4 Fitness Challenges to kick your a$* and get you in great shape!

Every year, people make some kind of resolutions for the new year.

Often these are to lose weight, to get fitter, stronger etc.

The sad truth is that most people will fail. Very few resolutions stick and people often return to their old habits. One of the reasons all these plans fail is that they are too vague. ‘Losing weight’ or ‘getting fit’ are not real goals.

A real goal is measurable and you’re able to know when you’ve achieved it.

Losing 15lbs or being able to do 100 push-ups, run a 10k or being able to complete ‘The Murph’ in under 40 minutes – those are goals. They’re specific and they’re measurable. To achieve them you have to put a specific plan in place.

As a by-product of putting this plan in place and working it, you’ll force your body to adapt and the result of this adaptation is that you’ll lose weight, get fitter, stronger etc.

My advice is that if you want to get into shape – set a specific, measurable goal for yourself. Set yourself some challenges to work towards. The by-product is that you’ll get into fantastic shape in order to conquer your challenge.

Challenges need not to be anything extreme or crazy, they just need to be something that is going to hold you to a standard, motivate you and force you to keep adapting and striving to achieve more.

Examples of fitness challenges:

I’ve scoured the internet to find some challenges that’ll whip you into shape in no time. 

Fitness Challenge #1: The 100 Burpee Challenge

Developed by Krista Stryker from the 12-minute athlete, this is a super simple challenge, but simple certainly doesn’t mean easy.

It’s 100 burpees done as fast as possible.

The benchmarks she has put in place are as follows:

If you’re able to complete 100 burpees in:

12+ minutes: You’re an athlete in training! Way to work hard, and don’t stop pushing.
10-12 minutes: You’re an athlete! Awesome job getting past those mental blocks.
8-10 minutes: You’re a super athlete! You’re strong and in great conditioning shape.
6-8 minutes: You’re a total badass! You have some serious burpee skills.
4-6 minutes: You’re the ultimate badass! Be very, very proud.”

Usually the challenge is performed once a month, with you trying to beat your previous time.

By training to continuously do it faster, you’ll end up getting much fitter, leaner and stronger.

Fitness Challenge #2: The 100 Push-up Challenge

Again a very simple challenge – crank out 100 push-ups in a row.

Simple, but not easy.

Working your way up to 100 push-ups in a row is going to take a lot of training. All that training is going get you into supreme shape.

To get you started on your 100 push-up quest, check out the 100-push ups website for a complete training program to get you there.

Fitness Challenge #3: The PLP Challenge

 ‘PLP’ stands for the Push-Lunge-Pull challenge, I first read about it on the Nerd Fitness Blog.

Essentially it involves performing a specified number of push-ups, lunges and pull-ups every day, for 60 days.

You increase the number of reps for each movement by 1, every day.

How to do it:

• If you can do 10 straight pull-ups then you can start Day 1 with 10 reps of each exercise.

• If you cannot do 10 straight pull-ups, then begin with 1 rep of each exercise.

Each day, increase the number of reps for each exercise by 1, for 60 days.

You can do this in addition to your existing workout program, or if you have been sedentary for a while, just getting started with the PLP program will give you something specific and concrete to work towards each day.

It’s not a major time commitment, but at the end of 60 days, if you stick to it, it is guaranteed to make a difference, after all, you’ll be doing 2,370 reps of each exercise over the course of 60 days…

In the beginning, for the first couple of days, you’ll probably be able to do most of the reps for each exercise consecutively, but as the days progress, that will not be possible – unless you’re a freak.

So, break the reps up into as many sets as needed so that you can complete them.

For example:

Let’s say you started Day 1 on 10 reps for each exercise, by Day 11 you’ll be performing 20 reps for each exercise.

Doing that many pull-ups consecutively is more than most people are capable of, so break them up into 4 sets of 5, or whatever you feel appropriate.

You can do the same for the push-ups and lunges, or use a different rep-scheme, it’s entirely up to you, just make sure you get to the required number of repetitions for the day.

Fitness Challenge #3: The Prison Workout Challenge

 This is my favorite. It’s also one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I’ve ever done.

At the heart of any self-respecting ‘Prison workout’ is the Burpee (You can read all about the burpee here.)

The holy grail of the Prison workout is 20 descending sets of burpees, ideally completed in 20 minutes or less.

A descending set, is a set of 20, followed by a set of 19, 18, 17……all the way to 1.

Physically this requires you to be super, super fit. Mentally, it requires you to be able to withstand an inordinate amount of pain, and the ability to keep pushing yourself towards more of it as the clock winds down and you try to complete all of the descending sets in under 20 minutes.

Trust me when I say, if you attempt this challenge, you are in for a WORLD OF HURT.

However, if attempting this challenge (or an easier version of it) is something you’d like to do – training and gearing up for it will result in you dropping huge amounts of fat and getting super lean and mean in the process.

To start off with, try less intense versions of it. You could start with a descending set of 10 and build up from there until you get to 20.

In conclusion:

Don’t make vague fitness resolutions or set wishy-washy goals. Aim for something specific.

Pick a specific challenge/goal that will require you to work hard towards achieving.

Working towards it will get you into far better shape than just showing up and working out for the sake of working out.

Try one of these 4 challenges or design your own.

Leave your comments below and let me know what ideas you have for challenges.


Article by: Bryan Hamann.

Bryan is a personal trainer, certified bootcamp instructor, Ironman Triathlete and author of THE PRISON WORKOUT.

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