The top 5 things that helped me survive my first ultra

A year ago, if you’d have told me I’d take on a 31-hour, non-stop relay event and actually enjoy it, I wouldn’t have just been surprised. I would most likely have responded with hysterical laughter.

Despite having crewed countless ultra-running endurance events, thanks to a couple of ultra-loving individuals you may know (aka the co-founders of V&B Athletic) I’d never, ever contemplated actually doing one. Until I was invited to be part of a team tackling one of the world’s craziest, no-rules races, The Speed Project (TSP).

The mission?

To run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas through Death Valley, a total of 550km, not stopping until you hit the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.

As a relative newcomer to running, having only taken it up for a milestone birthday a few years back, the entire idea filled me with terror.

Having started with 5km Park Runs, gradually followed by City2Surf, half-marathons and in July last year my first marathon, every fibre of my being wanted to scream “Hell no!” when I was ambushed at the office and asked to join Team 440 for TSP 2020.

But since life’s too short not to challenge yourself, I said yes.

And the rest is history.

For those who’ve always wanted to tackle ultra-running but never dreamed it could be possible… I’m living proof that, with the right training, it absolutely is.

So in the interests of sharing, here are the top five things that helped me get across the finish line intact, and with a huge smile on my face.

Start training early

I can’t stress this one enough. Starting well in advance of your event is the secret to success, and has so many benefits.

It means no last-minute panic, allows you to build up fitness and strength gradually. It also minimises the risk of injury from overload, and ensures you go into the event as physically and mentally prepared as possible, knowing that you’ve done all the hard work prior to race day.

When TSP 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic in March – three days before our team was due to fly out – rather than feeling defeated, I kept on training. With the entire world turned upside down, the routine and structure of a training program during lockdown was a massive sanity-saver.

Also, having the motivation and accountability of my V&B Athletic family to rely on during this time was a total game-changer. There’s no way I would have done this level of training or preparation if left to my own devices.

All I had to do was turn up, train with the group and gradually, over a period of six months – without even realising it – I got fitter, stronger and faster.

The ultimate win-win situation!

If you’re a runner, don’t just run

While it may sound counter-intuitive, the number one thing that improved my running was adding regular strength training into the mix.

While I’d always done RUNCorps Run Club on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, adding STRONGCorps Group Training three times a week took my running speed and endurance to the next level. And the proof was right there on paper in the monthly time trials.

Do I like burpees, push-ups and badger crawls. Um, no!

But once I started to see and feel the results, it became addictive and made every bit of hard work and sweat worth it.

The variety was also key. In addition to 2 running and 3 strength sessions each week, I made sure to squeeze in a social run or yoga on the weekends, coupled with plenty of foam rolling in front on the TV at night. While I was exercising 5-6 times a week, it definitely didn’t feel that way since every session was different, flew by in less than an hour and (I’ve got to admit) was actually fun thanks to the legends who lace up and show up at training each week.

Never underestimate the power of the mind

I’d always looked with awe at ultra-runners and wondered how on earth they kept going: mile after mile, with no sleep and when everything hurts.

Once race day rolled around on September 5 (thanks to The Speed Project morphing into a virtual event, TSP DIY, for the first time) the most valuable thing I learnt first-hand is how incredibly important visualisation, and the power of the mind, can be.

Luckily, I went in prepared having spoken to people who do this kind of thing regularly, including ultra-runner and endurance athlete, Samantha Gash. One of the best pieces of advice she gave me?

Yes, there will be times when you want to stop, when you don’t want to get out of the van and keep running. But remember why you signed up for this, just keep going, and put one foot in front of the other. And when things get tough, think about how good it will feel when you finally cross that finish line.

Samantha Gash

Knowing my team was relying on me to get out there, even at 2 AM, in the freezing Bondi night, meant slipping the shoes back on was so much easier.

Mantras also make a massive difference. The two that helped me the most? “I choose this” and one of Sam’s adventure racing favourites “Team before self”. Sounds slightly woo, but it works.

