10,000 Kettlebells for Parkinson's Challenge Ends in...

Sorry for the cheesy title, but the point of this blog is to push you to identify some new fitness challenge and give it a try. Step out of your comfort zone a bit. As always, be sure that you are medically fit by checking with your physician, but, assuming your body is up to the challenge, go for it.

Why should you give it a try? Because if you’re anything like me, you have sometimes limited yourself by a lack of confidence, fear of failure, or the lack of an inspired vision of yourself. Here’s another question: where has it [not stepping out of your comfort zone] gotten you? Probably resigned to a life of luke-warm satisfaction with your physical well-being. And what about your confidence? If you’re cruising life with your “Safety” on, have you tried enough challenging things to have achieved enough of them to be confident in your ability?

I may have mentioned this before, but one of my instructors challenged us to choose good goals, because even if we didn’t always reach them, our goal set us in motion in the direction of our goal. So you may set a goal of a half-marathon. You might accomplish that, or you might only manage 10k. Come on – 10k is not a failure; 10k is an accomplishment! And it has pushed you farther in the direction of your goal than you would have ever gone before.

My mind is presently caught up with our local triathlon which runs tomorrow (as I write this). I go into it confident that I can complete the event, but I’m amazed to see how easily thoughts of “You haven’t trained enough” or “That time [one of my time targets] is not a realistic goal” keep intruding. It’s like there is a barrage of self-doubt trying to undermine my confidence. In the past, I would have listened to those doubts more, but I think I’ve gotten to a place where this event is more about something I am doing for myself than something where I want to impress others. And I have to say that I feel pretty good about that, on balance.

I attribute this change (and it really is a change in attitude for me) to a few things. First, I’m older (and wiser) than I was. Take that for what it’s worth! Second, with some encouragement and counter-encouragement (or you could say mutual encouragement), I have let people talk me into fitness activities that I would only have imagined trying even though part of me was thinking, “Man, I’d like to be able to do that!” Nonetheless, I wouldn’t have felt confident enough to try on my own. Hat tip here to both my brother and my daughter for their challenge/encouragement – thanks to you guys! Third, I have come to realize that I really do enjoy being active and working on fitness. I have learned some new lessons and realized that most of the “limits” I put on myself were essentially limits in my own head. This has freed me up to take more of a “Let’s see what happens if I try [x, y, or z]”. For me, the biggest area of new attempts has been with level of intensity: Intervals and sprints. Full-out sets of Kettlebell swings. Or the infamous burpee challenge. And I survived.

So here’s my parting shot: with your physician’s approval, step out of your comfort zone and push a limit. Set a goal beyond your current abilities, get some appropriate coaching (if you need it) and stretch yourself toward the new goal. And so what if you don’t quite make it. You’ll probably be at least part-way there, and almost certainly past your old limit. Become a limit-pusher. Push the envelope. Stretch your limits, work hard and become better. I want to hear from you in October with stories about limits pushed and new goals achieved.

Give that a tri!