Buck Furpee Day:  Part II

by Jason Jaksetic

From one thing, know ten thousand things.
- Miyamoto Musashi

The burpee is quintessentially Spartan in that there is nothing wasted in the activity.   It carries with it efficiency,  and, therefore, concentrated effectiveness.  When you train, focus on training – don’t over-complicate things.  When in doubt, do burpees.

If you don’t know what a burpee is (or need a refresher course,) GO HERE.

Otherwise, start mentally preparing for tomorrow because it’s another Buck Furpee Day.

1 Day, 300 Burpees.

It’s as simple as that.  You have your waking hours tomorrow to pound out 300 perfectly executed burpees.  Do it all at once or break it into 10 separate workouts-  just get them done!  Commit to the goal that will push many of you into a world of hurt.  It might also push many of you into accomplishing something you’d never have tried.

This is a great WOD to share with your co-workers.  Just maintain sufficient clearance with office equipment at all times!

Oh, and, everything you need know about a burpee can be found on our blog where Dr. Jeff Godin breaks down the muscular analysis of the burpee.  Of course, always use common sense and understand your current burpee capabilities. Adjust Buck Furpee Day to best fit your needs.  The most important thing is to be effective tomorrow.  If you have free time, don’t waste it. Do burpees.

Sometimes the solutions to complex questions are eloquently simple.

‘How do I get fit?’  Is that complex enough of a question?  The answer?

When in doubt, do burpees.

Muscular Analysis of The Burpee

by Jeff Godin, PH.D., CSCS

Phase 1:  Squat Position

From standing position to squat position.

Squat down so the hands are flat on the ground. The knees and hips are flexing and the ankle is moving into dorsi flexion.  The spine is also flexing to a minor degree. This movement requires the eccentric contraction of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gluteus maximus. The muscles of the back are working to prevent excessive flexion of the spine. Think about holding the chest high. Eccentric means that the muscles are contracting and lengthening at the same time. The muscles are producing force to control the rate of descent against the effects of gravity.


Phase 2:  Push-up Position

From Squat position with the hands on the ground, to the start of the push-up position.

-        From the squat position, using the arms to support the upper body, the legs are thrust back until the body is elongated into the start of the push-up position.

-        This movement requires concentric contraction of the quadriceps to extend the knee, and concentric contraction of the hamstrings and gluteus maximus to extend the hip.

-        The pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and rotator cuff are contracting isometrically to stabilize the shoulder and the triceps brachii are contracting isometrically to stabilize the elbow. Isometric is a term to describe a muscular contraction without movement. In this case, the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and triceps brachii are producing just enough force to oppose the effects of gravity and prevent the chest from crashing to the ground.

-        Muscles of the scapula, including the trapezius, rhomboids, serratus anterior, and the pectoralis minor, are contracting isometrically to stabilize the scapula. These muscles are co-contracting creating a stabilizing effect on the scapula so the muscles of the rotator cuff have a stable platform to act upon.

-        Muscles of the trunk are contracting isometrically to stabilize the core and prevent unwanted movement in the spine. Muscles that extend and flex the spine are co-contracting to stabilize the spine. If you notice the back sagging or an exaggerated arch in the back this is indicative of a weakness in the abdominal muscles. Practice the Plank exercise to strengthen this region.


Phase Three: The Push-up

One push-up is completed.

-        The chest is lowered to the ground in a controlled fashion. It should be fast but under control. The pectoralis major and anterior deltoid muscles contract eccentrically allowing the shoulders to horizontally abduct. The triceps brachii contracts eccentrically to allow the elbow flex.

-        The torso should be rigid throughout the movement; the muscles of the trunk continue to act as stabilizers.

-        In the down position, the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and triceps brachii contract concentrically causing shoulder horizontal adduction and elbow extension respectively, returning to the body back to the up position.


Phase Four:  Return to Squat Position

From the top of the push-up position to the squat position

-        This is an explosive movement where the athlete springs back to the squat position.

-        The gastrocnemius, contracts forcefully causing plantar flexion, lifting the feet from the ground so that the knees and hips can be rapidly flexed and the body is returned to the squat position.

-        Flexion of the hips is caused by a concentric contraction of the iliopsoas and rectus femoris muscles and flexion of the knee is caused by concentric contraction of the hamstring muscles.

