The Top 5 Benefits of Alternative Locomotion:  Part 5 – Be a Kid

by Joe Di Stefano co-founder of Spartan Coaching

Need some catching up?  Here’s Part IPart IIPart III, and Part IV


At a recent Spartan SGX Coaching workshop, following one of Dr Jeff Godin’s lectures on analyzing the specific demands of Spartan Race’s most troublesome obstacles, a seminar attendee named Jackie, said something that struck a chord. Her point was one that Dr. J and I have heard before but for some reason this time,  I really pondered it.
Jackie, chuckling, said, “you wouldn’t believe how easy these obstacles would be for my five year old!”

Wild. Isn’t it?

But how could that be?

How could a human being who has been capable of standing upright for fewer months than I have remaining on my car loan, actually be better on two feet than most of us?  Without getting into the nitty gritty bio-mechanical or structural differences between children and adults, let’s give the real reason.

We are born fearless.

We are born tough.

We are born strong.

And most importantly,….We are born to live for the moment.

Through conditioning from upbringing and social pressures, we learn to embrace fear, that pain should be avoided at all costs, and that pessimism is ultimately the most secure path to longevity, health, and dare I say,happiness. Our instinctual mindset when faced with an obstacle should not, by nature, be focused on what might happen if I try, but about how exciting an attempt would be. Ask a five year old child why she felt compelled to try and jump over that ten foot wide puddle there was no way she could leap, decode your answer to discover it was for none other than a slight chance of victory and the inevitable emotional high no matter the result. If we are all the same humans we once were, why don’t I see suits on Wall Street skying over bums and wet pavement?

Because that’s not socially acceptable, TRUE. However, the fact that we contain and limit our adventurous side habitually, destroys our body from the inside out.

Just watch a young child get up onto a full size chair. They brace the chair  with their hands and then at the hip flex, abduct, and internally rotate all and climb up effortlessly. As we get older, we do fewer and fewer activities that require 1/10 of that amount of hip functionality so the body gives it up. Don’t use it, you lose it!

At the grocery store, how often do you see someone over the age of 25 having a good time or even wearing a smile? Or how many people in that group ever ride the cart like a skateboard?

We have to be coached and instructed how to conquer even the most basic obstacles is not because we have gotten older, but as a result of losing our emotional connection to being human. The biggest difference between Jackie’s child and most of us is that her child lives for the moment. Most of us today are all stuck somewhere in the future or the past. We often times bury our human priority list to focus on more socially acceptable or financially rewarding priorities.

Get that back and life becomes your Spartan Race.


Stand up for 30 seconds every 15-20 minutes. Close your eyes and this will be surprisingly meditative in helping you regain presence and very beneficial to your productivity.

Do one thing today that you wouldn’t normally do. This might be jumping a puddle, riding the cart at the grocery store for a few feet, skipping to the coffee line, whatever! (Post your funny one’s to the comments section!)

Grab a friend, do this workout in public and try to be a kid again. Live for the moment, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable:

At a jogging track, skip at varying intensities for 5 minutes with opposite arm and leg moving in a coordinated rhythm. Try jumping for height, jumping for distance, “double time” by doing quick, low to the ground skips, etc. Then, complete one full, 400m lap:

Bear Crawl for 15 “One-thousandths”
Burpees 5x
Reverse Bear Crawl for  15 “One-thousandths”
Burpees 5x

Cool down / recovery: Skip at varying intensities for 5 minutes

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