[Editor’s Note: In December, Spartan Jason Jaksetic is off to compete in one of the world’s most elite races, the EpicMan Triple Ironman (http://www.active.com/triathlon/honolulu-hi/epicman-challenge-2011).  In this blog he writes about how Spartan Race is the ideal platform to take yourself from couch potato to bad-ass athlete.  Here is his story of going from utter newb to aspiring Triple Ironman.]

jjSpartan Race offers something to racers that no other obstacle race does:  a systemic approach to go from your couch to the world’s most extreme race.

Seven years ago, I started with a 5k St. Patty’s Day Run.  (Spartan Race wasn’t around.  If it was, I would have been there for sure.)  This 5k run was all about the free beer for me.  I didn’t even have athletic socks or shoes – I went out and covered the course in ratty Converse and plaid socks.

Tomorrow, I’m leaving for Hawaii to compete in the prestigious EpicMan Triple Ironman (http://www.active.com/triathlon/honolulu-hi/epicman-challenge-2011).  It’s invitation only.  7.2 mile swim, 336 mile bike, and 78.6 mile run – without stopping

Between the 5k and Triple Ironman I did my first marathon and then first Ironman.  Then I tacked on my first Ironman World Championship and Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualifications.

jj2Last month I took fifth overall in my first Double Ironman.

It’s all about progression.  You don’t just go from beer runs to triple Ironman without some bumps in the road.

Like DNF’ing my first 150 mile run (Peak Races) and dropping out of the Death Race.  Yes, I failed on the Death Race.  (I can attest to The Death Race being more difficult than a double Ironman, and will let you know about how it compares to EpicMan in January.)

You need to visualize realistic goals and put it on the line to get there.

Spartan Raceis probably the best race series in the planet because it has built into its structure a step by step goals to becoming a legitimate badass.

Working with Spartan Race and going to events I’m amazed at the people achieving things they never thought possible.  They get hooked by doing theirfirst Spartan Sprint.  It’s like a gateway drug.  From there they can build fitness and confidence as they tackle a Super Spartan and then Spartan Beast.  And, hell, maybe step up to the Death Race.  It’s all there for the taking.  Spartan Race is just asking for people to step up.

As an elite athlete I have the following to say:  there is nothing elite about me.  I’m just like you.  I’m the guy in Converse and plaid socks still.  I just took endurance racing for a ride.  I really wish I had Spartan Race to help me along the way – it would have helped!

I encourage everyone to push themselves by signing up for what might seem beyond their capabilities.  You will get there.  I invite you to join me in this.  Hell, I invite you to come on out and race the EpicMan with me.  If you think you are qualified to race there are still spots for eligible athletes.  Just contact them.  Sign up for a Spartan Sprint or sign up for the Death Race.  Either way, push yourself and rise up in the structure of bad-ass that Spartan Race embraces.

Jason Jaksetic is a professional endurance athlete, fitness coach, and consultant for Spartan Race.  He can be contacted at JasonJ@SpartanRace.com.  While in Hawaii he will be working with Hawaii Spartans to bring them a race.  Speak up if you want a race!  We are serious about bringing them to you.  Home grown efforts have already brought a race to Indiana!

Tags: , , , ,

By Michelle Fielder

As a child I was always told to shoot for the Moon, because even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars. I never realized where those words could possibly take me until today.

Fast forward 30+ years……….

I’m an average person: no elite athlete by any means. Not even an athlete if you want to be exact. I was the one who needed the jar of peanut butter opened for her and the groceries carried in from the car.  Every morning, you’d find me walking or jogging 1- 2 miles. At least that was something, right? I always thought I was in “shape,” not knowing what those words actually meant. “In shape” meant being thin, something I have discovered is not true.

So one day, while watching an infomercial…..Yes an infomercial! (I hope your reading this Tony Horton!) I heard the words of a 50 year old: “I’m in the best shape of MY life, better shape then I was when I was in my 20′s” What??? Could that be true? Could I, at the age of 44 be in the best shape of my life?  Well, I was determined to find out, and so began my journey with p90x. After finishing round 1, I knew I was stronger, mentally and physically, but what to do with this new found strength and determination?

