There’s something special about a new year and a new race season. It’s an excellent time to start fresh, and of course, it’s a solid opportunity to do some goal setting and realign with your ambitions. Need some ideas? We connected with Spartan CEO and founder Joe De Sena for eight warrior-worthy personal challenge ideas he recommends every Spartan try this year.
8 Challenges to Better Your Mind, Body, and Soul
1. Learn a New Language
Just because your school days may be behind you doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy being a student again. Choose a language that interests you, and a method for getting into the swing of things. With loads of helpful apps out there like Duolingo and Babbel, getting the basics down has never been easier.
2. Meet One New Person Each Day
Over the past few years, you've all had more than enough screen time, and time spent isolated. Put down your screens and talk to people. Whether it’s at your local coffee shop or perhaps just saying hello to someone new at the office, opening yourself up to new people is full of opportunities. You never know what someone can teach you.
3. Create an Eating Window of Only 9-10 Hours Per Day
Over the past few years, more and more people are trying out intermittent fasting — with good reason. Aside from a longer life, it’s been shown to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation. Plus, research shows that it can also reduce blood pressure and help with fat loss. As with any big lifestyle change, make sure to consult with a doctor before drastically altering your diet.
4. Wake Up at 4:00 a.m.
We hear it all the time: The most successful individuals and top CEOs are early birds. Research shows that morning people feel happier and healthier than night owls, so why wouldn’t you want to get in on the action? Ease into your morning routine gently by preparing the night before, whether that be setting out your workout clothes or programming the coffee pot. This way, you won’t feel unnecessarily overwhelmed first thing.
Related: 6 Ways to Become an Early Riser
5. Take Cold Showers Regularly
Albeit frigid, cold showers are all about building mental toughness. Beyond that, when the body’s exposed to the cold, it releases a protein called Adiponectin. “Adiponectin breaks down fat and pushes glucose into cells, if there was a magic-pill, cold showers might be it,” says De Sena. Try alternating between 20 seconds of cold water, with 10 seconds of hot water.
6. Carry a Kettlebell
Not just across the gym floor one time, either. Add more farmers carries, using either dumbbells or kettlebells, to your routine for a total core challenge that will strengthen your foundation for other critical movements in your next race. Plus, the exercise can help improve your grip and leg strength.
7. Do 100 Crunches Every Morning
These don’t have to be your typical crunches, either. Try variations, including a bicycle, woodchop, wiper, or reverse crunch.
8. Conquer a 50K Ultra
Thirty miles and 60 obstacles. It’s a challenge meant for someone with grit and endurance, that takes months of preparation (akin to training for a marathon, but with added strength components). With plenty of Ultras already on the 2023 schedule, there are simply no excuses for why you can't start training right now. Your future self will thank you.