I like to be comfortable. I think we all do. I spent a great deal of my life wanting to stay comfortable. It did not serve me well.
Miriam Webster gives us several definitions for the word Comfortable:
a : affording or enjoying contentment and security
b : affording or enjoying physical comfort
a : free from vexation or doubt
b : free from stress or tension
Yep. I definitely like to be comfortable. I have my “spot” on the couch. I like physical comfort. No matter the season, I keep my house at 70 degrees. I am often filled with self doubt, so I certainly don’t like to be put into situations that bring on my doubts. And I don’t think any of us like stress or tension.
But trying so hard to be comfortable was not good for me. Working so hard for comfort got me to 315 pounds. Food was comfort, not working out was comfortable. Challenging myself was uncomfortable. So, I didn't. I was all about staying in my comfort zone.
But now? Now I want to make things uncomfortable. It's for my own good. I love to push myself physically, find that daily bit of discomfort. But even in my willingness to do hard workouts, to sweat all summer in an un-air conditioned CrossFit gym, I still live in my comfort zone. I know my gym. I know the coaches, my workout peeps. It has gotten comfortable to me.
This year I decided to stretch my comfort zone. Walking into a new gym or a new class is absolutely uncomfortable for me. I still have that voice that tells me I won’t be able to keep up or I will look stupid. I have worked hard to silence that pesky little voice, so to challenge myself, I recently tried a new workout.
A friend of mine owns and coaches at an all female gym. I belonged there for a few years before I did Extreme Weight Loss. Belonged being the key word. I rarely went! I did go during the casting process as I realized if I was chosen for the show, I was absolutely unprepared for any type of workout. So, I began doing cardio there and met with a trainer a few times. My friend, Adana, is a tiny, petite little ball of energy and she invited me to try her RIP class. (RIP? Am I going to die?) Some gyms call it Pump. Either way, it involves choreographed, high rep weight lifting of light weight barbells. I say light weight, because it’s much lighter than what I would lift at CrossFit. But, don’t let the “light weight” fool you. It’s tough!
The short story is that I loved it. It was harder than I expected, and was super fun. Adana is a great teacher and works right along with the class. The equipment used was a small barbell, the appropriate weights for your level, a step (like in step class) and some dumbbells.
Each song works a certain muscle group. We did a ton (like 2 million?) squats. Back squats, lunges, pulses, and it was a booty burner. Over the course of the hour we worked triceps, back, abs, legs, biceps, you name it. This workout definitely worked my whole body and left me shaking.
What was surprising to me was that I had loaded (ha!) my bar with weights, totaling 20 pounds. Twenty. Pounds. That is all. And there were many times I wanted to ditch some of that weight. Which seemed so crazy to me because in CrossFit I deadlift 215 pounds, can clean and jerk 115, back squat 165, but this 20 pounds was killing me. It is SO many more reps than we would do in a strength workout at CrossFit. But it felt great to know I was really working each muscle group. I left there in utter exhaustion, sure I was going to be extremely sore.
When I say choreographed, it’s not like we were dancing around like Zumba, but you are lifting to the beat. Adana would prompt us on the next set of movements. So, there is that aspect to it, but it was super easy to follow along. Don't let your inner Elaine (please tell me you've seen the Elaine dance from Seinfeld) keep you from thinking you can't do a choreographed class.
My takeaways- Great workout. Really fun. It’s very easy to modify by using less, or even no weight (as some did) during portions of the workout. So, it would be a great workout for beginners. I also like that Adana told us several times that if it’s too easy, add weight! You can make it as easy or difficult as you need to. Surprisingly, I ended up not being sore the next day, so there were certain muscle groups I would go heavier on next time.
If you're looking for something fun to get your heart rate up, this could be it. What I also appreciate about it, is that is adds the necessary component of weight training. If CrossFit or heavy lifting intimidates you, this is a great workout to add weight training without the (unfounded) concern of getting bulky with heavy weights. Adding weights will help you add muscle. Or keep muscle as you lose weight. Keeping or adding muscle is vital to burning calories efficiently.
I left my comfort zone and lived to tell about it! I will definitely give RIP another go. On a scale of 1-5 for ease of starting a new workout, I’d give it a four. You need just a little direction to figure out the weights and how to get everything set up. If you’re going for the first time, ask your instructor or someone who seems to know the ropes what you need.
Being comfortable is the easy road. I am done taking the easy way out. I am almost four years into this healthy living gig and I don’t think I will ever fully be comfortable with it. And I am perfectly fine with that. Now, get out there and get uncomfortable!