What Stepping Outside of My Fitness Comfort Zone Has Done For Me

Since my football career ended and I dropped 140 pounds, I've been defined as a runner. This is no surprise because that's what I do. For the most part, it has been all I've done consistently for over a year now.


I would do core and get in the weight room every now and then, but I had no consistency. I never got into a rhythm like I did with running. I partially think this was because I needed a break.


If you know anything about football, the weight room goes hand in hand with the sport. I had been in a weight room since the 7th grade. I still remember the first day I picked up a weight.


I was consistently a lifter and it wasn't because I did or didn't enjoy the activity. It was a mindless part of playing football, It was what had to be done in order to compete at the highest level so I could reach my goals.


When I was done playing football, I wanted to distance myself from the sport. This made me do the exact opposite thing I did while I was playing football: LONG DISTANCE RUNNING.


Another reason I stayed away from lifting was because I had the false idea that it made you gain weight. I now know this isn't true. Resistance training is key for a well rounded fitness pattern. This doesn't mean weights. It can be as simple as pushups and air squats, but some type of strength training is necessary.


Studies have shown that when people lose a pound, up to a 1/4 of it can come from lean muscle mass. This makes resistance training extremely important, even when trying to lose weight.


So let's get back to the running...


I run a lot. I don't run as much as some, but I run more than many people. Up until recently, I couldn't say the same about my strength training routine.


My prolonged break from the gym made me despise weights. Even though I was putting in close to 100 mile weeks of running, I'd go into the gym, do a few lunges and squats and my legs would uncomfortably tighten.


We tend to run from discomfort and that was me when it came to the weight room. I seek running discomfort because I know I can win in situations where obstacles arise. I'm used to running pain and I love seeking it out. On the other hand, my break from the weight room made me not even want to try to overcome the pain I felt after one hard lift.


Starting to run wasn't easy, but I didn't quit. I became hard when it got hard as Chadd Wright would say. I was having trouble doing this in the weight room, but a couple of months ago I made the decision to consistently start lifting again.


I started simple. I didn't "run before I walked" (sorry for the running analogy!). I did bodyweight exercises and simple lifts with light weight. Don't get me wrong...I still felt a burn, but I didn't give up. This gave me confidence to continue showing up. Simply showing up is a major factor in success. If you don't show up, you have no chance of success so this drove me on the days when I didn't want to get up to go do the work. I wanted to see results.

Eventually the weight room became comfortable. Now I'm seeking discomfort by adding difficulty in my workouts, but I'm no longer just a runner. I'm a more well rounded athlete and it has been evident in my body composition.


I'm stronger than I have been in a long time. Of course, I'm not as strong as my football days (THESE ARE LONG GONE), but I'm making progress and that's what matters. I've also become a much better runner. I'm feeling stronger and I'm able to finish when my legs get heavy. Seeing the effect on my running ability has hooked me even more on the weight room.


So how does this apply to you...


I had a point to my story that can help you, don't worry!

Fitness is hard. It's no secret. If it was easy, there would be no obesity in the world. This is clearly not the case. Despite this, I don't think fitness is always hard. It takes time and there are inevitable lows on this journey. With consistency, fitness will become part of your routine.


You don't have to be a runner or a lifter to take something from this article. A small step in the right direction can change your life. It can improve your health, happiness, and overall well being.


So if you haven't taken that step, don't wait any longer. TAKE IT NOW and good things will happen in your life.


What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear! Send me an email, comment below, or reach out on social media.




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Tanner Kern is a 23 year content creator, nutrition coach, and endurance athlete from Connecticut. He is the host of The Tanner Kern Podcast and creator of "It's a Process: My Tips for Becoming the Best Version of Yourself."

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