by Mike Morris, Spartan Race Director

283422_10150251576106861_251061411860_8082902_6099537_nEarlier this year we announced the inclusion of the Ultra Beast.  A 26.2ish distance event to coincide with the Beast in Vermont in September.  IN addition to the new distance race, we announced that the race (both Ultra and regular Beast) would be mostly unsupported.  That means the athlete’s will have to provide for themselves their own nutrition, hydration, and fuel for the race.  To help athlete’s prepare, we have begun a series of posts designed to educate those taking part.

As a Race Director, I’m always trying to find new and creative ways to safely challenge our competitors.  Given the nature (and history?) of our Killington event its important this race continues to set the bar high.  Most of the Spartan Founders come from an Adventure Racing background; races lasting anywhere from 4 hours to 9 days with multiple disciplines, intensive navigation, and little to no support.  You could go days without seeing another person.  Proper planning of nutritional needs could mean a top ten finish versus needing to call in for an evacuation.  Even a “sprint” race required forethought on what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.  Thus we thought it fitting to add an unsupported element to the event.  As you prepare for the Killington Beast, I want you to start thinking about those three things:

1. What

2. When

3. How much

If you can’t answer them as you face the start columns then you are going to have a hell of a time.  Consider these tips as you start to create your plan.

Water/Hydration.  You need it.  If you don’t carry any on the course you risk cramping,216632_10150251576831861_251061411860_8082923_6114783_n nausea, heat stroke, and a 99% of not finishing the race.  Start with 20 oz per hour and adjust as needed.   If it’s a hot day as you climb a double black diamond with a sandbag then you will wish you had more.  Since everyone will be on course for more than three hours, you should consider adding an electrolyte supplement (especially if you don’t get enough through your calorie supplements) to help prevent muscle cramps and keep your body working most efficiently at many levels. 

Calories.  The longer your race, the more you need per hour.  The more intense the activity, the more you need per hour.  Stay away from high fat and protein dense items, your GI tract will thank you later.  Stick with relatively high glycemic index foods, and shoot for around 100 calories per hour.  Big Spartans will need more, little Spartans could work with less. 

My next blog will include some specific examples of what to eat/drink.  In the meantime, do some homework of your own (some Google searching can be very effective), you’ll learn 10x more than my few blog entries can accomplish which will empower you to have more effective training and successful racing moving forward.


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by Carrie Adams

When Chris Davis drove into Pittsfield to embark on his weight loss journey, Spartan was ready for him.  The Spartan Coaching program, which is actively being developed under the watchful and thoughtful eye of Dr. Jeff Godin, who also happens to be a Death Racer, was ready for him.

The program  was developed and ultimately designed to help Davis transition through his journey deliberately and with measurable goals accounting for the various stages he’ll go through physically, mentally and emotionally.

Here is the breakdown.

Stage 1: (April 11-May 1) (Goal: 10 mile walk, Bikram yoga, lose 40 lbs)

Enthusiastic beginner (D)-A new athlete is usually motivated, enthusiastic and excited about the opportunity to do something new and move to a new place. This person is already very motivated, requiring only a limited amount of support from Spartan. What the person doesn’t have is much information about the tasks and-what exactly is needed, how best to approach the task, etc. They will listen during this period extremely well.

How: (Kung Fu, Raw food, walking with pancake)

Stage 2: (May – June1) (Goal: 20 mile walk, 4 Bikram yoga classes in a row, lose 40 lbs.)
Disillusioned learner/student (D2)-This stage of a transition occurs when “the honeymoon is over.” At this stage, the initial excitement of their new life has worn off, and some aspects of the Joe’s tasks have proved more difficult than originally anticipated. Because the athlete is still learning and has little to show for his or her effort, the difficulties new pain are especially frustrating. Expect the student to become vocal about his/her frustration and start to look for outside confirmation of the logical reasons he should quit.

How: (Kung Fu, Raw food with introduction of SOME other food, walking with pancake, swim 2 hours)

Stage 3(June 1-Aug15) (Goal: back to back 20 mile walks, Seven Bikram yoga classes in seven days, lose 60 lbs.)

Capable but cautious contributor (D3)-Once new athlete is completing a big task successfully, they demonstrate that they will reach their goal. But having only completed small success, the new athlete hasn’t had enough time to gain confidence in their abilities. As a result, the athlete tends to be overly cautious and reluctant to repeat their success with the job.

How: (Kung Fu, Raw and healthy foods, short jogs, Bikram Yoga)

Stage 4(Aug15-race day) (Goal: jog 20 miles, complete two Bikram Yoga classes in one day, swim five hours)
Self-reliant achiever (D4)-At this stage of development, an Athlete has demonstrated competence and commitment to doing the job that was asked of them, and has essentially become self-managed and can not only maintain their new life but might now help others.

How: (jogging with pancake, Bikram yoga, diet will depend on where we are weight wise)


-Ideally long walks, jogs will take place on Sundays.

-There will be many days that more work is added than planned.

-The targets will be “moving” based on small successes noticed.

-Days off will be active swimming


My Journey to Sparta – The Chris Davis Project

by Jason Jaksetic and Chris Davis


Yesterday when I said it was going to be an interesting day, I had no idea just how interesting the day would have turned out.

After I wrote my blog, I did some looking back on my run keeper account and found that that my 5.18 mile walk to the Spartan HQ office was the longest walk I have ever completed. I love the fact that I am breaking all of my previous records for walking up here.  Records are made to be broken.

Later in the day yesterday I had my first interview with a newspaper reporter. It is a surreal experience knowing that every word you say is being recorded, and will be used to make a story.   To say it’s a cool feeling is an understatement, and I feel nervous to see how it comes out.

After the interview, I got back to the office and Joe told me the words I had feared all day, “Chris, you get you walk back to the lodge tonight.”

I know the walk this morning for the most part was downhill, so you can imagine how much I was looking forward to the walk back home. Over five miles uphill on an empty stomach were in store for me.  With this on my mind, I started on my way back to the lodge.

I have been walking on the roads for two weeks now and I have only seen a couple of people that I know as I walk, but today was different.  It seemed like everyone I knew in town stopped by and asked if I wanted a ride back to the lodge, and I passed every time feeling like someone was testing me to see if I was going to give up.

I am glad to say I passed.  I made it all the way back to the lodge under my own power. After it was all said and done, I walked over 11 miles yesterday. A new personal record. Two records in one day… what a great feeling.



Chris Davis is much smaller Spartan

Chris Davis is Shrinking

My Journey to Sparta – The Chris Davis Project:  Part 4

by Carrie Adams and Chris Davis

Since arriving at Spartan’s HQ in Pittsfield, VT Chris Davis has lost 28.2 lbs., well on his way towards his goal.  Under the watchful eye of Dr. Jeff Godin, the Director of Spartan Coaching a new part of Spartan Race, Davis is being monitored and his stats tracked as he trains and eats his way to a new life.  The picture below shows Chris’s progress from where he started at over 700lbs.  Here is his blog installment of April 24th. 


Last night I started out taking it easy because I was still nervous about my hip. But as I progressed though my workout, I started to feel more and more confident.  By the end of the workout my hip was sore, but it did not give me any additional issues, so I hope we are over that potential injury. Now I just have to work to strengthen the muscles in my hip so I do not continue to have these kinds of scares.

This morning I had to wake up a little earlier than normal so I could get in a quick workout before going to my first speaking event. So I started out my morning with a two mile walk from the lodge towards Spartan Camp at 5:30am this morning. My ride showed up and took me the rest of the way to Camp. Once I was there we started starting doing ‘burples’, not quite burpees but close, followed by walking up the stairs with the 35Lb Yellow Spartan Pancake. We did this for about an hour.  So much for kung-fu this morning, but there is always tonight and tomorrow.

After my morning workout, I headed over to Castleton College and spoke to Andy Weinberg’s (A Spartan Race Founder) class on my experience on how I got to 700lbs and some of the challenges both physical and physiological that you cope with when you are that heavy. It felt good to tell them about my experience, I hope that my story will help them understand some of the challenges larger people deal with.

CLICK HERE:  for The Chris Davis Project Part 3

CLICK HERE:  for The Chris Davis Project Part 5


Chris Davis in Vermont

Chris Davis in Vermont

My Journey to Sparta, The Chris Davis Project:  Part 3

by Jason Jaksetic and Chris Davis

 Last week we began to see how training at Spartan HQ was beginning to affect Chris Davis both mentally and physically.  This week we see the stress of training begin to take it’s toll even more.

There will always be bad days.  Sometimes the bad days roll into bad weeks.  And sometimes we can bounce right back.  Does Chris Davis have what it takes to lose so much weight and meet his goals of participating in the Vermont Ultra Beast?  Time will tell, we suppose. 


Last night was a bad night for me.  I had started out the night doing my normal evening Kung Fu lessons, and things were going great.  I had completed several sets of stretches and I was working on my kicks when my right hip gave out. It felt like someone a had ripped my leg out of my socket.

