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Paige Waehner

Is it Time to Challenge Yourself?

By June 6, 2012

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"I'm going to kill you if you make me get on that treadmill." That threat came from *Bonnie, a long-time client and one who, as of yet, had never resorted to physical violence. "You would go to jail," I informed her, to which she replied, "Death by treadmill is justifiable homicide."

Bonnie was experiencing something all of us feel from time to time - A sudden, severe allergic reaction to doing the same thing we've done too many times to count. Her violent feelings cause me to stop and reflect on her workouts, realizing how long it had been since I'd challenged her with something new and different.

Thinking about that, ask yourself that same question: When was the last time you challenged yourself? When was the last time you actually got excited about or, at least, paid attention to your workouts? When was the last time you tried something new? With Bonnie, I changed things up by meeting her at the local high school track and taking her through a circuit workout: One lap walking, one lap jogging, then alternating a quarter lap of walking lunges with a quarter lap of sprints. I had her run the stairs on the bleachers and mixed it with dips, pushups and step ups between laps. At the end of the workout, she was breathless, sweaty and surprised at how good she felt, even though I pushed her much harder than usual.

Getting out of your comfort zone, even if it's only for a few minutes, can rejuvenate your workouts and show you just how much more your body can do. Pushing yourself will make you stronger, not just physically, but mentally and you'll go back to your old workouts with a fresh perspective and a new appreciation for how strong you really are.

Take the Challenge

I'd like to offer you a challenge. This week, I'd like you to push yourself at least one time. How you do it is up to you - it can be a big challenge or a small challenge but, either way, do something new and see what you're really capable of. Some ideas:

  • Try a new activity - A class at the gym, a machine you've never tried, an exercise you never thought you could do, etc. If you need some ideas, check out the workouts and exercises in my Workout Center or choose your own.
  • Try heavier weights - If you always lift the same amount of weight, pick up a heavy weight, just for one exercise, and see if you can completely fatigue your muscles. Just make sure you keep good form for every rep.
  • Add a burst of intensity - At the end of one of your usual workouts, tack on some high intensity exercise - run up and down the stairs, do as many pushups as you can, sprint as fast as you can for a minute or try a full minute of squat thrusts. Do something that really gets your heart rate up, even if it's just for a few seconds.
  • Try the 30-Day Fitness Challenge - If you're looking to shake things up even more, this e-course offers both physical and mental challenges for the next 30 days.
  • Set a new goal - Is it time for a new goal? Try a 5K race or join a local cycling or running club. You could even set a goal to be able to do a certain number of pushups or chin ups - whatever it is, make it something you'll really work for.

These are just a few ideas, so think about what would challenge you right now. Wherever you are in your workout life, make your goal to challenge yourself this week to see just how far you can go when you put your mind to it.

June 4, 2008 at 9:45 am
(1) Diane says:

I am here to tell you that while it is true there is no such thing as spot reduction, there is undoubtedly a strong argument for the benefits of Pilates style leg lifts and floor work for closest thing to it! I am a certified PT and group ex instructor and the floor work we do in my classes has immense toning and shaping benefits.

You can’t JUST work these areas and no others and expect to look good. But you can add these exercises in a couple days a week for added toning and tightening results.

June 4, 2008 at 11:30 am
(2) catluver42 says:

I agree with this one. You can’t do the same exercises all the time without hitting a plateau or having boredom kick in. Plus, you don’t need to buy all the fancy gadgets to find ways to exercise; if you don’t have weights, try using cans of soup and if you don’t want to walk, try biking or skating. Just a thought.

June 5, 2008 at 4:44 am
(3) Mike says:

It’s a shame that you allow what are probably epileptiform inducing rapidly-flashing adverts on your site.

June 6, 2008 at 1:57 pm
(4) Steve Hufford says:

For those who get bored with mere exercises, why not try a racquet sport? Chasing a ball (or a badminton shuttle) is great exercise, and lots of fun.

July 6, 2009 at 4:38 pm
(5) CJ says:

I’m all for agreeing with this post. In fact, my boyfriend and I are signed up for a 4 week hardcore Bootcamp class at our gym starting tonight. I think it’s a great challenge to just jump in and try something new!

October 20, 2009 at 1:57 pm
(6) Minikia says:

Ya know, this more universal concept. I realizd that most folks on here are looking to further physical activity, but I’m an artist, and I need to get away from abstract, and work on another genre. I’m gonna do landscapes.

June 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm
(7) TrainerMike says:

Great advice! Mixing things up and challenging yourself keeps your workout interesting and engaging.In the long run, you will be more successful if you try new things and push your workouts to new heights.

June 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm
(8) Barbara McDowell Whitt says:

Paige, I did my challenge this morning. Toward the end of a 30 minute treadmill walk at my favorite speed of 3.4 in our condo fitness center I increased the incline to 12, the highest it will go. I held onto the forward hand grips and walked for more than a minute at that incline. I felt fine. Now my challenge will be to walk at that incline for a longer time.

November 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm
(9) personal training Baltimore says:

Great stuff! Great stuff! Exercising is an essential factor of a healthy lifestyle. The problem is, many people do not exercise because they lack motivation. The tips here are great motivational techniques!

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