The Top 5 Benefits of Alternative Locomotion:  Part 3 –  Multiplanar.

by Joe Di Stefano co-founder of Spartan Coaching

click here for Part I and click here for Part II

The human body has three primary planes of motion, the sagittal plane, the frontal plane, and the transverse plane. All human movement can be categorized as occurring in in one of these planes depending on if it involves stressing the body as a left and right side, a front and back side, or a top and bottom; respectively.  In short, the human body can move forward/back, side to side, and up and down.

Most of us would likely agree that almost everything we do on any given day involves forward locomotion on two feet, lifting, pulling or pushing weights, lounging on a couch or working at a desk. Generally speaking, nearly every possible action or movement we can make in any one of these activities is dominated by the sagittal plane with mere brief incidental exposures to the other two.  Most of the time in life, whatever you are doing, it involves moving forward.

Taking a look at Spartan Race, the single most common injury we see are ankle rolls, which occur in the frontal plane after the joint loses a stability battle with rough terrain or an obstacle. Our second and third most common injuries are separation of the acromioclavicular joint of the shoulder from falling awkwardly onto an outstretched arm or injury to the rotator cuff muscles, usually the supraspinatus whose job it is to keep the ball at the top of the humerus in the shoulder socket. Both of these shoulder injuries typically occur in a combination of the three planes but whose pathology can be traced back to sagittal plane dominated posture, the resulting dysfunctional length-tension relationships among the muscles surrounding vulnerable joints, and the fact that we rarely train the body to deal with it’s own weight under varying conditions.  Ankle and shoulder injuries are common because our bodies are built and trained for forward, while these body parts are about all ranges of motion.

Most training programs, no matter how dysfunctional your flexibility, posture, or strength are will have you picking up weights on your first workout. This may get you feeling great, mainly because muscles are finally being used and previously dormant physiological processes are actually being kick-started but in the end typically you are reinforcing the postural problems created by your previously sedentary lifestyle and continuing your body’s tendency to favor the sagittal plane at the expense of the other two.  Alternative locomotion will exposure shoulders and ankles to multidirectional joint positions and stabilization requirements as well as multidirectional deceleration forces in controlled and varied postural positions. After training with these movements regularly expect to see improved posture, improved muscle function, and few aches and pains after your next race. You’ll also be stronger in most weight lifting exercises because much like trying to walk on a sprained ankle, if your body senses poor posture or high injury potential, it makes sure to only gives you enough strength to not get hurt.   Briefly put, animal movements get your stabilizer muscles strong enough to start lifting weights.

Traditional training programs are almost always dominated by overhead movements with little if any productive work done to reduce injury potential. In fact, the majority of people actually lack an ability to fully flex the shoulder to an overhead position! (A simple test: Stand tall, with completely locked elbows and straight arms. Lift your arms overhead…one of two things probably happened, one, you got “tight” prior to being fully overhead or two, you arched your lower back to achieve the last few degrees of flexion in the shoulder.)

Research has shown that up to 54% of asymptomatic individuals already have a cuff tear their body has not told them about yet. Let me rephrase, up to 54% of people with ZERO pain in their shoulder already HAVE a rotator cuff tear, add in the people with mild to severe pain prior to the race and the deck is pretty stacked! No amount of “strengthening” or standing external rotations with a thera-band are going to prepare you to survive a full body, deadweight hang that forces full flexion of the shoulder (regardless of if you just failed my test)…Add in the momentum of swinging from bar to bar and a splash of strength in internal rotation with your entire body weight hanging in the balance and basically…. we’re lucky anyone survives it.

Experimenting with alternative locomotion will stress the body in all three planes of motion without much thought or premeditation needed. In any given workout, these movements will expose the body to it’s own weight and force the shoulder to be stable despite being confronted with multidirectional forces acting on it. The hips and ankles hip have to be more mobile yet still incredibly supportive in foreign and awkward joint positions. At the same time, the core is being forced to stabilize the torso yet still transfer energy between the upper and lower body. Oh and by the way, these incredibly beneficial exercises are 100% free and you can do them in your driveway. At some point maybe I will touch on the stoic value of doing these in public, but not today. For now, let’s injury proof your body while adding fluidity and coordination to your athleticism!
Here’s a warm up to your workouts to test your skills:

Warm up:

Bear Crawl x 15’

Lateral Ape, Left x 15’

Lateral Ape, Right x 15’

Reverse Bear Crawl x 15’




Sher JS, Uribe JW, Posada A, Murphy BJ, Zlatkin MB. Abnormal findings on magnetic resonance images of asymptomatic shoulders. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1995 Jan;77(1):10-5. PubMed PMID: 7822341.


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The Top 5 benefits of Alternative Locomotion Movements (aka Animal Movements):  Part II

by Joe Di Stefano of Spartan Coaching

click here for Part I

Eliciting a more balanced training effect.

“Body weight training” not so long ago was synonymous with doing a whole bunch of push ups and sit ups each night in front of the TV. Occasionally including chin ups for some but let’s face it most either did not have access to a chin up bar, did an entirely imbalanced ratio of push ups and sit ups to chin ups, or simply couldn’t do a single chin up so focused on the other two…as for legs, they either got the total shaft or were taken care of by “running”. Today “Body Weight” training for most has evolved, improved, and got a little more balanced but still many people do not balance the program anatomically. There are those that do of course, but sometimes only after incorporating outside equipment such as suspension trainers or other implements that continue to isolate specific movements or combinations.

Alternative locomotion, or animal movements, allow us to utilize the entire body in an athletic, fluid manner that forces all of the muscles to work as a single system. This helps us avoid a need to work the back, the middle, the top and the bottom which tends to develop “mirror muscles” but can actually impede athleticism and coordination while increasing injury potential in unforeseen or untrained scenarios, i.e. any Spartan event.

At the start of Day 2 of a recent SGX Workshop, where Day 1 included multiple workouts using Crab Walks, Ape Walks and some Bear Crawls all the trainers could talk about was how sore their butts, inner thighs, upper and mid back muscles were. How often is that the case in bootcamp?! People are almost always universally sore in the chest, shoulders, quads and abs! This makes it clear that our effectiveness to work the “anterior” or frontside, of the body far outweighs our ability to work the “posterior” of the body. In fact, the postural adaptations discussed in the previous post along with a human body that is incredibly efficient at compensation, most of us tend to use all the same muscles in almost everything they do! Which also explains why people literally “forget” how to squat, lunge, or pick something up yet can “relearn” simply without stretching a single muscle once they switch on some of those dormant muscle groups.

Since the posterior side of the body is ultimately the side of the body whose strength and function will dictates head to toe injury potential, it is critically important to incorporate training that trains it efficiently and in synergy with the rest of the body it is designed to protect.

A Spartan WOD on Motion by Spartan Coaches Part II

All motion is cyclic. It circulates to the limits of its possibilities and then returns to its starting point.

—Robert Collier

Cover 1 mile for time carrying a sand bag, dumbbell, or Lowe’s bucket full of sand or rocks.


Crab Walk, 50 ft

Sideways Ape Walk, 50 ft (left)

Sideways Ape Walk, 50 ft (right)

Reverse Crab Walk, 50 ft

Rest 1 minute, Repeat 3-5 times, then:

Match your previous 1 mile time from the warm up.

Lateral Ape: Beginning in a bear crawl position, “push” yourself backwards until your feet are flat on the floor and you are in a deep squat and “hands free” position. Now reach both arms to one side and shift as much of your weight into them as possible. Maintain this pressure as you “hop” your legs to that side. Continue in a fluid pattern and repeat on the opposing direction.

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February 9, 2013

Marissa (Mari) Romero, 42, is from The Valley of the Sun, Phoenix, AZ. She is a self-employed assisting senior loan officer and is the mother of a son and daughter. Mari was convinced by her out of state cousin, Sandra Hansen, to participate in the Reebok Spartan Sprint. Mari started training by taking Pilates classes and working out. She then hurt her back and had to scale back to next to nothing on exercise. Mari’s goal was to see just how far she could go with the little physical preparation she had.

At the start line, Mari was excited and ready to run. She felt the energy of the venue, she was confident in her own mental toughness although she knew the physical challenge would be difficult. A little shy of mile one, Mari twisted her left ankle, it made two loud cracking sounds which stopped Mari in her tracks. What she thought was a sprained ankle turned out to be a broken ankle she would find out later. Mari didn’t want to hold Sandra’s race up, so sent her cousin off on her own, assuring Sandra that she’d be alright. And alright, Mari was. She trudged on through the desert, obstacle through obstacle she plunged doing a few sets of burpees. Mari would not give up; she fought right to the end.

With her injury, Mari said that every obstacle and mile marker was an accomplishment for her whether she did the obstacle or had to do the burpees. ”The feeling at the end was exhilarating to say the least,” said Mari.

After recovery Mari plans to start training again now, and harder, as we will be seeing Mari next year at the Reebok Spartan Race. Perseverance and determination helped this strong woman complete what she came to do in the desert of Arizona.

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First Time Spartan

by Katie Scharf

I love playing outside and getting dirty.  After all I am the mom of all boys! Therefore mud runs are a great activity for me! The Spartan Race fits perfectly with my love of the outdoors and competition. My husband and I decided we would attack this course head on and compete like a Spartan. We have been married for over 10 years and love some friendly competition, but this day proved to be very different than we expected. This race is not about how you are doing compared to others….this race is about how YOU are doing physically and mentally.

We started the race laughing and talking to others about the day, the mud & the course. We ran together the entire way, we both knew he could run faster than me, but he knew that this race was not all about speed…THE OBSTACLES! Some were pretty easy, some took concentration, some took strength and a few were just TOUGH! I have run several different mudruns, and The Spartan Race is different. They add consequences to not completing an obstacle on the first try = 30 burpees.  (Don’t know what a burpee is, click here!)  At the finish line, everyone evaluates the number of burpees you had to complete. (Our results: Me = 60 burpees (2 obstacles x 30) , Mitch = 30 burpees. I was unable to climb the rope and neither of us hit the target with the javelin.)

Mud runs have become the new trend in racing. In fact in 2012, there were more than 2 million participants worldwide! The Spartan Race™ has been the global leader in Obstacle Racing since 2005. It was designed by ‘eight insImageane ultra athletes’ & is now in the US, Canada, England, India, Slovakia & Mexico.

The website asks: ‘Why Spartan?’ The creators say simply that their goal is “to get you off your couch, throw you in the mud & trails, and feed you one tough endurance event day that will be the adrenalin rush of your life.” Now that I have completed my first (and definitely not my last) I get it -

‘You will know at the finish line!’


The Top 5 Benefits of Alternative Locomotion Movements aka Animal Movements

by Joe Di Stefino by Spartan Coaches

Part 1: Reacquaints your body with more evolutionary muscle activation sequences and patterns.

According to almost any source you can find, upwards of 80% of our population will have some form of back pain and/or treatment during their lifetime…with shoulders and knees lagging not too far behind. It is my contention that the vast majority of these injuries are caused by a sedentary lifestyle and are entirely avoidable, even those that are seemingly “freak” accidents, wear and tear, or even trauma.

Human beings evolved to be weight bearing and active for the majority of each and every day. This created a muscular system that fired in rhythmic and predictable patterns depending on what we asked of it. Being weight bearing also kept the joints strong and lubricated, the posture tall, and even things like digestion working properly. The less active we are and the more time we spend in a habitual position, typically seated, the more intensely all of these systems are impaired. Consider the foundational lesson of any university program on Exercise Physiology; The SAID Principle. The body essentially views everything we do on a regular basis as an “imposed demand” that it needs to “specifically adapt” to (Google search: SAID Principle). In other words, just as a professional baseball player trains their body specifically to play baseball with no regard for the influence it will have on their horseback riding, or a body builder pumps iron without worrying about the effects large muscles will have on their golf game, “practicing” sitting down for the majority of your time is literally pushing your body to get better at sitting down. If you rarely expose it to anything dramatically different, the body will willingly and intentionally sacrifice it’s ability to skip, jump, run, bend, twist, and even stand. People have trouble moving with fluidity and athleticism not because of tight hamstrings or a bad back but because they have sacrificed their innate functional abilities in training for their preferred activity, or “sport”.

