Sometimes, it’s the small things that make the biggest difference. The human organism is great with adaptation. If it feels like you’ve adapted to that training program of yours or if you’re in need of a new challenge-it may be time to add in what I call “Physio Challenges.” Physio challenges are small, effective, and achievable challenges designed to complement your training goals.
Why use a “physio challenge?”
They create the time and stimulus necessary to improve your performance, health, and/or surpass goals. Physio challenges can be used to work on things like skill development, addressing specific imbalances or weaknesses, work capacity increases (GPP), changes in nutrition, you name it really. Your own physical benefits just depend on the long term goal, the structure and type of challenge you choose.
They’re simple and quick. Challenge tasks should take no more than 30 minutes per day, preferably less. The task will meet a short term goal that’s in alignment with a long term goal of yours. I’ve implemented all kinds of physio challenges over the years, here are a few examples:
- Chin-up Challenge: Complete 1000 chin-ups in 20 days; helped me achieve 20 bodyweight chins in 1 set.
- Meditation Challenge: At least 10 minutes of meditation per day for 30 days; improved my focus, well-being, and really changed my life.
- AM Core Circuit: 3 sets of 3 different types of bodyweight core exercises-done every morning after rolling out of bed for 6 months. Helped resolve a core imbalance and back pain issue I’d developed from years of soccer.
- 3am Protein Shake: Set an alarm to wake at 3am, down a nutrient dense shake, and go back to bed. Over 4 months-along with calorie and nutrient dense diet during the day-provided the extra calories I needed to gain 8lb. of muscle.
They’re effective. When we hit plateaus, it can be a sign we need a greater stimulus, or to develop weak areas. The physio challenge provides exactly that: the extra stimulus or focus necessary to overcome the plateau and reach your goal.
How to create your own physio challenge:
- What’s the large scale goal your after? How long will it take you to achieve this large scale goal (realistically)?
- What’s a critical component or aspect of that goal that, if you were better at, would help you achieve your goal?
- What exercise, practice, or action can you complete quickly that will enhance that small component?
- When and where will you do it? (Should be easily accessed, simplicity is key here)
- How will you feel when you complete your 1st physio challenge?
- Get after it!
Note-goals with long timelines will definitely require periodization. Periodization will let the CNS recharge and keep the stimulus effective by taking breaks from the challenge. For example if your long term training goal is 10 weeks away, it might look something like this: physio challenge for 3 weeks, eliminate it for 2, hit it again for 3 weeks, and another 2 off.
Follow the template, consult a professional if necessary, and have fun on your own physio challenge!