The Purpose of Discomfort

“But… I like pleasure… and pain? That hurts! That doesn’t make any sense!”
Of course it does.

Consider the pleasure of comfort.
Now, consider your goals.

Whether the goal is giving up sweets, working out 5 times a week, getting certified for scuba diving, 21 days of no television, completing a marathon, saving up money for Christmas presents, sleeping 8 hours a night, or being a good mother, father, sibling, or spouse, comfort will try to get in the way.

You’ve created these goals because you believe they will improve the quality of your life. Sweets? Those are comfort foods. Working out is uncomfortable. Scuba diving can be scary. No television? That means no Netflix and chill. You want the new iPhone, but can you still afford the gift for your mother? Going to bed earlier requires discipline. Being a decent person? That requires what everything else requires. Sacrifice.

But you’re giving up something you enjoy for the fulfillment of something more important. Sacrifice is uncomfortable in the moment, but sacrifice the sweets and you’ll enjoy a healthier body. Get off the couch and into the gym and you may be fighting off chronic disease. Face the fear of holding your breath and you can experience a new world underwater. Turn the TV off and enjoy the company of a friend or the serenity of a peaceful solitary mind. Take one challenging step at a time and you’ll eventually get to 26.2 miles. Hold off on the new gadgets to put a smile on your loved ones’ faces. Power down earlier so you can wake up refreshed. Live to provide happiness to others and find that you’ve also given yourself happiness.

Pain and discomfort aren’t to be feared.
Pleasure and comfort aren’t to be our aim.
But for all, we are to be thankful.

- Coach Chad Kackert

Chad Kackert
Choose Your Intention
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The Pointe.

with Alisa.

If you have taken my class before, I'm sure you have heard me ask, "What you would like to accomplish in the next hour?" I really believe each class is an opportunity to discover something new, or focus on a particular exercise or section. It's so easy to come in and go through the motions and become caught up in the routine of it all, especially as we get deeper into the holiday season. For sure I have days where I want to "just get through it." I also know I owe it to myself not to do that.

I can always find something new, or focus on technique, sometimes just listen to my body. The opportunity is there, always. Yes, I approach class (both teaching and taking) this way, but it can carry over into the next hour, or day. Ultimately the opportunity is yours, and how far you are willing to take it. Hold on to it, see what works, and go from there.

7 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your VBF Class

Getting the most out of your VBF Class

Chances are, at some point during class you may have heard your instructor say phrases like “this class is what you make it!” or “this is YOUR hour!”…

… but what exactly do we mean by that? Well, since we are all unique people that live unique lifestyles, we will all experience barre class in our own way. For example, a person with ballet experience may have an easier time with sequencing and timing, but feel challenged during cardio or upper body conditioning. A runner may excel with cardio, but have difficulty with flexibility. Someone who is new to exercise, is recovering from an injury, or trying to get back into shape might feel a bit overwhelmed with the class as a whole. That’s all totally normal and totally ok! We all come across our own challenges during the hour we spend at the barre, but it’s so much easier to tackle and overcome those challenges when you have some tools to use that will help you! Here’s 7 different ways that you can make the most out of YOUR barre-time!

  1. Focus on something specific within your technique. Thinking about a section of class (barre thighs, cardio, ballet, etc.) as a whole can be overwhelming and we sometimes tend to lose ourselves in the sets. Instead, try to focus on something specifically challenging for YOU within the exercise you’re doing. Example: keeping your working leg straight during outer thighs, or keeping your lower back flat on the floor during abs. The smaller victories add up to the bigger picture, and you’ll see vast improvement in your technique!

  2. Change up your weights. Not just upping the weight, either! Maybe try no weights at all and focus on your movement technique. Switch it up and keep your routine interesting!

  3. Set a mental intention before class. Think about what mindset you want to utilize so that you feel encouraged and motivated throughout class, because it’s just as much a mental workout as a physical one! Think of one word that you can come back to when you feel challenged- like “patience”, “positivity”, or “honesty”. Something that means something to YOU that day. 

  4. Ask questions! Us instructors LOVE to talk, and we LOVE you guys! If you ever are unsure about an exercise or sequence or anything at all, please feel free to ask us! We’re always happy to help you out, so utilize us anytime!

  5. Listen to your body and take breaks if you need to. Here’s the general rule: if it burns, keep pushing through; if it hurts, take a break! Nothing we do in class should cause you pain or injury. NEVER sacrifice your technique to force yourself through a set. Safety first!

  6. Try not to look around at other people too much. It’s very tempting and very much normal to feel as though you need to compare yourself to others in the room. Sometimes it’s a useful tool, like if you think you’re on the wrong side or if you want to make sure you have enough room to move. But challenge yourself every so often to TRUST YOURSELF and TRUST YOUR MISTAKES. I know that sounds crazy. But hear me out: we make mistakes for a reason. Instead of being frustrated with our mistakes and hiding them, I challenge you to ask yourself why you made that specific mistake. Why did this specific exercise/move give you trouble? For example, if barre thighs is super hard for you and you can’t seem to get through it, ask yourself why. Maybe your lower back is in pain and it’s too uncomfortable to get through a whole set because of it. OK, so now you know that your back needs more support. In order to do that, you must engage your core and stretch off your barre instead of hanging off of it. Now you can tackle barre thighs again with your newfound knowledge and watch your strength and stamina build! Of course, thats just one specific example. If you ever want help analyzing your most common mistakes, just ask us instructors and we’ll be more than happy to help you!

  7. HAVE FUN!!! What’s the point in doing all this work if you’re not having fun doing it? When in doubt, dance it out! If there’s ever a time in class where you feel mentally exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed, just DANCE. Really! The music is playing, just let go of your inhibitions and vibe out to the beat- it does wonders. Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a moment to be silly or to chill out. I like to use this saying sometimes during class: “If your train of thought comes off the tracks, take a moment, breathe, and when you’re ready get right back on the rails”. Remember, it’s YOUR hour. Take from it what YOU want. Create what YOU want to see in yourself. 

    See you at the barre!

    ~ Christina

Chad Kackert