Last week in the gym I was doing 100 rep sets. It’s something I haven’t done in awhile - my lifting has been mediocre, at best. And 100 rep sets are challenging, uncomfortable and often painful. Because in order to build it, you have to tear it down - and it literally feels like tearing. I was uncomfortable. I wanted to stop but pushed myself to keep going. I haven’t pushed myself to the point of discomfort in the weight room in quite a long time.
You see, for 7 years my workouts were all about pushing myself as hard as I possibly could. Always pushing harder, longer, heavier. It really took its toll on me and eventually, it became something I no longer enjoyed but something I felt obligated to do. After I stopped competing in 2014, I gave myself permission to train in whatever way felt good to my mind and body.
I’m pretty sure we all know that growth requires us to get uncomfortable. We have to step out beyond what’s familiar and safe and do something thing that stretches us into new territory. For so many years I felt like I had been through one extremely uncomfortable season followed by another, with no relief in between. It drove me to exhaustion. There were times when finding “comfort” was not an option and rest felt like a pipe dream.
After my experience in the gym last week I realized it’s time. It’s time to start getting uncomfortable again. Not just in the gym but in other places in my life as well. My mind, my spirit, my body have all needed this last year of “comfortable.” And in almost every area of my life I gave myself permission to just be comfortable for a bit - to rest and “catch my breath.”
Many of us are so driven that we get used to that feeling of discomfort and charting new territory and we eventually get a sort of “high” off of it. We go from one challenge to the next feeling like that is giving us a sense of self worth when really all it is doing is wearing us down and not allowing us to function at our fullest capacity.
Resting hasn’t been easy. Waiting hasn’t been easy. I’m a “do-er”, a producer, a mover and a shaker - sitting still and resting has been incredibly challenging for me many times. But it has ultimately been very healing.
As it always seems to be, my gym life is metaphorical of he rest of my life. It’s time to get uncomfortable again. It’s a season to stretch and grow again. I worried that I wouldn’t know when the time had come to step up the discomfort factor in my life. Honestly, I worried that I would be mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted for the rest of my life. Yes, that’s really how bad it felt. But what I know now, after this time of rest is that it doesn’t last forever and if we keep our purpose in our hearts we will know when it’s time.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t take this as a sign that I need to jump into ten new adventures all at once (which was typical of me in the past). When it’s time to get uncomfortable again I really believe we have to do it step by step, little by little. Otherwise, we will run into the same problem we had before - tapped out, exhausted. If we don’t rest after trauma we never allow ourselves the space and time to heal.
Rest. And step back into the “discomfort zone” when you know the resting season is over. And not a day before.
As for me stepping into discomfort - I think I’ll start in the gym and take it one day at a time. It’s still a new concept for me.