Your Comfort Zone is Variable

I catch myself avoiding trying new stuff or pushing my boundaries.  My mind is happy to live inside my comfort zone, and I wonder why this is.  Usually, I think it has something to do with my mind’s self serving interest in keeping me alive.  There existed a time when getting outside the comfort zone meant real danger, and a likely chance for my untimely demise.  Though this threat is existent in today’s world, it is rarer in form than several hundred or thousand years ago.

What do I mean by comfort zone exactly.  Perhaps I should clarify.  Imagine a circle.  Inside this circle are all the things I am comfortable with or comfortable with doing.  Outside the circle is everything else.  As time goes on and I interact with and perform the actions inside my comfort zone circle, I get better at them and they become even more comfortable to me.  Nothing in there frightens me.  When I stay in the comfort zone, I feel safe.

Outside the comfort zone are things I am not good at doing and things frighten me.  This fear (of harm, failure, or other) keeps me from stepping out and trying these things.  But let’s say one day I venture outside the comfort zone and try something in the un-comfortable area of my life.  Chances are, I’m going to be terrible at it.  But, with repetition I become better and eventually I have expanded my comfort zone to include this once scary thing.  This model would look something like this:


And it is my belief that regularly assessing and expanding one’s comfort zone is an important thing to do.  I know there are things outside my comfort zone that do not benefit me, and I tend to leave those alone.  When confronted with doing something that scares me, I try and look for reasons that this something would not make me better.

An example, fitness related.  Loading a barbell with 225 pounds and trying to get it from the ground to over my head is scary, and just thinking about it right now makes me uncomfortable.  My comfort zone is 155 pounds, a weight I’ve performed this movement with many times.  I look at this thing, and I wonder, “would being able to do this not improve my fitness?”  If I injure myself, certainly that is not an improvement.  How do I avoid this?  I don’t try to jump from 155 to 225 immediately, but rather do so gradually.  I expand my comfort zone slowly, with patience.  Because ultimately, this thing means that I’m stronger, I have increased my work capacity, and I’ll argue avidly that being stronger and increasing work capacity improve my fitness quantifiably.

How big is your comfort zone?  My guess is that mine is small, relative to the world of possibilities that will improve my life.  There are an infinite number of things outside my comfort zone, and lots of them will make me fitter, happier, healthier, smarter, and on and on if I’ll just suck it up, overcome my fear and learn to expand my comfort zone to include them.

Do you think staying inside the comfort zone makes you a better friend, spouse, parent, sibling, or person?  It might not make you worse at any one of the above, but by not expanding the circle it’s tough to argue improvement.

Stet’s Strategy

This workout is a little play on a style of workout known as Fight Gone Bad (FGB).  FGB is a simulation of the work capacity demands of a ring match (without the getting punched part).  You’ll notice the similar structure, 3 four minute rounds with a minute of rest in between, to a boxing or MMA match.

I thoroughly enjoy this format.  It’s fast, furious, and a lot of fun.  The intended stimulus is to push your limit, not to test your brute strength.  Done properly, each round should leave a person gasping for breath and grabbing their knees in that weird hunched over position (why do we do that???).

Keep the weights light.  If you’re getting pretty good at the hang clean, I suggest cleaning the bar from just below the hips rather than just above the knee to move quicker.  The row is for calories, so if anywhere is a chance to watch your breathing it’s here.  Use big, strong pulls on the rower, and consider pausing for just a second at the top before the recovery dive to catch a breath.  Focus on your hamstrings in the deadlift.  Deadlifts, done properly, shouldn’t overly tax the lower back.  They are a glute and hamstring developer and you want to be using those muscles to move the bar.  Most of the faults lie in the setup.  Check out the man KStarr to review proper sequencing in the setup:

Other than that, just breath hard, move quickly and smoothly, and enjoy those minute breaks 🙂

The Oboard Says…

3 Rounds for Reps
1 minute hang clean (95/65)
1 minute row for cals
1 minute deadlift (95/65)
1 minute double unders
1 minute rest

Posted by: Stets