Are you young and active online? Then you’ve probably come across a post along the lines of ‘If you haven’t learned anything new or done something cool in 2020…. you have failed’. Nonsense of course, but now that 2021 is approaching, the pressure is on again. The Holiday bucket lists are coming out and anything is possible.
Six sporting challenges for the new year
Until you think of all the things that can go wrong. Your fear of failure obstructs your entrepreneurial drive and you choose the easy way out. Not anymore! We list six sporting challenges that are not about results, but about progress.
No challenge without danger
But first – a challenge cannot exist without danger. Because that is what challenges are all about. Getting out of your comfort zone, having fun and analyzing what you have learned from it – even if that was nothing at all, you have accepted the challenge. Of course, even before you start, you would like to assure yourself of success. Whether you’re trying a new sport, pushing yourself to extremes, or eating food you don’t know how to respond to… life is full of risks.
And if you are insured, you can take on all the challenges that are still on your bucket list with peace of mind. No inspiration? No problem. Let’s just have 6 nice challenges waiting for you. Time to get out of your comfort zone!
1. The marathon of life
Life is not a sprint, but a marathon’, this metaphor of life is not only the first challenge, but a lesson you apply to every test in this list. It’s not about how fast or how far you get, as long as you get ahead. Just like in a marathon, you must learn to divide your energy, to let ups and downs come at you, and not to compare yourself to the people around you.
Whether you choose an entire marathon (26.219 miles), a half or a quarter, progress is relative. Build up from your point zero and slowly but surely make steps towards your final goal. How long it takes is irrelevant, as long as you reach the finish line.
2. Focus on ‘the big three’
For a moment you and your beloved gym seemed to be separated. And it’s only when you’re at home that you notice how vulnerable life is and how much you miss the iron mite. Use your time in the gym as efficiently as possible and become as strong as possible. How do you do it? By focusing on ‘the big three’: the bench press, the squat and the deadlift.
First measure your current PR’s. Then refine your technique with each exercise, gradually increase the weight and go for a respectable 1RM – the heaviest weight you can lift once. What kind of numbers are these? Take your body weight and multiply it by 1.2 (squat), by 0.9 (bench press) and by 1.5 (deadlift). Now you have a set of nice target weights, but again, progress is progress.
3. Start with a new sport
A fit body is an active body. Lifting heavy discs every time in the gym is not the only key to a long healthy life. Are you thinking, ‘go for a ride!’? That’s what we think too, among other things. Cycling, kickboxing, CrossFit, cross-country skiing. Nothing is too crazy to scale up your weekly activity a bit. Developing a new passion between the heavy lift sessions can be relaxing and rewarding too.
4. Become a boss in calisthenics
Chances are that in the Covid era you are exposed – unconsciously or not – to calisthenics: training with your body weight. And hell, you’ve become a lot better at push-ups and pull-ups. How many can you do without stopping? Maybe you want to improve that number. A 100 kilogram bench press is impressive, but few mouths remain closed when you show that you can do 100 push-ups in a row.
How do you go about it? Do as many push/pull-ups as possible. Suppose you can do 10. Then tomorrow you do 11, in multiple sets (for example: a set of 6 and a set of 5 repetitions). The next day you do 12, then 13. Make sure each set is easy for avoiding overtraining yourself.
5. Love yourself and eat a lot
You know it. You like to eat a lot, but as soon as your pathetic abdominal muscles start to fade under a layer of fat, you reduce the number of calories again. In this way you keep yo-yoing and you actually deprive yourself of progression. Go for it, we would say. Bulk with conviction.
Even though you probably tell yourself the opposite: others don’t respect you more or less because of how much muscle mass you have. It is the discipline they find fascinating. If you are committed to growth, nobody cares about that extra layer.
6. Become green and muscular like the Hulk
As long as you keep training, you will continue to grow until you look as impressive as the Hulk. Except for the green one. But to become so muscular, you also have to eat well. Especially in bulk, it’s tempting to lose yourself in unhealthy menu choices and binge sessions full of chips and chocolate. For the gains, you say.
But do you want to get the most out of your body and get as close to the Hulk as possible? Then you need that green touch. Try eating full vegan for a month. That way you can still get all your macros (and yes, also your proteins) without being unhealthy. Moreover, your green lifestyle is also good for the planet. Nothing for you? Then you will find out while you are thinking about your food choices and learn to be more creative with food.