This year, your fitness plan needs one of these Bucket List items! It’s easier to achieve a goal when it’s specific. So, pick out an item that aligns with your overall health goals, and work towards it!
You may need to already be in a certain state of fitness for some of these. We don’t expect a beginner to sign up for their first marathon today, but we’re challenging you to work your way up to accomplishing something new!
1. Learn a New Swim Stroke
If all you’ve got is the dogpaddle, it’s time. Ask the advice of an experienced swimmer and maybe don’t go alone if you’re new to swimming. If you’re comfortable in the water, you can read a guide like this one to apply techniques to accomplish strokes like the freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and sidestroke.
2. Try Open-Water Swimming
Face your fear of sharks and try a long-distance swim! Again, not to be attempted alone! Search for training and open-water race opportunities near you, and dive into the exhilarating experience of open-water swimming. You can also train in the pool at your local LA Fitness like Triathlete Champion, Dave Ruby. What you’re looking for is a way to condition your muscles for the type of work a long-distance swim requires!
3. Do a Wall-Free Handstand
To hold a handstand, you need strong shoulders, arms, and wrists to hold you up, and a strong core to keep you balanced. Taking this challenge means you’ll need to do some strengthening work. Are you up for it?
If you’re already handstanding your way through life, we challenge you to try a new kind of handstand! One-handed, maybe? Try learning to walk on your hands or holding it for one minute. Can you do a handstand pushup? There are limitless ways to push the boundaries of what you can do!
4. Complete at Least 5 Unassisted Pullups
You may have seen or used the assisted pullup machine at the gym. It’s a great way to slowly increase the amount of weight you can pull until you are able to lift your full body weight into the pullup. If you’re completely new, aim for 5 pullups to start. If you’re seasoned, your next step might be a one-arm pullup, or maybe a muscle up!
5. Complete at Least 5 Pushups
Easy pushups usually start with your knees on the ground to help support your weight. Just because it’s the “easy” version doesn’t mean your muscles aren’t working hard. New movement will always challenge your muscles. Try to get to 5 if you’re brand new, but don’t stop there! Shoot for 10 and then 15.
If you’re already a master at pushups, add a new one to your repertoire. Unlock some new skills like a clap pushup, diamond pushup, try one with a hand behind your back, or go for a superman pushup!
6. Accomplish a Planche
You’ll need a lot of body strength to successfully hold a planche. Those who can accomplish this move have stable wrists, strong arms and shoulders, a strong back and core, and perhaps even an understanding of physics. It is typically done on the ground or with paralletes, and you’ll need to be fairly strong to begin with. That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn some progressions to get to a fully extended straight-arm planche.
7. Master a Difficult Yoga Pose
Yoga isn’t just about achieving a calm, meditative state. You can build some serious muscle through many of the more challenging poses. If you’ve never taken a yoga class, give yourself an opportunity to learn more or find a class near you to try it out. You may find that you enjoy it more than you anticipated.
If you’re not just looking to build strength and stability, performing yoga for the enjoyment of some tranquility is another great reason to add even just a few minutes of it to your day.
8. Run a 5k or 10k
With so many themed 5k’s and 10k’s, running has never been more enjoyable. Many courses have a special theme, a unique reward at the finish line, surprises at each checkpoint, and sometimes even zombies to keep you running. Not to mention these events often support a charitable cause.
If the distance looks daunting, keep in mind that there’s no pressure to run. You can go your own pace and all the festivities are a great distraction. In many cases, you’ll go home with a medal no matter when you cross the finish line. So, add this one to your list this year and let us know how it went!
9. Train for or Compete in a Marathon or Triathlon
If you’re looking for a more intense test of your abilities, it may be time to train for or compete in your first marathon or triathlon. Real feats of endurance, physical fitness, and mental strength, these competitions are terrific goals to work towards. The only way you’ll survive is if you train smart and feed your body what it needs. Not only are you accomplishing something big, you’re practicing self-discipline and restraint to reach this bucket list item.
10. Learn to Ride a Tandem Bicycle
Bouncing back to a more easily achievable item, this one takes you back to your childhood. Didn’t think you’d need to learn to ride a bike again, did you? A tandem bike can be a lot of fun once you’ve figured out how to get it going. You’ll need some good teamwork skills and perhaps a bit of determination to power through your first tandem bike ride!
