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Why life begins at the end of your comfort zone

February 15th 2016 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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Stuck in a fitness rut? Here’s why pushing yourself outside the confines of your comfort zone could be the best decision you ever made for boosting both your physical and mental health

Fitness motivation levels falling flat? We’ve all been there. Whether it’s trying to high jump your way out of a workout rut or making good intentions last past January, taking your workouts to the next level can seem like that extra hard hurdle that makes staying within the safety of our comfort zones a much more comfortable prospect. However, being comfortable could just be what’s holding you back from reaching your full potential - both physically and mentally.

“Some say life starts at the end of your comfort zone but as creatures of habit, sometimes the daunting prospect of venturing into the unknown makes us want to give up before we’ve even started,” says Jessica Skye, Nike Training Club (NTC) Elevated Trainer. “A little voice in our heads can speak up with excuses and reasons to doubt ourselves to make us put it off until later or maybe convince us that it’s not a good idea.”

A sentiment that certainly resonates with us, how do we all go about making the first tentative steps towards jumping outside of our comfort zones? “If you’re unsure, get a second opinion from someone you trust (I usually ask my dad),” recommends Jessica. “Sometimes you never know until you’ve tried and it’s the fear of failure that will hold people back (or sometimes the fear of success). My advice? Feel the fear and do it anyway! Surround yourself with people who push you to be better, to step up your game, who keep you positive and who you can share your progress with.”

While overwhelming at first, trying something new could be the best leap of faith you could make for turning your fitness goals from dream to reality. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but using your fear to fuel rather than frighten you could be the pivotal factor for making new habits stick. You’re stronger and more capable than you ever thought possible and to give you a helping hand, we’ve teamed up with Nike to help inspire you to feel Better For It as part of their new campaign. If like the leads of Margot vs Lily - the stars of Nike’s new original show series - you’re navigating your way along your own fitness journey, these 5 reasons for why pushing yourself out of your comfort zone could be the best decision you ever made will help set you on the right track.

Watch the third episode of Margot vs Lily here

1. It’ll make you stronger physically and mentally

From the inside out, the benefits of trying something new are greater than what meets the eye to strengthen both body and mind in one fell swoop. “By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone with your training, your body will start to adapt to your new workout schedule with increased fitness levels, strength and even flexibility. Your physical boundaries will keep getting pushed and your progress is inevitable,” says Jessica. “This will have obvious positive effects on your physique, but also mentally.

“The mind-body connection will strengthen, (this is a central element of yoga), and for me it’s as simple as strengthening neuro-pathways. Being aware of what every inch of your body and every muscle fibre is doing, not only increases your balance, proprioception and co-ordination but also helps you tune into what your body needs – rest, stretching in certain areas, strengthening in certain areas etc.”

Join the journey by downloading the NTC Tighten & Tone Workout here

2. It’ll make you more confident

Feeling low in confidence? The sense of achievement you get after pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be instrumental in increasing both strength of self and self-belief - plus the post-workout endorphin high will help you feel not just healthier, but happier too. “By pushing yourself past what you thought to be boundaries you’ll also feel your confidence increase, have a growing sense of self-satisfaction and make you realise you can do anything if you put your mind to it (as cliché as that sounds),” says Jessica. “This attitude will affect you outside of your workout too. Mental focus, determination and the ability to see things through will bring you great things in fitness but also in the rest of your life whatever your life goals are.” She adds, “As you become more in tune with the mechanical parts of yourself through deepening your physical practices, you’ll generally feel more centred too.”

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3. It can help you climb the career ladder

More wallflower than Wolf of Wall Street? The confidence boost you get inside of the gym can also translate into the boardroom too. “Great things come mentally, physically, socially and in your career once you start to push your own boundaries and realise what you’re capable of - you’ll probably surprise yourself,” says Jessica. The experience also includes the trip-ups too - it’s all part and parcel of breaking the cycle. “Even if things don’t go your way, you’ll take so much from the journey for next time. We have to keep moving forwards, adapting and letting go of the things that don’t work and focus on what does,” adds Jessica.

4. It'll aid overall fulfilment

If you’re feeling unfulfilled or are perhaps suffering from low self-esteem, the long-lasting effect of exceeding your expectations when it comes to exercise makes for the most inspiring of accomplishments. “Apparently, we need three things to be happy,” says Jessica. “1) Stability (house, job, money etc.); 2) Connectivity (relationships and social interaction) and 3) Progress.

“When any one of these three things wavers we start to feel unhappy. The benefit of pushing past your comfort zones is progress.” Monitoring your progress isn’t just confined to how much time you spend in the gym any longer either - finding your perfect workout can now be as on-the-go as you are thanks to the Nike+ Training Club App and Nike+ Run Club classes that take place every week from London Nike stores. Find further details about the activity timetable here.

Inspired by Margot’s and Lily’s style? Shop Margot’s look here and Lily’s look here

5. It will help focus your mind

When sports start to become stale, adding a dose of variety and increased intensity to your workout regime can help re-focus the mind and come as a welcomed reminder of why you wanted to start exercising more to begin with. Finding new creative ways to achieve your end goal will aid both drive and determination to make the sprint to your own personal finish line all the more enjoyable. It's all about finding your motivating factor. “I’m a big believer in setting an intention. Have a reason why you’re getting active whether that be to get fitter, slimmer, stronger, be less stressed, to schedule in some downtime, to have fun - whatever it is,” recommends Jessica. “When that voice sets in talking you out of following through, remind yourself why you wanted to start in the first place. Workouts can be hard when you’re starting out. The more you train, the easier it will become. We’re creatures of habit and once you’re in the habit, you’ll soon miss your workout session if you miss it.”

Want further fitness inspo?

Watch episode 3 of Margot vs Lily here. This week, Margot attempts to dance her way to more subscribers, while Lily tries to make friends at Glenn’s book club.

Hungry for more? Watch episode 4 of Margot vs Lily here. In this latest episode, Margot is learning to deal with online trolls while Lily continues to struggle making friends. Shop Lily's look and get your Nike Bonded Windrunner jacket here, or find the Power Speed Tights here.

Are you team #MargotViking or team #LilyNinja? Tune in every Monday to catch the latest episode, see the looks and get inspired on nike.com/betterforit #BetterForIt.

Follow Jessica @iamjessicaskye and Ayesha @Ayesha_Muttu. Find Jessica at Fat Buddha Yoga & Nike N+TC Yoga.

Written in partnership with Nike.

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