I slowly made my way over to the wall and tried to some pressure back on it and that seemed to be ok.  So I tried to walk on it, and I started out limping badly, but the more I walked the better it felt.  So I kept walking on it for about 5 minutes. That was when Joe arrived back from the Indiana Spartan Race. He had me do some more stretches and then sit ups using the rope, and we called it a night.

I felt so disappointed in myself after my Kung Fu session. We have been working so hard to push my body without hurting it, and the one night I try to go through my work out without supervision I mess my hip up. Now the good thing at this point is that it looks like I just over exerted one of the new muscles that I have started to use. At this point I do not think I did and real damage, I just need to take it easy on it for a bit and slowing continue to build up strength in these new muscles.

This morning I woke up with a very sore back.  I think it is because I changed rooms last night at the lodge and the new bed… well it’s a little harder that I am used to.  OK, a lot harder that I am use to.  But I am sure that after a few nights of sleeping on it one of two things will happen:  my body will adjust to the new bed, or I will not be able to stand up.  It will be fun to see what happens!

This morning workout went good, my hip was a little stiff, but for the most part it did what I asked it to do without complaining too much.  Nothing like yesterday, which is a very good thing.  That helps me to believe that whatever I hurt yesterday is just temporary and should not set me back in the long run. So today is a good today.

Here is a video recap of Chris Davis’s first week in Pittsfield: CLICK HERE

continue to The Chris Davis Project:  Part 4…

read part 2 of the Chris Davis project…



by Carrie Adams

IMAG0089Erica Green emailed me with her story and I felt compelled to tell it as it had a familiar ring to it.  How many women put others first time and time again until they find themselves at their lowest point and their highest weight.  Erica shares her story of triumph and her journey towards a Spartan finish line.  Here is her story in her own words.

A little over a year ago, I was close to my heaviest weight I had ever been. I couldn’t run a lap around a track or walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. I had been a 3 sport All-County athlete in high school and received a full college volleyball scholarship to a Division 1 school. But, that was SEVERAL years ago.

You never hope you change your lifestyle when things are going well. I was in great shape when I was in college…I had to be; my scholarship was riding on it! And I loved the fact that I was “athletic looking” not some skin and bones size 0 model. So, why didn’t I keep up my workouts and trainings after I graduated from college? I have no idea. Hind sight is 20-20, and if I could redo it again…I would have. But, I didn’t.

Nope, instead of keeping up with running and lifting…and even eating right…I let it all go. I graduated from college and immediately went for my Masters degree in education. While in grad school, I was also going through a rough time at home, as my younger sister was battling Leukemia and my mother was suffering from MS. Between the pressures of school and watching my sister dwindle away from her heinous disease and my mother in constant agony, I never had the chance to think about what was best for ME; how I should be at the gym relieving my stress with weights instead of eating away at it with cheeseburgers. Gaining 5 pounds turned into gaining 15 pounds and then 25. But it only gets worse…

My sister ended up passing away from her long illness in 1998 and my mother’s condition ended up taking a turn for the worse. I hit rock bottom, literally. No drive, wouldn’t work, let alone work out. My soon-to-be husband had to force me to get out of bed some mornings. He finally convinced me to seek counseling, which I did. I was given some anti-depressants and ballooned up even more. Over the next few years, I had two children. They are truly a blessing, but of course, my weight continued to sky rocket. And, as a parent, I felt that I needed to put my kids and family first. My weight and unhealthy lifestyle became a backseat to their soccer practices, football practices, my husband travelling for work, school projects etc. I think I had truly lost my identity.

At my heaviest weight, I was probably a little under 300 pounds. I gained over 100 pounds in the time between college and raising my 2 kids. I was embarrassed not only at how I looked as a former college athlete, but how unmotivated I had turned out. I tried dieting on my own, but that didn’t work. I tried joining a gym, but all I did was keep paying monthly fees for a membership I never used. I knew I had to stop this rollercoaster ride I was on and realized there was still something missing – EXERCISE! The “athlete” that had been hidden inside of me for all those years was DYING to emerge! Next step…get a personal trainer.

I’ve worked with various personal trainers over the years…some male, some female; some older and some younger…but none of them made a lasting impression on me. I was their “client”. When I left, after the hour was done, and they received credit for my session, I was nothing to them until the next time I returned. That all changed after I met my most recent trainer, Brian.

