The Magic of Failing

Last week I took an actual exercise class OUTSIDE of my home. I know, I'm still in shock! As a mother of three young children with very limited times for things like...well, anything for myself other than 30 minute workouts at home, it is almost always is too difficult to fit in hour long workouts that require driving.

Now that summer has arrived, I've found that I have a bit more leeway in my schedule, (thanks to camp and a very wonderful babysitter), so I decided to give it a shot despite some trepidation. I've been doing a variety of at-home workout programs now for over a year and have taken a studio class once in that whole time. The programs I do at home are intense, and I have the changed physique and leaner muscles to show for it. So....even though I'd heard rumors that this class was difficult and punishing, I kind of thought I'd crush it.

I did not crush it. I'll spare you the details, but the essence of the class is pushing yourself into the 'orange zone' which is maximum effort. You have a heart rate monitor strapped to your chest, which in turn projects calories you are burning and your heart rate onto a screen on the wall. Everyone's results are also ticking up right along with yours.

As someone who is pretty visual and yes, competitive, I saw those numbers and immediately became intent on getting them as high as possible. But....I couldn't figure it out. I was expending a lot of effort, but it turns out not the RIGHT kind of effort. The monitor that was awkwardly strapped right under my sports bra kept snapping off, and a rower was involved. An activity both foreign and extremely difficult for this "noodle arm" girl.

I was uncomfortable. I was frustrated. I was self conscious because I had NO idea what I was doing and yes, I was more than a little afraid to really go for it. At points in the class, I was just about ready to cry out of pure frustration.

This is all GREAT. Why? Because at just about age 40, these opportunities to try something new and get to that place of vulnerability are 100% up to me. They are also few and far between. As kids, we are thrown into one new experience after another and it becomes just a part of growing up. As adults...we get comfortable and stay that way. Here's the deal though. Comfort is all well and good, but usually it means we aren't growing. Have you ever heard about elderly people (I mean 95 year olds) who are learning Italian, or the people that climb Mt. Everest "because it's there"? These people know that life is about LIVING and experiencing everything we can.

I realized last week that I fall too often into a place of comfort and need to keep challenging myself and trying new things. I'm not announcing that I will climb Mt. Everest next year BUT I did sign up for 4 more classes, and expect that eventually I will crush it.