Sean Conway has chased (and broken) world-records across multiple categories.
#1: World’s first
#2: World’s furthest
#3: World’s fastest
In 2013, he broke ‘world’s first’ by swimming Land’s End to John O’Groats (length of Britain)… then world’s furthest by doing a 4,200 mile triathlon around Great Britain. And then world’s furthest with an unsupported bike ride across Europe.
He thought these would be life-long pursuits, but in 2018 he checked them all off his list. And that’s when he realized a 4th category of world records:
And that’s when he hatched the idea to do the most iron-distance triathlons in a row. The previous record was 101 by “The Iron Cowboy” James Lawrence.
And in July 20th 2023, Sean made history by doing 105 irons in 105 days.
What’s fascinating about Conway’s accomplishment is all the unexpected twists and turns it took.
For example, he thought it would be smooth sailing during the first handful of triathlons (since he was fully rested). But during the first week, he suffered from multiple knee injuries and shin problems and almost missed his time. For two weeks, he fought through these pains and was in a thick mental battle. He constantly was worrying about getting enough sleep and making his times.
Then something interesting happened:
“The first month was hard, and then suddenly it just got good. The second month I was flying.” – Sean Conway
He hit an unexpected tailwind and soared through his races… for a few weeks.
Then his body retaliated once again. This time his low back and hips started causing him trouble. So much so that he had to do rehab exercises (such as hip bridges and leg raises) during his mid-race breaks just to keep his glutes activated.
There’s a whole lot more to say about Conway’s incredible record-breaking journey.
But something that jumps out like a man in a gorilla suit is:
It’s hard to predict your fitness journey.
You may have all sorts of expectations and beliefs about how your fitness journey is going to go (or how it ‘should’ go). But more often than not, you don’t have a clue. You may crush it at the start and then month two run into some turbulence. Or you may find a slow start but then you break through and have wind-at-your-back momentum at month three.
There’s no telling what will happen. And that’s where if you think it should go a certain way and it doesn’t - then it can be extremely disappointing.
Instead, let your journey unfold.
Be open to it.
Be open to the challenges, and know that one thing is for sure:
There will be no straight lines on your journey. Things will ebb and flow in ways you may not see coming. Whether it’s previous injuries… unexpected injuries… old habits… or mental barriers that pop up out of nowhere.
Chances are, something will show itself.
And it doesn’t mean ‘game over’.
It means, time to adapt. Time to adjust your approach. Time to be flexible. And time to discover that you’re capable of handling so much than you realize.
I just had to readjust my perspective and my ambitions for the end. I felt a bit flat, but there was never doubt in my mind. – Sean Conway
P.S. For embracing that adaptable, flexible mindset that’s willing to take whatever challenges come your way and keep moving forward – check out the September 2023 Issue of Mind-Body Breakthroughs for a short primer into one of history’s most unique athletes. Their mindset was not only feared by their opponents but also brought greater purpose and meaning into their training.
So there’s a trending workout on Tick-Tok that caught my attention.
The 12-3-30 workout.
Apparently, the hashtag has racked up 400+ million views with all sorts of people sweatin’ it out with this extremely complex treadmill workout.
Here’s how it works:
#1: Find a treadmill
#2: Set the incline for 12 at 3mph and walk for roughly 30 minutes.
(Hence the 12-3-30)
Many people (and impersonal trainers) claim it’s a slam-dunk for fat-burning. And that it’s a phenomenal way to help beginners get the ball rolling on their fitness goals.
Here are a few thoughts on this viral trend:
When a complete beginner steps into a gym, they often don’t know where to start. They don’t know if they should hop on the bike… or the step master… or the various weight machines. In addition they are confused about:
How many reps should I do to tone up?
How long should I rest between sets?
That’s where a K.I.S.S.-like workout program (like 12-3-30) can be a godsend because it clears away all the complexity. It allows someone to get busy instead of spinning their wheels and dabbling between different workout routines.
So for some people, I have no doubt they can start to get traction on their goals and make rapid progress by going through this routine. And hopefully it inspires them to add additional exercises and movements.
On the other hand, this routine may not work well for someone starting at ground zero.
This person may struggle to even get 30 minutes of inclined walking. For someone like this they may need to start with a 0-3-30 (zero incline – 3mph – for 30 minutes). Or even a 12-3-15 (15 minutes instead of 30).
People eat up these types of viral workouts.
Sometimes these programs are uh, less than stellar. Other times they are good enough. And that’s a good thing because it brings greater attention and interest to fitness. And pulls more people in to get started.
Rarely are these programs the be-all-end-all.
But they can get you moving more. And as long as you adapt the program to your starting point, these can be powerful tools on your fitness journey.
P.S. For more powerful tools to help you on your fitness journey – check out Breakthrough Fitness Strategies – where I share 51+ strategies, tips and insights to gain the mindset and skillset to breakthrough to the next level of fitness.
90-year-old Jim Arrington started hitting the gym as a teenager to get as strong as his favorite superheroes.
70 years later - he’s still gettin’ after it. He invests roughly two hours twice per week at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach. And he still competes in bodybuilding competitions. Giving him the Guinness World Record title: Oldest pro bodybuilder in the world.
In a recent interview, Jim shared one secret to his uncommon level of fitness (and his longevity in the sport):
And this lesson applies, whether you’re an aspiring bodybuilder, powerlifter, pickler (pickleball addict) or none of the above. If you simply want to have longevity in fitness – and make the shift to lasting transformation, heed this advice.
Here it is:
"What works for a person at one time in their life isn't the same. And that's the whole thing about bodybuilding: it's adaption.”- Jim Arrington
Reminds me of a timeless fitness quote:
Some things work better than others.
Nothing works forever.
It’s the ability to adapt and recognize what worked at one stage of your life (or fitness) will not necessarily work at the next. It may be completely different. And if you’re open and willing to adapt, then you will continue to climb higher.
Jim shared a golden example of this with his nutrition.
Apparently, he used to eat a ton of beef and slam cartons of milk in order to bulk up. This worked like a charm early in his career, but he found out he had to let go of this approach:
"But they lead to inflammation, [so] I changed my diet entirely. I figured if I did that, I could continue training, and I could keep this thing up."
This is a mega-lesson for longevity in fitness.
Because often people will find something that works (whether it’s a certain diet, certain routine, certain equipment) and then hold on tightly to it like a life raft in the ocean. And won’t let go. But over time, it will have diminishing returns unless they adapt their routine. And if they don’t, many people will get frustrated and think to themselves, This used to work. It should work.
But it doesn’t.
And that’s where if you let go of the idea of what ‘should’ work and seek out what actually works - you will have the flexibility required to keep adjusting your approach to higher and higher levels of fitness.
And this is one reason why Jim is still kickin’ butt, taking names and breaking records where most people his age have virtually stopped exercising altogether.
P.S. I can’t speak for Jim, but many top endurance athletes (including a few Olympians) talk about a fighting spirit that goes beyond willpower, determination and grit for taking their performance to higher levels. This is not something that only a few people are born with. It’s a powerful form of inner strength that you can awaken and call upon when needed. But it is elusive. And few people understand it (it doesn’t even translate well in English). To learn more about it, check out the August 2023 Issue of Mind-Body Breakthroughs.
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