In life the best things will never be easy. Whether its the promotion at work you really want or the body of your dreams. In order to attain these goals, it will take stepping outside of your comfort zone to reach them. It will take more work than you have ever put in prior, because you haven't reached these goals by doing what you've always done. So you must do something different, something new, something often times uncomfortable to make that goal a reality.
Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
The brain is a very powerful thing. It works in many ways to protect us. To keep us from doing things that may "hurt" us. However, in doing so, it often keeps us in our comfort zone. It wants to protect us from all things that may hurt us not just physically but mentally as well. Asking a nutritionist what would be best for your diet or walking into the weight section at the gym for the first time may seem very intimidating.
Your brain may tell you to sit back and watch other people do it first. It may tell you that "next time" you'll step into that area of newness. But at what point do you actually make that move and actually decide to challenge yourself. At what point is your brain "working to protect you". And at what point is it keeping you from reaching your potential.
The Starting Point
The hardest part to any big lifestyle change can be the starting point. The idea of getting what you desire is motivating, but often not enough to push ourselves. To start, it is recommended to find something that matches your skill with your level of challenge.
The hardest part for a lot of people is that they jump from 0-100 way way too quickly. You aren't a pro. You don't need to jump off the treadmill and straight over to the squat racks.
The best tip is to start at a new place but not something that stresses you out so much you would never want to do it again! So if you have never learned how to use a barbell or what the proper form for squatting or deadlifting is, don't drag yourself to do it without the knowledge behind it.
Instead ask a friend, a trainer at the gym, the owner of the gym, or someone who goes to the gym ALOT and uses that equipment frequently. These people didn't start out as the person you see them as today. They started as a beginner themselves. And they will more than likely be very willing to help you out.
Also a lot of commercial gyms (24 hour fitness, Crunch gym, LA fitness, Golds gym, ect.) will have a free one-on-one session you can sign up for with a trainer! TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS. Even if you have been going to the same gym for three years and never once met with a trainer, most gyms will honor your free one-on-one session with a trainer.
This is a very valuable opportunity to ask the trainer anything you want to know! This is the perfect time to set new goals, learn about new equipment you've been scared to cross into, and most importantly learn how to reach those goals! They will not push you to do something that is very uncomfortable for you. In these one-on-ones they will give you a run down on the proper way to use certain equipment and how you can find a good routine to compliment your goals.
As for nutrition, it can often be a little more difficult or time consuming to find someone who can give you the best advice for you. That is why we offer the same free style of coaching in our nutrition calls! In these calls it gives you the chance to finally talk to someone about what exactly your goals are, where the best starting point for you is, and how to achieve your goals long term with proper nutrition.
The chart above is a representation of what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as flow. Flow is a middle ground between challenge and skill.
"Flow is an optimal psychological state that people experience when engaged in an activity that is both appropriately challenging to one's skill level, often resulting in immersion and concentrated focus on a task."
This brings us back to why it is important to constantly find that steady middle ground. Especially when you first embark on a lifestyle change. If you challenge yourself too quickly, without the proportionate level of skill, you will feel anxiety and stress. If you don't challenge yourself enough for the level of skill you have, you will become bored.
This is why the optimal state to be in is somewhere in the middle. Somewhere where you can challenge yourself according to the skill you already have, so that you can build momentum for future endeavors.
Every Master Was Once A Beginner
Sometimes it may be hard to remember that you are not alone in your journey. Everyone you glorify for their athletic abilities or their discipline to their diet, was not born that way. They had to start somewhere too. Take for example USA weightlifter Mattie Rogers. Mattie started out her journey as an athlete as a competitive cheerleader. She crossed over into crossfit and then fell in love with weighlifting. While it sounds like an easy path, she crossed into a completely different industry as an athlete. Going from cheerleading and into crossfit and eventually weighlifting is a large change in training. Mattie didn't reach her success without a huge life change. She stepped out of what was comfortable for her and found a new passion to pursue.
Every athlete and every bodybuilder had to step foot into the gym or on the field for the first time at some point. From that point, they challenged themselves every single day. They built up their skill. They succeeded and then they failed. And then they succeeded and failed a thousand times more.
It will not be easy. It will not be comfortable. But it never has been for any athlete or any one who has ever achieved a goal. That's the point. You will have to step outside your comfort zone. You will have to work against your mind sometimes to do things you don't really want to do. But you aren't alone in the journey. The people who have succeeded are there to help you in the journey. They have worked their lives to help you better yours in some way shape or form.
So step outside your comfort zone, do not be afraid to push yourself and rock the changes life throws at you each and every day.
Learn more about simple changes you can make to your diet here: