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Keri Herman only started skiing seriously in her senior year of college. Now she's an Olympian. Here's how she turned her late start into a competitive advantage.

Beginners, we have a secret for you. You don't need high-end gear or a fancy training plan to get better at skiing, running, or climbing. All you have to do is embrace the embarrassment and the pain—and don't forget to laugh. Trust us: It'll be good for your brain.

...makes you stronger, smarter, healthier, and—let's face it—more interesting. Just ask research editor Ryan Krogh, who volunteered for a cage fight.

Whatever daredevilry you aim to master, you can go from zero to hero a lot faster than you think. Join our brave, bruised guinea pigs on their quests to prove that, with a little time and energy (and the right coach), any bum can be a badass.