Enter…SPARTAN RACE.

I first heard of Spartan race back in April of 2011. I headed to their website to see what they were all about. At first, I was intimidated by pictures of all the athletes.  They looked hardcore, and I was no where near being hardcore. My first thought was, “Are these people nuts?” Watching these people jump over fire, climbing ropes and, my all time favorite, crawling under barbed wire through MUD! Yuck!  My first thought was, “there is no way I can do this!” My husband’s first words were, “You’ll get hurt,” but as I read more and more about the organization, I was more and more intrigued. As I read more about “Getting people off the couch” (the people on the video never looked like they were on the couch in the first place!), “the ability to laugh in the face of adversity”(I have lots of adversity in my life, I want to laugh!)  and “understanding at the finish line…”(What will I understand at the finish line?? PAIN??), I found that I had something to prove…not to anyone else, but to myself.  I KNEW this was the race I needed to conquer.

I will admit, I was hit with some resistance about doing this race. People my age are so ready to except their ages.  I truly believe that, as we get older, society brainwashes us into thinking that we cannot test our strengths and limits, and that if we do, we must be going through a mid-life crisis. So Yes! I am going through a Mid-life crisis. A crisis to better health!

I won’t lie. As I am getting closer to the Texas Super Spartan, I am scared. I think, “You are too old for this!  What if I get hurt?  Did I train enough?  What if I have to take that dignified exit option at mile 3?!”

The thing that sets Spartan Race apart from other races is how they warmly invite you into the “Spartan Family.”  They have not only created a unique, warm, welcoming family atmosphere but have also created one of life long friendships.  The Spartan Chicked group has given me the enthusiasm and encouragement to know I CAN do this.  All of us have the same goal: finishing what we start.  Some people ask why I want to do this race, and my answer is, “Because I can!” T here is nothing stopping me but myself.  I may not finish in first place, and it may not be pretty, but at least I had the courage to sign up. And signing up is the first step in this daring adventure.

So how will this daring adventure end? An average person, doing a not so average Race. Will I finish strong, taking down a Gladiator or two, rr will I be carried across the finish line?  Will I chicken out at the start line or will I take the not-so-dignified exit? December 3rd, 2011, I will be shooting for the moon and hoping to land at the finish line.  To be continued……….

 

by Carrie Adams

Regularly we receive emails from race participants who overcome injuries and setbacks to finish our races.  While rare, serious injuries on the course do happen and here is one story from our Staten Island runner, Brian Elliott who sustained a broken elbow on the course.  Here, he recounts his ordeal and his commitment to finishing what he started that morning.

SRSI_BD_1935 (2)I participated in the Staten Island Super Spartan race on Sept 24th. My bib number was 8628.  I went into the race thinking “e tan e epi tan” saying [Greek for “with this or on this” – a famous Spartan for warriors returning to battle and their shields.] but didn’t realize what a mantra it would be for me.  I broke my elbow at mile two going over one of the 10 foot walls.  I knew something bad was wrong but was able to get over the wall…after that I came to the next wall just a few yards away my heart sank….I had doubts and for a few minutes I lingered…then I thought “e tan e epi tan” and with that, I was able to scale the wall, and then the next, and then jump the fire, etc.  I finished the race in under 2 hours.  SRSI_MA_1244 (2)

I drove myself to the ER afterwards and had surgery 5 days later.  I’m on the mend and hope to compete in another race next season.

From Spartan Race HQ, we wish Brian a speedy recovery, thank him for his inspiring story, and look forward to seeing him again in 2012 with his well-earned battle scars!  “E tan e epi tan”!

Tags:

By Khaled Allen

The Spartans were warriors, and we like to believe that training for a Spartan Race will help you meet the challenges in your own life. Most of us don’t get to test that, but Logan Jackson, a 23 year-old police officer in Hampton Roads, VA, did have that opportunity. His Spartan Race training enabled him to chase down a suspect over terrain remarkably similar to one of our race courses. In case there was any doubt that those who run our races become real-life Spartan warriors, Logan’s story will convince you.

