Breaking comfort zones and challenging my body

This year has been interesting. Very different to two years ago when I was really fit and head over heels in love with running. I’ve gotten into a bit of a “meh” comfort zone  — blame it on stress and busy days. It’s been so irritating and so demotivating… So this week I decided to take the “bull by the horns” and try something different.

And guess what?

It worked.

When you have a super fit husband who’s inspiring others to get healthy, it kind of wakes you up a bit. Especially when you used to be that person.

I think that’s what’s motivating me the most. I’m tired of feeling exhausted on our weekly runs together. Tired of the tight-feeling pants. Just tired of blaming everyone and everything. So this week I tried something different. I broke out of my comfort zone and challenged myself. And if I’m honest, besides the huge pizza I ate last night, I haven’t felt this good about myself or my body in at least two years. That’s a loooong time.

Small things this week that actually that made a HUGE difference

I forced myself to meditate. That doesn’t sound too relaxing, I know. But I come up with all kinds of excuses every day not to — not having enough time is the biggest one. Because we leave home at about 06h10 every day for work, it’s tough. And it’s hard to meditate when you haven’t in so long and your brain can’t “sit still” for two seconds. A good friend of mine, Cyndi, suggested I try what she does, get up and meditate as soon as I wake up. So I did. I left my coffee and Pinteresting for after these sleepy 10 minutes of silence. It wasn’t perfect; my mind wandered, but it was a start and that’s the most important thing I think. Just making the effort and a daily habit and getting into it. I’m a highly sensitive person and get anxious at the drop of a hat, so this helps me centre, relax, and focus on the bigger picture before the crazy day starts.

I wrote up a weekly menu. Getting home after a long day doesn’t inspire the urge to spend an hour — or even half an hour — in the kitchen cooking. It feels like a big schlep. So much easier to just get takeaways and watch TV for the rest of the night. On Sunday, I did some browsing online for vegetarian meal inspiration and wrote out a menu for the week. Because cooking “whatever you feel like” just doesn’t work in our house; the mall is close to home and we usually end up getting Roco Mammas or Kauai anyway. This menu kept things interesting and it was actually a lot of fun. We both chose what we wanted to cook and when, and that was that. Easy peasy. And YUMMY. And we saved money.

There’s always got be a reward. ALWAYS.


I made up a Friday reward. Pizza. It’s our go-to Friday night treat for the week. But it’s a given, and it’s usually one of a few over the weekend. So to try and make things a little healthier, I stuck up a piece of paper with a bunch of things that needed to be done before pizza day. Meditating. Planking. Exercise. Not done? No reward. I have to tell you, that promise of pizza was a pretty damn good motivator for the week!

I stopped having wine during the week. Living in winelands country, it’s not hard to find yourself enjoying a glass of vino after a tough day. I started noticing that I “needed” that glass on a quite a few days, and I stopped enjoying it as much as I used to. It became a mindless evening habit. I noticed that I slept better and woke up less tired. I only had half a glass last night with pizza and that was enough. I’m terrified of becoming the type of person who drinks wine like juice. I won’t. The occasional wine tasting day — that’s another story; I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give those up, they’re just way too much fun.

I started planking again. Sit-ups… I’m sorry, they’re for the birds. Planking looks so easy and they tell you it’s great for your core and toning your midsection, but goodness me, they’re bloody HARD. This week I did two planking sessions of two minutes each — those were the longest two minutes out of the entire week.

I found a new fitness passion. Having grown up doing ballet and modern dancing, I’ve never been sporty or strong. Never had the desire to. Until now. For the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a 360-degree fitness class twice a week. It’s like HIIT taken to the next level. You know when you think you can NEVER do something, and then you surprise yourself by doing it? That. Holy moly, I have never been able to do more than 10 pushups (on my knees… but still). In these classes, our trainer lives for them, I swear. Because he knows how much we hate them. Now I can do 30 in one go. He trained the police force, so you can just imagine the type of body challenging exercises he gets us to do. It’s awesome, though. I’ve never felt more alive…. and weirdly, competitive. Because he marks our progress each month and we have to shout out the number of push-ups we do in some classes. I tell you something, being the person who gets the least amount of push-ups in three minutes… no ways, that’s not going to be me for long. It’s embarrassing! But the point of this is — go where you think you can’t. TRY something different. I thought I was a fitness failure because I lost the love for running. I never dreamed I’d enjoy these types of exercises as much as I do. Just try. You never know what you are capable of.

