by John McEvoy, Owner CrossFit Craic34800_10150118451226488_737781487_8229477_6008529_n

How do you train for an event that could potentially involve anything like a Spartan Race? The answer is simple. You have to do everything.

The goal of a Spartan race is to truly test your fitness. You need to be able to run, jump, climb, lift and carry heavy objects, crawl and continue to move forward after each task has been completed.

If you are exclusively a runner then chances are you will struggle with the climbing and165241_10150116337771488_737781487_8189726_8123613_n lifting aspects and if you are predominantly a weightlifter you will likely struggle with the running aspects of the race. Equally, if you are one of those people who love running around the track and doing sit-ups every lap you will no doubt struggle when the time comes for you to pick something heavy up of the ground and move it.

To truly perform in a Spartan Race your goal should be to become a hybrid version of all the above – part runner, part lifter, part climber.

315974_10150389170636488_737781487_10570256_910949538_nIn CrossFit this is our goal. To us ‘being fit’ is being able to perform responsibly well at any physical task. I cannot tell you how many people I have had come into my gym saying “I’m really fit! I’ve run 4 marathons” and they cannot do 1 pullup!. I also get big dudes who come in bragging about their 400lb Deadlift then they cannot run 400m without throwing up. The world of fitness is changing. It’s not good enough anymore to simply be a specialist, at least not in this game.

In CrossFit some days we run, some days we lift, some days we do just bodyweight164054_10150116337411488_737781487_8189708_6855384_n movements and some days we do all 3 in the same workout.  Every day is different and that is what keeps it exciting and what keeps the fire alive inside each of us.

When we arrive at the starting line for a Spartan Race it is no different. We stand at the starting line staring up the hill with no worries about what lies ahead of us because even though we have no idea what obstacles we will encounter, we know that we will be able to navigate them. We have lifted weight heavy for low reps, light weight for lots of reps and vice versa. We have run short, middle and long distances. We have jumped, crawled, carried and pulled ourselves over objects.

We are ready.

309629_10150389170881488_737781487_10570260_989958427_nWe train for the unknown and the unknowable. CrossFit competitions are the same. Sometimes we do not know what the events will be until game day which is the same as a Spartan Race.

Training for a marathon is different.   You know the distance, you might even know the course or you can find it, and you just follow a program you found on Google to prepare.

Spartan training is far different.  Run, jump, climb, crawl, lift, sprint, throw. If you have 163894_10150116337461488_737781487_8189710_5226270_nweaknesses they will be exposed. The only way to ‘play it safe’ is to expose your weaknesses in your training and eventually they will become strengths.

When it’s your turn to step up to the starting line and it’s time to test yourself you should have confidence knowing that you are ready for whatever comes your way because you trained to be ready.

Get signed up. 


John McEvoy is the owner of CrossFit Craic, a Cross Fit gym located at  355-359 Washington Street, Dedham, MA, right opposite the Kikuyama Japanese Steakhouse.  John is also a Death Race participant in 2011 and an Amesbury Spartan Sprint finisher! 

If you have any problems finding the location, call 617-817-7447!


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by Amy Kubal

Paleo-DietPaleo (pay-lee-o), it’s a word that is being used to describe a style of eating that’s becoming more and more popular. But what is it? And even more importantly what isn’t it? How does this whole ‘Paleo’ thing work and why should you care? Well, wonder no more here is your introduction to Paleo in 500 words or less.

What Paleo is:

· Paleo is a style of eating based on how our ancestors ate before traditional /modern agriculture; back when hunting and gathering were all the rage.

· Paleo eating has numerous health benefits and has been proven to alleviate symptoms and even reverse many health and medical conditions. Those with autoimmune diseases (thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, etc.), celiac disease, epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, fibromyalgia, autism, ADHD, PCOS, acne, and many other conditions stand to benefit greatly with the application of a Paleo eating style.

· The main focus is on REAL, whole foods. These are the things that live, grow, rot and die, not the stuff that lives on a shelf for weeks, months, or years and has an ingredient list longer than the Great Wall of China.

· Food quality is of major emphasis. Grass-fed, wild-caught, free-range, organic, hormone free – the good stuff – is highly encouraged. (Don’t be put off – it’s not a deal breaker if these types of food are out of your current budget!!)

· Focus is placed on lean or grass-fed cuts of meat, wild-caught fish, and other lean or high quality animal proteins, non-starchy vegetables (not potatoes, corn, or peas), and healthy fats from coconut (oil, milk, raw meat, etc.), olives, olive oil, avocado and in some situations moderate amounts of nuts (not peanuts – they are legumes).

What Paleo is NOT:

· Paleo eating is not a fad diet or a diet at all – it is a LIFESTYLE. Yes, many are successful in losing weight eating this way, but it is not a quick fix – short-term program. There are no pills, powders, shakes or special machines required. It’s just real, whole foods!

· Foods that are not included in a Paleo eating plan include all grains, dairy, legumes (beans, peanuts, soy), processed foods, starchy vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes), sugars, and in some disease states nightshade vegetables (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, etc.), eggs, and/or nuts.

· Paleo is not just for those interested in losing weight. It is possible for those looking to gain mass, compete in endurance and sports events, and feed the whole family; to be successful using Paleo.

That’s Paleo in a nutshell. Why should you give it a shot? If you want to improve how you look, feel, perform; stop relying on prescriptions to make you healthy, increase the length and quality of your life, and quite feeling ‘sick and tired’ then give it a go. If you think you already feel good – know that it could be better! Give it 30 days, it’s not easy at first but make it through the first week or two and you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner!

