Coach Nick’s 14-Day Challenge: Volume 1

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Feb. 4-17, 2019

Ready to Swim Faster?

The average swimmer gets average results, and that’s why they’re average. But who wants that? I want you to be far better than that, so I created my 14-Day Challenge. It’s a collection of mental, technical, and physical tasks designed to speed you up so that you can kick butt in the pool. I’ve used it with hundreds of PEAK swimmers, and it really works! Over the next 14 days, I’ll give you one primary task to complete each day, and I’ve added a second in case you’re super ambitious. To get the most benefit, you’ll need to give it your all, so that means you can’t ever skip a day. Once the 14 days are up, I’ll send you a new set of tasks, and I’ll continue to do so for the next 11 months! Sounds like a lot of fun, huh? It is if you happen to think that swimming fast is fun. You’ll notice that each challenge is repeated a second time in the second week. I did that on purpose because of an all-important training concept called repetition, which basically means duplicating something that’s good for you to maximize the results. My 14-Day Challenge isn’t for the faint of heart, so you’re either in, or you’re out, and if you’re in, let’s begin!


Challenge Menu

MONDAYS: Affirmations

Almost every person is confronted with negative thoughts from time-to-time. For some, negative thinking is a chronic habit. What we don’t realize is how destructive negative thought patterns can be. It can decrease our confidence, affect our mood, and overall outlook on life. Another downside is that negative thinking can be self-fulfilling. Through constant repetition, we gradually convince ourselves that we’re inadequate. Luckily, we can use the very same principle to our advantage by reversing our thinking through positive affirmations. So instead of entertaining negative thoughts that drag you down, you can use uplifting, positive statements that give you strength and courage. That’s why today is affirmation day! Stand in front of a mirror and repeat each of the ones listed below. Next, write a few of your favorites on a piece of paper and whisper them to yourself throughout the day. Oh, and don’t forget to repeat them once again before going off to sleep at night. At first, you may not fully believe them, but give them a chance, because they’ll grow on you.

If you prefer to create your own list, please feel free!

  • I have faith in myself.
  • My body is relaxed, and my mind is calm.
  • I quickly adjust to new situations.
  • Day-by-day I grow in confidence.
  • My potential for success is unlimited.
  • I see failures as stepping stones to success.
  • I’m courageous and confront my fears.
  • Everything I do leads to something better.
  • I love myself and enjoy being me.
  • Life takes care of my needs.
  • I deserve success.
  • There is always another way and a better solution.
  • I forgive myself when I make mistakes.
  • I stay calm in frustrating situations.
  • Life wants the best for me.
Monday Bonus
In practice today, sprint into every turn from the flags with no breathing!

TUESDAYS: Perfect Push-Up Challenge

Ready to muscle up? You should because when you have more muscle, you’ll have more hustle! I’ve put together a little challenge that will strengthen you up, but before you get started allow me to go over some push-up basics. Start with your hands directly below your shoulders, make your body as straight as a plank, place your head in a neutral position (eyes facing downward), and don’t forget to breathe throughout. Slowly lower your body until your chest is six inches off the ground then return to the starting position. Now that you understand the basics let’s get started. Perform one perfect push up, stop, and take a 15-second break. Next, perform two perfect push-ups, stop, and take a 15-second break. Next, perform three perfect push-ups, stop, and take a 15-second break. Continue the process until you’ve completed ten perfect push-ups in a row. At first, it probably won’t seem like much of a challenge, but wait until the push-ups add up! If ten is too many, stop at five and work up from there.

Tuesday Bonus
Lie flat on your back, close your eyes, turn on your mind-camera, and visualize the perfect race from start-to-finish. See yourself blasting off the block, racing with perfect strokes and turns, and finishing first in record time.

WEDNESDAYS: Sweet Spot

Did you know that the propulsive phase of the breaststroke kick should resemble the shape of an egg (oval) and not a triangle? The egg-shaped pattern begins at the high-heel catch position when your feet rotate maximally outward to grab the water. From here, they follow the shape of an egg from beginning to end. As your feet travel backward, they should accelerate dramatically in speed with the fastest part occurring just past your knees until completion. I use the term “sweet spot” to describe this all-important stage of the kick. Your feet should also point directly backward at the finish to minimize drag.

Wednesday Bonus
3 x 10 Air Tucks, here’s how: Jump up into the air as high as you can tucking your knees into your chest each time.

THURSDAYS: Keep A List

Nowadays, you’re probably so busy that you have little time to think about the essential things in life. One of which is to recognize the good that you do on a daily basis. It could be helping your mom out at home, getting an “A” on a test, or making a challenge in practice that you’ve never made before. Whatever it is, it’s vitally important to recognize them before the memory fades. That’s why I want you to keep a list (for one full day) of all of your accomplishments big and small. You can write them down on a piece of paper or type them into your phone. By making an effort to recognize them, you’ll boost your pride and confidence.

Thursday Bonus
In practice today, sprint into every finish from the flags with no breathing!

FRIDAYS: Your Age In Burpees

Chances are that you’re pretty sore from Monday’s push-up challenge. Well today, you’re going to challenge your body even more with an all-time favorite exercise known as a burpee which consists of five steps. First, stand at attention with your head in a neutral position, your back straight, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, bend your knees and lower your palms to the ground while keeping your head in a neutral position. Next, extend both of your legs powerfully backward until they’re fully extended and your body assumes a plank-like position. Next, perform one perfect push-up. Next, explosively draw both of your knees directly forward and under your hips. Next, jump directly upward into a full streamline position. If one set isn’t challenging enough for you, do another!

Friday Bonus
Eat five handfuls of five different vegetables today.

SATURDAYS: 100% Streamline

What’s the fastest body position in swimming? You guessed it, streamline! That’s because when you do it well, it makes your body feel fast like a torpedo and reduces drag. To maximize your streamline off a start or turn, point your fingers, squeeze them together, and press one hand on top of the other. Next, extend your arms fully and place them tightly onto the back of your head. At this point, your eyes should be facing downward toward the bottom of the pool. Next, tighten every inch of your body from fingertips to toe tips. Finally, squeeze your legs tightly together. Learning how to streamline correctly isn’t the toughest part, however. The challenge comes when you have to do it off each and every wall for the entire practice!

Saturday Bonus
10 Minute Circle Stretch, here’s how: Circle your neck, shoulders, arms, hips, and ankles in both directions until you feel tension-free.

SUNDAYS: R & R

Do you know what R & R stands for? If you’re one of those swimmers that goes hard all the time, you may not. The first “R” stands for rest, and your body requires a lot of it to perform at peak levels. The second “R” stands for relaxation, and your mind needs periodic breaks to function at full throttle. So today,  I challenge you to turn off your body and brain and spend your free time doing something you enjoy and off the beaten path. It’s not wasted time, as some of you may think, because if you follow my advice, you’ll feel better come Monday when the grind begins once again.

Sunday Bonus
Take a break because you’ve earned it!

Want More?

Click here to see all past volumes of Coach Nick’s 14-Day Challenge.

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