How to Mentally and Physically Prepare for the Get Fit Challenge
When you heard about the Get Fit Challenge, what was the first thing that came to mind? I’ll go out on a limb and guess that it wasn’t pure joy and excitement. Likely, your thoughts were leaning towards thinking this is “impossible”, “too hard” or “not for me”. Well, I’d like to challenge those doubtful thoughts, because the Get Fit Challenge is for you and you can most definitely do it! With some physical and mental preparation, everyone at Get Fit has the ability to conquer the Get Fit Challenge. Here are some tips for preparing yourself to dominate this Challenge:
Change Your Mindset
This might be the most important part to you succeeding in this challenge. We can be our biggest supporter or our biggest critic- what you say to yourself matters. Imagine you are halfway through the deadlifts and you tell yourself either: A) I only have 25 more reps, I’ll break it up into 5 sets of 5. I can do this. OR B) I’m only halfway there. There’s no way I can finish this. Which scenario do you think will set you up for a success and a mostly enjoyable experience?
Positive affirmations are extremely powerful. They can help us believe in ourselves and get through difficult moments in life. If you’re not sure what this looks like, here are some positive affirmations you can say to yourself between now and the Challenge:
- When you sign up for the Get Fit Challenge (you should do that now, by the way): “I am awesome for pushing myself to do something new and intimidating.”
- When you make it to the gym in preparation for the challenge: “I am so proud of myself for making it to class today. I am making myself stronger and healthier, because I matter.”
- When you practice lap swimming, even though you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing: “It doesn’t matter that I’m not sure what I’m doing. I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to do something new that will benefit my physical and mental health. I will feel great after this!”
- The day of the challenge: “I am so ready for this challenge and can’t wait to finish it.”
- During the challenge:
- During the run: “With every step I take, I am one step closer to finishing.”
- During the swim: “I am becoming a better version of myself with every lap that I swim.”
- During the weights: “I am powerful. I am strong. I can do this.”
While mentally preparing yourself is extremely important, there is some physical preparation you should do as well. When I’ve talked to people about the challenge, the swim is hands down the scariest part. If you’ve never swam laps or don’t know how to swim, this is a great motivator to learn something new. Remember, we are changing our mindsets, so “I don’t know how to swim” becomes “I need to learn how to swim for this Challenge”. A great way to learn how to swim in a safe environment is to join the Get Fit triTRAINed program and learn from our experienced coach, Nick Walejeski.
For anyone that knows how to swim but hasn’t swam laps before, you just need to get in the pool. It may seem intimidating, but remember everyone in the pool is there for their own workout and they are all looking down at the water. No one is paying attention to you. We frequently keep ourselves from trying new things, because we worry what others will think of us. Well guess what, I think it’s absolutely awesome when people go outside of their comfort zones and try new things, like lap swimming. I’m going to guess that most people feel similarly, because we all know how hard it can be to try something new. So, just get in the pool!
Equipment can make swimming more enjoyable when you’re just starting out. A pull buoy allows you to keep your legs afloat while just using your arms and a kickboard lets you only use your legs. Both give you something to hold onto and let you practice one part of the stroke at a time. Once you feel pretty comfortable with kicking and pulling, you can put it all together for freestyle.
Twelve laps in the pool might sound like a lot, so let’s break it up! Can you do 3 rounds of 4 laps and take short breaks in between instead? No one said you have to do all 12 at a time. You could even do 6 rounds of 2 laps. Just do what works for you!
People either love or hate running. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. The good part about the Challenge is that it is only a 1-mile run. If you come to Get Fit Strength and Conditioning regularly, I guarantee you that you can run 1 mile. Remember those positive affirmations we talked about earlier? Say it again and again, “I can do the 1-mile run”. If you don’t believe me, why not start practicing now? The more you practice, the more confident you will feel on race day.
Similarly to the swim, the 1-mile run does not mean you have to run the whole time. If running is not your jam, try using intervals to make it more doable and enjoyable. Run for 1, 2 or 3 minutes (choose what works best for you) then walk for 1-2 minutes and repeat until you complete the mile. This strategy will also help you save energy for the rest of the challenge, like the strength-based movements and the bike.
Like the swim and the run, there is no rule that says you have to do all the reps at once. Break up the 50 reps into 5 sets of 10 reps or 10 sets of 5 reps. Do whatever makes it seem easier to accomplish and will allow you to still enjoy the experience. Ultimately we are all here to just have fun and get healthier! Another way to look at completing the strength part is to use the clock. Every minute, you will complete as many reps as you can for 30 seconds then take a 30 second break. This will help keep you on pace, if you are worried about taking too long of breaks. When you’re practicing, play around with each method to see which one you enjoy using the most. Also, if you’d like more experience with strength training, you should check out the brand new Powerlifting classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30PM in the Functional Training room. http://www.getfitstrengthandconditioning.com/programs
50 Dumbbell Press
The best part about this exercise? You’re laying down! It will be a nice break for your legs after the run. The dumbbell press is safer on your shoulders than the regular barbell press and requires more core engagement, since you are using two separate weights.
Check-out these video tutorials, if you’d like to learn step-by-step instructions:
Out of all of the exercises in the challenge, the sit-up is probably the easiest one to prepare for. You can do them pretty much anywhere, so try to sneak them into your day here and there. Need a break at work? Do some sit-ups. Watching TV? Do some sit-ups. Early to class? Do some sit-ups. The key parts to this movement are to have your feet planted, tighten your core before you sit-up and exhale as you sit-up. Since we are going for speed in the Challenge, you can use your arms for momentum to help improve your time by bringing your arms behind your head on the ground and then flinging them forward when you sit-up.
Now that your legs have recovered from the run, it’s time to get them working again! Deadlifts work pretty much every every major muscle group, so be prepared for this exercise to make your whole body burn, in a good way of course. I highly recommend preparing for this exercise and practicing holding onto the barbell for multiple reps. Our grip can be a limiting factor if we aren’t prepared to hold onto that bar for a while. Some other things to consider when doing a deadlift are:
- Keep your abs tight the entire time, and keep your back straight. Don’t arch or roll your back.
- Keep the bar as close to you as possible. You may even get a few nicks on your shins, if you are keeping the bar close enough.
- You aren’t using your back to pull the bar up past your knees. The power comes from a hip thrust and your glutes.
- Everything should move in unison. As you pull the weight up, your legs should straighten as your hips come forward. Basically, your knees should NOT straighten while you are still hinged over. Your hips, knees and feet should all form a straight line at the same time.
For more in-depth information about how to do a proper deadlift, visit: https://stronglifts.com/deadlift/
The fact that this 2-mile bike ride is on a regular spin bike and not an assault bike is really all that matters. You will zoom through this part of the Challenge straight to the finish line. If you’re worried about swimming, running and biking all in one challenge, the Get Fit triTRAINed group is a great way to practice and get some great advice from experienced coaches. http://www.getfitdavis.com/tritrained.html
Remember, just have fun!
You can be incredibly prepared for the Get Fit Challenge, but might not enjoy it if you aren’t ready to just have fun. Let’s be real, this Challenge is not going to qualify us for any olympic event, so let’s just go out there and have a great time together. It will be a much better experience if we cheer each other on and don’t compare ourselves to each other. I look forward to cheering you on and encourage you to come to Get Fit Davis or Get Fit Davis Sport to register today!