It’s hardwired in us. We exit when suddenly things become uncomfortable. In school, I remember how we bow our heads in unison when suddenly the teacher asks us to solve something on the board. I was guilty of it.
Planking for 30 seconds with 3 replications has been my norm. I love it and believe that level is acceptable for toning for a small woman like me with a small physique.
One afternoon, however, something in me shifted.
Push ups appealed to me because I thought it was a good overall exercise, plus it appeared easy. So I tried it.
Though after doing it for days now with no success in sight, it was that moment of arduous battle against gravity that I heard my mind say: Not yet.
Positioning myself back to planking, I slowly counted to 30. Now breathing hard while waiting for the celebratory threshold, I allowed my body to react. How hard can it be? Unpleasant comes in; I started to shake. I waited and sat with the pain in my arms, torso and legs. Aside from a possible injury, I realized, pain was a good indicator of stretching yourself to a new limit.
We can think of pushing something to a higher level by not ignoring the discomfort but adapting an attitude of “That seems interesting!” For all we know, it can lead us to more possibilities.
Recalling the not-so stellar record of planking, I know now that two words can cheer me on: When it is not yet, it is bring it on.
Another curiosity was running. I’ve been at it for 2 years. Though that seems to be astounding for a habit, I haven’t been consistent because I like experimenting with other simple exercise routines. Nonetheless, I’ve always liked the rush and so to keep it interesting, I had to do some tweaking.
Reading that intensity was a key to get the most benefits from exercise, I increased my pace and incline. Things are getting interesting.
My default for months was an incline of 2.5 and a speed of 9. While it took months of endurance to improve, I only had to be curious to try 4 and 11.5. I ran for a minute, took a rest for the next minute and did the cycle 4 times. I had to catch my breath and gallop as fast as I could. It was a different feeling. Escalating friction, pounding chest, lactic acid build-up, tension, and redeeming sweat took over my body.
I had to experience the unpleasant first before I knew that it was worth it, that I had to do it again.