How 3 Editors Defied Their Own Expectations and Reached New Fitness Heights

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Comfort zones earn their titles for a reason — they help create a space that feels familiar and ownable. They're, well, comfortable. But after a while, they can start to feel too safe . . . and that's where they real challenge sets in. This is especially true when it comes to fitness.

Call it being stuck in a rut, hitting a wall, or just feeling plain unsatisfied with a lack of results, but pushing past your limits can be the ultimate hurdle. That's why it feels so rewarding when you finally get there. To help put this feeling into words, we've tapped a few active editors to share their experiences. From the track to the weight room to even the barn, read on to see how defying your own expectations can be a major game changer.

By Doing It For a Cause That Moves You

By Doing It For a Cause That Moves You

While everyone's fitness journeys are (and should be!) entirely personal, that doesn't mean certain things can't motivate you to turn up the heat. For example, when assistant fitness editor Tamara Pridgett got the opportunity to do a half-marathon for a cause close to her heart, she was immediately sold on the idea.

Her Story: "A year ago, if you would've asked me if I would ever do a race over 400 meters, the answer would've been no! That all changed a few months ago when I had the opportunity to run the New York City Half Marathon for the Lower Eastside Girls Club, where I mentor. My only goals were to never stop running and finish under two hours, and I did it! I was so proud of myself, because aside from one 800-meter race when I was in high school, that was the furthest distance I had ever competitively run. I felt like a total badass being that my background is in sprinting and 13.1 miles was the exact opposite."

The Fitness Essentials That Keep Her Going: "My top three workout essentials are a great playlist paired with wireless headphones ($197), supportive (but stylish) sneakers ($90), and functional leggings ($65)."

By Seeking Out a Support Network

By Seeking Out a Support Network

Struggling to nail a yoga pose, perfect a technique, or reach a new personal record in the weight room? Take a note from fitness editor Gina Florio, and find a support network of like-minded people.

Her Story: "I have been working on my handstand for a really long time, and for a while I didn't think I would actually be able to hold one. It was pretty frustrating. But I joined the San Francisco Movement Practice (the Ido Portal Method) and started to put in a lot more time and work. Soon enough, a couple weeks ago, I held my handstand for a full 25 seconds! It was the most euphoric feeling of accomplishment."

The Fitness Essentials That Keep Her Going: "I can't live without a pair of black 3/4 length leggings ($60), because there's nothing more flattering. They also pair with anything I own, so I never have to worry about matching as I'm running out the door for a workout. I also love having a multifunctional bodysuit ($45, originally $75) on hand at all times. I can wear it to my movement classes, yoga, circuit HIIT training, and weightlifting. Lastly, PUMA Defy Sneakers ($90) are a must have — they go with everything, and are versatile and useful for every part of my fitness routine."

By Finding a New Active Beat

By Finding a New Active Beat

With changing priorities, schedules, and goals, sometimes the things your life once revolved around come to an end. This was exactly the case when assistant native editor Carrie Carrollo made a cross-country move.

Her Story: "While my peers got carpooled off to volleyball or track and field practice after school, I spent (what seemed like) every spare moment embodying my inner equestrian. But after 12 years of riding and competing, I was ready to close that chapter when I moved to New York. What I didn't realize was that the mentally therapeutic benefits of riding would eventually stop, too. In an effort to find them again, I threw myself into a variety of workouts — all of which were new, intimidating, and beyond what I was confident my body could handle. I began working out nearly every day, experimenting with everything from boxing to a surfboard cardio class (yes, that's a thing), and even tried them alone — a scary feat for me! It's been a total game changer, both mentally and physically."

The Fitness Essentials That Keep Her Going: "A stainless steel water bottle ($35) is a definite must have because it keeps water cold for literally hours. I also love having supportive sports bras ($45) that are versatile enough to wear to any workout — including to the barn! And, as weird as it may sound, I can't live without a variety of the fitness-related apps on my phone. Similar to a fitness tracker ($120), my phone's built in 'health' app tracks my stats and steps, and my gym's app has a schedule of my classes to keep me organized."

More from PUMA

More from PUMA

Defy bravely opposes tradition. And it's perfect for the woman who does just the same. She's not one for convention and has no desire to do what's "average." She carves her own lane, but remains accessible and down to earth. And just like the young, progressive woman of today, Defy is everything you need but nothing you expect. Learn more about Defy at Puma.com.