At 0300 hours, Logan got a call for a burglary in progress. When he arrived on the scene, two male suspects were running down a side street with the stolen items. When they saw Logan, they dropped what they were carrying a started running. He got out of his police car and immediately chased after them.

Logan estimated that they had a 400ft lead on him, but he was eager to test his fitness gained form doing the Spartan Race workouts of the day. “Honestly I’ve been hoping for something like this to test me, because I’ve been working out so hard. I wanted to see if it’s something that would improve my job performance,” he explained.

In full police outfit, which amounts to 25 lbs of gear, plus his gunbelt, he jumped a curb, sprinted across a muddy field (sounds familiar), and vaulted a fence, landing in a ditch. He ran out of the ditch at full speed and chased the suspects down a road and behind a house, where he found himself facing three pitbulls chained to the back of the house. Avoiding the dogs, he managed to catch one of the suspects, who was in disbelief. He couldn’t believe that Logan had managed to chase him down, not only closing the distance, but actually apprehending him, and he said so, telling Logan, “I didn’t think you were going to be able to catch me. I can always get away [from the police].”

During the chase, Logan was radioing his position to other police officers as well: “I had several units on foot behind me that had no clue where I went too because I was running so fast jumping fences after the suspects. By the time they were at me I had the suspect in handcuffs dragging him down the middle of the road towards the patrol cars that had arrived on scene.” That’s a true Spartan!

Logan put on such a strong performance that the other suspect turned himself in, and both gave full confessions. They had stolen $3300 worth of lottery tickets from a convenience store, all of which was recovered.

Logan attributes his success to his training for the Spartan Race. He’s been following the workouts of the day in preparation for two races in Charlotte, NC next March and two in Virginia next August. He made it clear that the Spartan workouts made all the difference, saying, “I would not have been able to catch him if I hadn’t been doing the workouts of the day, and hearing all the motivation on the web page….I can say without a doubt that it’s helped me improve tenfold, not only my physical fitness, but my mental alertness as well.” Spartan training seems like the perfect prescription for law enforcement. It’s basically superhero training, after all.

Logan lamented that after graduating from the academy, he felt that fitness requirements became more lax. He himself signed up for a Spartan Race not because of anything he does on his job, but rather because of a lifelong commitment to fitness. He said that he’d been training with P90X, but found that program didn’t prepare him very well for the real challenges of a heated police chase.

Training is made even harder by the difficult working environment. After working from 7am to 7pm on a good day, it takes a lot of motivation to do a hard workout. Logan has found another aspiring Spartan racer to help motivate him to train, and he now has several other people at the department doing the workouts as well.

Add to that the general lack of appreciation that police officers suffer from, and it’s easy to understand why many cops have trouble finding motivation to workout. Logan pointed out that a lot of people only appreciate police officers when they need them, but most see police as a nuisance or an outright threat. What a lot of people don’t realize is how hard a cop’s life is: “A police officer of two years has just as much combat trauma as a hardened veteran.” They deserve our support and appreciation, especially with the kind of effort displayed in Logan’s chase.

He thanked Spartan Race for all the work we do providing motivation, workouts, and races to work towards, and for such a supportive community. Well, thank you Logan for training so hard and being so passionate about protecting your community that you sprinted a mile through a muddy field, over a fence, down a road, and past vicious pitbulls to arrest a suspect for a burglary. We’ll keep making insane workouts. It’s the least we can do.

by Carrie Adams

Originally posted in Carrie’s blog: www.leavingapath.com

“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness” –Unknown

SR_HURRICANE_BadgeAs I exited the hotel lobby at 4:30AM in the dark Southern California morning, I shuddered against the cold and watched my breath escape harshly into the air.  “So much for Malibu sunshine,” I remember thinking.  Hopping in the car with Tommy and Joe we drove over to the venue to kick off an early morning challenge with about 100 people in the earliest Spartan Race Heat – the Hurricane Heat.  Born in the belly of a hurricane it’s a heat that’s about everything BUT racing, it’s about making connections, completing tasks in extreme conditions and Malibu was the newest installment of an experience that was constantly evolving.  In the Hurricane Heat, I’m acting as facilitator not as the participant.  And it’s a new game when you’re on the other side of the ball. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

By Khaled Allen

Triathalon season is over, but that doesn’t mean XTerra racer Josiah Middaugh is finished racing. He’s got one more race this year. Josiah has been invited to compete in the Texas Super Spartan on December 3rd.