This leads to the muscles that move your body into a seated, forward head, back breaking, perfect keyboard typing posture to be chronically over used and in many cases, almost permanently contracted. These chronically “tight” muscles, such as the muscles of the neck, are usually the ones that mysteriously hurt when we “sleep wrong”. They can also have a negative influence on opposing muscles which increase their injury potential. For example, if the hip flexor muscles are chronically “tight” and the gluteal muscles are dramatically underused, our risk for lower back pain or injury skyrockets…picking that pen up off the floor might be the last straw, but that was in no sense of the word an unavoidable, “freak” accident.

Most of us have joints that are literally drying up from lack of use. On top of that our guts are getting heavier and our postures are getting worse, all of which leads to pain, injury, injury-potential, and younger and younger people saying “i am too old for that”.

Bottom line, let’s get weight bearing, get moving, and impose demands on our body that are new and different. Here’s a good way to start:


Cover 1 mile for time carrying a sand bag, dumbbell, or bucket full of sand/rocks.


Dead Bug, 50 reps

Bear Crawl, 100ft

Step Ups, 2 minutes loaded one minute per side.

Rest 1 minute, Repeat 3-5 times, then:

Match your previous 1 mile time from the warm up.

Dead Bug: Lying on your back with your arms and legs stretched straight up and down, simultaneously attempt to bring your right elbow and left knee together. Return to start position and repeat on the opposing side.

Bear Crawl: Begin in a baby’s crawl position, lift the knees 1-2″ and maintain this posture as you walk in a coordinated left arm / right leg and vice versa sequence for 30-60ft

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If you missed the Vegas race, you missed one of the most exciting podium finishes is the history of Spartan Race. Cody Moat, the 2012 Points Series winner, and Hunter McIntyre were neck in neck almost the entire race. It came down to a photo finish, with Cody edging out Hunter for second place.

Hunter recalls, “I approached the rope climb thinking that I had lost all hope of my third place ranking I earned in Temecula. As I climbed the rope to the top I had a feeling come over me that it was go time! So I took a leap of faith, literally, and started my way towards the wall and spear throw. I reached the top of the wall and I saw Cody chest down in the dirt repping out burpees.”

He thought that he might have a shot, “I worked my way over the first spear and told myself there isn’t any room to miss, cocking back my arm I chucked a killer throw thinking I had just taken the third place metal and wrapped it tightly round his neck. When I turned to make the run in he popped up and made a move at the same time, I thought it this was an impossible series of events but there was no time for thinking it was time to move!”

Mike Morris, who oversees race production for Spartan, was in the middle of all of this when it went down. Mike was the one counting Cody’s burpees after he missed his spear throw, making sure his form was up to par.

He recounts the action, “I was crouched over next to Cody counting out loud as he did his burpees. At around rep number 20 I look up and see Hunter crest the slip wall. The crowd cheered so Cody looked up and saw him, too. Cody was literally at burpee number 28 when Hunter takes his toss and sticks it.”

By the time Hunter had turned around and closed the 40 foot gap, Cody had bounced up and the two of them were pretty much touching shoulders as they jumped the fire jump and plowed through the gladiators.

McIntyre says, “We met midair while jumping over the fire, my foot landed before his as I took a stride towards the finish line there stood one last obstacle between me and second place. 4 gladiators rose to the occasion of making sure it wasn’t going to be my lucky day, as I took on the first wave of them Cody and I were side by side. Pushing through the my first hit I thought I had it won between us as I took the second hit hard to the chest, at that point I couldn’t tell where Cody was and fear set in quickly. Looking down from the hit I saw him ahead of me by a full body length.”