As a scholar athlete, I have been pushed for most of my life. I have been taught to strive for goals which may seem out of reach. However, I have never been both mentally and physically transformed as I have since I started working with Brian early in 2011. He pushed me WAY beyond any limits I thought I had. His workouts were grueling, challenging and extremely mind-blowing. But, he believed in me…and more important, he made me believe in myself. Brian never allowed me not to finish something I started, never allowed me to EVER say the words “I CAN’T” never allowed me to take the easy way out without feeling guilty and most importantly, never allowed me to be satisfied with anything but the best.

Throughout my months of training, I found that I was able to actually make it around the track again – many more times than I had thought. In fact, I was doing so well with my training, that Brian had mentioned the “Warrior Dash” to me. He said it was a “short, 3 mile obstacle race.” My first thought…there is NOTHING short about 3 miles! I immediately told him he was crazy but he said he would actually run the race with me and help guide me through it. Hesitantly, I signed up for the Warrior Dash in South Florida in December 2011…had SUCH a great time that we even ran another one in Central Florida the following month, but this time, without him by my side.

And then…Brian popped the dreaded question – “How about running in a SPARTAN RACE now?” No clue what that was, I asked him if it was similar to the Warrior Dash. He explained that it was, except that instead of 3 miles, it was 9 miles…and instead of 12 obstacles, it actually turned out to be 30 obstacles! My first thought now – the guy has lost his marbles! I knew I had been improving, but 9 miles? 30 obstacles? Yeah, right! But besides the actual petrifying THOUGHT of competing in this race, I had been having some knee problems (which turned about to be arthritis) and had NEVER gotten above 7 miles total at a time…let alone, with added obstacles! My nerves were at their peak. The race was expensive and I didn’t know if I would be able to complete it. I had just ran the two Warrior Dashes and would find it difficult to justify to my husband to spend that much money on another race – but this time, one that I might not be able to finish because of my knees. I contemplated for weeks, all while I continued to train for it with Brian…until I came up with an idea. The idea was far-fetched, but I decided I wanted nothing more than to be able to complete that race!

While doing some research on the Spartan Race, I decided to contact them and explain to “Sparta” my situation. My email was forwarded to a helpful gentleman by the name of Tom McCormack who said, “I want to see you out there…if you are serious about participating in the race, I will get you in!”

Looking back, I think there was actually a small part of me that was hoping Tom would say that there was nothing he could do to help me. That would have been my easy ticket out. But, nonetheless, on February 25th, thanks to Tom’s help with registering me…I rode down to Miami, with Brian, to combat Spartan. I don’t think that I can recall anything I talked about or did on the way down as my nerves had eaten away at me. But the next thing I knew, there I was, race bib pinned on, standing at the starting line with hundreds of runners, fire blazing, counting down…listening to Brian say “HAVE FUN” as he smiled, high-fived me…and took off!

FUN?? I thought I was going to be sick – literally! I knew Brian wasn’t going to run this race with me as he did the first Warrior Dash, as he had his own personal goals to attend to, so it was going to be a lot of intrinsic motivation on my part to keep me going. But what if I couldn’t finish? What if I couldn’t’ walk half way through because of knees? I knew financially that I had lost nothing…but what about pride? What about my self-esteem and sense of accomplishment? Not only would I be letting myself down, but I would also be letting my trainer down…one who believed in me and devoted so much time to help me conquer this race. My only goal I had – FINISH THE RACE!

It was a few miles into the course that I had come to my first obstacle that I was not able to defeat…the monkey bars. I was soaked from the trudge through a lake that my grasp just slipped out from the bars. In Spartan land – that was 30 Burpees heading my way. So far, I had been feeling fine. The swims and crawls through the water was a nice break from the run, but how would I handle the burpees?

About 2.5 hours into the race, I finally was in sight of the finish line. I was also in sight of IMAG0090the approximate 7 obstacles in a row I had to overcome before I crossed that finish line. By now, my knees were killing me. I was wet, exhausted and completely covered with mud. After emerging from the mud crawl, I had failed at the next three obstacles in a row…that’s right, 90 consecutive burpees.  I did the burpees – all 90 of them – and with tears of both joy and pain streaming down my face, I finished the Spartan Race. It was just over 3 hours, but I accomplished my goal!  As I kept staring at the blue Spartan Medal I EARNED that hung around my neck while I inhaled the water…

I finally located Brian. At first, no words were needed. We smiled at each other knowing it had been a long morning…longer for me, but just as exhausting for him. He congratulated me on finishing the race and although he is not the type to say it, I think he was thinking that he was actually proud of me for completing it. But as we walked toward the car and we compared “war stories” of the different obstacles and parts of the race, I actually was thinking how proud I was of HIM. I mean, I knew HE would finish the race…but the fact that he was able to take a person – SO overweight and out of shape…and transform her into a Spartan…is simply amazing! I think that was equally as impressive for him that day as was his race.