I entered running races again. I haven’t run (walked/jogged) a race in months. I just lost that motivation. It became too hard. I got tired of getting out of the way for the faster runners on the single tracks. Trail running is awesome because you’re out in nature, but dammit, it’s annoying when you’re slow and people are yelling “To your right!” behind you. That lovely calm feeling of running through the forest goes away just like that. And then you get all anxious about sticking to the side and you don’t really enjoy it as much as you should. Well, I don’t. But I miss it. I miss getting those medals at the end, too. The bragging rights, haha. This week it’s the KFM Gun Run, next week it’s a great initiative trail running event for the Anna Foundation, and the week after that, it’s a spooky Halloween night trail run (which is a whole other challenge on its own because I hate running in the dark — and there’s a scary person who jumps out at you somewhere behind a tree while you’re running). But. Challenges. Comfort zones. YES!

I feel like I haven’t shared things like this here in a long time. I guess it’s easier to write about and share all the things that look perfect and that are going well, hey? Oh well, here’s to more breaking out of comfort zones and authentic stuff.

Have you broken out of any comfort zones lately? 


10 Replies to “Breaking comfort zones and challenging my body”

  1. I’m glad you tried running again. I stopped jogging for about 8-9 years since I feel like I am getting skinnier. But due to that, I gain some unwanted fats that doesn’t match my body type. I’m just 46kg now and 5’4″ in height. But I still have some unwanted baby fats on my legs and belly. Thankfully, I started jogging again and I am actually loving my body right now, just perfect without those fats in my belly and leg areas. I do jogging once or twice a week. I don’t do more than that because my weight might fall to 43kg or 42kg like before when I used to jog more times in a week. By the way, do you have any routine exercise for toning muscles?

  2. […] reading this post on breaking comfort zones from Melanie Chisnall (go check out her blog by the way!), I felt totally inspired to make a […]

  3. William Holland says: Reply

    I’m comfortably in the “blah zone” right now. LOL I know I am, and I know I have to snap out of it…it’s just a matter of when. 🙂 Glad you saw the light about the wine. Have a great and fit weekend.

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Haha, “blah zone” – I like that!
      Yup, I am too — it’s been coming for a while I think, but I guess we all need to get there on our own time. 🙂
      Not much fitness today, but will make up for it tomorrow!
      Hope you’re having a great and relaxing weekend my friend.

  4. I love that you are getting healthier and challenging yourself. I have been sadly slacking here, but may have to take a bit of your advice and put it into action myself. Thanks for the inspiration and hoping you have a wonderful weekend now! 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…The Perfect Holiday Blanket Gift for All Elite Team FansMy Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Thank you Janine! 🙂 Aaah, don’t worry – I hear you. I only just got out of a slump, so I’m hoping this new spark of motivation lasts a while. I’m glad you found this post inspiring and hope you’re also having a great weekend! xx

  5. I need to try planking! Haha.
    And I hear you about wine. I’m actually trying that myself. In fact, I’m trying a lot of things…
    And meditation. Ah…I do it “without thinking” when I get up. After all these years my mind is still like a runaway train. But I still enjoy it. 🙂
    Friday night pizza!? This has become a tradition of ours, too! Except last night we had pasta…hehe.
    Sending you hugs!
    And good for you for “doing something different.” xo

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Yes! Hmmm… how about a plank AND meditation first thing in the morning? Or is that pushing it a bit? lol
      I’m loving this new way of meditating btw – THANK YOU again for sharing your first-thing trick. It’s made ALL the difference.
      Catch up tomorrow hopefully! xx

  6. Great post Mel! Inspiring! Xx

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Thanks Tash! Your comment completely made my morning 🙂

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