2nd place finisher, Cody Moat

Mike Morris and the crowd were looking on, Morris says, “The crowd, who knew how tight of a race it was seeing hunter clear the slip wall, had gradually started cheering louder and louder with an tangible step change in celebration when Hunter stuck the spear. By the time the two of them were sprinting down the home stretch, the crowd was the loudest I’d ever heard it at one of our events, underlying how cool of a finish it really was. I’ve been to close to 30 Spartan Races and this was one of the coolest moments yet.”

McIntyre is proud of what he considers the best race of his career. He promises, “I do not hate Cody for winning, I thank him for the challenge and reason to train harder because next time we meet things won’t be the same.”

Well it looks likes Hunter has his sights set on Cody. This should make for an interesting year.

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3 Eggs a Day: 70% of the time, it works every time.

by Joe DiStefano  of  Spartan Coaches


Eggs have been perhaps the most debated food of our time. In fact, I distinctly remember the lecture labeling them as the number one food my father was to stop eating after having a heart attack, along with their partner in crime, red meat.

The influence of the Paleo Diet revolution has really shifted many of us towards going more Pro-egg, so I am hoping to provide perhaps the necessary capstone insight to clear the air…at least for some of us.

Research out of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut explains that 70% of the population are “hypo-responders” to dietary cholesterol. In other words, 70% of us Spartans could eat all the cholesterol we want and see little to no change in blood cholesterol levels or heart disease risk. AROO!!!

However, there is a possibility you are in the other 30%. My sincerest apologies, you are a hyper-responders and do show increases in blood cholesterol as a result of your dietary intake. Just tread carefully, and get regular blood work done. I would not wish an entirely egg-free diet upon anybody.

So what about the three eggs a day part? Another published study, also out of UCONN’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, found that men eating three eggs per day for 12 weeks showed a 30% increase in HDL (the good) cholesterol levels. At the same time, these subjects also experienced decreased waist circumference and a nearly 40% drop in triglycerides. In fact, 15 out of the 18 subjects who were classified as having metabolic syndrome at the start of the study, no longer met that criteria by the end of it.

Let me leave you by saying  30% may be a minority, but is by no means a small percentage of a population. This blog is by no means a permission slip to go tell all your friends, family, colleagues, and clients that eggs have finally been solidified as the miracle health food we all suspected they were. Do your homework.


Mutungi G, Ratliff J, Puglisi M, Torres-Gonzalez M, Vaishnav U, Leite JO, Quann E, Volek JS, Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases plasma HDL cholesterol in overweight men consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet. J Nutr. 2008 Feb;138(2):272-6. PubMed PMID: 18203890.

Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006 Jan;9(1):8-12. Review. PubMed PMID: 16340654.



By Laura Stokes
Finding Strength

“Come on mom! You can do it! Don’t look down!” yelled my 14-year-old son, Jacob as I carefully scooted my butt across a cargo net suspended 30 feet in the air. Never a big fan of heights, my son’s encouragement was just what I needed to get me though the Spartan Sprint obstacle. Reebok Spartan Race has enabled me to do things I never thought I could do and to become someone I never thought I could be.

Ted Rodgers, Tommy Duffey, Stewart Armstrong, Jacob Stokes, Laura Stokes and Chan Graham

When my husband, Kade, was killed in a motorcycle accident 2 ½ years ago, I was left to raise our 7- and 11-year-old boys alone. I felt weak and helpless. That was then. The weakness has left me, I am Spartan strong. I’m not alone in that strength. My son Jacob is also a Spartan. As a personal trainer, I took Jacob under my wing to help him get his body in shape to prepare him for the race. And on race day, he was strong. He ran and conquered obstacles like a champ. But he also gave me something I hadn‘t expected, he gave a lot of encouragement When he saw the trepidation in my eyes as I approached an obstacle. He stuck by me like glue to encourage me and give a boost when I needed it.