11. Compete in a Bike Race
Cyclists, it’s time to take it to the next level! Train in the gym or take it outside but a bike race needs to be on your bucket list. Not only is it great for building your endurance and for improving your cardiovascular health, your cycling route can show you miles of breathtaking natural scenery. You can do it for fun or do it to win, but make sure this experience is not missed!
12. Try a Bike Friendly Mountain Trail
Make sure you have the right gear for this one. A mountain trail can be thrilling or leisurely depending on where you go and which trail you choose. Start out with something simple, as you would with anything new, and work your way up to more advanced trails. Take-in a stunning sunrise, bask in the stretches of land you can only see from a mountaintop, and maybe even stop to watch the wildlife.
13. Hike a 5-Mile Trail or Longer
A good long hike can take several hours to several days, but above all else, go prepared! Being well-supplied isn’t only safer, it puts your mind at ease. You’ll find you’re able to simply be in the moment instead of feeling antsy to return to civilization because you’re hungry or your socks got wet and you didn’t bring a spare. Also, the satisfaction of looking out over some beautiful vista, with nothing but the power of your body to get you there, is really, really, good.
14. Learn to Ski or Snowboard
Snow sports are a whole new world if you’re not accustomed to those frozen flakes descending from the clouds. Simply walking in your gear can be a workout.
Despite the huffing and puffing just to get to the lifts, both of these winter sports are exhilarating once you get the hang of them! A tip for beginners: take a cabin for a few days to adjust to the altitude, and spend some time taking classes! Practice your skills and stick to the bunny slope until you’re more comfortable moving to the next level.
If you’re already comfortable with one or both of these, your challenge is to learn a trick! Ski tricks and snowboard tricks add a new level of excitement and accomplishment when you go out to hit the slopes, not to mention you’ll get a lot of awed attention.
15. Try Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a great way to build your upper body and increase your grip strength. Aside from the physical benefits, there’s a lot of adrenaline to be enjoyed from this activity. It is not for the feint hearted. Of course, you can start with the much safer option of indoor rock climbing where you’re strapped-in to a harness and spotted from below. As you get stronger and more confident in your climbing you can progress to bouldering, which is essentially climbing without a harness but to limited heights.
16. Join the 1,000-Pound Club
No, you don’t get to just sign up for this club, you earn your way in. The 1,000-pound club refers to your power lifting total. The sum of the weight you can move by Deadlift, Weighted Squat, and Bench Press must make up 1,000-pounds. Depending on your body weight, and other factors, this can be a little easier or more difficult to achieve. The idea is to challenge yourself to increase what you are capable of because the human body is incredible and can do a lot more than we think.
17. Take a Dance Class
Either you’ve never considered it because it sounds boring or uncool, or you’ve been meaning to do it for a long time. Dancing is not just a great form of fitness it has actually been shown to benefit your mental acuity and memory. Browse through our selection of classes and find something that sparks your interest! You’ll torch calories and it’ll feel more like fun than it will like a workout.
18. Compete in a Team Competition
Basketball, Raquetball, Volleyball, Football, and more. Start your own team with your friends or join one of our club leagues. Getting involved in some healthy competition is really good for your motivation and your athleticism. That’s partly because being on a team drives you to push harder than you normally would if you were working out alone. Join a team and see how it fuels your fitness goals!
19. Improve Your Flexibility
Being flexible is great for your overall health and fitness. You don’t have to be able to bend over backwards but improving your flexibility protects you from injury and can help you perform other exercises more easily and effectively. Take skiing, for example. More flexibility helps you bend into your knees and hips a little deeper and change direction more easily. Or consider swimming. Better flexibility will improve your shoulder extension and rotation. Many athletes now take up yoga for precisely this reason.
20. Give Personal Training a Try
You may not know exactly what your body can do until you’ve tested it in the right ways. If you aren’t sure where to begin, or if you love the sound of these bucket list items but don’t feel ready to tackle them, a personal trainer can help you. You’ll learn new exercises to add to your arsenal and reap the benefits of one-on-one attention and guidance.
Don’t stumble through your fitness plans with trial and error, zero in on your goals with the help of a professional who knows how to get you where you need to go. Book a complimentary fitness assessment and get matched with one of our ProResults® Personal Trainers!
Which of these challenges are you planning to take on this year? Share your goals in the comments below! Then, stay in-the-loop and subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog!