Note: Damon Valley is the winner of the Waterbury Challenge 2011. Details coming soon!
Each new year people set fitness goals, and by the end of January those good intentions often get buried beneath a pile of outside obligations. I think the reason why people fail by the end of the month is because their goal wasn’t realistic – they try to do too much too soon. That’s why I created the Waterbury Challenge.
As a fitness professional my job is to outline a program you’ll stick with. It’s also my duty to ensure that the workout gets progressively harder over time so your body continues to transform.
We’re five days into the new year. Your hangover is gone, the family is back where they should be, and all those Holiday sweets have gone stale.
In other words, it’s time to get focused. It’s time to set some goals.
When it comes to setting and achieving goals, most of us fall short when we’re given options. Sounds ironic, I know, but it’s true. For example, if I told you to choose from a list of body weight exercises and do one of them every other day for the rest of the year, I’ll bet you’d eventually lose track.
However, if I told you to do a specific workout every day, it’s likely that you’d stick with it, provided it doesn’t mandate a trip to the gym. Yep, it would become part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth (unless you’re Jessica Simpson). Also, when a long-term goal is set in motion I like to make it logical – mathematically speaking.
That’s why in 2011 I’ve created the Waterbury Challenge. It’s a very short full-body workout that you’ll do every day. And since I like to keep things in sync with the passing year, the workout gets slightly more challenging each day. In other words, the reps for each exercise match the number of days that have passed since January 1.
Here’s the workout for today, the fifth day into the new year.
Pull-up for 5 reps
Push-up for 5 reps
Lunge for 5 reps with each leg
Seems like nothing, right? After all, that workout literally takes you one minute to complete. Heck, you could do it right now.
Tomorrow you’ll do six reps of each exercise since it’s the sixth day of the year. Friday you’ll do seven reps of each exercise. On January 31, 31 days into the new year, you’ll do this:
Pull-up for 31 reps
Push-up for 31 reps
Lunge for 31 reps with each leg
I think you probably have a grasp on this system by now.
Now, you might be wondering if on December 31 you’ll have to do 365 reps of each exercise. That’s not necessary, although you must admit it’d be pretty cool. Plus, it would take a pretty big leap of faith on my part to assume that any of us could stay on track for 365 days straight.
However, what if you followed that progressive workout for half the year – 182 days? Well, my birthday is July 1 and it just so happens to be the halfway point in the year. So that, my friends, is how long the 2011 Waterbury Challenge will last – 182 days.
This challenge serves three important purposes. First, it makes fitness a part of your daily life. Second, it will build your mettle and willpower, and this will carry over into everything else you do. Third, it will help you get leaner and stronger over the next 6 months because this workout will serve as a complement to your training program. Think of it as a metabolic booster or GPP work.
Plus, if you’re ever in need of a conversation starter at a party or business meeting, just tell them you’re doing this challenge and you’re sure to entertain, or scare the hell out of, your friends.
Now, here’s my challenge to you. Join me on this journey (yep, I’m doing it, too) and video yourself doing 182 reps pull-up, push-up and lunge on July 1, 2011.
On that day I’ll put $500 into the Paypal account of the person who has the fastest time to completion.
Or forget about the competition and prize money and just do it to get leaner, stronger and healthier.
For those of you who want to participate but are interested in the challenge more than the prize, check out the answers to these questions that you’re probably thinking.
Question: Is this a stand alone program?
Answer: No, definitely not. This challenge should be performed in addition to your current training program. For example, if you’re doing the Body of F.I.R.E. program, add these daily workouts on top of it, at any point in the day (it only takes a few minutes at first).
Do this workout first thing in the morning or use it as your warm-up for your regular workout on days you lift weights. Any push-ups, pull-ups or lunges that are already in your regular program don’t count towards your daily requirement. This must be added on top of what you’re already doing.
Question: What if I can’t do a pull-up?
Answer: If you’re a female, or too weak to do a full pull-up, you can do any upper body pull in place of it: inverted row, dumbbell row, lat pulldown, assisted pull-up, etc. It doesn’t matter which upper body pulling exercise you use, just choose one you have access to every day.
However, to win the prize money you have to do pull-ups (any hand position is accepted).
Question: Can I slightly vary the exercises over time?
Answer: Yes, it’s wise to use different variations of the exercise every few days. For example, you can switch between a wide hand position push-up and a narrow one. Or you could do forward lunges instead of reverse lunges. For pull-ups, use different hand positions.
Question: This sounds like too much volume. How am I supposed to do that many pull-ups every day?
Answer: Well, it wouldn’t be a challenge if it were easy. However, I understand that some people won’t have the will to knock off such a high volume of pull-ups in the months to come. However, it’ll be months before you get to a high volume, and your body will be prepared for it.
You can use any upper body pulling movement in place of the pull-up. Just be certain it’s an exercise that you could easily do 10 times right from the start (even though you’ll only do 5 reps the first day). Then stick with that same weight throughout the months to come. At the very least, do the lunges and push-ups every day.
Question: Who qualifies for the prize money?
Answer: Anyone who’s on my newsletter list. If you haven’t signed up you can do so at the banner on the top of this page. Then, reply to this post and say “I’m in.” That’s all it takes.
Question: What if I can’t start today?
Answer: You must start by Friday, January 7, to reap the full benefits (you’ll start with 7 reps of each exercise on that day).
Question: I’m a female and I want to join this challenge. Is it fair to make me do pull-ups to win the cash?
Answer: Females can perform an inverted row (on a bar or TRX straps) instead of pull-ups. If she has the fastest time, she’ll win the money.
Question: Do I have to do all the reps in one set?
Answer: Definitely not. Once we get further into the year you’ll have to break up the total reps into a few sets to achieve the goal for that day. Do as many sets as it takes. Do the workout as a circuit or straight sets – it doesn’t matter. Just get the reps done every day.
Question: What if I miss a workout?
P.S. Remember to reply to this post and say “I’m in” by January 7 to qualify for the cash.