Eat small and often

Coming in to this event as an ultra-running rookie, one of the things I was most worried about was food.

What to eat.

When to eat it.

And how much to eat to keep your body fuelled, but not weighed down.

I knew I’d done the training. But I was concerned I’d get the crucial nutrition part of the race wrong and end up sick, or running out of steam.

Since I’ve never used gels or powders, I stuck to things I’d used before and knew my body could tolerate when running. For 31 hours and 15 minutes, I basically lived on Vegemite and avocado wraps, salt and vinegar chips, peanut butter Cliff Bars, SOS Hydration and mandarins when I felt like something sweet.

I also treated myself to one coffee on the first morning, and devoured an entire box of Oporto’s hot chips with chicken salt at midnight, thanks to an unexpected delivery from one of our epic support crew. It wasn’t scientific, but by sticking to the rule of eating and drinking something small at every break (even if I didn’t feel particularly hungry or thirsty at the time) I kept powering no problem and felt good the whole way.

Mentally break it down into bite-sized chunks

Last but not least? I broke the two nights of TSP DIY into manageable mental chunks.

I never thought about it as 31 hours and 15 minutes.

Or 62.8km, the total distance I ended up running over that time.

As a team strategy, we aimed to smash out no more than 5km at a time (or 3 laps of the 1-mile loop we ran continuously in Bondi) before tagging the next runner. Which helped enormously as an endurance first-timer. I simply took it one step, one lap and one set at a time.

And, while it sounds ridiculous, I used small incentives, like the thought of what I’d get to eat when I stopped, or the chance to sit in the shade, as motivation.

For example, some of my many mental notes to self went a little something like this:

“Only half a lap to go and, in less than 3 minutes, you’ll be sitting luxuriously in a camp chair downing a cold drink. You can do anything for 3 minutes”.

A few other valuable lessons.

Go into the race with a plan but be flexible and prepared for it to change.

Take energy from your support crew and other runners, and be sure to give the same positive vibes back.

And, most importantly of all, remember to have a good time!

What’s next?

After the TSP DIY experience, it’s safe to say I may now have the ultra-running bug. Next stop, the Stromlo Running Festival in Canberra mid-November. Then, who knows!

Jacqui Mooney is a Sydney-based editor, content director and media consultant. She’s the former editor of Women’s Health Australia and a passionate supporter of women in sport. You can find her on Instagram @jacqmooney

The top 5 working from home survival tips

You’ve suddenly found yourself working from home for the very first time. It can be confronting and a whole new world! Nearly 15 years spent consulting in the IT industry and, more recently, as a small business owner running V&B Athletic has taught me some valuable lessons about making time spent in the “home office” rewarding and productive.

In the beginning, working from home seems awesome!

You’re not surrounded by coworkers, you’re free to be yourself and lose those pesky inhibitions. No one’s watching or cares what you’re wearing (you can wear pants, or not… but more on this later). You can grab a coffee or a snack or walk away from your desk whenever your feel like it!

There’s not that same peer pressure or communal obligation to get stuff done.

But after several days that initial “holiday” feel begins to wear off and you may find yourself beginning to experience cabin fever and worse still, the enemy of productivity, PROCRASTINATION!

In a normal office environment, it’s coworkers that often pose the greatest threat to keeping you from getting some real, productive work done. Sure there are many positive social benefits to being in a workplace, but they can also be a challenge if you’re easily distracted.

When working from home, it’s easy to become your own worst enemy.

Suddenly you find more reason to check the contents of the fridge, or find hours have slipped by because you’ve been mindlessly scrolling on Facebook, succumbed to the “There’s a new series on Netflix!” or taken a trip down the YouTube rabbit hole of videos about cats doing crazy things with cardboard boxes…

Procrastination may be the source of many failed goals and shattered dreams, but a lack of routine is the fast route to getting there!

Here are some tips and tricks for working from home that I’ve learned over the years:

Make your bed

A simple if arbitrary rule to live by. Here’s why.