While he may not be an obstacle racer, Josiah’s experiences are more extreme than the average triathlete. As a pro XTerra racer, his races consist of off-road biking, trail running, and rough-water swimming. The XTerra world championship in Maui, in which he placed fourth overall, was a 1-mile swim, 18.3 miles bike, and 6.1 mile run. It’s a far cry from the run-of-the-mill road triathlon, so he’s not completely out of his element: “The way I look at it—and this is how I approach a lot of the competition—all of my life experiences will help. It’s not like I’ve never climbed a wall before, or rolled in the mud.”

To be fair, Josiah’s life experiences prepared him well. He was born by a midwife in a one-room stone house in Northern Michigan, lived in a house his parents built themselves, and grew up on a steady diet of hard work and discipline. He worked around chronic knee pain as a high school and college athlete, opting to train instead of sit out. Hardcore seems like an understatement.
Despite all that, Josiah came off as a very humble guy; running so many adventure races will keep you from becoming too self-assured. He knows he isn’t on his home turf, saying, “it would be ignorant of me to be cocky about my abilities.” Not knowing what to expect, he’s approaching the race with a humble attitude, just keeping an open mind, and planning to put out his best effort. With all that said, he’s still a dedicated racer: “I’m super competitive, and I’ll give it my all.”

Jason Rita of Spartan Race, who was looking for some experienced triathletes and trail runners to race Hobie after he won the first six races, invited Josiah to race. He was planning to run in Utah when Hobie was beaten in the Death Race, but decided to wait until triathlon season was over to give the Spartan Race a shot.

Josiah knows what it takes to win and has become a master of self-motivation; with three kids, he gets up at 5am to go to the pool or stays up after the family is asleep to train. “[Family] has just been part of the deal….I can’t train the same way as other pros.” You’ve got to believe that if he can train that hard with kids ages seven, six and one, nothing is going to slow him down.

What motivates Josiah to train so hard? “Just wanting to be the best. To be the best that I can be, and reach my full potential” You’ve got to believe that it’s sheer determination that drives him, and whether he’s an experienced obstacle racer or not, that alone will let him give Hobie and the others a run for their money.

Still, Josiah admits that it’s a tough time for him to be training, since his regular season is over. He’s been weightlifting a bit and doing his best to prepare for the race. He’s looking forward to it, and expects to enjoy the race: “It just looks like a whole lot of fun. Looks like something I’d set up as a kid.” It’s not his forte, so he is trying to stay pretty laid back and put in a good race.

There was one obstacle he had some reservations about, though: “The one that worries me is the spear throw…I don’t have anything to compare that to.” Other than that, it’s going to be a good race. Josiah sees the Spartan Race as a challenge appropriate for any level of athlete, which makes it all the more attractive to try to really excel, saying, “There is a little bit of chance, and a whole lot of skill. What’s attractive to me is that there aren’t any special skills that require special equipment, it’s something any athletic person can do.” You can’t control what’s on the course, but you can always give it your all.
We’re all looking forward to having this top-notch athlete join our ranks, to have him push our own champions and to show us what he’s made of.

Welcome to Sparta, Josiah.

by Dan Camp with contributions from Lorraine Fender-Chiarizzio

turkey-dinner-photo-270-jsub-5201281Okay so Thanksgiving is approaching and like you I am excited for all the yummy food.  BUT sometimes that excitement can lead to you feeling the stuff bird you just ate!   Do you savor the taste of all the great food, enjoy the company and appreciate the day for what it is?  Or do you just eat to the point where you wished you wore pants with an elastic band?  So here are a few tips to not feel like a stuffed turkey!

