Getting Comfortable With Uncomfortable

Burned into the brains of all my athletes and clients, the idea of ‘getting comfortable with uncomfortable’ gets results and help us win games. Truth is you have probably already opened this door before and maybe even took a peek to see what was inside, but few have actually walked in, sat down and poured themselves a glass of Kool-Aid. Once you embrace this way of thinking, you too will reap the benefits of training more efficiently and effectively.

What Does It Mean?

It means doing things you don’t like doing. It means running faster than you normally do. It means pushing harder than you ever had. Making sense yet? We all have that ideal workout in our head. You know the one you have been doing since your sophomore year of college. This is the one where you do the exact same thing, the exact same order, the exact same tempo and the exact same weight. Guess what you will get—the exact same results. 

Good News and Bad News

I am a good-news-first-type of guy, so I will give you the good stuff first. Changing what you are doing is really simple. Even if you don’t change one exercise in your routine you can still alter  it to get you better results. Add more weight and do fewer reps to the exercise you already feel comfortable doing or lessen the weight and do more reps. The more you change your program, the more your body will have to adapt. The more your body adapts, the more results you get.

The bad news is this won’t be fun or comfortable. Don’t like using free weights? Use them. Don’t like running sprints? Run them. Don’t like lifting heavy weights? Lift them. Don’t like doing circuits? Do them. We have all been to that place one time or another where we felt a little (or a lot) uncomfortable during or after a workout. This is the place you should be going every time you workout. It is not necessary or healthy to push so hard that you get sick every workout, but there should be a point in the workout where you have to dig down deep and finish what you started.


The body is an amazing machine. If you do the same thing every day then your body will slowly start adapting to make these activities easier. The word for this is called a ‘fitness plateau’. We do not want our body to get used to what we are doing. We always want to keep it guessing. Avoid this plateau and the results will keep coming!


Get good at doing what you’re not good at. Fitness is all about being good at everything and great at nothing. Unless you are a professional athlete where your sport involves a single activity (weightlifting, sprinting, high jumping, etc), you need a lit bit of everything. We all need strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, balance, power, stamina, speed and agility. Essentially all you have to do is make a list of things that you don’t like doing or things you don’t feel comfortable doing and start doing them. Personally, I like lifting heavy weights (and dread cardio intensive workouts), but at least twice a week throw in a circuit training workout. I don’t look forward to it, but I know I need it and feel better after the workout is over. There are a ton of resources available to help you switch up your workouts both in print and in the form of apps. is a treasure chest full of free workouts and demonstrations that will make mixing your workouts up easy. Like any new workout, ease into it. Always make sure that no matter how heavy the load is or how tired you are, keep perfect form on each exercise.

James Scott is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Shanghai Sharks. If you have a fitness question you’d like him to answer in a future column, please email him at [email protected].

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