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right”

Admiral William H. McRaven – Retired US Navy SEAL – commencement address to graduates of The University of Texas at Austin in May, 2014

Always wear pants

Working from home for the first time, you’ll go through phases with your clothes. The first phase will be the “pyjama phase”. You’re so stoked about no longer having to go into an office that you celebrate by staying in your pyjamas. It starts with a day, then three days, and before you know it, a week… who cares, nobody will see me?

That novelty quickly loses its shine, partly because the neighbours start giving you concerning looks, but mainly because you’ll start to feel like a depressed hermit…

You need to create a boundary between work and life.

Working in your pyjamas is a lot like working from bed (see Make your bed). While it can seem like a great idea when you start, if you’re dressed for bed or more importantly haven’t changed since you got up, your mind still thinks it’s “sloth time”.

Get dressed in real clothes. You don’t need to put on a three-piece suit (but if that’s your thing, then go fot it!) but at least wear real pants and a proper shirt. Save your leisurewear for the weekend and your pyjamas for bedtime!


It’s critical to have a routine. Without one, days and weeks can too easily blend into each other, and you’ll find yourself questioning what day of the week it is! Decide on specific times when your workday will begin and end, and when you’ll take breaks for lunch or coffee.

Reinforce the sense of routine by having a ritual that starts and ends your workday to take the place of the daily commute.

This is where exercising is key.

Just like commuting creates a buffer around the workday, having something that marks the beginning and end of each day helps prepare you for, and then transition out of, the mental space you need to be in to work. When your “commute” is from the bedroom to the kitchen, to the spare room or lounge room, the line that separates work from life starts to blur. So to mark the beginning and the end of the day I like to exercise. Try going for a run at the end of your day or getting in an quick 30 minute workout first thing!


Schedule in regular phone calls, facetime, google meet, skype, whatsapp, or zoom calls. Staying at home doesn’t mean being disconnected. We live in a world where connectivity is at our fingertips, use it!

Group FaceTime is Apple’s multi-person chat offering for iPhone users. You can start a Group FaceTime right from the FaceTime app or from a group conversation in the Messages app.

Google Meet is a video conferencing app. It is the business-oriented version of Google’s Hangouts platform and is suitable for businesses of all sizes. The solution enables users to make video calls with up to 30 users per high-definition video meeting.

Skype is free to use and download and Skype to Skype calls are free anywhere in the world. If you are both using Skype, the call is completely free. Users only need to pay when using premium features like voice mail, SMS texts or making calls to a landline, cell or outside of Skype.

Zoom offers a full-featured Basic Plan for free with unlimited meetings. There is no trial period. Your Basic plan has a 40 minutes time limit on meetings with three to 100 participants.

WhatsApp is making group calls easier with a change to the way its mobile app works. WhatsApp currently supports group calling up to four people at one time.


How do we work more closely together if we’re cut off from one another?

Online collaboration is the new normal! If you have the right tools for collaboration, it doesn’t matter if you’re seated next to your colleagues or in your living room, you can still be efficient, effective and productive. There is a plethora of tools available, not just on your desktop computer, but also from your mobile devices. These tools enable you to keep in contact with your team with uniform communcation, allowing people to better understand who is assigned what, why, how and when. Better yet, deadlines and task management can be built into your communications between team members to reduce misunderstanding!

Here are some great online collaboration tools

Slack – the collaboration tool of choice at V&B Athletic! An incredibly smart platform available on mobile and desktop devices, Slack allows for the sending of direct messages and files to a single person or a group and there’s the ability to organise conversations into different channels.

Asana –  this platform has been around since 2008, making it a veteran in the collaboration arena! Companies such as Intel, Uber, Pinterest and TED all use Asana as their core method of communication.

Trello – If you’ve ever looked into project management software and online collaboration tools, then no doubt you’ve come across Trello. Available on the web and with mobile apps, it lets you easily organize projects and work on them with colleagues. Trello is like sticky notes on your desktop and allows you to work with boards or lists, which can be organised by teams and different tasks. You can set up to-do lists and delegate amongst colleagues.