I have lost most of the weight I had gained since college and, as I get ready to turn 40 this year, I am in the best shape of my life. My physical transformation is incredible! I actually look forward to exercising and get upset if I have to miss a work out. I still train with Brian and, in fact, I decided to have him train my volleyball players I coach in high school, so they can benefit from him as well. Not surprising, their progression is also incredible.

Although my knees still aren’t doing too well, I do have aspirations of running in another Spartan Race next year and would love to complete a half marathon before then. When I contacted Tom to thank him and tell him about my amazing experience at the race, I had told him that if there was anything I could do to show my appreciation for his help, to let me know. He said to me…”In fact there is, tell your story for our blog.” So here it is. Hopefully it motivates someone else who is questioning their ability to GET UP…and GET MOVING.

People hope that they have the ability to manage their problems on their own, especially when it comes to weight. But sometimes it takes an outside source, or person, to get you moving in the right direction. I lucked out. I finally came across someone who not only understood where I wanted to be, but knew exactly how to get me there. And it just wasn’t by giving me a weight to lift. It was changing my mentality. It was by proving that he actually was interested in my progress and not just my payment. It was by displaying confidence in my potential and it was by making me believe in myself…and pushing me, even when I felt as if I could not go on. Whatever or whoever it takes to get you moving in the right direction – take advantage of it.

A little over a year ago, I was close to my heaviest weight I had ever been. I couldn’t run a lap around a track or walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. Today, I am a SPARTAN FINISHER. I stare at my medal hanging around my rear view mirror every time I get in my car and still feel that same sense of pride I did crossing that finish line in February. I hope you are able to conquer that “Spartan Race” of your own someday…whatever that may be.

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Are you getting your WOD fix regularly enough?  Our signature WODs are posted daily on our Facebook, Twitter, and we even send it to your inbox.  If you want to get the goods for week all in one place you have come to the right place.

When approaching training structuring your workouts by week is a great way to begin looking at training as being comprised of cycles.  Typically many athletes will work in week long cycles that comprise a gradual build up in workout volume (intensity x duration).  After 3 solid weeks of training, then there can be a week of lighter training to help recover from the previous 3.  As always, our WODs are basic introductions and you should consult with your own fitness professionals and doctors to find the program best for you.  We just want to help you get rolling!


Click Here for an in-depth WOD brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition.


“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect It’s successful outcome.”
William James

We build our WODs to help people train for our obstacle races!  We think the Cindy is one bad-ass workout and it will get you into Spartan Beast mode, quick!

Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats


“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
-Jim Rohn

Today is brought to you by the number 100. Repetitions, that is. Feel free to chose the number 200 or 300, though.  Or 20 or 30.  It’s up to you based on your ability.


100 push-ups or burpees done as(choose one)
2 x 50
4 x 25
10 x 10
100 crunches done as (choose one)
2 x 50
4 x 25
10 x 10

Optional Add On:
Endurance: 2- 4 mile run


To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.
~William Shakespeare

Beginners do NOT be intimidated!  Development takes time.  This is why we try and provide you WODs that are highly adaptable to your current fitness, geography, and goals.  Spartans take what they have and set to work to improve it.  So what if you have a long way to go.  Don’t let a suggested workout stop you from working out because it is ‘too tough’.  Doing 10% of a workout is better than not working out at all.  If you’re elite, get over patting yourself on the back and do the workout twice.

grab 5-30lbs sandbags or even set of dumbbells and hike/walk 2-4 miles (preferably hills).  It’s not about speed, it’s about strength and endurance.  The more irregular the weight you are carrying the more you are going to build your adaptability across many planes of movement and allow you to work your stabilizing muscles.

finish with weights and:

20-100 squats
10-100 push ups
20-100 lunges
10-100 squats


We shall neither fail nor falter; we shall not weaken or tire…give us the tools and we will finish the job. ~ Winston Churchill

The work place is a great opportunity to get creative with fitness. Just try not to embarrass yourself too bad or get fired. Having someone walk in while you are alone, sweaty, and breathing heavy in a conference room can be awkward in certain companies, we guess…so maybe try this workout first on the weekend. Enjoy it everyone!

2-5 minutes of planking at 3 points in your day. The last time include 30-200 crunches.

