interfere with my strength goals, but it’ll give me a little something extra to bring my conditioning up a notch. And maybe I’ll even start to get better at it, at some point. It’s always good to stick to things that you’re good at, but it’s also important to be humbled every once in a while. Challenging ourselves is the only way to get better, right? And while my lifting sessions do challenge me, I’ve honestly been feeling a bit stale with my workouts lately. Adding in something new once per week may be just the thing to get me feeling my best again. Even if I do suck at it.
Readers: Is there a type of workout that you’re not quite so good at? What was the last workout that left you feeling like a puddle of goo on the floor?