Follow the five Ps

Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Write down the list of things you want to get achieved that day, that week or that month. By setting specific measurable goals for the short, medium and long-term you can keep a close on eye on whether or not you’re doing what needs to be done day-to-day, but it also means you’ll have a pre-planned path to follow and can keep going when the procrastination fairy visits!

How can I stay motivated this winter?

Consider this.

Exercising in winter provides more benefit than exercise during the rest of the year because it specifically addresses the needs of our body during the colder winter months. Plus colder temperatures can actually help us get more out of our training because we’re asking our body to work harder!

Developing an exercise routine during winter can be the key to turning over a new leaf and improving your outlook on life.

Some of the many benefits include:

Burning more calories

Putting your body under greater physical strain forces it to burn more calories. This also leads to strengthening your cardiovascular system.

Developing greater endurance

You’ll notice how much harder your lungs need to work and that hard work pays off by increasing your endurance.

Experience more lift

Exercise is a proven natural way to lift our mood as it produces endorphins which in turn can trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine, the ‘happy chemicals’ that regulate our mood.

The Benefits of Group Fitness

Now consider the added benefits you gain from training with a group, such as STRONGCorps, full of like-minded people including:


You’re challenged to go beyond your perceived limitations because of those around you. You are likely to work out harder, than you would on your own, as everyone is exercising toward a common goal.


Whether due to fitness-related goals or the personal relationships you build along the way, it is a win-win scenario, both physically and your state of mental health.

Accountability and Support

It’s an amazing feeling as a Coach to see people do things they never thought they could until it took the person next to them to encourage them to complete that set, rep, the mile or session. There’s a bond that is created when the team struggles, sweats and grinds their way through a tough workout. When we work out with other people we can gain a sense of camaraderie, because everyone is there for the same purpose. The people you see each week at training eventually become like family and look forward to seeing you back at each session.

When that alarm goes off or you look outside at the weather and you think “…it’s too cold. I’m going to skip today.”

Instead, think of how much your teammates could benefit from you being there and the difference you’ll make when they’re dragging themselves through another tough session.

Those high fives and pats on the back for completing sets, surviving those calls to do one more rep, or to push to past the finish line, creates an amazingly positive environment. It also triggers the release of the ‘happy chemicals’ that regulate our mood and make us feel good.


You could be the reason someone else gets uplifted and encouraged to be better.

Yes, it’s harder to get out there in the dark and the cold but the benefits far outweigh the discomfort.

Ultimately, you’re doing this to be a better version of yourself, to lose the weight and to get fit. But you could also be the reason someone else sticks with their training and starts going beyond their impossible.


How did you wake up today?

When it comes to our mental health, while it can be difficult to find the motivation, regular exercise can help alleviate stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression and other mood orders. Yet, despite countless research proving its effectiveness, exercise is the most under-prescribed treatment for mental ill-health!

How did you wake up today?

Was it full of beans and ready to take on the world?

Or was it feeling kind of miserable, like your tank was close to empty?

Perhaps you’re mad at yourself.

For not getting the lawn mowing done over the weekend or not getting your work finished because you’re too easily distracted.

Perhaps you’re feeling a bit lonely.

Left out by friends or unsupported by family. You may be dwelling on mounting bills or the fact that you’re not in the best shape at the moment. Or perhaps you’re just feeling pissed off and want to remain undisturbed by life’s demands and opportunities.

The reasons for feeling down can be multifaceted and difficult to determine

If you feel depressed for two weeks or more, please seek the advice of your GP or Allied Health Professional to rule out or treat underlying biological factors. They may suggest consulting a mental health professional to help in negotiating the changes life throws at us or the cheaper alternative to therapy, antidepressants, which can help to adjust the underlying biology.

Mental health benefits of getting outdoors and exercising

Not only is it cheap and accessible to all, but it also provides both sunlight and the release of hormones which are well documented in having profoundly positive impacts on our mental health. Personally, I’ve developed a toolkit of strategies that I use when the black dog starts nipping at my heels that includes running, yoga, and hanging out with/confiding in understanding friends.

