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There is life outside the comfort zone

Last week I went to Pilates!

August 27, 2014 5:33pm

Last week I went to Pilates!

You’re probably thinking that sentence doesn’t need an exclamation mark.

So let me go again…

Last week I went to Pilates – for the very first time!

Still, I’m a runner, I’m into that fitness stuff, surely it’s still not worthy of something as demanding as an exclamation mark.

Third time lucky….

Last week I went to Pilates. For the very first time. With the class held in a gym!

Okay, so this was a big deal for me.

Gyms and 57kg distance runners with twiggy arms don’t mix really well and I must admit I was totally out of my comfort zone.

Not totally freaking out, but it was right out there.

Give me an athletics track, a 32km long run, a bush trail or even Heart Break Hill at Sydney’s City to Surf over a gym any day.

Sure Pilates has a good reputation, and I know a lot of elite athletes who implement it for injury prevention and core strength into their training programs, so with that pedigree I was sold on the concept.

It was all the rest that challenged me and I had many questions going through my head beforehand, such as: What do you wear to the class? Are running shorts too short? Will it be hard? Do I tell the instructor I’m a runner? How early do you get there before the class starts? Will there be many people there?

This got worse when I got there and saw a few mums from school setting up their mats and taking their shoes off.

So was it monkey see, monkey do? Does everyone take their shoes off or are these people setting up early an exception?

Do I also take them off or wait and see what the rest of the class does?’

Turns out everyone took them off and I was shattered as I slipped into my bright coloured training shoes to look like a good runner and I ended up in boring socks like everyone else.

But that was just the beginning – from here it was all downhill.

Now, I’m a bit of a control freak with my training, my coach sends me my program and I know exactly how many kilometres I need to run each day and know when it’s going to end, but with this Pilates business Sue the instructor could be planning to do this stretch for five minutes or five seconds – and I had absolutely no idea. 

I tell myself ‘it’s all good Brady, just relax’.

They have three treadmills at the back of the room. If this all gets too much I told myself then jump up, get back into the cool shoes, set the speed at maximum and hit it. And show them you’re good at something.

In the end I survived my first class.

In fact, if I admit it, I really enjoyed it and will be back again next week with Sue and the other ladies.

If there are any blokes in town, feel free to join me as the Female to male ratio would be much better than the OPT dance floor, that’s for sure!

Doing this really made me think about comfort zones and how often we really push ourselves to try new things and attempt to get the very best out of ourselves.

For me it’s Pilates and gym work.

I won’t be cutting or skipping my running training for it, but maybe there is benefit there to find those extra few per cent.

If it’s just one second per kilometre that starts adding up over a half marathon (21.1k) and could be the difference between winning a race and coming fifth at my level. 

I challenge you to think of where your comfort zone is and have a go at stepping outside it.

At the end of the day even if it doesn’t work out for you at least you can say you’ve tried it and won’t die wondering.

I’ll be doing the same in the future (but making sure there’s a treadmill on standby just in case).

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