It is no secret that all of us at StriveFit are fond of a challenge. Quite often we are simply asked “but why?”
Honestly, it’s a fair question.
Yes, what we all spend our free time doing is a little out of the ordinary and some might say a little more extreme than most would like to do. However, I genuinely believe that there is nothing any of us have competed in that is outside of the scope that anyone could do it if they chose to.
I really encourage my clients to take on some kind of challenge, it doesn’t have to be running or triathlon but anything that you look at and the first thought is “wow, that looks awesome…I wonder if I could…”. It could be a trek to somewhere you would love to see, it could be that you have always wanted to be able to do a 10k without stopping, it could be that you have never been confident enough to go and walk for the weekend around the lake district. What the challenge is it totally personal and that is why it is a fantastic thing to do.
With that I mind I thought I would write this blog about the things people don’t tell you about when you sign up for a challenge:
The initial excitement is short lived when you get into your first tough session.
Signing up to a challenge is awesome, you get this huge happy hormone hit and the nerves and excitement mix give you a real buzz that lasts! Well it lasts for a while, but then you hit up the first tough session on your plan…probably a few weeks into the training schedule. Suddenly the “ohhh what have I done!” thoughts enter your brain. Completing that first tough session is the first taste of the achievement you feel after the event. It’s awesome to know you are on the road to hitting your goal even if it is a little daunting. Every tough session takes you closer to your goal!
Set backs are part of the challenge, not just the event itself.
Something a lot of people don’t show online is that the event itself is only a fraction of the challenge. It is pretty much the cherry on top of the cake.
Making the commitment to dedicated time and effort towards an event over a sustained period of time is more of a challenge than the day itself. Unfortunately, life will always, always throw things in your way. It doesn’t matter how “perfect” the timing is (and by the way, there is never a perfect time to do anything!) or how good your training plan is. These set backs too are part of the journey! How you deal with these things both physically and psychologically to get to where you want to be is a huge learning curve and skills you can transfer into your general life.
It is mostly mental not physical.
When you think you are done you probably have around 40% left in the tank. Your brain doesn’t want you to get to the point of fatigue, it wants to protect you and always leave you with something left, just in case. It is why you can be near the finish line of a race and exhausted and not sure you can finish only to see the finish line and have a surge of energy to finish. Your body has more than your brain will let you use.
Learning to push through this mental block is a huge part of being successful in your challenges.
Having a support system is incredibly important
When you do any kind of challenge a lot of people will congratulate you on your achievements and ask how you did it etc. Personally, with every challenge I have ever completed (this goes for physical challenges but also with business and academic too) it’s the people around you that deserve the praise. You will have to make sacrifices, you will occasionally be absent from things you would normally do, if it is a big event then it will take over parts of your life. The people closest to you are the ones who this will impact the most.
Hopefully they are supportive of your challenge and by keeping them involved in the process and most importantly being thankful for their support and understanding that they are part of the challenge too is so important.
You will have very specific amnesia
Finish a race or an event and at some point you will think “hmmm, maybe I should do that again…” or “Okay…now what!?”
For some people this kicks in straight away, that post race high means that the pain and exhaustion disappears and BOOM suddenly you are scouring the internet for the next thing to get your teeth into.
For others it takes a couple of days or weeks but 99 times out of 100 this happens. You recover and look back on the challenge you completed and only remember the happiness at finishing and the pride of your achievement.
Having goals to improve your health through body composition is awesome, and totally admirable. However, having dreams further than weight management where you have something to challenge you physically and mentally, something that gets you outside and away from technology for a while, helps to give you some head space and develop your ability to cope with other challenges that face you in life…that is the next level.
Want some help to take on an awesome challenge? Know there is something burning inside you that you really want to do but don’t know how to get there? That is my favourite type of training!
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want some impartial and free advice, love to hear what people are up to!