Race Day
Jacob and I ran the Spartan Sprint March 9 in Conyers, Ga. along with three of my husband’s poker/cigar buddies and a neighbor. One Spartan chick, four Spartan dudes, and one Spartan teen equal one helluva team. I think it was a life changing experience for all of us. We all came to the race with different obstacles we were facing in our lives, but we all crossed the finish line and proved something to ourselves. As for me and my Jacob, we are hooked. The training and the race was an awesome mother-son bonding experience. It has given us something positive to focus on and prepare for. After the race we immediately went over to the registration table and signed up for the Spartan Super in Leesburg, Va. on Aug. 24. We also plan to run the Beast in Winnsboro, SC in November in order to earn the coveted trifecta.

During one recent training session before the race, I gave my son a little insight into staying motivated when the race gets tough. Losing his dad was the most difficult thing in his young life that he has ever had to endure. Our family has dealt with this tragedy and we have come out on the other side as stronger people and the three of us are bonded to each other like cement. We were Spartan strong before we even approached the Spartan start line. “If we can conquer that, we can conquer anything,” I told him. These obstacles are just a few things to slow us down on our journey, but we will get over them and get to the other side of them just as we have done in our lives.

Jacob Stokes, Laura Stokes, Tommy Duffey and Stewart Armstrong

Moving Forward
Were it not for the tragedy, I would never have become a personal trainer. I never would have made miraculous changes in my own life and we never would have made it to the Spartan. I would trade all of that in a second to have my husband back. But that isn’t an option, so we have chosen to use our tragedy to make ourselves stronger. And as a personal trainer, it is my goal to make others stronger as well. And I’m not just talking about their bodies. To me that is just a nice side effect. The real transformation takes place in the mind, spirit, heart and soul. When that late-night knock on the door from the coroner turned me into a widow at the age of 42, I was a shy, stay-at-home mom and had no idea where to turn. After God, family and friends, I found my greatest source of strength to get up and tackle every day came from physical activity. There were plenty of days that I absolutely forced myself and my children to get out and go for a walk. There were plenty of days that I didn’t feel like doing anything, but I did it anyway because I know it is what we needed. Sometimes the spirit has to be stronger than the body in order to make it through.

When my husband’s friend first approached me about doing the Spartan Race with him, I was very hesitant. I went to the Spartan website to see if I thought I could do it and I just wasn’t sure. My whole life I have been afraid of everything – heights, water, roller coasters – you name it. My children informed me that I wasn’t the “fun parent.” I left that crazy stuff for my husband, but now it was just me. I decided I was ready to break out of my shell to become a better, stronger person. Being a part of the Spartan family is so much more than a group of people that finish a race together. Its principles translate into everyday life. When you conquer those obstacles, you realize you are stronger than you thought you were. If you can do this, what else can you conquer? At the Georgia sprint we witnessed a racer that had lost 400 pounds, one that was in a wheelchair and another missing an arm and a leg. That is what the Spartan spirit is all about – using the cards you have been dealt and being the best you can be, and perhaps in the process you will inspire someone else to be their best. I was a victim but now I am a victorious. Thank you Spartan for being a part of my victory. My next goal is to get my 9-year-old son Joshua in the Jr. Spartan Adventure Race so that it can be a true family affair. I’m also thinking about becoming a Spartan Group X certified coach in Greenville, SC. Everyone should have the opportunity to be a Spartan, and I welcome the opportunity to lead as many there as possible. Fitness has changed the lives of me and my family. I recently began a blog,, that I hope will inspire, motivate and educate others to give fitness its rightful place in their lives. There is no other drug on the planet like exercise.

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by David Chandler
I ran my first Reebok Spartan Race in March last year. I was at a low point in my life and was having trouble dealing with things and trying to find myself again. I was lifting weights like crazy and thought that the little bit of biking I did would get me through a race. I thought that I would be competitive in my first Spartan Race, but that race broke me. I am extremely competitive and from that breaking point, I decided I would turn myself into a Spartan. I started running and working more specifically on obstacle course race training instead of just lifting weights.