Phase Five: Jump

From the squat position the athlete jumps as high as possible.

-        Jumping is the product of a forceful concentric contraction of the gastrocnemius muscle at the ankle, the quadriceps at the knee, and gluteus maximus and hamstrings at the hip, causing plantar flexion, and knee and hip extension respectively.

-        Prior to the jump the back should be rigid and this stabilization is provided by the back extensors.



By Rose-Marie Jarry

This salad is awesome when you invite company over. It’s simple to make and it will impress them. It’s light and fruity, so you can enjoy this on a hot summer day as well.  The pumpkin seeds will add a little bit of protein and also a nice source of iron.  This is a final touch to make your salad even more complete in nutrients.


In a small blender: Put in the passion fruit seeds, sesame oil, honey, lemon juice and spices. Blend it all together. Set aside.

Place your mache leaves on a plate, cut your atulfo mango into slices and put them on the plate as well along with the kiwi rings.

Slice some thin pieces of cheese and wrap each half of them in a fresh fig.

Slice the avocado in pieces and add it to your salad.

Finish it by pouring some passion fruit dressing all over your salad and sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top.

If you are looking for less calories, you have the option of removing the avocado from your plate. Doing so will remove 322 calories from your dish but if you don’t mind, go ahead and enjoy the avocado.

1 serving is 543 calories.

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WOD for Tuesday, 7.31.12 Brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

~By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call

Can you believe the weather we’ve been seeing in The States lately? Makes you glad to be a Spartan, because if any group of people are reading themselves to weather and overcome storms, it’s us. This WOD is power packed, ready for fired-up bodies, and geared towards giving you a training edge over other competitors that stay a little too traditional. Overcoming obstacles, yet training within boundaries seems a little contradictory, no?

The same thing goes for competition. This workout was originally designed for athletes whose muscles, joints, and tendons had grown weary of endless repetitive traditional strength exercises. They needed something that increased performance, but also strengthened these areas, especially joints. Wherever we are in life, especially on the course, we need our joints to be strong, and dependable. This means special attention must be given to all the smaller muscles around the joint capsules.

This series of workouts are laid out to be done, not as a revolving circuit, although that’s easily doable, but as a complete full-body joint enhancing from one complete series of sets, to the next.  Rest in between exercises should be minimized of course, but overall this WOD is about strengthening the skeletal structure by strengthening small muscle groups that are designed to protect joints.

Let’s Rock these out…

- Because of the dynamics involved in this WOD, it’s a good idea to get warmed up first, especially with stretching. An incredible amount of joint injuries are the result of tight muscles which then cause the strength/length bonds of muscles between joint to be irregular.

1) Hero Planks: All too often people get in the habit of only doing stationary planks, which is fine, but there’s so much more than can be done with these exercises to enhance them and make them produce more intense results.

As everyone knows, the most important muscle group of all when on the course, other than our thinking muscles, is the core. This is because most human movement originates from it!

Instead of doing them the traditional way, grab a set of dumbbells and let’s get creative shall we. The first option is to do pushups periodically during the planks and add a dumbbell row or shoulder raise. True Hero Planks are where you start facing the ground in default plank position, then with a dumbbell in your hand and arm straight, twist the body and turn it into an oblique plank with your arm outstretched and suspending the weight; return to default.

This movement brings the exercise into the Transverse plane of motion, and asks the body and core to cope with and adapt to a whole lot more than traditional planks, that’s why I call them Hero Planks. Additionally, the transverse plane(twisting), as I always stress to people, is where most training/course injuries take place.

Shoot for at least 50 reps per arm with Hero Planks, but for today 25 is more than adequate. Keep your body under tension as much as possible. When you can do all 100 without having to rest, you’re truly a core hero!


2) Ball Shifts: Plyo pushups are awesome because they require so much more than traditional ones. Military style is the weight machine of the pushup world; they’re effective but not too versatile. Typically, people use stationary objects like a platform or a dumbbell, but moving objects are far more demanding.

For these, all that’s needed is a ball of some sort, whether a medicine or soccer ball. Start off with one hand on the ball and the other on the ground in pushup position, do a pushup, and then with explosive power shoot up while at the same time scooting the ball over so that your other hand lands on it when you come down.

