Poll: How Are You Challenging Yourself?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A couple of weeks ago,  I blogged about how I normally work out alone, whether I'm at the gym or at home. I also shared my concerns that I had about taking fitness classes and asked for recommendations for getting over those concerns. I was impressed by the amazing amount of positive and supportive comments, along with the fitness class recommendations that were made on that blog and I truly thank each and every one of you that left a comment! In response to those wonderful comments that you all left on that blog, I wanted to write another blog to let you know what I have done since then.
In the last couple weeks, I have taken 4 different types of fitness classes at my gym AND I have been to some of them twice! Yes, I stepped out of my comfort zone and challenged myself to try something new. I have to tell you, it is something that I have enjoyed so much and can't wait for my next fitness class. Now, I haven't tried anything with choreography (Zumba or any other dance-style class), but I have been doing some HIIT, TRX, Core Conditioning & Functional Fitness (think circuit training) classes. These have fit my style perfectly and I have made many new friends through this process. Also, just as many of you commented on my previous blog, the instructors and other people taking the classes have been very friendly and accepting of me and other new people taking the classes. Of course, that requires patience, as we I ask a lot of questions to make sure I have proper form and doing things properly in general.
So what has this taught me? Challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone can be a great thing! I certainly have been missing out on a lot of fun fitness classes, but I'm having a blast now! A quote by Fred Devito that Coach Nicole shared on Facebook yesterday is one that I think applies here: "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." When I saw that post come up in my Facebook news feed, I thought, "what perfect timing!" Even though I am getting used to the fitness classes that I have been taking (and will continue to take), I am constantly challenging myself by going and doing new things in each class (each one is never the same as before) AND I will soon be giving Zumba a try. Talk about a challenge for me -- but I love the challenge and now I know that I should not be concerned if I get everything right. I should just go and have fun and enjoy the challenge and change that comes with it.

So tell me, what are you doing to challenge yourself today? How about this week or month? Are you stepping out of your comfort zone to challenge yourself?

