We went out to dinner with some friends last weekend. The conversation quickly turned to cycling, as it often does when we hang out with our racing buddies. This conversation was a little different though. The commentary is usually about who rode the hardest, who didn’t make it beyond mile 5, who won the final sprint and a bunch of joking between friends who share a passion for the pain that cycling inflicts on us. However, this night was more serious. Our friend brought up a couple of questions that really stuck with me ... how do you push yourself so hard? What can I do to improve my abilities? What do you do to push yourself to keep going when you feel like you’ve reached your limit?
I thought about these questions for several days. They inspired me to write this article and to come up with an answer to her questions. The answer is quite simple. Get comfortable with uncomfortable. Did you get that? Get comfortable with uncomfortable.
We are spoiled. We have so many “get it quick and easy” gimmicks available to us that we have lost touch with the true meaning of hard work and dedication. You want to lose weight? Take a magic pill. You want to get in shape? Try this eight-minute video. The world tries to make us believe that there is an easy fix for losing weight or training for an event.
There is no easy fix. You have to work for it. We all have an internal switch that fuels our fire and pushes us to achieve our goals. Naturally, we don’t like to be uncomfortable. I am sorry to say this, but sometimes you’ve got to get over that mentality. You can. You just have to want it bad enough.
Meet my friends, Madye Carter and Mike Seago. They wanted it. They found that internal switch and lit that fire. They learned how to become comfortable with uncomfortable. Let me introduce you to them.
I met Madye Carter last year when she and her husband, Chip, started riding bikes and joined our local cycling club. Neither of them had ever been involved in any type of sport, but they realized they enjoyed riding bikes. Chip quickly fell in love with the sport and joined our 2012 PCP Race Team. Madye wasn’t interested in the road racing side of our sport. Her goal was to complete a triathlon, so she had to start focusing on three sports.
Training for a triathlon is not easy, but Madye’s situation was different. She had a much tougher road to travel than most athletes preparing for a triathlon. Why? She didn’t know how to swim. Madye began swimming lessons in April 2011. She learned how to blow bubbles in the water during her first swim lesson. Madye not only had to train to be competitive in three sports, she had to learn one of them. She was willing to step out of her comfort zone and it paid off.
In July 2011, she competed in the Top Gun triathlon in Tampa, Fla. Since then, she has completed five triathlons and is heading to Tampa at the end of this month to compete in the Top Gun Tri again. Her goal is to beat her time from last year. She says that she is not the fastest triathlete, but she is slowly improving in all three areas.
Mike Seago started coming to my group fitness classes at PT Gym in early 2011. Mike had a wake-up call in December 2010 when he saw a picture of himself before a trip to Canada. He realized that he had let himself get in terrible shape and knew that he had to do something about it.
Mike works at our local hospital and he said that his job really motivated him to change his way of life. He would often see patients that were his age suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. Seeing these patients undergoing dialysis treatments in their 20s and 30s was enough for Mike to realize that he had to get off the lazy train. He didn’t want to end up in the same situation as his patients.
Mike started doing lots of cardio and group fitness classes, working out with a trainer and eating right. In a little over a year, Mike lost 89 pounds. He had to make a permanent lifestyle change. He teaches at Darton and works at the hospital so he has taught himself how to be flexible with his working out and how to make the proper food choices. He has learned his way around the gym and has become good friends with the weight room.
Mike knew nothing about working out or eating right before last year. He realized his health was in jeopardy and dedicated himself to hard work. He says he feels the best that he has in years, but it wasn’t an easy journey. He wasn’t comfortable in the gym; he knew little about proper eating. But, he was willing to step out of his comfort zone.
Get comfortable with uncomfortable. Madye and Mike did, and it changed their lives. Are you willing to do it? It won’t easy, but it will be worth it.
Michele Moulton has been a fitness instructor for more than 21 years and is a certified Spinning instructor. She teaches at PT Gym and is an avid cyclist. She is an accountant and a mother of two boys, Austin and Harrison.