By Cristina Goyanes Men's Health
Need motivation to stay fit as the snow falls and temps drop? Sign up today for a challenging event next year. “Research shows that setting goals based on the activity rather than the results (like weight loss) acts as a powerful motivator,” says Greg Chertok, the director of Sport Psychology at Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey.
A study in The International Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology confirms it: People who focused on their performance were more satisfied and better able to reach their goals than those who got caught up with the outcome of the activity.
Ready to register—and kick your butt into gear? Choose from these 12 brag-worthy “bucket list” activities that also happen to be set in some spectacular places.
DO THIS: Bike for 7 days straight.
OUR PICK: RAGBRAI, July 21–27. This legendary weeklong bike ride, averaging 468 miles, proves there's more to Iowa than cows and cornfields. The surprisingly not-so-flat state has been hosting this beer-and-corndog-fueled event for the past 41 years, making it the world's oldest, largest, and longest bike tour.
DO THIS: See Kilimanjaro's other side.
OUR PICK: REI's Mount Kilimanjaro Climb, various dates. Bagging Africa's tallest peak (19,341 feet) is no small feat. What's even more impressive is to go up the harder, least-traveled 8-day route, which promises scenic views all the way to the top. Afterward, reward yourself with a post-summit safari in the Serengeti.
DO THIS: Call yourself a triathlete.
OUR PICK: Nautica Malibu Triathlon, September 2013 (TBD). At the always-sunny annual triathlon, choose from two distances—sprint (0.5-mile swim, 18-mile bike, 4-mile run) or international (approximately a 1-mile swim, 25-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run). Bonus: Bump elbows in the transition area with hot celebs, such as Jillian Michaels and Ali Landry, plus X-Men's James Marsden and Ironman World Champ Chrissie Wellington. Prepare with the ultimate training guide for racers of all levels, The Triathlete's Training Bible.
DO THIS: Become king of the mountain.
OUR PICK: Summer Mountain Games, June 6–9. Nine sports. Twenty-five disciplines. The 12th annual adventure sports competition in Vail, Colorado, is open to both pros and amateurs, so even beginners have a chance to line up at the start with gold-standard trail runners, mountain bikers, paddlers, climbers, and freestylers.
DO THIS: Dare to run in the dark—all night long.
OUR PICK: Hood to Coast Relay, August 23–24. Complete the day-and-night 199-mile trek from Oregon’s mountain to towns to beach with seven to 11 other running buddies, who will help keep you on track leading up to the largest relay on the planet.
DO THIS: Scale a wall like Spidey.
OUR PICK: Mountain Gear Red Rock Rendezvous, April 5-7. One of the biggest (and most beginner-friendly) rock climbing festivals in the country, the 10th annual Vegas event is open to all skill levels and offers cool clinics—such as “high-angle photography”—led by top-of-their-game pros throughout the weekend.
DO THIS: Take an urban adventure tour.
OUR PICK: Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race, various cities and dates. Turn your city upside down looking for clues while biking, running, and doing other activities—like climbing, paddling, eating, playing beer pong—during this team race that covers anywhere from 15 to 30 miles.
DO THIS: Put some hair—and mud—on your chest.
OUR PICK: The Spartan Beast, various cities and dates. This isn't just any mud run. The 12-mile course with 25 oh-god-obstacles—including white-knuckle lifting, arm-ripping climbing and spear-throwing, plus “consequences,” like getting beat with a padded stick—is a highly competitive, timed race that tests your physical and mental grit beyond reason. Prepare with the Men's Health Mud Run Training Plan.
DO THIS: Be crowned the Fittest Man on Earth.
OUR PICK: Reebok CrossFit Open, February–March. Thousands of competitors from Copenhagen to Los Angeles will enter their scores online or at their local gyms for the five workouts—last year's included burpees, snatches, box jumps, and push presses—posted over a 5-week period. (Anyone can sign up, even if you've never set foot in a CrossFit gym.) The top 60 men and 60 women will compete at one of 17 three-day regional events (April and May), and from there, the best will continue onto the CrossFit Games. What's the deal with the CrossFit craze? Read Inside the World of CrossFit to find out.
DO THIS: Swim a mile—or more—in the open water.
OUR PICK: Beach-to-Beach St. John’s Power Swim, May 26. Take the plunge and swim solo (with or without fins and/or snorkel) or as part of a three-person relay team for a mile, 2.25 miles or 3.5 miles in the calm, clear Caribbean at Maho Bay on the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands.
DO THIS: Make a run for it—all 26.2 miles.
OUR PICK: Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon, December. Hard drinking and gambling aren't par for the course, but a runner's high is guaranteed when you hoof it up the strip at night (the race starts at 3 p.m.) Cross the finish line in front of The Mirage on Las Vegas Blvd, where you can easily hobble back to your hotel or a bar to start working on your Sin City-worthy hangover. (Can't make it to Vegas? Here are our picks for the 11 Best Marathons in America.)
DO THIS: Bomb down mountains like Body Miller.
OUR PICK: Montage Deer Valley's “Pro Series” program, through April 15. Miller himself might not be hosting this full-day fantasy camp-style retreat, but other Park City-based Olympians will be there to share their world-class wisdom on carving sweet s-turns like a pro.
Read more at Men's Health: http://www.menshealth.com/deltafit/u...#ixzz2Eek4tj00