Nobody likes to be uncomfortable. It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance and to place ourselves in comfortable situations. But if I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that the only way to grow and learn is to leave your comfort zone. You’ll sweat, you’ll stumble and you’ll doubt yourself, but in the end you’ll discover that you accomplished something new because you were exposed to a new stimulus and your brain had to find a way to navigate the situation.
This is precisely how we all evolve as people and get through life on a day-to-day basis. Some do this more than others however, and in my opinion this is one of the biggest contributing factors separating the successful from the average. The most successful people in this world create their own comfort zone by embracing the unknown and uncomfortable; a comfortable discomfort zone, if you will.
This comfortable discomfort zone is the best way I can describe how my body feels on a day to day basis. Every day I wake up with a new sensation somewhere on my body. I lift weights every other day and challenge different muscle groups and combinations each time to elicit this response. My goal is to become stronger of course, but these minor signals indicate that I am indeed challenging my body to a necessary degree. Do I want to feel any discomfort? Of course not. But do I want results? Bring on the pain.
Now before you get carried away, I’m not saying that you have to hurt yourself to get results, nor do you have to be that guy who is grunting excessively throughout his squats at the gym. Regardless of your personal goals there is one universal way to ensure that you’ll be pushing your body in the right direction, and that is to chase performance at the gym. Most people have some sort of workout plan and that’s the first step, but most people also inevitably fall into the trap of going through the motions as the weeks go on and become satisfied with simply getting in and out of the gym as quickly as possible. This plan becomes easier and easier to execute when the weights or volume aren’t increased and the body isn’t truly challenged to do anything new. Don’t be that guy! Look yourself in the mirror- do you go to the gym to tackle your goals and improve your life? Or are you simply there taking up space and wasting your own time?
My point is that in order to get meaningful results you’re going to have to embrace discomfort, and discomfort will only come if you push your limits at the gym; the old adage “no pain, no gain” is a bit misleading, but there is definitely some truth to the matter. You’re going to have to lift a weight that you’ve always doubted you can lift. You’re going to have to go for that extra rep even if it means your form won’t be perfect. Throughout the process you’re going to learn more about your body than you ever imagined, and you’re going to wake up in the morning and actually feel the progress you’ve started to make. Better yet, you’re going to see your body transform before your eyes, and you’re going to know exactly why this change is taking place.
Perceived exertion is an inexact science, but if you’re serious about your health and body composition goals, you’re going to need to challenge the preconceived limits of your body. Break a sweat, do the extra rep, and increase the weight. Find comfort in your own discomfort zone, and thank me later.