by Zach Even – Esh
Author, The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength & Conditioning
Successfully completing The 20X Challenge is going to require some specific preparation to ensure that you are not just physically prepare but also mentally prepared.
After going through the first ever 20X Challenge I have been asked many times what it takes to “be ready”. I’ll be sharing my tips below. Put them to use immediately but also, do not be a slave to these tips. Apply them and tweak them according to your own weak points.
Tip #1: Get used to running and training in your Military style boots. I began to train in and out of the gym wearing my military style boots on a regular basis. I trained on the beach, at the park, in my garage and in my gym. Get those boots wet and then run and perform bodyweight exercises. When your boots and socks get water logged, it feels like you’re wearing 20 lb ankle weights. Get used to doing flutter kicks, sprints and more with those water logged boots.
Tip #2: Get STRONG & Durable with all calisthenics. I started almost every day with 5 rounds of Cindy. I would wake up around 5:30 AM and go through all 5 rounds non stop. I often used this as a warm up AND finisher during many workouts as well, sometimes while wearing my 30 lb ruck bag. Perform high reps of lunges, jumping jacks, flutter kicks and more. Make them more challenging by performing these exercises while already fatigued. For example, get out to the park for a trail run and every 10 minutes perform 100 reps of a different bodyweight exercise. Practice MURPH a few times with your bodyweight and eventually with full gear and ruck. Even better, do MURPH after crushing yourself through at least 2 hours of training. 3) Perform odd object lifts. Get used to training with stones and sandbags. There are many methods and exercises you can do with stones and sandbags. Prepare for the unknown. No 20X is the same.
Tip #3: Your training should NOT be perfect.
Tip #4: LOVE the WORK. Prepare for your workouts to at least double their current intensity. There is NO time for excuses if you are prepping for 20X. I would find myself doing 200 or 300 flutter kicks several times a day, just dropping to the floor and banging them out. I would do 40-50 push ups at a clip even while out in public, just dropping down and banging them out. Don’t FEAR the work, LOVE it!
Tip #5: Shock Your Body & Mind. Start shocking yourself with the unknown. If you normally start each workout with a big lift such as a squat or deadliest or clean and press, do the opposite. Fatigue yourself first with a warm up, a run, bear crawls and high rep calisthenics, THEN go and hit your heavy lift! This challenges you physically and mentally.
Tip #6: Compete. Sign up for a road race or any local challenge and compete. Get used to competing. As the saying goes, “It Pays to be a Winner!” I’m sure you can imagine what that means at 20X 🙂
Tip #7: Train Under Imperfect Conditions. Train when it’s too hot or too cold, train with your pants soaking wet. Ask someone to drive you 5 miles from home and then you run back in your street clothes wearing jeans and uncomfortable clothing. During 20X your comfort will end 5 seconds into the challenge. Don’t fear it, embrace it and LOVE it.
Tip #8: Get Comfortable Being UNcomfortable. It’s as simple as that. Make things tougher on yourself, NOT easier.
Tip #9: Inspire Yourself & Learn From TOUGH Mentors / Coaches. Seek out training partners, friends and mentors that inspire you and educate you to always be tougher and stronger than yesterday.
Tip #10: Know Your WHY.
This is the MOST important aspect of successfully completing and LOVING your 20X Challenge. Dig deep and ask yourself why you are going through this challenge. The 20X challenge is NOT just about the day of the challenge, it is ALL the training and lifestyle changes you experience leading up to the event.
The entire time through my 20X challenge I thought about my kids. This pulled me through all the cramps, pain and discomfort. I found myself laughing at the cramps and pain and actually enjoying it. It no longer was pain, but pleasure.
Zach is the Creator of The Underground Strength Coach Certification and The Founder of The Underground Strength Gym.
For more info on Best Selling Book, The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength & Conditioning, Click HERE
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