The Black Dog Institute provides some great advice on how exercise can help alleviate symptoms of depression including:

  • increasing energy levels
  • improving sleep
  • distracting from worries and rumination
  • providing social support and reducing loneliness when done with other people
  • increasing a sense of control and self-esteem

Download their fact sheet here

You are not alone

There is always someone who’ll listen and help you keep safe

If your life is in danger, please call emergency services by dialling 000.

Counselling and Support (24/7)

If you need support call one of the following numbers:

A burden shared is a burden halved

Got a niggling feeling that someone you know or care about it seems a bit more agitated or withdrawn lately?

Perhaps their behaviour seems different from normal?

Or they just don’t seem to be their usual self.

Trust your gut instinct and act on it

A simple conversation could save a life.

R U OK has a website full of information on something we can all do, stay connected and have meaningful conversations. We don’t need to be experts – just a good friend and a great listener. So, if you notice someone who might be struggling – start a conversation!

Top 3 tips to fitness success

There is a fitness success secret… but it’s not what you think

How much would you be willing to pay for a fool-proof system that creates space and time in your busy schedule for workouts and doubles your chance of fitness success?

No it isn’t found in a scoop of some hard to pronounce powdered supplement nor is it some new type of “athleisurewear” or a fancy new app.

It’s a proven method that’s guaranteed to get you out of a rut or a plateau in your training.

The secret is a workout buddy

Why? It’s simple. ACCOUNTABILITY!

Having someone else to workout with means you’ll show up and keep showing up.

Humans are social animals

We seek the company and positive reinforcement of others, especially when we are engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a result.

A 2011 study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that the exercise habits of people you know have a positive influence on your exercise habits.

Workout buddies provide a powerful combination of support, motivation, and in some cases, healthy competition.

Workout buddies generally fall into one of three categories

The Dynamic Duo

These are typically friends or colleagues, who train together one-on-one and have developed a regular routine for fitness activities.

The Group Effort

This is collective of people who work out at the same pre-appointed time and place as a group, typically but not always with a trainer, such as STRONGCorps Group Training or RUNCorps Run Club.

The Coupled Pair

These are your romantic partnerships, a married couple for example, who pursue their fitness activities together and may or may not do the same workout, but they block off time and space for being active as a couple.

Find the collaboration that works for you

Get to setting a routine and begin to reap the results…

  1. Motivation to do just one more set, one more lap or one more minute.
  2. Renewed sense of commitment to get out of the house when you are feeling demotivated and uninspired.
  3. Inspiration to push past that feeling of wanting to quit!

Coach Jase Cronshaw is co-founder and co-owner of V&B Athletic. He is an Australian endurance athlete and coach, procrastinating artist, teetotalist, and a guy who loves to run! You can find him on Instagram @coachcronshaw

Reset your frame of reference

Technically a frame of reference is defined as a complex set of assumptions and attitudes which are used to filter perceptions to create meaning.

Situations and environments that we are familiar with and comfortable with are our frames of reference.

Therefore experiences we have in physical training and in life are directly linked to how we perform in certain situations.

Spartan Up!

“The development of mental control is the foundation for building an unbeatable mind that will not fail at any worthy goal or task…”

Spartan Race co-founder and CEO Joe De Sena and author of Spartan Up!.

Changing your frame of reference means every time you hit a challenge, be it a tough workout, your first marathon or climbing a six-metre cliff face in the pouring rain at 1:00 am in the morning; you have a choice.

Changing your frame of reference means making the choice to keep things easy and comfortable. The way you’re used to doing them, or intentionally making them harder or at least not avoiding difficult situations when they arise.

Expect the unexpected

You can’t control situations that may crop up in an event, such as an ultramarathon. Which is why I follow the principle “train for all conditions”. This applies as much to mental preparation as it does physical preparation.

Things will go wrong, and you need to be able to refer back to situations in which you’ve faced similar challenges. Change your frame of reference by embracing the obstacles and challenges that pop up, as well as actively forcing them upon yourself and you’ll reap benefits both in training and in life.

