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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Practice Makes You Better… Not Perfect

During my kickboxing class a few weekends ago, I caught myself saying “practice makes perfect!”, as I was guiding members through a new combo. Immediately after it came out of my mouth, I realized that’s not true. Practice doesn’t make perfect because no one and nothing is perfect. Practice makes you better, not perfect. It helps you get stronger, it makes things easier, but if you strive for perfection, you’ll be striving for something unattainable.

It’s funny because literally as I was starting to draft this post (yes, I realize I started this weeks ago and am just getting it up for you today), I checked my email to find the last Bikini Rebellion email from Neghar. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen some deeper than normal posts, right? If you’re not an Instagram-er- here are some examples: Self Radical Love, being more than a number on a scale, only your opinion of yourself matters, etc. Day 14 of the challenge was all about perfectionism, and how we are not and will never be perfect. We are enough- right this instant you are enough.

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It’s so easy to get caught up in the notion of perfection. If we can just run faster, do better push-ups, make healthier meals, be the best spouse/parent/child/friend/etc., be more positive, things will be perfect, right? Wrong. All my life I’ve strived for perfection and only am I recently recognizing that there is no such thing.

But just because no one is perfect and perfection is an unattainable goal doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel and say “eff it!”… it just means we should accept where we are right now, how far we’ve come and what we do on a daily basis that makes us who we are. We may not always get things right, we may say the wrong things, we may not have motivation to clean the house/grocery shop/workout, we may not always be working to our very best potential… but that’s totally OK. We are living, we are learning and we are experiencing new things that help us build character, develop new relationships and new passions. And some days might be easier than others, but that’s just the way life works. It ebbs and flows and if we expect things to always be perfect we are just setting ourselves up for disappointment- where’s the fun in that?!
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