Confession: I Can Run 10 Miles, But I Can't Do a Sit-Up

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I am a creature of habit.  Once I get into an exercise routine I like and works well for my schedule, I tend to stick to it.  For years, my primary cardio activity has been running.  I regularly change up the distance, speed and route to keep my workouts challenging.  I like that I’m good at running (I’m not fast, but I’m consistent) and it’s something I enjoy.  But I also know that variety is important. 
My husband had been bugging me to try a new fitness class at his martial arts studio.  After months of making excuses (“I don’t have time”, “I don’t think I’d like it”, etc.) I decided to give it a chance.  Within the first few classes, it was easy to see the areas where I was very fit, and the areas where I clearly was not.  I like feeling strong and fit.  I like it for myself, I like it as a positive example for my kids, and I also feel a certain amount of pressure to be fit because of my job.  I think I hesitated to try something new because I was afraid it would show me (and everyone around me) my weaknesses. 
I can do high knee runs all day long, but when it was time to get on the floor and do sit-ups, that was a totally different story.  One of the exercises during my second class had us lying on the floor with a partner above.  I was supposed to reach up (into a full sit-up position) and touch their hand, then return to the starting position.  I’m not a fan of sit-ups, so I never incorporate them into my own workouts.  But for the sake of the class, I wanted to try everything they were suggesting.  We were supposed to do 30, and I couldn’t do one.  Not one single sit-up.  What’s worse is that as everyone else finished their set, they started to turn toward me to cheer me on.  It was a great gesture, but at that moment I just wanted to run and hide instead of trying to push through an exercise that I knew I couldn’t complete. 
After the class, I walked in the house and my husband asked “What’s wrong?” I burst into tears and said “I’m so embarrassed that I couldn’t finish the workout!  Please don’t ever tell them I’m a trainer!”  I know that I was being irrational, and it’s normal that I’m a regular person who can’t do everything.  But in that moment, I was disappointed in myself.   
I started thinking about all of the members I work with every day who say they are embarrassed to go to the gym or don’t want to take a walk around the neighborhood for fear that others will see how unfit they are.  For a few minutes during that class, I knew how they felt.  It’s hard to come out of your comfort zone, no matter what the reason.  But regardless of your current fitness level or your goals, it’s a good idea.  Doing something new has shown me the areas I need to work on, so even though I continue to struggle, that class has become a regular part of my workout schedule.
Have you ever had to step out of your comfort zone and try something new?  Were you glad you did it?  Why or why not?

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Jen, you're still the greatest. Report
I did an outdoor workout with my trainer this week and we jogged a few blocks to get to a park. I go to Body Jam classes 2 or 3 times a week and dance for 60 minutes straight but I had a really hard time running longer than two blocks. It was embarrassing to huff and puff along side my 24 year old marathon and triathlon running trainer. I think my face was bright red and it was completely effortless for him.

I discovered later I can do block long sprints which felt pretty good and I'm working on developing some distance! Report
I used to be so active and very athletic and it seems I can barely get myself motivated for the day anymore. I have challenged myself to take the stairs and stretch everyday. Hopefully this can help raise my energy level. Report
I used to be so active and very athletic and it seems I can barely get myself motivated for the day anymore. I have challenged myself to take the stairs and stretch everyday. Hopefully this can help raise my energy level. Report
Don't ask me why but this blog made me CRY?! Really!? Why, I'm not sure. Probably because I understand how much we are afriad of being judged. Probably because I can completely empathize with how you feel. Thanks for sharing and admitting to us you are a trainer and can't do a situp... Hey I'm a CPA (or almost anyway...) and I need a calculator... so what... noone can do everything well. Report
Good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone. Putting the shoe on the other foot sometimes can be very enlightening for us...not one of us likes "not measuring up." Report
I recently started a boot camp class because all I did was run. There are some incredibly fit and thin ladies that take the class. It took me awhile, but now when we are doing something I'm not good at (planks...) I think of the other stuff we did that I kicked butt in (sprinting!). Focusing on the positive during the negative helped me get through the stuff I was sad about. Report
You have just inspired me to go to Pilates today! I used to be a regular Pilates go-er and could do incline sit-ups all day. I would love to get back to that point, and I think it would help my running, too. Report
I love to try new stuff and push the fitness envelope! I get bored if I do the same thing every day. I prefer group fitness classes. I try to do a different type class each day (step, zumba, spinning, cardio box for cardio). I try to change what I do in weight training also. I do that in classes also.

