by Heather Castellanos
When it comes to fitness and exercise for myself, I need to mix it up. I get bored easily and so I need to make sure my workout routine includes all different types of activities. Currently, I mix it up among classes at 212, playing soccer, running, and boxing. As you may have guessed at this point, the title of this blog refers to my recent escapades with boxing (that's me in the red headgear).
I have been taking boxing classes once or twice per week for about a year and a half now. I love it. There's something about punching a big, heavy, black.......bag as hard as I can that really provides me some stress relief and feeling of empowerment. I eventually started doing some personal training to gain a little more knowledge and practice on my individual technique. I didn't just want to take classes to get fit, I wanted to be a better boxer. Rich, my trainer, asked me one day..."so what are we doing this for?" I let it slip that a bucket list item for me would be to actually box someone to see if I could do it. So, after a lot of apprehension and fear, I signed up for a Smoker- a glorified sparring match where people come and watch. Apparently, judging by my peers' reactions to this news, the idea of me boxing someone is not what one would expect out of me. I guess I can see that. I have never been in an actual fight in my life, not even close. However, I always thought that if it happened, I could handle it. Here was a chance for me to see.
This Smoker- fighting another woman, in front of a small crowd- is SOOOO far out of my comfort zone in so many ways. A- I would be fighting someone. Never done that before, and can't say that I ever really WANTED to. B- People will be watching me do this thing that I've never done before. I hate being "on stage," and the center of attention, so that was probably the most stressful part for me. AND, I might lose! How embarrassing?! C- I will most likely get punched in the face! Why would I want to sign up to get punched in the face for fun?! I did pretty good, I thought. In Smokers, there is no declared winner or loser. I can't decide how I feel about that, to this day. Judging by the number of times I got hit and the number of times I felt my fist land solidly, I think I did pretty well.
Any of you who read our blogs with any sort of regularity know how we preach the importance of getting out of your comfort zone. Well, I did it. FOR SURE! Winning/losing aside, this experience gave me a new level of respect for myself for several reasons...
1. I committed to something I was very afraid to do and I followed through(the key piece that often doesn't happen with a lot of people). It's one thing to say you want to do something new/different, but it's a whole different thing to actually do it.
2. I trained for it and I worked hard- training for boxing is intense! And, I didn't make excuses, no matter how fearful about the actual event I was, how tired I was, how much my wrist hurt, etc. I remember one Saturday, my trainer surprised me with a practice sparring session at our training. I was a little miffed at first that he sprung it on me, but he told me that most times people who know about their first sparring session get scared and find an excuse not to go. I understood that rationale. However, I also knew that I would never do that. Just realizing that about myself was pretty gratifying. I knew I wouldn't have made that excuse because even though it was scary to spar with someone when I've never done it before, I knew it was a step I had to take to accomplish my goal and it was only going to make me better.
3. I let go of any self-doubt and was willing to explore my initial thought that, "hey, I think I could be pretty good at this boxing thing," and it turns out that I proved myself right. Even if I wasn't, at least I would now know.
4. One of the most difficult parts about stepping out of your comfort zone; I learned about and accepted my weaknesses- yes, they exist- and how to work on them. Now, the idea of getting better is very exciting to me. Piggy backing on that, I literally got hit and had to keep fighting- a life metaphor we hear everyday. I couldn't just give up every time she got a punch in, I had to keep going and I wanted to.
5. I can punch!! Don't mess with me! Haha.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is not just about saying you did so. It really is where you can take things to the next level, be it physically or otherwise. And, yes, I did get punched in the face.