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  • Words by Mr Kevin Braddock

If you feel that the gym circuit just doesn't do it for you any more, or that all that festive indulgence is putting a strain on the finer lines of your wardrobe, then the new year is surely the time to take up a challenge. A big challenge, in fact. Today the booming multisport, outdoor and endurance fitnesss scene offers a smorgasbord of mind-expanding, waistline-shrinking events for those wishing to test their own mettle and pit themselves against the clock, the elements, the terrain and themselves. Triathlon may be among the fastest-growing sports today, but there are plenty of variations on the theme of swim-bike-run, across all manner of topographies. Then there are the truly impressive challenges of multi-day races and single-discipline challenges that stretch the limits of human possibility, and then there are some serious, old-school expeditions that have long sorted the wheat from the chaff - wild and woolly adventures on the ridges of Scotland, or in the valleys and peaks of the Alps. It goes without saying that all of these challenges require serious training and preparation, knowledge of safety, technique, equipment and course, and none should be undertaken lightly. But what better excuse to sharpen up physically and psychologically in the new year, than attempting something seemingly impossible? And then actually achieving it. Here are MR PORTER's recommendations.