December is a terrible month for fitness, but we’re going to change that this year.
Athletes miss more workouts in December than any other month. It’s not that surprising, really. There’s a lot going on between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. People are traveling, there are parties, the days are short, and the weather can get nasty. But what athletes can’t miss are the consequences of workouts undone.
If you want to have great form for spring and summer goals in 2019, you can’t backslide at the end of 2018. When you lose too much fitness from incomplete or haphazard training, it takes weeks or months just to get back to your current level (which is probably already lower than it was in September). Retaining or improving your fitness in December also provides a buffer against future interruptions, like an illness or injury or time-consuming work project.
To give you – and me – additional accountability and motivation to train in December, I’m issuing The D40 Challenge!
Complete 40 hours of training plus 1000 pushups in the month of December.
The rules are simple. Any exercise counts toward the 40 hours. Count your pushups. Track your progress however you’d like.
Along the way, but especially when you are done, let people know what you’re doing by posting the D40 Badge (download badge) and/or photos to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Tag your posts with #D40 so I can find them. Find other athletes’ posts and leave encouraging comments. We’re all in this together!
Post shots from the road or trail, a shot of your TrainingPeaks calendar, your Strava training log, a screenshot of the Wahoo Fitness or Zwift app, or a bunch of other options. If you’re not a social media person, email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can give you some recognition.
This challenge is all about intrinsic motivation. There is no physical prize. You’re doing this for you, just like I’m doing it because the process of training makes me feel good.
Why 40 Hours?
Forty hours is based on the fact many Time-Crunched Athletes are normally able to complete about 8 hours of training per week. Forty hours in December would mean stretching to 10 hours per week. That’s enough to provide a challenge and stimulate fitness gains, but not so over the top that it creates more workload than you should be doing right now.
And the 1000 Pushups…?
To complete 1000 pushups in a month you need to do about 30 per day, which is just 3 sets of 10. The reason I added it to the D40 Challenge is to illustrate a point: small things done consistently can have a big impact. If you do 30 pushups a day for a month, they will be significantly easier to complete on December 31.
In fact, I’m betting you (and I) will naturally start doing more than 30 per day as the month progresses. If you hit 1000 early on, just keep track of how many you complete by the end of the month. For athletes who haven’t been incorporating strength training into your schedule, I’m hoping this small step might lead you to add additional bodyweight exercises and create a 10-20 minute strength routine you continue to do into 2019.
Performance is more than training
The D40 Challenge centers on training, but it’s important to remember that there is more to performance than working out. Your lifestyle and nutritional choices make a huge difference. During the Holiday Season you are likely to over-indulge in a few (or more) ways. A lot of people increase their consumption of sugar, fat, and alcohol during December. Try not to be one of them.
Even if 40 hours and 1000 pushups represent an increased training workload and caloric expenditure, they are unlikely to completely cancel out the increased Holiday calorie intake. Indulging a bit less and training a bit more can go a long way toward narrowing the gap.
Sleep and stress relief are also important in December. Although the Holidays are a happy time on the surface, for many people it is a very stressful season. Too much stress and too little sleep are bad for your health, not to mention your training. Be realistic and pragmatic about the commitments you agree to and the expectations you create for yourself. Doing less is not a bad thing if it means you get more joy out of the things you do.
#D40 Starts Now!
Get started on your D40 Challenge today. I’m planning on getting out on the mountain bike for 2 hours, with three stops for trailside pushups! Show me what you do, and remember to tag posts with #D40.
CEO/Head Coach of CTS
Dr. Zeiger is the principal investigator for The Athlete PEACE Survey, an IRB reviewed and approved study. The anonymous survey takes 5-8 minutes to complete. Athletes are self-defined with no criteria for speed, duration in sport, or even the sport. We encourage you to participate in this survey and add your voice to our understanding of pain management for athletes.