Push ups until failure after each set of planking


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We all don’t all have a track nearby to workout at. Here’s a speed workout that can be even done on trails.

Fartlek’s Run on an open road/trail (2-4-6-4-2):
‘hard’ = above lactate threshold/race pace/NOT conversation pace
10 min w/u
2 min hard
1 min jog
4 min hard
2 min jog
6 min hard
3 min jog
4 min hard
2 min jog
2 min hard
1 min jog
(repeat as needed)
10 min c/d


The best way out is always through.
-Robert Frost

Grab a sandbag and start marching. If you have a weighted vest bring that along, too. The goal is NOT to run. Run and you will pound your joints with all that extra mass. Instead, find a steep incline and walk fast while carrying an uncomfortable amount weight. Very quickly you’ll most likely find yourself breathing heavy. With the added weight, you maximize the effort involved in each step. Do NOT worry about how far you go, just focus on 30 minutes of hard effort. For those of you who need heavy resistance and you don’t have hills, drag a tire behind you. Always be sure to spend 15 minutes warming up before big effort starts. Stretch it out for cool down.

Be sure to check out this Signature Founder’s WOD on our blog: Click Here

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Chris Davis fixing a stone wall at Spartan HQ

Training at Spartan HQ

My Journey to Sparta – The Chris Davis Project: Part II

by Jason Jaksetic and Chris Davis

We met Chris Davis last week in our introductory blog for The Chris Davis Project:  Part 1.  I had the pleasure of meeting him upon his arrival in Pittsfield.  I knew immediately it would be a pleasure to be a Pittsfield, Vermont resident with Chris Davis as well as a fellow Spartan.

One immediately understands that this man is on a mission and that it will be a long and hard one.  But as the training unfolds I can say that he is keeping his chin up and moving forward. 

In this installment Davis takes his second Kung Fu lesson, which occur in one of the barns at Spartan HQ.  It’s just one of the many non-traditional, full body workouts that you find when you come train with us in Vermont.  Read on to find out how Chris begins to feel as the intensity of his training picks up.


Last night we did my second session of Kung-Fu training.  We started out with some stretching and then I started to work on straight kicks. It’s funny how much I have to think about each step and each kick. Maybe that is why I feel so awkward about the whole process? If I do not focus on each small movement, I start to lose my balance and begin to fall over.  I know that over time my body will adapt, and these things will become second nature, but I am far from that point at this time.

This morning when I woke up, I felt great…that is, until I tried to get out of bed.   This is when everything started to fall apart.

My legs felt like they wanted to cramp up, and my feet did not want to work right.   But that’s ok, I think, because I know this will pass.

When I arrived at Spartan HQ today, we started out by tossing the Spartan Pancake a(20 lbs sandbag) around for a while. This is always fun, for the first 5 minutes or so, because after that, it really starts to suck!  Your arm starts to burn and then you start to worry about dropping the sandbag.  Dropping the pancake is just a bad idea.  I’m informed:  don’t drop the sandbag.

After the pancake toss we started to walk up to the cabin on top of the mountain weighted down with the Spartan Pancakes. Today we did not go as far as yesterday but we did take a detour along the way. We decided to go off the road and climb up a rocky embankment on the side of the road.  It was really cool to get to the top and look back down.  I guess I can add rock climbing to the list of things I have now tried. I have a feeling this is just a taste of what’s come…


Last night I started to hit the wall.  I was so tired that I started to fall asleep at my desk after my morning workout. I also found that I was having a hard time focusing on simple tasks like building a database. For me this is normally something I can do in my sleep, but I found that I was having a hard time getting the relationships between the tables to work in my head.

During our evening Kung-Fu workout, I did a lot of stretching. I am really starting to see the importance of Kung-Fu in my daily work out. It really is helping with my balance and helping to stretch out my muscles after my walks.

This morning was the first night I slept well enough to dream. The funny thing was that I was dreaming about ice cream.  I never dream about food, so this was completely strange – but at least I am dreaming!  Dreaming is a good thing because it means I am reaching REM sleep. Deep, dream filled sleep is important for recovery.

When my alarm went off in the morning, I could barely move. I felt like someone had drugged me it was so hard just to open my eyes!  Once I did, I started to feel better. I started out my morning by walking towards the Spartan HQ office while I was waiting for my ride to pick me up. It’s funny, I have had a car since I was 16, and I have always been the one giving others a ride.  It is very unsettling for me to have to rely on someone else to help with my transportation need. I made it just over a mile before my ride showed up.

