How to Embrace Discomfort for Better Fitness and a Better Life

Remember the time when your evil brother/sister took a shower before you and used up all the hot water, so you had to take a cold shower and you thought for sure you were going to freeze to death?

But did you?


Remember when you interviewed for your first job and you made a big mess of it because you were inexperienced?  You also thought you were going to die then too, or maybe even wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out!

But… did you?

Life isn’t always comfortable.  In fact, for most people, life is uncomfortable more often than it is comfortable.  Life WILL and SHOULD be uncomfortable… OFTEN.  From discomfort breeds growth!

“Comfort is the enemy of progress.” – P. T. Barnum

Being uncomfortable, no matter the situation, makes you stronger.  Discomfort is what leads one person to make their dreams come true, while the comfortable person may be stuck in an unsatisfactory life.

Out of about 35,000 decisions we as humans make per day, most of these have a more COMFORTABLE choice and a more UNCOMFORTABLE choice.  While exercising, you could use the heavy weight that has you gasping for breath at the end of the set, or you could choose the smooth sailing route and use the light weight that leaves you with more leftover energy.  While eating at a restaurant, you could choose the grilled chicken with broccoli, or the juiciest cheeseburger with all the fixin’s with fries on the side.  At work you could speak up and let your boss know that you want a raise, or you could sit back and wait until she approaches you offering one.  While going for a walk, you could choose to walk the easy flat path down your neighborhood sidewalk, or you could choose to hike the hilly trail at the park.  All of these examples have at least two choices that lead to very different outcomes.

Our problem as humans is that we have – for all of time – looked for faster, easier, more comfortable ways of doing everything.  This is a GREAT thing.  However, this is also a terrible thing.  Since we have worked so hard to make our lives more automated and easier, we do so much more sitting.  We exert a lot less energy.  We take in more toxic chemicals daily.  We eat a lot more unhealthy, processed foods.  All of this to make our lives easier.  More convenient.  But is the price we pay really worth it?

We have made ourselves weak and fragile both mentally and physically by making everything easy.  We expect that we should always get to eat every 4 hours.  We expect our houses to be exactly 73 degrees all year.  We expect to get everything we want, when we want it.  We can’t stand to be uncomfortable anymore.

Modern fitness as we know it only started a little over 200 years ago.  Prior to that, humans exercised more for fun and competition, and prior to that, they exercised for survival.   Think about why we exercise now.  Typically, it’s because we have toor else… we will gain weight or be unhealthy or not look good or feel lethargic or….

Now, I know we are living in modern times and that it isn’t reasonable for you to run into the woods and kill a tiger, carry it over your shoulder back home to eat it, all the while fighting other tigers who are tracking you every step of the way.  So, it is a good thing we have a lot of the modern day “stuff” that we have now.  However, I just want you to think about this.

Next time you’re faced with a decision, think about whether or not it is logical to choose the uncomfortable path.  Will you end up expending more energy and time later if you choose the comfy path now? Will you be holding yourself back from what you could become or what you could have if you choose comfort now?

Take that cold shower for numerous health benefits.  Ask for that raise or promotion for a much higher chance you will get it.  Go for the more nutritious meal now so your body has the energy it needs for the rest of the day.  Confront your co-worker about his mistakes so the company runs better and more efficient later.  Take that difficult hike to get your blood pumping and experience some nature!

Embrace Discomfort!  Embrace Life!

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