Getting Out of My Comfort Zone By Throwing It Down

You know all that fuss about how you have to “get out of your comfort zone” in order to be successful, reach your goals and generally start living instead of watching life pass you by? Well, it’s true. It’s a cliche, but it’s a good one. And it certainly applies to fitness. Now, you’ve heard me go on and on and ON about The Fit Pit before (I swear, the owner doesn’t pay me to pub it), and certainly no other place on the planet has taught me this key rule more than that little box of fitness awesomeness. But a few weekends ago, this lesson was taken to a whole new level. The Throwdown level.

Similar in theory to the CrossFit Games, my gym hosted its first-annual Throwdown. Open only to members, this three-day event included four killer workouts (added together for a cumulative time), two special events (that were thrown in for fun) and a championship round for the four fastest males and four fastest females in order to crown an overall male and female Throwdown winner. About 50 people or so signed up—and you had the choice to “compete” or “complete.” Rules for the compete category were that you had to do everything with perfect unmodified form, meaning game-on for handstand push-ups, pull-ups and push-ups on your toes. Seeing that I can’t do a full handstand push-up yet—and I just started being able to do pull-ups sans bar, I entered the complete category. Ryan? He did compete. Little bad-ass.

The first workout (WOD) was on a Friday morning, and it was pretty straightforward. Row a 5K. Like row 3.1 miles. Have you ever done that for time? Whew…

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Row, row, row your workout... (That's Ryan in the gray, rowing.)

Then, on Saturday was when the real fun/craziness began. We all showed up for two workouts, of which we were put in heats to complete. And everyone—even the completers—had his or her own judge to watch form and call “No rep!” whenever something wasn’t done properly (chin had to be above the bar on pull-ups, cheek had to touch the floor on push-ups, etc.). It was intense.

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Welcome to my painful happy place.

Ryan was in one of the first heats to do the second WOD of the Throwdown, a little something called The Pit Fit. You start this little gem of a workout with 10 handstand push-ups and then do 20 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 40 box jumps, 50 kettlebell swings, 60 wall ball and 70 burpees. It was my worst nightmare. I am the slowest/weakest at wall ball and burpees, so while this is the workout is actually what I need most, it was torture. And since I was in one of the later heats, I had to wait hours (read: get nervous enough to have the bad poos) watching others suffer through before I went.

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Me and my mom, who graciously came with my awesome dad to cheer and take some photos. SO much nervous energy before...

Ryan was amazing with the WOD2. His ability to burpee is nothing short of amazing to watch. Here’s a little bit of how my WOD2 went down…

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Slowly but surely, getting that chin OVER the bar with pull-ups!

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I stayed on my toes to about rep 20, at which point my arms physically collapsed, I face-planted...and went down to my knees to modify.

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I love how it looks like the balls are stuck on the wall. Hehe.

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I enter burpee hell.

Full into burpee hell now. Resident Fit Pit rock star and cheerleader Keith comes over to give me a pep talk. At this point, I had like 20 burpees to go and was DYING.

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Finally...DONE with WOD2!

It took me a little more than 40 minutes to do WOD2. And, um, it took Ryan about 24 minutes. Again, he’s a burpee freak. (And I mean that in the proudest way possible.) After WOD2, I went straight over to do the “special event.” It didn’t involve burpees. THANK GOD.

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The arms felt a little funny, but the softball throw was a fun change of pace.

Then after all of the WOD2 heats were done, Ryan and I ate the apples and protein bars I packed, and moved on to WOD3. Called “Dead Man Walking,” it involved deadlifts at 50 percent of your one-rep max, followed by 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups (oh, the chest pain), 30 sit-ups and a short run—for four rounds, where the run got just a little bit longer each round. Besides modifying the push-ups (again, I face-planted on my toes after about 8 reps in that first round), I was able do this WOD far better than The Pit Fit. Not saying it was easy though…

Then, beyond exhausted from pushing ourselves to the limit (to infinity and beyond!), Ryan and I went home to shower, eat a ridiculous amount of food (thanks for picking up the steak dinner tab, Mom and Dad!), lie on the couch and sleep. We awoke on Sunday to eat some more, and this: The WOD4.

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The workout gods were with me! No burpees! No push-ups! Excited to finish this thing strong, I was in one of the first heats to go. Of all of the workouts, WOD4 was my favorite and, not surprisingly, the one I could do without modifications and was pretty speedy at. I LOVED IT, and it was the perfect way to end what was a hell of a weekend of workouts.

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Want to feel like a bad-ass? Push a sled.

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Double-unders, baby! I was lucky enough to do 15 in a row at one point during WOD4!

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And one of my man during WOD4, who CLEARLY gets his chin over the bar.

On a serious high after WOD4, Ryan and I ate more apples and protein bars, and then settled in to watch the championship round, which was nothing short of amazing. Sore, tired and exhausted, I couldn’t imagine doing another workout—and this one the hardest of ALL of the workouts from the event. Everyone stuck around to cheer the elite eight on—and, OMG, it was an amazing feat of focus, strength, drive, endurance and HEART. The gym was so loud with the cheering. Such an amazing thing to watch.

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"Bad-ass" doesn't begin to describe these guys...

So, yeah, during the Throwdown weekend, I got way, way out of my comfort zone. I pushed myself harder, farther and faster than I EVER had before. And doing so made me realize just how much more you can do. And even when you think you can’t do any more, you probably can…

I was also blown away by the power of community, support and encouragement. We had people of all ages and abilities doing these workouts, and people in the complete category got just as many cheers as those competing. There were so many times during the workouts when the gym was super loud—filled with clanking weights, people breathing hard from effort, loud pumping music and so many shouts of encouragement. The energy and positive atmosphere was my favorite part of the entire three-day soreness-producing event.

So my lesson from all of this? Don’t just get out of your comfort zone—sprint far, far away from it. And then loudly cheer your buddies on to do the same.

Have you ever done a competition of this nature? Pushed out of your comfort zone? Tell me all about it! —Jenn

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  1. Melissa says:

    That sounds insane. I hope you realize what a big, crazy thing you accomplished! I wouldn’t have made it through the first round! Congrats!

  2. Kelli says:

    Congrats to Ryan! And Congrats to YOU for finishing and staying strong! Sounds intense! 🙂

  3. Wow. That is a lot of intense workouts in one weekend! There is no other feeling like being completely exhausted and knowing you gave every bit of what you had. Congrats!

  4. Once again, thanks for your kind words–the Fit Pit is a special place because we have quality members like you and Ryan! And this is where I tell all FBGs to come by the Fit Pit for a complimentary trip outside the comfort zone! Please do come by!!

  5. ballet class says:

    I just read your article very nice. I was wondering about stretching? As a ballet teacher we have many stretching exercises. I wondering if our ballet stretches are the same. Happy for some response

  6. Amanda says:

    I am just finishing week 8 of crossfit! I’m so out of my zone but love it! My goal is to conquer that pull up bar!