Written by Amy Kubal, MS, RD, LN, Paleo Dietitian – Amy is a Registered “Paleo” Dietitian and the ring leader of Robb Wolf’s RD consulting team. She works with a wide range of clients from competitive athletes to those dealing with complex health problems. Check out her bio and consulting options, and her blog Fuel As Rx to get your Paleo nutrition fix. Email her if you have questions or would like to learn more at:

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When Hurricane Irene descended on the East coast and ravaged Spartan HQ in Pittsfield, VT and nearby Killington, VT where the recent Spartan Beast race was held, it was clear that the stranded town needed help. Help came in the form of the Air National Guard and along with 14 other towns, they were airlifted supplies and supplied necessities as the roads were being repaired to allow access into the battered towns.

A week after post-Irene flooding crippled arterial roads through the state, the Vermont National Guard’s Task Force Green Mountain Spirit led a multi-state effort to support civil authorities helping residents and reconnecting cut-off communities with the rest of the world.

The ironic twist is the relationship that Spartan Race has with the Air National Guard. They are one of our biggest supporters and sponsors and we want to give them some love!

In addition to the heroics on the East coast in recent weeks, the ANG will be putting on a show in Staten Island! On Sept. 24, at exactly 8:45 AM an HH60 PaveHawk ANG helicopter will hover over the race site and four PJ’s (Pararescue jumpers) will descend, carrying the trophies for the race. These four will then be joined by about 10 others in racing at various time during the day. The PJ’s and chopper were featured in the movie “The Perfect Storm.” Elsewhere on site will be the ANG’s Rise to the Challenge mobile interactive display – essentially video games that simulate ANG training. Very cool stuff!

So, how can you get involved in such an amazing organization? Here are some details about our friends in the Massachusetts Air National Guard and Otis Air National Guard Base.

Air National Guard pays up to 100% for State and local colleges TUITION. The new mission at Otis Air National Guard Base in MA, for example is made up of positions centered around the Intelligence and Communications career fields. Take a look at the multitude of benefits they have to offer, all for only 1 WEEKEND PER MONTH, AND 15 DAYS PER YEAR:

· ENLISTMENT BONUS OF $20,000 FOR 6 YEARS; for individuals enlisting into one of the many critical career fields.

· 100% TUITION & FEE WAIVER ; offered at Massachusetts State Colleges and Universities. This equates to thousands of dollars in savings for members every year.

· MONTGOMERY G.I. BILL; provides $345 per month – non-taxable – for full-time college students. This money does not have to be used for school-related expenses; it can be used for any expenses that you may have.

· MONTGOMERY G.I. BILL KICKER OF $350; in addition to the Montgomery G.I. Bill; offered to selected specialties within the Massachusetts Air National Guard and provides an additional $350 per month to those taking advantage of the MONTGOMERY G.I. BILL benefits. Add that to the GI Bill, along with your monthly “drill” pay, and you could be making over $700 per month!

· COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF THE AIR FORCE ; earn an associates degree through the Air Force by combining your college credits, and military training that you receive. This allows you to earn a degree in less time.

Check out for more details!

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by Brian Ansley

SPARTAN_RACE_LEVELS_SPRINTSpartans have always been known for their “Warrior Spirit” and their willingness to face adversity no matter what obstacle they faced. That “spirit” persists in many of our athletes across Spartan Nation.  One who recently caught our attention was 26 year old Matt Smith from Atlanta, Georgia.  Matt will be participating in the Georgia Spartan Sprint in March 2012. The only difference is he will not be running the course like everyone else. Matt will be conquering the entire race on crutches!

Matt Smith was born with a birth defect known as, Spinal Bifida. He’s maintained a positive outlook and willingness to educate about his condition.  “My main goal in life is to promote awareness about the disabled community. We are just as capable as able bodied people.” In fact, this is the very reason Matt is participating in the Georgia Spartan Sprint next year.

He went on to say, “Disabled people don’t need help with everything.”

Matt first discovered Spartan Race on Facebook. He thought, “I will give it a shot!” This will be his first obstacle race. However, he is not new to the racing community, nor to competition. He participated in the wheel chair races in the Special Olympics when he was younger. Matt is also an exceptional marksman. He has been participating in competitive shooting for 10 years now. He was a member of the shooting team for North Atlanta High School’s ROTC program for 3 years, and also reached the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Additionally, Matt was a member of the Shepherd Spinal Center Shoot Team in Atlanta, Georgia. The Shepherd Spinal Center Shoot team achieved national rankings three times. In 2007 Matt individually ranked 3rd in the country!

Currently, Matt is studying at Georgia Perimeter College to become a Physical Therapist. When he is not in school, Matt is continuing to compete as a marksman five or so matches a year.

Matt Smith (2)He is excited about his upcoming race in March 2012, and said, “I’m not competing against anybody but myself.” However, this Spartan does have a training plan set in motion. “I’m working on my upper body strength, and walking up to 10 miles.”

Matt may have a few friends coming out to support him from his Church. “Hopefully I can get them to do the course with me”, he added.

I asked about Matt’s optimistic approach to life, and his new adventure.  He was quick to tell me what would inspire him over the coming months,  “I’m very grateful for my aunt BJ Haroen.”

He explained that his Aunt Haroen was, “Diagnosed with diabetes and that never slowed her down. She told me to never let my disability slow me down either…just think of myself as a regular person.”

We look forward to Matt taking on the challenges of the Georgia Sprint!  We also wish him luck in finding his Spartan Finish Line and his Spartan finisher medal! 


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