Once we got to Spartan HQ I grabbed the Green 25lb Spartan Pancake, and we stated to walk up the mountain. I will be honest my mind kept telling me to quit, but I knew I couldn’t stope around the half mile point.  I started to get some pain in my hips, and after going a little further Joe decided to have us turn back around. We had only made it up about a half mile, which is a shorter distance then yesterday. I was both relieved and disappointed that I did not make past yesterday’s turn around point. I guess I will have some of these setbacks. The important thing I keep in mind is that I do not give up, and I will do better tomorrow.


Yesterday things started to change.  I went from being cold all day to being hot.  I don’t know what changed because I am still on the same diet that I have been on since getting here. I hope this means that my body is starting to adjust to my new diet and life style. I am starting to notice that I am losing a lot of inches in my stomach. But everything else is pretty much the same.

This morning I started the day by going for a walk. It was supposed to be a light workout today because I was scheduled to do perform my fitness test. So I started to walk up the mountain and got about 1/3 of the way up, and then turned back down. Once I got back to the camp I saw that I still had time before I had to go, so I headed down the road into the valley.

After my morning walk we headed up to the Pico Training facility where Dr. Jeff Godin started to perform the first set of fitness tests. Before we started to do the physical tests Dr. Godin took my blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL levels. After that we started to measure the blood oxygen conversion on a treadmill.  We did several sets of 4 minute walks, and after each set he took my blood lactate level to test how well my body is handling the exercise. After we finished the tread mill test, we headed out to the farm. Once we arrived at the farm we performed several other tasks like splitting logs with an axe and carrying a log without dropping it.

I was so disappointed that it took me almost 15 minutes to split one log. I just could not get enough strength into the swing to make it work right, but I did keep going and I finally got it to split in half from there it was easy to get it into quarters.

When I went out to lunch I stated to tell Peter Borden, a Pittsfield local, about how disappointed I was with my performance with splitting the log, and told me to come over to his house later in the week and we would work together on my technique. I know that splitting wood will definitely help me with upper body strength, which is going to be critical if I am going to survive the Spartan Ultra Best in September.

…the Chris Davis Project continues in Part 3:  CLICK HERE


A Spartan Workout of the Day (WOD) is posted on FB, Twitter, and into email inboxes (subscribe here) at by 10pm each night.  WODs are to be performed the next day according where it will best fit into a racer’s schedule.  Thus a WOD presented here for Monday, is written in the context that it was delivered in a way to be performed on Tuesday.  Keep this in mind when looking at the workload flow as the week progresses.  Typical Spartan weekly WOD-flow is a build from Tuesday to Sunday with a recovery day on Monday.– Jason J


In depth WOD on our blog presented by Gaspari Nutrition

Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.

So just go out and get after it!

warm up
10 minute jog or jump rope

main set:
30 burpees
30 push ups
30 crunches
30 squats
30 lunges
30 pull ups (advanced)
1 mile run
(repeat main set as needed)

cool down
walk it out and stretch


“Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” Theodore N. Vail

This WOD is a bit intense and written out for our more advance athletes. However, don’t get psyched out if you are a beginner – it’s time to commit to being able to DO this workout! Divide everything by 10 and this workout still works. Simplicity is awesome. It’s a great way to start!

200 lunges
100-200 push ups
run 2-5 miles
200 body weight squats
100-200 push ups
run 2-5 miles
ab routine


“The simplest things are often the truest.” – Richard Bach

Burpee Ladder
10 burpees – 400m run
11 burpees – 400m run
12 burpees – 400m run
…and so on till you are done.

When are you done?  That is for you to decide.  You can take this workout till failure or you can make it a great 20 minute routine during a busy day.  It doesn’t matter – just start the WOD!  Beginning is the first step.


“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.”

~Satchel Paige

Long distance tomorrow. It’s the weekend – get out an enjoy it. The best way to break up a long run or hike is to incorporate some strength sets periodically in your long aerobic efforts. So during a 1-3 hour run put in some sets of lunges and burpees every 20 minutes!  The length of your workout can be best decided in reference to the Spartan distance you are signed up for.  Our Trifecta folk should be out there 3 hours at least!


Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be. ~ John Wooden

Power hour of burpees: 2-10 push ups every minute on the minute for one hour! Time crunch? go for 30 minutes…just do more per minute.

We are sure you can find 30 minutes on a Sunday to pound out some fitness.


This WOD we featured on our blog as the first of a series where Founder/CEO Joe Desena gives you the straight forward WODs you need in racing.  For this WOD Joe was asked about recovery workouts.  CLICK HERE for the full feature.

