Guest Column: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019

By Brittni Lair

Brittni Lair is a physician assistant in orthopedics in Albert Lea. She owns CrossFit InnerDrive. She enjoys spending time with her family and boyfriend, Jens.

Brittini Lair

In the throws of life and our busy day-to-day schedules, it’s sometimes difficult to squeeze it all in a day. Instead of wishing for more time, I like to work smarter, not harder, as they say. One of my favorite and most important daily routines is making sure I get in a good workout, and supporting my community in becoming better, healthier versions of themselves. There are days when my alarm goes off at 4 a.m. where I really want to stay in my cozy bed, but the passion I have watching members of our community live happier and healthier lives, makes it all worth it.  Meeting for a workout, before the hustle and bustle of each day, is a good way to fit a healthy routine into our already tight schedules. Good exercise does not have to take two hours of your day; 20 to 30 minutes of the right regimen is truly the recipe for success. 

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Getting comfortable, being uncomfortable is sometimes a hard concept to embrace, but fitness progress is made during those “miserable” minutes of being uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable does not mean being unsafe. Instead, it means pushing yourself to a place that makes you work harder than you did the day before. If you usually walk on the treadmill at speed 3.8, instead try spending five minutes walking at speed 4.1 with a slight incline. Instead of doing six burpees in one minute, try pushing it to 10 burpees in one minute. Mentally overcoming obstacles in a workout, when your lungs are screaming and you want to give up is the hardest part, but the results will be worth it.

Doing the same form of exercise every day, and getting in a comfortable routine, is another common fitness fault. It is easy to wake up and do 20 minutes of the same thing you did the day before. You know exactly how it feels, you know you won’t sweat that much, you know you won’t be sore, but you also know it isn’t giving you the results you want. What if, instead, you put 20 different workouts in a hat and drew one each day? This would provide constantly varied movements, and thus, a smarter workout routine and real results.

Here are three examples of 20-minute workouts. Keep in mind, you should spend at least five minutes warming up and five minutes cooling down when you’re finished.

• As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes: 20 jumping jacks, 15 air squats, 10 push ups, five burpees

• Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes: 16 alternating lunges plus 20-second plank

• Four rounds: 400-meter run, 50 single under jump rope, 30 situps

Keeping your workouts different on a daily basis will ensure you hit all muscle groups as well. The different intensities of each workout will help you reach the uncomfortable zone: where real changes happen. Working out will be the toughest thing you do all day, mentally and physically. Overcoming this hurdle on a daily basis will help make all other tasks you tackle daily seem simple.

I challenge you to set aside 20 to 30 minutes of your day to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Rest assured, once you start taking on more intense workouts, you will find yourself feeling a greater sense of accomplishment and gratification than with your previous exercise routines. It is OK to be tired after a workout. It is OK for your legs to be sore.  And, it is most definitely OK to go to bed earlier to wake up and get your workout in before the day starts.