Sometimes that means seeking them out

By experiencing new challenges in life and learning how to overcome them will make you better prepared to handle future obstacles when they arise.

Don’t be afraid to follow the path less travelled once in a while.

If you’re thinking “it’s time to change my frame of reference” and looking to embark on your first challenge then check out this great post by Obstacle Course Racer and Coach Mike Meredith where he talks about finding his passion for Spartan Racing and what to expect when you take on your first Spartan Race event.

Are you getting uncomfortable?

Becoming enamoured with uncomfortable can lead to improvements in all aspects of life.

New and unfamiliar situations trigger a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, our body’s feel-good chemical. However, this unique region of the brain is only activated when you experience completely new things.

Measure your health by the number of uncomfortable decisions you are willing to make

5:45 am Wednesday morning.

It’s the beginning of winter.

Outside it’s cold, it’s dark… and it’s raining again.

The warm-up has just begun. Your body is sore, your legs feel heavy, you’re cold, out of breath, and you feel like crap.

You’ve been at this bootcamp thing for a couple of months now, and although you’re starting to see good results, you’re still struggling.

Another hill sprint session, urgh!

Your calves and glutes are still screaming at you in retaliation for Monday’s session!

Desperately you try to get enough oxygen in your lungs and your throat feels like it’s been lined with razor blades from sucking in the cold air.

You start to question what the hell you’re doing, and why the hell you’re doing it…

  1. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
  2. When does it get any easier? Never!

Let’s look at the reasons why and how these truths can lead to achievements beyond your current perspective.

The benefits of progressive overload

In the early stages of any type of physical activity, everything seems to hurt.

Our muscles are broken down and forced to adapt to the stresses we place on them. Then they rebuild and recover, struggling through regular bouts of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and each time growing a little bit stronger and more resilient than before.

As time goes on, your body adapts to this level of stress, it learns to recover faster and starts to perform more efficiently. You begin to feel less like you’ve been through a meat grinder and you perceive to use less energy in order to complete the tasks you demand of it, for example:

  • Your first 1-mile time trial. Excruciating! However, with each additional sprint session, your body builds up a strength for that particular activity and it becomes easier.
  • Your first attempt to complete 10 pull-ups. Abysmal! But by incorporating pull-ups into your regular routine you eventually build up the right muscles in your body so that 10 pull ups become part of your warm up.

Think of it like catching public transport for the first time. That first time you had to brave the Sydney Transport system, from unpredictable schedules and complicated interchanges to maddening fellow passengers, it’s incredibly challenging. But make the same trip several times, it becomes less of a challenge.

Before long you’ve adapted and it’s almost easy, becoming just another part your regular routine. You reach a stage where you’re able to relax and can get other things done, like catching up on email on your phone or reading an old-fashioned paperback. You’ve adapted to your environment.

The human body is no different

The human body is designed to be as efficient as possible but in order for growth to occur, it needs a reason to adapt. If we pick something that is physically challenging for us and over a period of time become really good at it, we don’t continue to get the same boost to our strength or stamina. In fact, our body can actually become more efficient elsewhere.

The Hadza of Tanzania

A study was conducted of the daily energy expenditure among the Hadza people of Tanzania, one of the few remaining populations of traditional hunter-gatherers. Most days the men in this tribe would set out alone to gather food or hunt using handmade bows and poison-tipped arrows, often covering 25 to 30 kilometres. This is what the study found:

“…despite all this physical activity, the number of calories that the Hadza burned per day was indistinguishable from that of typical adults in Europe and the United States. We ran a number of statistical tests, accounting for body mass, lean body mass, age, sex and fat mass, and still found no difference in daily energy expenditure between the Hadza and their Western counterparts. How can the Hadza be more active than we are without burning more calories? It’s not that their bodies are more efficient, allowing them to do more with less: separate measurements showed that the Hadza burn just as many calories while walking or resting as Westerners do. We think that the Hadzas’ bodies have adjusted to the higher activity levels required for hunting and gathering by spending less energy elsewhere. Even for very active people, physical activity accounts for only a small portion of daily energy expenditure; most energy is spent behind the scenes on the myriad unseen tasks that keep our cells humming and our support systems working.”

