I recently took a trip to visit my good friends at New Balance in Boston. Holy Cow! I forgot how cold and dark the East Coast is during February! I have so much respect for those of you battling the snow and storms this year.

While I was in Boston, I woke up very early to hit up my drug dealer – Starbucks. I stepped outside and got BONKED with a full body explosion of impossible cold. I actually gasped at how much the cold hurt my body. As I continued to walk, I found myself very unhappy, very uncomfortable, and just a weeeee bit cranky. It then dawned on me that I’ve become a bit of a softie living in sunny Los Angeles. This kind of discomfort was waaay uncomfortable and very unfamiliar to me. It reminded me:

We ladies are sensitive creatures that prefer comfort, snuggles, naps and chocolate. Stop right there! I know a few of you tough gals are saying: “Not me! I’m TOUGH and proud of it.” I know you, because that same trait is how I survived freezing cold 8 miles runs in Central Park in January. Yes, you are strong and resilient, for shizzle. BUT, as human beings, we are instinctually and biochemically wired to search for ease and comfort. That’s how the species exists! (Click HERE to read more about this). I know you are amazing in your ability to withstand, fight through, and toughen up. But I also know that a big part of you would rather take it easy. I’m the same way.

Magic happens when you leave your comfort zone.

I’m going to share with you my A #1, top secret, secret that I’ve discovered after nearly 20 years working with people: You can achieve anything you want if you can learn to truly embrace discomfort.

Discomfort is at the root of the very seed of change, yet we run away from discomfort all the time for the tiniest reasons. Last week I dropped a 45lb barbell on my toe while training a famous client. I couldn’t cry, or complain, or even show that it hurt as bad as it did. It was bruised and swollen and hurt with every step I took for a week. I found myself wanting to complain and limit my activity because “My toe hurts”.  But in truth, I wasn’t going to die, my toe was still connected, and I could walk just fine. Therefore, what’s all the fuss about?

In a similar way, I see this happen with new clients all the time. Once I build trust with a client, I am able to push them harder in their workouts. Every single time this day arrives, and the client faces the new task, they freeze up in fear of discomfort. The ancient human brain is wired to avoid discomfort! Once I explain that discomfort is “ok” and a necessary part of development, they are better able to work through the moderate discomfort. It happens most during Pull Ups. I’ll see that my client is terrified and I’ll ask: “What are you afraid of?” and they always giggle and say “I don’t know!” Right, because if you can’t do a Pull Up…you can’t do a Pull Up! No biggie! But you won’t ever be able to do a Pull Up if you don’t try.

In order to grow we must struggle.

This applies to fitness and life in general. The process of transforming my body from fit to superfit was excruciating at times. It caused me to question everything. It caused me to take a good look at my motivations and excuses. It required that I step up and be brave enough to work through some major discomfort. In the end, I radically changed my body forever and realized that another reason why I love my job so much is because to me, life in the gym is a metaphor for life outside the gym.

If I could imprint only one thing into your brain it would be this:

Be brave. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what is your goal with the task at hand? Exactly what is in your way of achieving that goal? Scrutinize your reasons for avoiding something. Could it be that you’re a little bit uncomfortable and therefore fearful of the action? Maybe it means that you have to put in greater effort than you’re used to. Maybe it means that you have to push beyond your comfort zone just a bit. Maybe it means that you might be cold, tired, hungry or wet. Maybe it means that you eat a little bit less than you’d prefer to. Maybe it means that you go for a hike despite the fact that your toe is swollen and bruised.

Today I want you to take an honest look at yourself as you move through your day. Be on the lookout for moments when you pass up an opportunity for growth because it means that you might be uncomfortable. Just once, I want you to say “I don’t feel like doing this thing, but I’m GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY!” Then I want you to share with me in the Comments below the glorious energy that fills your body afterward. Tell me about how the rest of your day became magical because you were brave enough to push yourself into the realm of discomfort. It’s a really cool exercise. And I desperately want you to experience it.


If one of your goals is weight loss, be sure to check out THIS article. 

Posted by Holly Perkins on February 26, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Comments: 4 |

4 Responses to “Let Me Show You Some Magic”

  1. Charlene says:

    Hey, Holly! I have definitely had to push myself out of my comfort zone a lot this winter (despite having survived those cold State College winters, I HATE cold weather)to reach my goal of running my 1st marathon in May. Just this morning…20 degrees with a wind chill of about 2…but, the plan said 6 miles so, off went and I’m so glad I did!

    • Holly Perkins says:

      Charlene: This is SOOOOO awesome!! So proud of you. I love how having a specific goal MAKES you stay on track and face the compromise and discomfort that comes with it. You feel incredibly accomplished, huh?? Good for you.

  2. Angela C. says:

    Hi Holly,

    thank you for those words of wisdom. I alway hear “change is uncomfortable” but your words put into a whole new perspective. This is what I need to be told if I want to change my body and take my fitness to the next level. It’s funny cause the night before on facebook “James Wilson-Faith, Family and Fitness” said the exact same thing.

    Thank You and I think you are awesome!!!

    • Holly Perkins says:

      Hi Angela! Oh I love this! I feel like the “universe” is telling me something specific when I hear a message over and over or from different sources. It’s almost like it’s a reassurance that I’m on the right path. When I face uncertainty or discomfort, these messages always reinforce me and allow me to feel supported. Change is VERY uncomfortable for pretty much everyone. And once you fully embrace that, you can absolutely achieve any goals you have for your capable body. Go for it!

Leave a Reply