1.  Exercise first in the morning, even if it’s a brisk walk, bring the family.  Some say because it’s a holiday it needs to be a day off of exercise, if anything that is more reason to get a workout in!  We can probably assume you will be consuming a good amount of carbs (some not so good but that’s okay it’s Turkey Day!) so all the more reason to get that metabolism fired up and ready to burn!  Anyone running a Turkey Trot?

2.  DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST!!!!!   Many people do this…maybe you figured you didn’t need the extra calories…WRONG!  Breakfast gets the metabolism cooking…it means “break the fast”.  Have some protein like eggs/egg whites with some veggies.  The protein will keep you fuller longer so you aren’t starving when all the goodies hit the table.

3.  WATER, WATER, WATER!!!  You probably can figure this one out, it will help fill your belly so you eat a bit less and helps with all the extra sodium you are probably going to get with some of the food being served.

4.  Bring a veggie tray with you as an appetizer if you don’t think they have one.  Raw veggies are great for snacking and will prevent you from overeating.  Make your own veggie dip with a light sour cream or buy a healthier version and put in a unmarked container, I bet no one will even know they are eating a healthier version of dip!

5.  DECIDE…are you going to fill your plate once with everything you want or are you hitting it like it’s an all you can eat buffet?  Let’s think here, most of the time you go back for seconds within minutes of finishing plate #1, give yourself 15-20min, I bet you won’t feel like re-filling.  Plus if you DECIDED to not want to feel like a stuffed turkey then that’s it, DECISION made, one plate full of all you want and that’s it until dessert.  You will feel proud of yourself and physically feel better!

6.  Food choices…opt for white meat not dark.  Keep an eye on the starchy carbs and how much.  Throw extra white meat on your plate and less buttery mashed potatoes, candied sweet potato, stuffing, and rolls.  Oh and gravy…keep to a minimum, try having it on the side and dip your fork in it with each bite rather than pouring it on.

7. PAY ATTENTION…what I mean is take your time chewing, savor the flavors, appreciate what you’re eating, be grateful and enjoy your company and the day itself, don’t make it ALL about FOOD!

8.  Drink water with your wine or if you are having some other alcoholic beverage.  It helps slow down the buzz you might get which could lead to uncontrolled eating, can help avoid hangover headaches and it will keep you hydrated as alcohol is a diuretic.

9.  Okay, chow time is over, don’t head for the recliner!  See who is willing to take a stroll with you, get out and feel great about the day.  If it’s yucky out then help clean up, stay occupied and don’t pick, those picks ADD UP.  Just do something!

10. Ahhh leftovers…that doesn’t mean an entire Thanksgiving dinner all over again…enough said :-)

Hope that helps, Happy Thanksgiving!

[Editor’s Note:  Dan Camp is a certified STRIDE Instructor and a certified Sports Nutrition Consultant who has raced with Spartan in Staten Island.  Dan Camp’s posts from http://fitasylum.com/ will regularly be making an appearance on the Spartan Blog.]

Tags: ,

by Carrie Adams

384214_10150364565861861_251061411860_8803122_1725185525_nNovember 19, 2011 was our largest California race event to date.  With over 4,600 runners, over 4,000 spectators and our first ever night heat option, the festival grounds were jumping from 5 A.M.’s Hurricane Heat to well after 6 PM in the dark foothills of Malibu.  The 100 or so Hurricane Heaters arrived early and were put through nearly three and a half hours of what has become a team-building challenge that’s part mini-Death Race Camp and part obstacle race.  Without bibs or chips the runners took off early off-site and crawled through culverts, swam through ponds, faced the barbed wire, mud, and obstacles of part of Sprint Course in a unique event that will be offered at all future Spartan Races for anyone brave enough to take it on!   Register for Texas’s Hurricane Heat HERE and Temecula HERE

Competitive heats set off at 8 A.M. and 8:30 A.M. and as he’s done at every other373793_10150364566536861_251061411860_8803130_128289038_n Spartan Sprint he’s taken on this year, Hobie Call took home the top spot in 27:52 minutes followed by Chris Rutz, 42 of Scottsdale who finished in 33:07 and rounding out the top three was Mike Anderson, 41 of Malibu with a time of 33:14.  The women represented as well!  Jenny Tobin, 43 of Boise, ID took top spot with 36:46, followed by Irene Call (Hobie’s wife), 36 of South Jordan, UT with a time of 40:05 and Rachel McDermott, 27 of Los Angeles, CA took third with a time of 44:08.  Here’s the day’s results!