Be careful, because this can be hard on the wrists, especially ones that are untrained or have sustained a lasting injury in the past. However, if you can handle it, there’s almost nothing more effective for building upper body dexterity and core strength throughout the transverse abdominus, and strengthening the forearms and wrists.

With these, sometimes it’s best to get out of the rest/exert and set/rep mind frame and just go until failure; in that you’re incapable of doing another one. For most people, regardless of their physical prowess, these are not a high rep count exercise. The point is to maintain the burn and struggle as long as humanly possible before giving out. Trust me, you’ll feel them in the morning.


3) BB Row w/ Tri-Press: The best thing about training for obstacles, feats, and timed workouts is that you get to compound, mix, and juxtapose exercises into your own creations; to go beyond mental boundaries and borders which mundane routines can easily set in place over time.

This exercise mixes light to moderate weight barbell deadlifts, standing upright trap rows, and triceps presses into what should ideally be one movement. Begin with the Deadlift, being careful not to scrape the shins, and at full leg extension perform a trap row bringing the barbell up to the nipple line or barely above.

Finally, bring the bar up above the head, watching the shoulders as you flip your wrists, and perform a triceps extension.

All three exercises should be done deliberately, with determination or it simply turns into a snatch type exercise where you jolt the weight up with the legs alone. Momentum shouldn’t be a part of any of them. Keep the core engaged, execute them slowly, and use your inner eye to zero-in on parts of your body that are under tension, like the traps, forearms, and shoulders. Also, pay attention to how many crucial joints or being worked in the process; from the legs and shoulders, to the elbows and wrists.

A pyramid set will work great for this exercise: Start with 20 reps, and work your way down into smaller sets to a minimum of 5. Mirror rest periods with rep counts until a max of around 35-50 reps.


4) Frontal Box Jumps: There aren’t many sections of an obstacle course that ask you to use only one part of the body at a time. Furthermore, balance is key because losing it can cost precious time to recover, catch bearings, and move trudge on.

What if you have to dodge something out of nowhere? What if you have to shift to one side unexpectedly? These are the kinds of unforeseen obstacles that cause injuries to the hips, knees, and ankles.

Hop over the stationary platform, whatever it may be, with some bounce in your step. Quick, quick, quick. Squat low and power back to the other side. This exercise can be enhanced with the use of either light dumbbells or plates, but nothing heavy; at least if you add any twisting motions.

Rather than rep count with this one, go for time. Begin by seeing how long you can go without stopping, from 20 seconds to 20 minutes. Rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat, but slowly and gradually make your way down until your thighs, gluts, core, and calf muscles are aching after only a few seconds after resting.


5) Overhead Plate Lunges: These things have been around since the days of Hercules and the Spartans themselves because they work. The core, the legs, hip girdle, ankles; everything!

However, there’s nothing to stop us from accentuating and uplifting them into even more. If you can safely do it with whatever it is in your hands while lunging, then do it! As you can see by the picture, one great idea to incorporate more of the shoulders and upper back is to suspend a plate in the air above the head.

This takes the weight down the kinetic chain and increases the tension on the core 10 fold. Don’t pick a weight that is so heavy is causes your lower back to curve under it, keep it moderate and hold it high until your arms about to give out. Just watch the top of your noggin.

Finish off the workout with at least 25 of these per leg, with minimal rest as always, but never sacrifice form for exertion.

Once you’re finished there shouldn’t be a single area of your body that isn’t fatigued; we hit everything. In fact, we hit tons of muscles you probably won’t feel, and aren’t used to feeling, because they’re meant to cradle and look after our joints.

Thanks so much for your participation, and remember to share your thoughts and opinions with us. See you on race day…oh yeah – and with next week’s Spartan WOD!

Keep going!

James Villepigue & Hobie Call


by Katie Idle

If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse – and this has never been more true that in the case of Lise Gillis, mother of three, who is training for her second Spartan in Calgary, while looking after her Dad with dementia and her Step-Mom, who is dying of cancer.   Like a true Spartan, Lise shows bravery and an inconquerable spirit by taking on the challenges head on, and giving back to others every inch of the way.

