Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Exercises/Workouts Because They’re “Hard”

Good morning and happy Monday! I did not want the weekend to end, but alas it did and we are back at it. I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of my weekend, but until then let’s talk about exercises we hate!

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The other morning during my run when I was home in Maine, I thought of all sorts of blog post topics. Thankfully I was smart enough to add them to my on-going “blog topic” note in my phone otherwise I most definitely would not have remembered a single one of them. Sometimes I have a crazy good memory and sometimes it completely escapes me; it’s the strangest thing!

Anyway… one of the topics I thought about during my run was how people- myself most certainly included- tend to avoid exercises because they are hard, not because they/we have a physical limitation that inhibits us from correctly and safely executing a move. I mentioned in this post how I tend to avoid running hills because they are hard. Will they make me a better, stronger and faster runner? Sure! But since I’m not an avid runner or racer and do it more for the physical benefits of cardio work and to clear my head, I don’t care that much about getting faster and only run hills when they are unavoidable- which is actually every single route around my apartment, haha (just keeping it real with you!).

Ashley also talked about how you should actually do MORE of the exercises that are hard and that you hate in this post (btw if you haven’t read that post yet, please do. It’s so worth it!), which I totally agree with. How are you ever going to get better at something if you don’t practice it (Clearly I don’t care about getting faster at running since I avoid sprints and hills like it’s my job!)?

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I bring this up because I also see it in my classes all the time when I announce we are doing burpees, which I think is one of the exercises people love to hate the most. I wonder if I called them something different if people wouldn’t hate them so much? But, regardless, like with every exercise I introduce and teach in my classes, I always offer modifications:

  • Triceps dips hurt your wrists? Do kickbacks or OH extensions
  • Jump squats hurt your knees? Just squat and reach
  • OH presses hurt your shoulder? Do upright rows
  • Jumping back into the plank for a burpee not where you’re at today? Fine- walk it back!
  • etc., etc.

There are always modifications and variations for what we do in classes, but what I hate to see is when I offer a variation on a burpee or push-ups or mountain climbers or something else that might be “hard”, and people choose the alternative exercise because they like it better or because it’s easier. I get it. Burpees aren’t always fun. Mountain climbers are definitely not always fun (I actually hate them!) and as Ashley said, “We all instinctively want to do what we’re already good at, but the real gains in strength come from working at what is difficult for us.” Amen, friend! The thing with these exercises, even though they are hard and even though we might hate them, ultimately they make you stronger and they are incredible full body exercises that should be done if you’re physically capable of doing them.
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