Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone Challenge: Exercise For 7 Straight Days!

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who say, “I feel horrible when I don’t go to the gym,” but I’m just not. Physical activity was not a big part of my upbringing. Bonding for my family was beach vacations, not hiking trips. And so when it comes to exercise, it’s always been a chore for me. My workouts have always come in fits and spurts and I’ve never really been able to carry out a routine long-term. So it was perfectly fitting that this week’s Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone Challenge was to exercise every day for one week. Yep. Every. Single. Day. Would I make the time? Would I find excuses to skip workouts? Would my body be able to hack it? There’s only one way to find out…

Day One: I should be super excited and motivated to get going on the “new me” but watching Ellen and drinking my coffee sounds nice, too. Nope, just get it out of the way now, I tell myself. I put on my shoes, remove the clothes that have found their home hanging on the treadmill and I’m ready to go. Let’s do this!

Day Two: It’s a gorgeous day. Much too sunny and beautiful to contemplate exercising indoors. I put on my sneakers and head to the beach for a brisk walk along the boardwalk. Between the fresh air and the thrill of doing something good for myself, I start to realize that the “runner’s high” feeling can be experienced by fast walkers, too. Go me!

Day Three: Today, a friend invited me to a mat Pilates class in downtown Portsmouth. Pilates has always been a favorite workout of mine—what’s not to love about exercising while laying down? But after pumping out a rather difficult abdominal session of the 100’s, I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to get up off the floor. It doesn’t take me long to find my motivation, however. The studio is located atop Breaking New Grounds and the delicious smell of coffee is sounding like a nice post-workout reward.

Day Four: Four days in a row! I’ve haven’t exercised for four days in a row in…well…ever. I flip on the TV and order up the Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred workout via OnDemand (Comcast actually has a fantastic offering for Exercise TV and all programs are free). Jillian Michaels is one of the hard-core trainers from The Biggest Loser show and she doesn’t let you get away with slacking. “Don’t phone it in!” she’s barking at me about my workout. Ok, Jillian—no pain, no gain!  

Day Five: It’s still raining today so I decide to do the Jillian Michaels’ workout again. My two kids (who are 3 ½ and 5 years old) think they want to join me and after ten minutes of some pretty intense cardio, they’re still at it! Now we’re all fighting over who gets to use the weights required for the strength training part of the video. Seriously? No need to pay an expensive trainer to keep me motivated, these guys are animals!

Day Six: Ooh, I’m feeling sore. My legs yell at me when I walk up the stairs and my abs aren’t happy when I do much of anything. And it’s Saturday—aren’t we supposed to take a break on the weekends? The rationalizing, negotiating and justifying are already in high-gear. But isn’t this week about challenging myself? Stepping out of the normal routine? I begrudgingly put my sneakers on and head outside. It’s sunny. I can smell Spring in the air. I’m already happy I did this.

Day Seven: I just climbed into bed and realized that I didn’t exercise today. I was going to do it after breakfast, but then something came up. I rescheduled it for after lunch, and then was sidetracked with something else. Argh. Oh well, I did pretty great this week, if I don’t say so myself. And, my muscles could probably use a day of rest. And, it’s too late to exercise now. I’ll start fresh on Monday. :)

What did I learn? Here’s a recap:

  1. Once I’m actually doing it, I don’t mind it. And once I’m done, I feel great for the rest of the day.
  2. When I have to answer to somebody (you!), I am more committed to the task. Note to self: find a workout buddy ASAP.
  3. I felt happier. I guess there’s something to this whole endorphins thing.
  4. I found myself making better choices about food and my overall health. I am stronger than you, chocolate chip cookie dough!

Anyone else up for the challenge? Share your thoughts with us!

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