My biggest leaps were taking up pole exercise. It is amazing how challenging it is because you are lifting your own weight. Then after I got good at that, I took up aerial silks--even more challenging than pole because move while you are flipping upside down in the air. At least the pole is stationary! I still want to do aerial hoop (lyra) and trapeze! I have to go to another town to try those or I would have already done it! Report
the last time I did a set of sit ups, probably about 8 years ago, I ripped off all the skin on my tailbone. I was using a mat. I have a tailbone that probably protrudes more than the average person. I will not ever do another sit up as long as I live. thankfully, there are much more efficient ab exercises available. Report
dont' feel back, I cant do a sit-up either. They kill my lower back and with my near non existant waist line I just dont bend properly. Report
Years ago I made a friend at the gym and we became workout partners. I had been off the workout wagon for a long time and was shying away from the weight room for fear of being 'judged.' She challenged me to go into the weight room with her just for a few moments. I am forever thankful I took that step because now I see I had nothing to fear! I am now a weight room regular! Report
I think fitness is about constantly taking steps out of the comfort zone - pushing the boundaries. Then again, so is just about any growth in any area of life. If we stick to the comfort zone, we're like a root-bound plant stuck in a too-small pot limiting our potential. Report
Stepping out of my comfort zone is one of the best things I've done! From becoming a regular in a strength training class to joining a coed softball team to running a Ragnar relay, I've pushed myself to do more and different things than ever before, and it's made me more confident and willing to take some risks. I do know what you mean about being able to run and be fit, yet have a tough time with situps; my core and arms are weak compared to my legs! I'm working on it, though. :D Report
I step out of my comfort zone every time I do indoor rock climbing with friends. They've been doing it for quite some time and can get up the wall with relative ease. I have to use all of my strength to push myself up to each 'step' and then to hang while I figure out the rest of the route. After the first climb, I realized I really need to work on my leg strength so I've added various squats to my workout. Report
Yes. I always wanted to do Zumba so when the owner at Curves started teaching Zumba I was right on it. I was stunned to find how hard it was to get into all the moves and keep up. And did I mention our instructor is 74? It took a couple of months but I have not regretted starting Zumba. It has increased my strength and balance.. not to mention I love it! Report
I just recently started a Pilates class 2X a week for the ab work. I can tell a big difference in a month's time, but I STILL can't do the straight leg roll ups! For some reason, those are an area that hasn't gotten there yet. My legs are strong - I can do squats all day! Report
When I started running, I remember I could not ever run a full minute without being out of breath. I do not really remember running as a kid, so last summer, I took it upon me as a challenge. I am definitely happy I did. I literally went from couch potato to being able to run a 5K and now, I am training for my first 10K...Oh yes :) Report
I'm in my forties and just started taking swimming lessons last month. At first I felt silly. There were 8 year olds in the pool doing better than I was! And it was much more tiring than I expected. I regularly enter 5Ks and I can go on the elliptical forever, but 15 minutes of lap swimming and I'm completely winded. Report
I took my first group class ever about a month ago (cardio kickboxing). I was so nervous going into it that everyone would be watching me and judging my lasck of coordination, so I took two of my friends with me! And as it turned out the class was actually a lot of fun! I didn't feel like I was being judged at all! Report
Joining the gym was way out of my comfort zone, but I did it, and it has really improved my ST routine. Definitely a good move! Report
I learned to swim. I had a little fit when my friend dragged me to the lessons. Now, it is my favorite workout. I still do not like walking on deck in my bathing suit, but once I am in the water, I do not want to go home. Report
I try to step out of my comfort zone and try something "new" every so often.... never know might fall in love with a new activity. ..... also an exercise in humility not a bad thing at all. Report
Don't feel bad. I can do reverse crunches, straight leg lifts, etc but I can't do a sit up. lol Report
I teach Zumba and encourage people to come to my class all the time, even if they feel that they have "two left feet." I tried a step aerobics class one day and boy was I out of my comfort zone. It's not an easy thing to but I completely agree that it's so important to have humility and try new things! Report
It is good to get a good taste of humility every now and again, don't you think? Reminds us we are mortal, lol

I too run 3 10s a week and HATE pushups and planks. Report
I definately know how you felt! I am a dance teacher and just last night as I was explaining a new move to my highschool aged students, one asked me to demonstrate it, when I started she said, "No, can you show me the with the right leg?" I couldn't believe that I had allowed my flexibility to become so one-sided since I began teaching, but I did it anyway! I definately relearned what it's like to work at something difficult for you in front of a group. Report
Not a fitness thing, but years ago I stepped out of my comfort zone -trying to be invisible- and took on a public speaking role. I was terrified & nervous but excited. Turned out it was something I was pretty good at, and the more I put myself up in front of people, the more comfortable I got. Now it's no big deal and I love it! The opportunity really helped me build confidence. Report