376261_10150364566426861_251061411860_8803129_1283746883_nThe kids race was at 12:15 and 100% of the Kid’s Course proceeds go to the Rod Dixon Kid’s Marathon Foundation and was also a crowd pleaser with almost 300 Spartans-in-training taking part and taking home their own medals for their Spartan glory.

Some familiar faces were onsite including Jack Osbourne of MTV reality television fame.  Also,  Dan Evans of Biggest Loser Season Five ran with his team at 3 PM and Team Orange supporting Fit Kids and finished with big smiles and maybe a few bruises!  He even set up and did a live set featuring some of the new music off of his latest album.  You can catch his interview from Spartan Radio last week HERE.   Check out the Thanksgiving special THIS Wednesday from 9PM EDT – 11PM EDT  November 23, 2011 to see a segment of Biggest Loser alum’s racing in Staten Island!

The Calamigos Ranch venue with it’s jagged rises and bush terrain made this course a387186_10150364566071861_251061411860_8803126_1900361039_n gnarly and challenging Spartan Sprint.  The upward barb wire crawl had a rocky base and the swamp water was a cold surprise for the Malibu runners in the mild temperatures of the day.  Some single track trails and steep gradients on the running sections made the course challenging and dynamic. 

Live music made the day lots of fun for racers and included DJ Notorious Jen, Nylon Pink, Dread Daze, Ok Here’s The Plan,Grandpa’s Nuts, The Tulips, Band of Bigfoot, Reggae Motion, The Magnatones, All Over, The Originalities, Andrew & Andrew.

photo (67)The best views of the day were arguably during the night heat as the sun set behind the foothills and the green glow sticks led runners through the dark and back to the finish line headlamps on full blast.  Hobie Call even jumped in and ran with the night heat for his second lap of the day.  With the lights of Malibu visible in the valley runners rose high into the darkening skies and technical landscape, and the live music at times close enough to hear.  Looking across the valley, the headlamps of earlier night wave runners were visible bobbing in the darkness. 

We’re returning to California January 28th with our Super Spartan!  Click HERE for the Race and Hurricane Heat registration.

It was a memorable day in a great venue.  If you missed your chance to get some390865_10150364566636861_251061411860_8803132_1429103550_n (1) Spartan Gear, head over to our online store and order something to wear proudly after your amazing finishes on Saturday!

A big thanks to our volunteers for their help on race day with all the details!  Many more stories about our amazing event in Malibu, including a wrap-up on Spartan Radio Tuesday night at 10PM/9PM Central time.  From everyone at Spartan Race, we would just want to THANK our athletes and their family and friends for coming out to spend the day with Spartan Race.  We loved having almost 5,000 athletes and over 3,000 Spectators come rock it with us on Saturday. 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

by Jonathan Nolan

My journey begins prior to the weekend of October 14-16, 2011.  It actually began in the middle of July when I started working out at the Parkview YMCA.  After a workout one day, I came home and checked Facebook while I finished my protein shake.  As always, the annoying little advertisements lined the right side of my page.  Except this time, I noticed something that instantly motivated me, the Spartan Race logo.  I clicked the link and my world opened up to a completely new meaning of living.  I made my way to spartanrace.com and could not watch the videos enough.  I signed up for the Midwest Spartan Sprint and impatiently awaited the time to come.  I scoured all the Facebook pages associated with Spartan Race and talked about it with everyone I worked with and went to school with at Ivy Tech.  I made several friends before I even met them and there was a family created out of the camaraderie that we each showed each other.  About a week and half before the race, Spartan Race unveiled the first Hurricane Heat at night, a chance to meet and run with the Spartan Race founders, Joe Desena and Andy Weinberg.  That night, there was no timing or competition, but unity and teammates to rely on.  It was all about team, sitting in cold, nasty water doing flutter kicks to doing “snow”angels in the sloppy, wet, and coldMidwestmud.  As I am writing this even now, a euphoric feeling comes over me, the kind I had never felt before Spartan Race.  Even though our Spartan clan was out there for over four hours that night, I am sure we would all still be out there if Spartan Race would let us.  All I remember was that the eggs that we had to take care of the whole night we were out there were the best cared for eggs on the planet.  I could go on and on about the Hurricane Heat and my awesome experience.

