By Nick Nilsson
Author of Mad Scientist Muscle
This is very simple...
My challenge to YOU is to challenge YOURSELF.
Allow me to explain.
One of the things I'm most passionate about in life is training...and one of the REASONS I love it so much is it gives me so many opportunities to challenge myself both physically and mentally...to really push the limits of what I think is possible and, honestly, what is even reasonable (or sane).
If you're lacking motivation, this is EXACTLY what is missing for you.
And it's HUGE.
I can pretty much promise you that if you have a hard time motivating yourself to get to the gym, one of the primary reasons is because you're not forcing yourself outside your comfort zone and you're not doing stuff that's awesome on a regular basis.
Because speaking from experience, the edge is where the REAL fun happens, and it's what truly gives you the sense of accomplishment that you're craving (and not getting) from your training.
3 sets of 10 reps of bench press every Monday?...boring.
You're not going to tell your friends about how you did 3 sets of 10 reps with good form on the bench press.
You ARE going to tell your friends that you did interval training by pushing your car up and down the block and that it was awesome because all the neighbors thought you were crazy and kept asking if you were out of gas.
THAT is the type of challenge I'm talking about and I promise you that when you do challenges like this, they'll drive YOUR passion for training, too.
Here are a few of my personal favorite challenges...
1. Deadlifting, Squatting or Benching for Reps
The idea here is to blast out as many reps as you can with a moderate weight and really push yourself to the limit. Just do ONE set of that exercise and give it everything you've got. Keep it in your head that there's nothing to save for after.
Go for fast speed and decent form (it doesn't have to perfectly strict but don't go to bad form that causes injury).
Here are my best numbers on the rep challenge, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.
- Deadlifts...315 lbs x 40 reps, 405 x 20 reps
- Squats...315 lbs x 40 reps
- Bench Press...225 lbs x 25 reps, 135 lbs x 75 reps
2. High Volume Training
For this type of challenge, I'll use either of two training methodologies...
I'll set a performance-based or time-based goal for myself within the confines of either of those techniques and everything I can to hit it (for example, I'll tell myself I have to do T/V Training using decline push-ups doing sets of 3 reps on 10 seconds rest for 40 minutes straight, without ever increasing the rest).
3. Carrying For Distance
This is self-explanatory. I like to do this around my neighborhood but if you're shy to do that, just carry stuff around your yard or house or on a track or something where nobody is around.
I carry water jugs, sandbags, suitcases, dumbbells (for Farmers Walks), kettlebells...I've even carried 40 lb bags of dog food. I'll set a distance in my head and ground rules for the carry and then I'll just do it.
You can carry at your sides like a Farmers Walk, on your shoulders, in front of you...you can gives yourself intervals to set stuff down and rest or you can carry all the way straight through with no break. It's up to you as it's YOUR challenge.
For example, I've carried a 135 lb sandbag on my back on a 2 mile walk. The first time I did it, my rule was I could only set it down at the end of each block, if I wanted to/had to. It was brutal...it took me 38 minutes to cover 2 miles and my entire upper back was screaming at me but I DID IT.
And the feeling of accomplishment...the feeling of doing something that the VAST majority of "normal" people would never or could never do is absolutely awesome.
I want YOU to have that feeling because THAT is what's going to keep you motivated, keep you having FUN with your training and keep you coming back for more.
THAT is motivation.
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