From March until July I trained like crazy between going to school and work. Training started to become my meditation and the place that I could go to escape everything else in my life. No matter what was going on in life I could get away from it and make myself a better person with each training session. My life consisted of two-a-day trainings; I’d train before and after school or work.

When I learned about the Spartan Ultra Beast, I knew I had to do it. I had to take on the biggest challenge of my life and conquer a race that scared me. Crossing the finish line of the Ultra Beast (and all the other Spartan Races I’ve finished) was the biggest feeling of accomplishment I have ever experienced.
I have become friends with many of the elite Spartan racers that I am in competition with, but I love each and every person that is putting his or her body and heart on the line each and every race. Even though I only see these people during race weekends, the camaraderie that we have makes all of them my good friends. Since I started training for Reebok Spartan Races my life has been more of an adventure than I ever could have imagined. I travel the country to compete with my friends. Each race and every race is a new adventure with all the new things Reebok Spartan Race throws at us each event. Spartan has helped me find myself and helped me to be happier than I have ever been in my life.

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by Jeffrey Bent

Life Changes
Sometimes our lives take abrupt turns. In 2011 I was living in Orlando Florida, a husband of 15 years and a father to two wonderful children. I owned a broadband engineering company and traveled the United States extensively for work. Life was good. The tides can change all too quickly. By the end of that year, I found myself separated from my wife and lacking a purpose in my life.

I began 2012 with a life-changing seminar that motivated me to begin a physical transformation. I set some lofty goals to make 2012 a year not to be forgotten. I had thought about maybe my first marathon or two, maybe even a triathlon? After a June 2nd Warrior Dash in Oklahoma City was cancelled, I knew this was my opportunity to try a Spartan Race. I had heard about Spartan but the opportunity to race had never presented itself. So after a Friday with friends in Charlotte North Carolina, I decided to take the ten plus hour drive to Tuxedo, NY for my first one.

A New Beginning
I arrived late Saturday evening at a college friend’s home. On just a few hours of rest, I headed over to the venue to register for the “elite heat”. I remember before I had even attached my bib a stranger was offering me a pre-race fuel mix; that stranger is now Spartan friend Walter Lyon. I remember wandering to the front of the starting line & hearing the MC talk about the previous day’s women’s winner. That woman, Andi Hardy, is now one of my best friends. She was at the starting line as well and I remember looking over at her and her battered and bruised legs. Thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”

The adrenaline was unlike any I had ever experienced before; the mountain and obstacles were unlike any challenge I had previously undertaken. An hour into the race I was tangled up in the barbed wire and several racers immediately came to my aide. 1:02 was my official time. I was the 7th man to cross the finish, 8th overall, and 2nd in my age group. The sense of accomplishment from this race was amazing. I knew this was the race that had changed my life forever. An epic achievement!

Keeping the Peace
As fun as this race was, I knew that at 40 years old it would be a challenge for me to remain healthy and also injury free. I decided my best chance to remain in good health would be to take up Yoga. When I first began my Yoga practice, I had no idea of the benefits that it would have, both mentally and physically. After almost a year of yoga, I am in the best physical condition of my life. The calm and peace that I have in my everyday life is beyond comparison. As an elite racer, I have many opportunities to share my yoga with the world. Many people have started a Yoga regiment because I passionately share it everywhere I go. The sense I get from sharing has given me a purpose. I found this purpose because of Spartan Race.

I have always been an adrenaline junkie but the competition and camaraderie that exists within Spartan is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I have completed 5 Sprints, 3 Supers, and 2 Beasts. The friends I’ve meet though Spartan share a passion for wellness and a desire to improve, just as I do. These people have become my Spartan family. I look forward to each race weekend as much as anything I have ever anticipated. Each race brings a new challenge, but the only one that I have to compete with is myself.


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