Addressing a ‘Minor’ Weakness
As I’ve been working out, I’ve been focusing on the obvious. For example, I know that I need to build upper body strength and cardiovascular endurance. This leads to the inevitable workout plans that involve your traditional workouts: cardio on the treadmill, bicep curls, bench press, and Jared’s favorite: squats. All of the research I’ve done has more or less been based on these same pillars of fitness. So of course, that’s where I will focus the majority of my attention. But, in addressing the big items, I can’t afford to overlook any ‘minor’ weakness that might prevent me from world domination.
Lesser known weakness
Since we aren’t preparing for a competition that focuses on one particular skillset, I’ve based some of my strategy on a variety of recommendations. In doing so I’ve found some weaknesses that I think will need to be addressed to be successful in the Bro2Beast Challenge.
An idea that Jared and I have been kicking around for our end of year challenge has involved something like a Spartan Race or a Warrior Dash. If you’re not familiar with these races, the general idea is that it’s a 5 or 10k that is littered with hardcore obstacles. These can range from climbing ropes, to adult jungle gyms, and crawling under barbed wire. These all sound like they suck. They also all have an underlying reliance on the importance of grip strength. Since I’m not a weightlifter, and I’m actually kind of a weakling in regards to lifting or anything related to upperbody strength, I’ve decided that I should put some thought into developing grip strength. I know that this will likely develop as I improve on weight training, but I’m also looking for ways that I can incorporate training throughout the day. I recently spent some time browsing the fitness section at a local sporting goods store and came across an adjustable grip strengthener.
It was relatively inexpensive, and I kind of like the idea of having something that I can keep in the truck or at my desk and use throughout the day. I honestly have no idea how effective it will be, but at the very least I expect to see a mental benefit since I will feel like I’m continuously working on a weakness. We’ll see how effective it is after a few months. I probably won’t be able to attribute all improvements to it or working out, but again, it’s the mental component that I’m expecting to be most impactful.
Callouses and pressure points
When I first started hitting the weights, I realized how much of a negative impact having an office job has had on me. Years go I worked construction so I’ve had some of those Good Ol’ Boy callouses. Now that I work in an office on a computer all day, I’ve realized that I have the hands of a 13 year old boy with an aversion to exercise. Seriously, my hands not only lack strength, but they also lack the capacity to not betray me at the slightest exposure to weight training or stress. Not a whole lot I can do about this except work through these initial stages. From what little I’ve researched on the topic, the popular consensus seems to be avoid using gloves, and just suck it up until my hands get used to the wear and tear of weightlifting.
A similar issue, which I touched on in another blog, is the rubbing and chaffing associated with wearing running shoes for the first time. Prior to starting the Bro2Beast Challenge, the only shoes I wore were cowboy boots, flipflops in the summer, and occasionally a pair of old Chuck Taylors. The only pair of athletic shoes I had was for yard work. That being said, I wasn’t even remotely prepared for the havoc that jogging would play on my feet, with blisters on my Achilles, and pressure and rubbing on my toes. While this could be due to improper shoe fit or that they had not been properly broken in, my initial thought is that the problems are due to the fact that I haven’t worked out in tennis shoes in a number of years. So, before I go out and drop some cash on some new shoes, I figure I’ll go ahead and spend some time breaking in the shoes I have and then I’ll reevaluate after a few months. If I’m still experiencing the same issues after, I’ll bite the bullet and spend some time and money on finding a quality pair of shoes.
While grip strength is an obvious weakness, my other problems could probably fall into the weakness category and the injury category (which I wrote about separately). As this challenge continues on, I keep coming across new issues that I otherwise wouldn’t have considered. I’ll have to address these issues as they arise so I don’t find myself unprepared for any upcoming challenges. The nature of this year long challenge indicates that I’ll have to be strategic with my training, and be proactive so I’m not sidelined by anything that could have been avoided.