Peace, Love & Giraffes

Chasing dreams and adventure in South Africa

Toning up my tush in Africa + breaking out of a comfort zone

My perspective on working out isn’t what it used to be. I’ve always been interested in health and fitness, but I now realize it was for all the wrong reasons. Working out used to be something I had to do occasionally so I could eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight. The reason I joined cross fit before my wedding wasn’t for the stress relief, or to feel empowered, it was to look good in my dress.

But for the last three weeks I’ve been participating in a workout challenge and it’s changed my whole perspective.

Now it’s not so much about having a hot body (although it doesn’t hurt!) but working out has come to mean pushing boundaries and learning to be okay with being uncomfortable. It makes you aware and appreciative of your body and everything it does for you.  When you run more miles than you ever thought you could, and push yourself to do one more set, you realize that, to quote the great Michael Jordan, “limits, like fears are often just illusions.” It encourages you to seek new experiences, be open minded, and gives you confidence that says “I can conquer anything.”

For the first time in my life, I feel like I have found a genuine confidence. The new routine combined with the fact that I’m in a different country has changed me. I’ve found myself thinking about abseiling down Table Mountain when we go to Cape Town next week, talking to random strangers and last week I won a bet by skinny-dipping for the first time! (What??? I KNOW. I should probably do a post on that!) I’m also considering running a half marathon. Who is this skinny-dipping-abseiling-marathon-running girl??? I kind of like her.

But in all honesty, who says you can’t enjoy life, love your body and soul, and be your authentic self all at the same time? It’s not one or the other, and it’s not for other, more worthy people. It’s something that everyone can have. It’s for you. 

Like most things, it’s taken a bit of a journey for me to get to this healthy place.

Here’s the story.

South Africa is known for its fantastic climate and beautiful scenery, and when we were planning our trip I was so excited about the thought of having more time for walks, hikes, golf and enjoying the outdoors. I wouldn’t be chained to a desk at a 9-5 job and making an active lifestyle more of a priority would be a cinch.

And it was at first. I felt energized and did take full advantage of everything, soaking it all in and enjoying the new lifestyle. The complex we live in is so beautiful and safe and is perfect for sunset runs. Fast forward a few months and something changed. I started going to the gym and for runs less often and opting to stay indoors. It was so strange because it seemed to be the opposite of what I wanted. The reality was it was just easier. Not everything was new and exciting anymore and I had slipped into a comfort zone. Funny how that happens, right?

I had been following Karena and Katrina from ToneItUp on Instagram for a while and saw they were doing a Love Your Body series for Valentines Day. It took me five days to decide if I was going to do sign up for the challenge. I was intrigued by the concept of run/walk/cycling 100 miles by Valentines Day, but not sure if I could commit. Eventually I decided it wouldn’t hurt to freshen up my gym routine and lose the holiday bloat so I jumped on the bandwagon and signed up. I became a Tone It Up girl.
I’ve just completed my 3rd week of the challenge and I’ve run/walked/cycled 64 miles + completed daily workout challenges. Maybe it’s just the endorphins talking, but I feel SO. GOOD. I have a big dorky smile plastered on my face as I write this. The Tone It UP trainers Karena and Katrina have such enthusiasm for working out and living a healthy lifestyle, it’s contagious. I love the workouts and the community of Tone It Up girls who inspire and motivate each other.


I check in on Instagram daily with my workouts & food choices which holds me accountable, and I love how K&K plan out all of your workouts for you, so there is no excuse not to do them. (My biggest gym complaint was that I never knew what to do, and when to do it). In fact, for many of the workouts you don’t even need a gym – just a mat and sometimes a set of dumbbells or kettle ball. Perfect for traveling!

If you’re thinking about changing up your workout routine, find it difficult to work out consistently, or are just feeling stuck in a comfort zone, you have to check out  Peace out, comfort zone!

Question: Have  you found yourself stuck in a comfort zone? What got you out of it?


By | January 27th, 2014 | SHOW COMMENTS (4)

4 Responses

  1. Jessica says

    As we were talking about my blog today I realized I hadn’t checked yours in a while, and I love this post! I appreciate the idea of workouts being about pushing yourself past what you think you can do – sometimes I look back on my life and think proudly, I can’t believe I DID that. More of life should be about consciously choosing what we want for ourselves, and understanding why we do what we do.

    On a similar note – I am working on getting through a 30 day challenge on, it’s taking me a lot longer than 30 days but it’s still way harder than any workout I could come up with on my own! I’ll be checking out yours next 🙂

    • Nicole_Ehrlich says

      Hi Jessica! Thanks for stopping by! I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment… “life should be about consciously choosing what we want for ourselves.” Instead of just allowing things to happen to us, we have to consciously choose the paths we want to take and the experiences we want to have in life. It is hard work, but blogging has been so great for self-reflection and understanding why I do what I do!

      I can’t say enough good things about! I haven’t heard of, so I’ll have to check out yours too!. Good luck finishing your challenge!

  2. Kaelene @Unlocking Kiki says

    Being in the middle of a cold dark winter I have found my motivation to work out going away. I think being in a secure relationship can at times cause me to be a bit to comfortable and feel okay just being lazy and not working out. Exercising is such a huge part of my life though and there is nothing better than the endorphins you get after a great workout. Keep up the good work!

    • Nicole_Ehrlich says

      Yes! Love those endorphins! Growing up in Florida, I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like in a cold, dark winter. I probably wouldn’t want to leave my house, let never mind work out! You will find your groove again soon. Just remember how good you feel after a good work out. 🙂