What does this tell us? That in order to progress, in order to adapt, in order to get stronger… we need to constantly increase the difficulty.

Up the ante

This is a difficult but crucial change that a lot of people struggle to make. Stop looking at your workouts like something you are being forced to participate in and suffer through. Stop thinking “how much longer” or “it’s too cold” or “I can’t do this”.

Instead, start looking at it in terms of a challenge:

  • “What am I capable of today that I wasn’t capable of yesterday?”
  • “What can I lift this week that I couldn’t lift last week?”
  • “How much further will I get in my run this week than last week?”
  • “How many more sessions can I make it to this month than I could last month?”

Accept that every time you exercise it’s going to be uncomfortable.

You’re going to be out of breath.

You’re going to sweat.

But every time you do those things, you are slowly turning up the dial on your “baseline” of what comfortable is. While you’re squatting the lightest sandbag and feeling miserable, that person next to you at Bootcamp squatting the heaviest sandbag is as just as uncomfortable as you are. They’re drenched in sweat, their legs are shaking, and they’re gasping for air. And so are you. The only difference is, they’ve invested years building up their baseline level of strength and as a result, they have to squat the heaviest sandbag to feel that same level of discomfort you feel.

Life gets pretty boring without different levels of difficulty

Most of us have played the game “Tetris”.

Imagine if the game pieces in Tetris never fell any faster? You could slowly place them and get rid of each line, one by one. Very quickly you’d start building complex structures with the pieces because just clearing lines would become mind-numbingly boring. Luckily, Tetris consistently gets more difficult; your brain is forced to adapt as the pieces continue to fall faster and faster in order to continue succeeding.

Your muscles work the same way.

Our muscles need to be constantly challenged because they are constantly trying to become more efficient and provide you fewer results.

Increase the difficulty and become friends with uncomfortable

To get anywhere in life, we need to accept the fact that the things that will help us grow are going to make us uncomfortable.

Without physical discomfort, our muscles are never be forced to adapt.

Without mental discomfort, we will never do things that challenge us.

As soon as the uncomfortable becomes comfortable, you’re no longer getting the same benefits out of it anymore. This is the time to reach for that next challenge that pushes you beyond your comfort zone, beyond your impossible.

The couch is comfortable.

Netflix is comfortable.

Getting good at something and then just doing that thing, over and over is comfortable.

Learning new things can be hard.

Trying a new routine can be hard.

Building new habits can be hard.

Getting out of bed when it’s dark and cold can be hard.

Pushing your muscles to lift heavier weights can be hard.

Running harder and faster can be hard.

Seek out new challenges

Challenge yourself today to accept the fact that anything worth doing doesn’t get any easier, you just get better at it. Every time you find yourself getting too comfortable, or things are getting too easy, then reach for something that produces discomfort. Seek challenges that push you beyond your comfort zone, beyond your impossible, and you will be rewarded. As you progress, you’ll be amazed how other aspects of life also get easier!

If doing new things fills you with a sense of dread, you’re not alone.

Your body and your mind may hate you doing these things. That’s GOOD!

Here’s how you can reduce the discomfort:

  1. Take small steps. If the thought of running a marathon terrifies you, start with just 1km, then keep adding small increments to your distance… before long 1km is just your warm-up.
  2. Do ONE more. During your workouts aim for one more rep each set, run one more metre, or complete your workout one second faster. You’ll be surprised how quickly you improve if you practice “Do one more” often enough.
  3. Celebrate small wins. Are you’re paralysed at the thought of talking in front of a large crowd of people? Start by talking in front of just a few people, and prove to yourself that you can do it. Slowly up the ante and keep reminding yourself “I can do this.”
  4. Don’t give yourself the chance to back out. Tie your fate to somebody else and follow their lead. Jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft in a tandem skydive, the guy you’re attached to makes the decision to jump, not you. Say yes to opportunities that scare you before you get a chance to say no. You can figure out the rest later.