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I have added strength training and use dumbells for all my cardio workouts. I've enjoyed kick boxing and high powered core training. I love intense workouts and I enjoy feeling healthy, strong and fit# Report
GGRSPARK 7/20/2017
I led group classes for many years, and trained instructors as well, but rarely attend any classes . What I have been doing is tougher intervals , and heavier weights. Currently I'm trying to increase push-up and planks, my least favourite ex Report
MCK2017 7/20/2017
I'm doing power weight training which is a challenge each time because I do max weight or max reps so there's no stopping at a certain number of reps. I'm also doing heavy dumbbell presses and each time attempting my heaviest weight: 33.5 lbs each arm. I'm up to 10 reps but it's still very challenging! Report
JSTETSER 7/20/2017
Great ideAs for pushing ahead Report
I'm looking forward to getting back to Curves now that I'm home! Report
my exercising is down the toilet and it is my fault and only mine. I have equipment that is just sitting in the basement waiting for me to use. I need to get my but moving and clean the basement so i can set everything up. Report
Ten more minutes of cardio daily. I also added swimming because of my bad knees. Swimming is really awesome if you have any injuries, or arthritis. I take an arthritis swimming class during the week, and just swim on the weekends.
Spark on. Report
Gear blog Denise. I've been inspired by your day tracking on facebook. Keep up the good work. Report
I have never been very competitive, which is probably why it has taken me so long to get this far. I'm happy to play solitary games all day. I have been going swimming more often though. Report
I am starting to train for a half marathon in November! Report
To Challenge myself I try to increase the # of reps by 5 every week when I do exercises at home. I try to increase the # of calories I burn in 30 mins. when I ride my stationary bike. I add 5 mins. to the time I ride my gazelle by 5 mins. every week. I go to Silver Sneakers 2 days a week and do 60-90 mins of exercise on the off days. I have added a new challenge I recently started another Walk off the Pounds with Leslie Sansone using resistance bands 5 miles in 60 mins. Thanks for reminding me not to get too set in my routine becuase it can lead to losing interest and not exercising at all. Report
Most days, it's just a challenge to get myself IN TO the gym. Once there, I change up my routines and time on the machines and try to fit in some strength - even if it's just a couple of different execises. Report
I am training for my first Tri !!! :) Report
I started varying the intensity on the recumbent and began water walking. At first I went with the water current. Now, I walk against the current for an hour. Soon, I will add more resistance by using the floaty dumbbells. I love challenging my body and am always amazed at how it responds. Who knew that sweat could feel sooo good!? Report
I stepped up my game on the elliptical, I was so happy to get to complete 30 min. at the manal speed, but read an article about challenging my self and moved it to 30 min. at the weight loss program, which is way harder by the way... :0).. but also tried to bump up the mets from 45 to 70, whew! Sweating just remembering that! But I am also doing zumba twice a week and love it... about to start a class on Monday as well. Report
I recently ran a 13 mile trail challenge that went over 2 mountains. It was more hiking than running and a huge challenge. At first I thought I would never make it through the race, but I did, and felt amazing for meeting the challenge. Now I'm looking for another trail race. Report
I've been wanting to start jogging but never felt that I could do it, whenever I've attempted I wouldn't be able to jog for more than 1 min. So what I did was sign up for a 5k. I've started one of the 5k walk/run training calendars from Sparkpeople & am loving the accomplishments I've been making. Report
I have grown up with meat and potatoes type diet and I have just completed 7 days on a vegan meal plan. It is such a change of thinking, but Im loving it. I am also working on being consistent with my workouts. I would rather skip them completely but I know I will be healthier if I just do it. Report
my gym is having an ironman challenge. points for cardio running, elliptical, swimming and weightlifting. I signed up for this this month. Report
I like working out at home but i am now trying to go to the gym once a week to do the elliptical machine. Report
I have joined a different gym, and since starting there on tuesday I have taken 3 new classes, one of which is yoga. The change of pace in this class leaves you feeling relaxed yet also let's you feel good about the conditioning you are doing. Revving it up is good but time out helps too! Report
I play roller derby on the banked track and am working to get rostered to travel from Kansas City to play in San Diego. Most of us run at least 6 days a week and some of the skaters are doing Insanity and P90x in addition to normal workouts. Report
Great blog, Denise. I definitely think it's time for me to shake thing up. Thanks for the inspiration to do that. Report
doing what I can..... Report
Since this is the only life I'll ever live, I'm doing for me now. Report
I have been doing Zumba and loving it. Next week will start lind dancing---I'm sure that will be fun to and the time flys by and an exercise session has been done Woo-hoo, fun and exercise Report
I started challenging myself in Body Step ( a step class at Golds gym)
this morning i challenged myself by taking the higher options.
instead of taking the lower options. you'll see if you
take that class. it was ok i just need to keep doing that, each day
a take a class. The exception in Bodypump ( a weight lifting class)
i am not going to add any extra weight plates. i like exercise classes
that way i am not alone exerciseing.

I joined the Spring Boot Camp Challenge to prove to myself I could do it. I'm on day 5 and still going. I needed to quit using my health issues as a crutch. Also I being more positive in my thoughts. Have found it makes you stronger, more committed to your goals. It's a long road Report
I recently tried Zumba even though I consider myself to be uncoordinated. I really like the music, anyway. I also am trying different types of exercises in the weight room, incorpoarting more free weights, and am considering interval training with short bursts of running on the treadmill, if I could find a sports bra that actually fit me. Report
Right now my challenge is counting calories. But I can see the gym getting closer every day... wish this beginner luck! Report
In the last week I've done many things outside my comfort zone! It's been hard but I'm proud of myself. I joined the Spring Bootcamp challenge and have worked out every day. I took a Circuit Training class at my gym and the perky 20-something trainer had 3 60-ish women do 5 sets of extremely difficult exercises in an hour---and we didn't have to crawl out the door! Last night a new water aerobics instructor did The Accellerator for an hour---again, quite a challenge but a good one! I hope I can keep this up.... Report
Try spin class . . . no fancy moves & you can adjust the ride to fit your fitness level. Report
I currently have two challenges in the works. One thanks to the manager of my gym who made the comment after I had teased him about never being in the gym in the morning. That when I could squat 400lbs he would take a 6am spinning class. Currently 40 lbs away from him spinning with me in the morning. Squatting 360 on the smith machine, on the squat machine I can do the 400lbs. But my training and I want to be able to do it on the smith.

The other is to complete in a Powerlifting competition in July. Three lifts, Squat/bench press/ dead lift. Trainer wants me all classes, but I am only hoping to do the masters class for people over 50.

My current best are Squat 310lbs free bar /bench press125lbs / dead lift165lbs.

