Sky diving on a recent birthday!

Do you push your boundaries and challenge your comfort zones in life and training? If you don’t push your boundaries, how will you know where they are?! If you fail to challenge your comfort zone in life or training, you can’t grow; figuratively or literally. If your goals and dreams don’t scare the hell out of you, you’re doing it wrong! Specific to training and the gym, I see people going in the gym and doing the exact same thing month in and month out, year in and year out. They stay in their comfort zone. I try to suggest the guy who’s been doing strictly body building style training (moderate to high volume in the 8-12 rep ranges) for years to try some sled pushing, tire flipping, and heavy KB swings once per week for a change.   Their ego, fear of change, and inability to train outside their comfort zone prevents them from even trying it in 99.9% of the time I find. Most athletes, even some top tier athletes, are virtually incapable of going outside their comfort zones in their programs, even when aware it could improve their performance! In life and in training, intelligently going outside your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries is how you grow, both literally and figuratively. Many will not do it because going outside their comfort zone is well, uncomfortable! It’s scary, or it threatens their self perceptions. There’s a risk they may fail, there’s a risk they may find they are bound by the same physical laws we all are and a risk they will not live up to expectations, either of their own making or that of others. There’s many reasons people are unwilling to push their own boundaries

Pushing a sled on her 102 birthday!

Pushing a sled on her 102 birthday!

into areas outside their comfort zones. Those who push their boundaries and take risks don’t lack fear, they have usually come to understand the fears, or self doubts, or racing heart rate are part of the experience. There’s a balance to be struck between taking risks worth taking and just being an adrenaline junky, but you’ll never know what that balance is for you if you don’t push your own boundaries.

He lost a leg but not his spirit!

For some that’s jumping out of a plane or climbing a mountain, for others, it’s just joining a gym and coping with feeling self conscious about being a new person in that gym. This life is not a rehearsal, and you’re not going to get out of it alive one way or another, so do your best to make the most of it, be it gym time, or other endeavors. I could use all sorts of cliche’s here, but screw that. As my mother used to say “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it” and she was right.
You may or may not actually enjoy the act of challenging your comfort zone while doing it, but the feelings of accomplishment and self confidence you’ll gain afterward are the rewards that will allow you to continue to grow and make progress in all facets of your life.  Every time I get up to speak in front of twenty people or three hundred, I’m nervous. Years of public speaking, some times in front to tough guys like members of a SWAT team, or an even tougher crowed, a few hundred teenagers, and I’m scared stupid. It never goes away, but I always do it.

Hiking in jungle in Panama

Hiking in jungle in Panama

Public speaking has never been easy for me, yet people have told me many times how relaxed I seem. It’s really not in my comfort zone, but I can’t let that stop me. Frankly, I was less nervous jumping out of the plane than I am when I have to do a seminar!












  1. Kent Ingram 8 years ago

    Wow, another article that makes me stop, scratch my head and re-evaluate what I’m doing! As I’ve grown older, there are two things that I’ve observed, especially after age 60: one, you DO get into a routine, because you can remember it and because it’s in the COMFORT ZONE. But, two, you lose a lot of the fear you once had about trying stuff that’s outside of that comfort zone. I always calculate the risks, but I’m not fearful of attempting something, even if it means I’ve failed at it. However, is it really failure? Or, is NOT TRYING the real failure? Loved the video! Thanks, Will!

    • Author
      Will Brink 8 years ago

      I think failure is in not trying Ken! Glad you enjoyed the vid. 🙂

  2. David Caplin 8 years ago

    Fantastic article. I continue to push the envelope out of my comfort zone whenever possible, whether in my business, fitness, music composition or just the way I look and the way I think. I Keep it moving, keep it fresh, but above all keep it real! Thanks for all the great articles Will, they’re always relevant, informative and useful.

    • Author
      Will Brink 8 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed it and found it relevant!

  3. Jeff 8 years ago

    Thanks for this excellent post.
    Maybe it’s the optimist in me but I find that unexpected changes, even seemingly negative changes, almost always lead to something good. I often think I need a big red “change” button, like the Staples Easy button, except that when pushed this button is instant change, and it isn’t easy. I’m guilty as anyone when it comes to staying in my comfort zone, half the problem is remembering to push that damn button.

  4. Eldon L. Raison 8 years ago

    First let me say that I am a big believer in your advocating of changing different things about your training. I’ll be 59 soon and have been clean of cancer for the third year in a row now. Also, had serious back surgery in Sept 2000. The years that have come and gone have brought on extra wear on my hips and knees. So to me, any changes I make are well thought out and usually added in one at a time while taking something old out. I wish the data for training we see today was there 20-30 years ago. I am reminded of the last big fad (P90-X) and all the people jumping on board for that. I am NOT knocking it at all. But the more I watched the infomercials, the more I realized that most of the people that did it were trainers or people that weren’t in that bad of shape to begin with. My advice to anyone who wants to make wholesale changes to their routine, be sure first that any connecting joint areas and ligaments that were damaged due to past serious injuries are oaky. When the Moffit cancer people in Tampa put me on the MRI table, the first question the tech asked me was “what the hell happened to you”? He showed me what he called “hot spots” all over my lower body. I love your work and advice. I also think pushing that sled would be great for me. Just be sure that people know what to look for before they just change a routine. By the way, you looked like a big kid having the time of your life skydiving. Way to go.

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