In December last year, Lise signed up and started training for the Toronto Spartan, to be held on June 24th, and persuaded her brother in Calgary to join her for the Calgary Spartan in August. Lise’s life was already busy with three kids and her son’s girlfriend at home, a husband, three dogs, and a full-time job as an Office Administrator.  In May this year, just one month before the Toronto Spartan, Lise found out that her step-mom, the sole caregiver for her father who has dementia, had been diagnosed with cancer, with just seven months to live.  Attempting to cope with an aggressive course of Chemo, Lise’s step-mom became very sick and was physically and mentally unable to take care of Lise’s seventy-five year old Dad, whose dementia was progressively worsening.   Lise stepped in to take care of them both.

“Everyone was telling me not to do the Spartan race, that I had too much on,” says Lise, “but I had to have something to look forward to and get excited about, I needed to do the Spartan for myself.”   Through a supreme effort, Lise finished the Toronto Spartan with her son and daughter, and now proudly hangs her medal in her car so that she can look at it every day.  “It reminds me of what I have achieved.  I was so happy to finish the race, I hugged the gladiators – they must have thought I was crazy!”

Now Lise is busy training for the Calgary Spartan on August 18th.  She goes to a bootcamp at 6am, works 9am,-5pm, and spends the evenings either cooking for her step-mom and dad, or taking her dad for walks or swims.  Every Saturday, Lise takes her step-mom to the hairdressers, and she takes her Dad out for trips to the driving range or other activity.

“I’m very thankful for the support I have from my husband and kids which enables me to do all this,” she says.  Since the Toronto Spartan, Lise was also bridesmaid at her brother’s wedding and took on organizing the bridal shower and some of the other wedding preparations.

Lise is unstoppable!  “I go full out as I truly believe that if you do something, you need to do it 100%,” she says.  Lise loves a challenge and she learned to skate and took up ice hockey a few years ago, and this has become a passion for her.  At forty-five, she also took up snowboarding, does hot yoga in her ‘spare time’ to bring her calmness and is taking a bootcamp to train her for her next Spartan race.

“The Spartan Races are the best thing.  The obstacles are crazy – who comes up with these ideas?” she laughs.  “Everybody should do them.  It doesn’t matter if you come in last, just finishing is a huge achievement.  It’s such a great atmosphere – you see everyone out there – young, old, all shapes and sizes, races  – and the everyone helps each other.”

We look forward to seeing Lise at many more of the races – maybe a Super next?

What about you?  When are you signing up?  Why not today.  

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by Rose-Marie Jarry

This is a new, fast way to make vegetarian lasagna. Your guests will be impressed by not only how it looks but how it tastes and how original the recipe is!   If you would like to, at the end of the recipe you can sprinkle some light cheese on it and grill at broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes. It only takes 15-20 min to get everything ready.

Boil water in a put and cook the lasagna sheets.  Pay attention to not break them. Drain and set aside.

Steam the asparagus and endives for 8 minutes. Set aside.

Roast the garlic, mushroom and coconut oil together. Add the fresh Rosemary, salt and pepper. At the last minute, add the walnuts. When it’s roasted enough, blend everything together by adding the coconut milk and the water. You should have a thick sauce with some little chunks of mushroom and nuts. Keep it in a warm place, while you set up your plate.

In each lasagna sheets, poor a tinny drop of coconut oil , center 5-6 asparagus of the lasagna and half of an Endive on top of the asparagus.  Roll the lasagna tightly around the veggies.  Roll 3 like that in each plate. Pour 4-5 big tables spoons of the nutty sauce on it and serve.

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Spartan 1500

1. 100 Burpees

2. 100 Pullups

3. 100 Box jumps

4. 100 Sandbag Squat Throws

5. 100 Jumping Jacks

6. 100 Brazilian Ab Twists (50 each side)

7. 100 Bodyweight Squats

8. 100 Side kicks (50 each side)

9. 100 Jumping lunges

10. 100 Curls (50 each side)

11. 100 Tricep Overhead Extensions (50 each side)

12. 100 Frog jumps

13. 100 Squat jumps

14. 3   Rope Climbs

15. 300 Crunches

Of all the questions that we get at Spartan Race HQ, many of them revolve around gear, specifically shoes.  Having the right footwear for a Spartan Race is a big part of the equation for race day success and Spartan was excited to announce our partnership with inov-8 shoes earlier this year as the official shoes of Spartan Race.  In fact, Spartan HQ rocks the shoes on and off the course ourselves!

inov-8 staffers in Chris's old pants

Recently, our own Chris Davis headed into the inov-8 offices to get fitted for a new pair of shoes.  We’ve been following his weight loss journey and road to the Spartan Ultra Beast September 22nd that began with him at 696 pounds and has him currently weighing in under 300.  With only a hundred pounds to go, some new shoes would help him meet his goal and assist in his training.  Chris is a Spartan Race veteran, so he knows what kind of courses we throw at athletes and what he’ll need to be successful in training and on the course.