I also am never going to do a marathon. No interest in running at all. However a challenge I have done for both my 50th birthday and 51st was to do a class at the gym for each 10 years of life. 5 for 50 (see blog) Had to repeat for 51st. % hour long class in about 7 hours. My 51st was RPM Spinning, RPM Spinning, Bodyflow (yoga), Skip circuit and Bodypump (weight class)
This might sound crazy but I am stepping out of my comfort zone of negativity. I am quick to put myself down. My goal is to start thinking positively. When I think a negative thought I replace it with a positive one. My overall goal is to learn to love myself for who I am and not put pressure on myself to be perfect. Report
I took a Zumba class one time, and I loved it. I know I should do something with my gym membership that I pay for faithfully every month; but I haven't worked my way up to that yet. I did sign up for the Bootcamp that is going on right now, and that is my challenge. Report
Running is my challenge. I keep setting lower time goals and pushing the distance out further. Report
Trying new fitness classes is so much fun, especially when you go back for a 2nd or 3rd try and start to understand the lingo and the moves. I definitely don't push myself as hard when I work out on my own, so the classes keep me moving and challenging my body in new ways. Report
Anytime you step out of your comfort zone, I think you grow as a person. That in itself is a huge accomplishment for most people. Congrats to you for being so brave and achieving so much. I have just started doing this, and I have already got a friend and several of her friends involved. We started our own team and we are going to be helping each other reach our goals as well as pushing each other to do our best. Report
I'm challenging myself by signing up blind for TWO intramural volleyball teams. I didn't know any of my team members beforehand and I'm over the top introverted, so it's a big step for me. I'm also trying Zumba on Saturday! Report
I Love Zumba. I think you all will like it too.
I'm on day 5 of the 28 Day Bootcamp video. I added that as a morning workout to my other afterwork exercises. Report
I said something in a semi-recent blog - if I'm feeling too comfortable in my workout, it's time for me to ramp it up some.

With my cardio workouts I tend to try the different programs on the machines (treadmill, recumbent bike, normal elliptical, elliptical with incline), use the incline, increase the resistance, add a little time, increase my pace or speed - basically I'm regularly pushing to see if I can do a little more. Never so much I hate it, but just enough that I finish with a "WOOT! I did it! I'm stronger!"

With strength training (weights) there are two things.

One is gradually increasing the reps / weights. I usually try for 3 sets of 12 reps. When I'm doing that with ease, I try the next weight up in my next ST. I may only get 6-8 reps in some of my sets at the new weight and I do that until I'm back up to 12 with relative ease.

The other is researching and trying other machines or even considering other equipment / exercises for that muscle group. I originally did leg extensions for my quads. I moved to leg presses which are more like a squat in the motion and have made more improvement that way. I should be up to doing real squats in a month or two, I think.

I did take one yoga class (not a fan at this time - though I may take a different instructor's or a different variety someday). I wouldn't mind trying out some of the other group classes, but too many start before I get to the gym. Spinning class isn't something I want to try until I can easily handle the resistance level on the normal stationary bikes. Right now I'm still strengthening my knees. Report
I am increasing my cardio workouts by 15 minutes. Report
I just signed up for a 6 week TRX class. I also was interviewed by our local media for a quick tv spot because I'm volunteering/fundraising for the Kidney Foundation. Wow, that made up for very many days of not doing something that scared me - lol Report
going to finish 90 of Supreme 90...currently on Day 33 Report
Absolutely! It took me a few months to realize the truth of this but have since started group exercise classes that focus on strength training and core. I'm more apt to do these exercises I typically avoid in a group setting than on my own. For one, I push myself more in these classes since I don't want to quit while everyone around me is still muscling through...great blog entry! Report
I have been taking Zumba. I love it! I don't always get the moves right but I am learning and having a great time! Report
I finally started running with a group of moms and years of running alone. Not only have a picked up my pace but it's nice to have some conversation in the wee hours of the morning. I can't always join them and still do plenty of workouts on my own but it's a nice change of pace and got me to be more outgoing. Report
I've spent a lifetime trying different things: fencing, competitive kickboxing, martial arts, volleyball (indoor and sand), softball, zumba, pilates, salsa dancing, weight training...I'm sure I've left something out! I can't imagine living a life where I would be doing the same thing all the time.

I don't know any other way to find out what you would enjoy without giving it a try. As an adult, there's really no pressure to it. You sign up, give it a try and if you don't like it, move on.

We should never lose our sense of curiosity or our sense of challenging ourselves. Report
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