Benefits of Exercising out of Your Comfort Zone

People Exercising in a Park

One of my beliefs as a trainer is that people – all people – must move.

We must remain in constant motion because as we age, our fitness has a direct link to our overall health. In addition to forming a stronger and healthier body, exercising leads to increased emotional health.

Working out in some capacity is important for someone who has cancer. It is also true for those who take time to be caregivers, regardless if they are loved ones, friends or professionals.

I understand that for someone undergoing aggressive treatment for cancer, working up a sweat with a walk, jog or session of light weightlifting is just about last on the list of things to do in a day. Some of these people get a hall pass – for now.

Caregivers don’t.

This is important.

We all have our comfort zones, and that’s OK. But I want to encourage all of you to get out of your sit-and-watch comfort zone and get training.

The Comfort Zone

For some reason, as humans, we tend to get comfortable. As a result, we become resistant to change. Our body is a pretty incredible machine, with the ability to adapt to any internal or external stress we place upon it. That adaptation is what keeps us moving forward, growing and getting better.

Exercise is no different. When you first begin an exercise routine, your body adapts to that routine. You become stronger, and you see initial results. It’s a great feeling — a comfortable feeling.

The problem: Once your body adapts, results go out the window. In the fitness world, this is known as a plateau. The key to breaking that plateau is getting out of your comfort zones and strategically eliminating them from your future exercise routines.

The Uncomfortable Zone

Good things come from uncomfortable situations.

One of the most uncomfortable moments in my life was when my stepfather, Jeff Wahl, was battling mesothelioma. I’m writing this blog as a result of those feelings. Everything happens for a reason. Whether things happen strategically or spontaneously, I guarantee you there’s a reason.

When you start working out, understand that a balanced program is great for any level — whether you’re a weekend warrior or a scholarship athlete. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it works.

In order to break that comfort level of your routine, all you really have to do is either increase the weights you lift and reduce the repetitions, or lower the weights and add more reps.

I’ve been training for a little more than two years, and during that time, I’ve drawn a couple of conclusions: While men are more likely concerned with getting muscular, women are more focused on losing weight.

How does that translate at the gym? Most men lift heavier weights in a range of six to 12 reps, and most women lift lighter weights in a range of 12 to 20.

There are plenty of options as far as types of exercises go, and you control your weights and reps, but I definitely recommend you do this under a trainer’s supervision.
Never allow yourself to become comfortable. You need to consistently change the intensity of your routine every four to six weeks. You’ll start noticing results over time.

Breaking Out

Once you are out of your comfort zone and exercising regularly, consider breaking out a new part of your routine.

Try new exercises, different equipment and multiple types of training. Most importantly, never give up. Chances are that exercising regularly will reduce your risk of injury, improve your performance at the gym, and show you a more sculpted body in the mirror.

Keep your workouts fresh, and don’t fall into plateaus. If you’re patient and do things the right way, you’ll be able to lift for life.

Remember to Never Give Up.


Adam Lee is a personal trainer and blogger who writes for The Mesothelioma Center and his personal fitness blog. After losing his stepfather to mesothelioma, he offers his training services to raise money for cancer research.

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