The 9AM time was the competitive heat, which starts the race.  Every half hour up to 250 runners lined up and took off.

With a force of 309 strong starting the day off in the first heat, we set out to conquer what we thought was a 3.2 mile, 10-12 obstacle, insane, and punishing course.  Climbing ropes, dragging bricks, monster monkey bars, deep, stinky water, spear throw, barbed wire crawl, and enough mud to make every pig in the USAhappy.  What Spartan Race did not think of, nature and its insane environment did.  I made it through while helping people along in 46th place out of 3800+.  The best part was after I was finished, I watched the Spartan gladiators at the finish line give the racers a hard time so that they EARNED their finishes.  Joe Desena, Spartan Race co-founder, asked me if I wanted to give one of the warriors a break and assume his place.  Before he finished asking, I hopped the fence and was there in a spot that I felt I was destined for.  My determination as a racer transformed into fierceness as one defender of OUR finish line.  I can tell you something: I would not have wanted to go up against me with the way I felt then.

These experiences that I’ve just shared give me the drive to keep Spartan Race alive in everyone’s mind.  Along with several other people I am attempting to bring a Spartan Race to Indiana.  Joe Desena has said himself that if our Facebook group CORN FED SPARTANS can get 1000+ people interested in a race in Indiana, the race will be on the 2012 schedule.  This is Indianaand the Midwest’s chance to show our power and who we really are, the heartland.  Please, join us at Corn Fed Spartans at http://www.facebook.com/groups/131852773585737/ and become a part of something that we can all call our own.  With your help, we can get our first Indiana Spartan Race and become Spartans.  I leave you with the code every Spartan knows:

  • A Spartan pushes their mind and body to their limits.
  • A Spartan masters their emotions.
  • A Spartan learns continuously.
  • A Spartan gives generously.
  • A Spartan leads.
  • A Spartan stands up for what they believe in, no matter the cost.
  • A Spartan knows their flaws as well as they know their strengths.
  • A Spartan proves themselves through actions, not words.
  • A Spartan lives every day as if it were their last

by Dan Camp

Most of the time, we are given advice on what to EAT but forget that there are many types of drinks out there (and I’m not talking about just alcohol) that can blow your daily calories out of the water!  It starts with soda…but ends up being a variety of other drinks that may not even cause our radar to go off, and some which may even seem “healthy.”  If you Google “worst drinks in America” you can probably find a million different countdowns that go blow-by-blow what the highest calorie, highest sugar drinks are, but instead of worrying about a specific brand of this and that, I’m going to just give you an overview of the “types” of drinks you want to avoid.

Soda
sodaWe all know it’s not good for you, but why?  First of all – sugar.  A 20 oz. bottle of most sodas have over 60g of sugar, which is about 15 teaspoons of sugar!  And we usually drink the whole 20 oz. bottle let’s be honest.  Also, watch out for “black” sodas which have phosphoric acid in them.  Phosphoric acid can clean rust off of a car engine, can wash a 100 year old penny and make it look like new, and will therefore eat away at the enamel of your teeth not to mention what it does on the inside!

Diet Sodas aren’t much better, as they mostly use aspartame, and artificial sweetener.  Studies show people gain weight from diet soda, perhaps because the body is confused at the sweet taste but no true sugar delivery and therefore craves sugar more and possibly stores food differently.  Another problem with diet sodas in particular is that their pH is nearly identical to the pH of the stomach, so they can cause acid reflux.

Energy Drinks
Again, sugar is the biggest culprit here, but also effectiveness.  Anything with 50+g of sugar you have to wonder what kind of energy is this really providing?  A short burst, like a Roman candle, followed by a crash.  Your body can’t take in all that sugar and utilize it fast enough before it begins to be stored as fat.

