Being Humbled

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.

But do you know what I’m not good at? Boot camp classes. I suck at them. Remember that Barry’s Boot Camp class I went to back in the fall for New Balance? Yup, I sucked at it.

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.

Steph Bootcamp

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.Β 

Β 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?


13 thoughts on “Being Humbled

  1. I feel your pain!!!! I do yoga 3x a week, lift, and run 20-50 miles a week (depending on my training season) and I thought I was in pretty good shape until I went to beach boot camp with my friend. I thought my muscles were turning into applesauce!

    1. Oh my goodness, it is unreal, isn’t it? I consider myself to be in very good shape, but for some reason those type of classes kill me EVERY time. And I think on the beach it would be 100x harder!

  2. Trying new things and sucking at them keeps that pesky thing called ego, deflated………

  3. Great post! I’m the opposite…I teach and love bootcamp style classes and workouts. Put me in a gym with heavy weights and I’m overwhelmed and exhausted! When it comes to cardio, I always seem to opt for going for a run, my road bike is my constant intimidator. Guess we all need to face the tough workouts sometime!

  4. I love that you are sticking with it! It’s that athlete mentality in ya πŸ™‚ I definitely feel the same way about manyyyy workouts. Especially with my recent love of lifting. Today, I cried during the WOD. I just couldn’t lift the weight I wanted to and it sucked. I thought I was in great shape until going to CrossFit and for the cardio stuff I am but I have also clearly learned that being in good shape isn’t just about running forever – it’s about strength too. Both mental and physical strength. I’m so happy you blog Steph, your posts are always inspiring! (sorry if that’s super corny). Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

    1. Haha, there is definitely a sense of pride attached to this! And as an athlete yourself, you understand that the most. Isn’t it crazy how emotionally attached you can get to a workout, and something like that can make you unravel? And thank you SO MUCH, not corny at all, you made me smile! I don’t always feel inspiring so it’s nice to hear sometimes πŸ™‚ Hope you have a great weekend!

  5. I totally feel you — I usually don’t go out of my comfort zone, at least I haven’t in a while. The weight room totally intimidates me. I like squats, but hate deadlifts (just can’t get the mechanics down), but LOVE bootcamp workouts and running. Funny how everyone has a preference. But I definitely need to try these things I don’t like so that I can learn and grow and get better. Progress, not perfection, right? Also, it wasn’t some New Balance magic, you’re just a super fit lady πŸ™‚ You did great on those 4 miles!

    1. Haha, Thank you!! I just kept telling myself “Sarah already had to run 4 miles to get here..I can finish this!” πŸ™‚ And yes, progress not perfection. If I could just deadlift every day I’d be a happy girl, but then I wouldn’t get better at anything else!

  6. Hill climbs! I can run quite happily for 15 miles but put a big hill in there, the kind that you can’t even put your foot flat on the floor, feels like you’re walking up endless steps. THAT!! But for some insane reason I keep coming back to them. Daring the hill to beat me. Timing myself to make sure I beat the previous climb. I’m not able to skip up those hills like Bambi YET!! But I will. Oh yes I WILL!!!
    Oh and remember rest/recovery. For every 4-6 weeks of improvement I give myself a week off. It’s like a little holiday/reward that makes me want more.
    Good luck on your Bootcamp. I’ve not tried that yet. Yet! hahaha!!

    1. Ah yes, I looove hill training, but it is VERY humbling isn’t it? And you WILL get there, you’ll be bounding up those hills in no time! And yes, you’re right, a week off every 4-6 weeks is almost like magic (even though I know it’s actually science, haha).. definitely necessary for the body and the mind!

  7. this is how i feel about barbell complexes! i always feel lame setting up because the weight is so light, but by the time i’m hitting what ends up being the 250th rep at the end, i’m completely wrecked haha. funny how that works! : )

  8. I do Crossfit. Every day I’m out of my comfort zone πŸ™‚

  9. Is this all due to type 1 vs type 2 muscle fibres? Why can’t we have the best of both worlds?? πŸ˜‰

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