Helping in the effort was the amazing team at inov-8 who invited Chris

Getting Fitted

and Spartan staff onsite to get him laced in for his upcoming Amesbury race and his training towards the Ultra Beast!  The inov-8 team of Caitlin,  Nicole, and Lizzie will also be joining Chris to run their first and his third Spartan Race in Amesbury on August 11th.  

From a recent blog post by inov-8,  Caitlin Fenn explained how they chose a shoe for Davis and what he can expect from his new kicks:

Chris used to have trouble with fitting into his shoe size, and now we are helping him choose a shoe that will help him scale walls and climb mountains. Chris was a little worried that he wouldn’t be able to fit into a size 13, because he has a wide foot and had heard that our shoes were narrow. He also used to have to wear a size up because of the width of his feet. But since he’s lost so much weight, he was back to his normal shoe size, and they fit great!

 Chris had never worn minimalist shoes before, so we are transitioning him slowly. We gave him a pair of Road-X 255, our 3 arrow, 9mm drop road running shoe for his road and hard trail training, and a pair of Terrafly 313 GTX (also a 3 arrow 9mm drop) for his hiking on the mountain. He said he could feel the difference between his motion control shoes that were prescribed to him for over pronating. He liked the lightweight feel of the minimalist shoes and we talked to him about natural running and pose running, that with training, could help strengthen his feet and ankles. He was also excited because his last shoes held water and mud and had no grip during the Spartan Race in PA he did last weekend.”

We’ll be tracking Chris’s progress and finding out about his new shoes!  And stay tuned to hear about some other inspirational inov-8 Athlete’s we’ll be introducing you to and check out the inov-8 website for more information on how you can get into your own pair!

Inspired and want to get in on the Spartan action?  Get registered today!

About inov-8: inov-8 designs products to be lightweight, minimal and functional. Inov-8 shoes give runners the confidence and freedom to run hard through any environment and over any obstacle. The aim of our footwear is to keep the foot close to the ground so that runners can feel and adapt to the terrain beneath them. We offer a range of soles and cushioning. Each shoe provides the optimum grip and comfort for the terrain — from road to rocks, mud to sand, the mountains to the box.

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by Rose-Marie Jarry

Looking for a gluten and dairy free dessert?  How does peach pie sound?  This is a great way to enjoy the summer with a healthy twist. Stay cool and hydrated this summer in the heat.


Pre heat the oven to 350 F.

Blend all the 5 ingredients for the topping together and set aside.

In a bowl mix all the ingredients to make the crust mix, you can use your hands if you want to be more efficient. When you have a sticky mixture, put it in an 8×11” glass oven safe bowl. I recommend you slightly grease that bowl before putting the crust inside.

Compact the mixture into the bottom of the bowl to make an even layer of crust.

Fill up the rest on the bowl to the top of the crust with the blended mix of toppings.

Cook for 60 minutes at 350 F.

You’ll know that it’s cooked when you can insert and remove knife and it comes out almost as clean as it went in. If you shake the bowl, you should not see any of the jelly moving.

Let it cold down.

Cut the 3 peaches (sliced) and cover the pie with them.



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by Rose-Marie Jarry

What sounds better on a summer day than  a mint and mango salad.  Light, sweet, and filling this is filled with nutritious and delicious ingredients to keep you hydrated and cool on a hot summer day.  


Slice the mango in long pieces, put into a bowl. Slice the cucumber and tomatoes as well and mix into the mango with the mint leaves and whole grapes.

Warm up a pot and add the coconut palm sugar with the water. Keep the heat a medium and let it boil until it forms a brown caramel, should take about 1 minute. Drop the walnuts in it and a pinch of sea salt. Mix well so the caramel if all over the nuts.

Sprinkle your salad with those delicious sweet and salty nuts.

336 calories per serving

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