Other ingredients in energy drinks tend to be caffeine and taurine.  Taurine is an organic acid, found in some meats, but realistically the amounts of taurine in any energy drink is not enough to actually impact biology in any way, and most studies show it doesn’t have much of an effect on energy levels.  Likewise, caffeine is fine in moderation, but you might as well get it from a cup of coffee as a natural stimulant.

beerBeer
“Beer is evidence that God loves us and wants us to be happy” – Ben Franklin.  Yes, I have to agree.  However, with beer you have a double whammy, because not only does alcohol carry empty calories, but beer is made with hops and barley and carries starchy carbs as well.  In some ways, knowing this you might as well go for a quality beer instead of drinking Bud Light all the time, even though the B Light obviously has fewer calories  – I’d rather have a beer with quality ingredients, it’s almost like thinking of it as the difference between white bread and a hearty whole grain bread with seeds on it.
Beer is about moderation, it’s easy to double your dinner’s calories by having several beers with it, so just be careful!

Milk Shakes
Milk Shakes are probably the highest calorie single entity among all pieces of food and cups of liquid in the world.  The reason they are so thick and sweet is that the sugar used is Maltose – which are two molecules of glucose bonded with one another.  Add high % milk fat, and you have one tasty treat – that can cost you an entire day of calories within 10 minutes.

For example, the PB&C shake, 24 oz. size, at Coldstone Creamery has 2010 (yes, I didn’t accidentally add a 0 there!), 68g of Saturated Fat and 153g of sugar in it.  That’s basically 10 tbsp. of butter mixed with 40 tsp. of sugar and for many Americans, a day’s worth of calories!  Just be wary, they taste delicious and you can gulp ‘em right down, but you are destroying your diet with one of these.  I don’t care about my “Don’t let a bad day turn into a bad habit” sentence, if your day includes one of these shakes, you don’t have to worry about it becoming a habit, you’ve already done the damage!

Now, it takes a certain kind of person to order a 24 oz. shake, but the fact that one exists is preposterous!  And a 16 oz. shake of the same flavor…well do that math, it’s still about 1350 calories.

Coffee Drinks
Starbucks drinks – they are a common luxury.  But not only will they rob yourWorst-Chocolaty-Coffee-Drink pocketbook, but they will destroy your diet.  However, you can be smart.  I personally love plain, black coffee, I guess I am just lucky, but that is what I always order at Starbucks.  Avoid the drinks that have multiple pumps of sugary syrup and whole milk.  Also, avoid the coffee drinks you can buy at the grocery store as they, too, are loaded with sugar.  There are healthy treats at Starbucks: for example a skim cappuccino is a delicious beverage!  And you know what, adding a tsp. of sugar to a coffee is not the end of the world, and in fact it is better than adding an artificial sweetener.

Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are basically all about the “when.”  For athletes, replenishing the body with a high carbohydrate beverage with some electrolytes like sodium and potassium has been studied and shows a better impact in performance and recovery.  But many sports drinks use high fructose corn syrup as their sweetener.  If you are looking for a recovery drink, having 10g of protein is a nice touch, and also look for a sugar source that is glucose and/or maltodextrin instead of fructose.  Fructose takes longer to absorb and be utilized and is primarily digested in the liver and can cause bloating during physical activity.  So a sports drink is ok at the end of a workout, but rarely, if ever, needed any other time of the day.

My best advice to you – be label smart!  Note that 4g of sugar = 1 tsp. of sugar, so calculate, even just for the visualization of it, how many teaspoons of sugar you are ingesting with your drink!  While sugar is the main culprit, as you see above there are many other reasons these drinks are not good for you.  When in doubt, have your cup of coffee in the morning and drink water throughout the day, you can’t go wrong!

nuvision_action_image_storefront_3_461789[Editor’s Note:  Dan Camp is a certified STRIDE Instructor and a certified Sports Nutrition Consultant who has raced with Spartan in Staten Island.  Dan Camp’s posts from http://fitasylum.com/ will regularly be making an appearance on the Spartan Blog.]

Tags: ,