People always say ‘stop and smell the roses’?  But smell the roses when you are planting, watering, or trimming them.

A Recovery WOD by Joe D

Rest is for when you’re dead.

Active recovery is the only recovery.  This means walk, get in a pool, do crunches in front of the TV…do something.

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Chris Davis @ GA Spartan Sprint

My Journey to Sparta – The Chris Davis Project:  Part 1

by Carrie Adams and Chris Davis

Every day Spartan Race HQ gets emails and phone calls with success stories of our athletes getting off their couches and getting healthy preparing for a Spartan Race.  Untold pounds have been lost, new levels of health and well-being found by those who embrace a healthy Spartan lifestyle.  Every so often one of those stories strikes a chord so deep, we are compelled to tell it completely.  One of those stories is in motion now, and we are going to keep sharing updates of a man who has turned to Spartan to change his life forever.

We met Chris Davis in Georgia where he finished the race in 3:04, and at 390 pounds.  Struggling across the finish line and exhausted, Spartan staffers helped him to his car and he headed home.  But that is not where this journey begins and it’s nowhere near over.

Chris started his Journey at 696 pounds. in 2010, he heard of the Spartan Race and started losing weight.   We got in touch with him and moved him to Spartan HQ. He is currently down 300 pounds from his starting weight with the help of the Spartan Race motivation.

Spartan Race staff, including founder Joe Desena are attempting to get him to 180 pounds by September a loss of an additional 200 pounds over the next 5 months.  In his own words, he’ll share his journey on the Spartan blog.  Here is his first entry.

Chris Davis Pre Chris Davis Project

Chris Davis @ 696 lbs.

April 12, 2012

Last night I arrived at Spartan Race Training Camp in Pittsfield, VT. I was so nervous about the flight up here since this was the first time in 12 Years that I have been flying. The reason I was so nervous about flying was that I have heard so many stories about overweight people having issues on airplanes that it was causing me worries about my own travels. I was surprised to find that I fit better than I did the last time, but I still needed a seatbelt extender.

“It funny,” I keep thinking to myself, “this is the last time I am ever going to need one.”

Once I arrived at the Burlington International Airport it took at an hour and a half to reach Pittsfield. During that time I kept asking myself over and over again as I entered the Vermont Mountains: “What have I gotten myself into?”

I realized very quickly how completely out of my element I was. One of the things that caught me off guard was how clear the air is up this far North.  My driver pointed out that Killington Mountain, which I saw on the horizon, was a good landmark to help navigate around the region and then he told me that it was still 40 miles away.

Once I arrived and met everyone, I headed back to the Trailside Lodge to get some sleep because I knew that it was going to be an early morning.  My first training session was to start at 6am Thursday morning. When I woke up I was both excited and nervous.  It finally hit me:  Yes this is real.   Yes my life is about to change…

Six o’clock arrived early and Joe Desena was ready for me with what would become  my new best friend – The Spartan Pancake. The Spartan Pancake is a 20lb sandbag, nothing edible.

Joe and I started out by going on a walk up one of the mountain roads near Spartan HQ carrying the Spartan Pancake. It’s funny how simply adding a 20lb sandbag to your walk affects everything you do. It throws off your balance. I found myself focusing more on ways to manage and carry the weight and less on the walking. We made it about 1/3 of the way up the one mile road when we turned back.

I will be honest, I was surprised at how fast I got tired.  I don’t know if it was the walking uphill or The Pancake, but I was beat.  On the way down Joe carried the Pancake for me and I started to get some of my strength back. When we got back to the Camp, I felt a lot better.

Next we started to toss the Pancake.  I have never tossed a 20lb bag before.  It really forces you to use your arms, chest and back. You feel it when the Pancake comes in a little fast or is a little short, and you have to reach for it. We did that for a few minutes and then we started the last part of my morning exercise. Kung-Fu.

I never thought is a million years I will ever try and learn something like this. I have no rhythm, and I do not have fine control over my movements. So learning something like Kung-Fu is going to be great. I felt so awkward, trying to walk and do straight kicks, I found myself tripping over my own feet, and losing my balance. But we all have to start somewhere and this is where I am.  I have a ways to go, but I’m here and somehow knowing that is enough.  More to come…

[Editor’s Note: Chris Davis’s training updates will be featured regularly on the Spartan Blog and will include pictures and other media of his time in Vermont.  Keep updated with his progress.  If you want to start your own journey to Sparta, get signed up for our WOD’s to get delivered to your inbox.]

…The Chris Davis Project continues with Part 2…