Basic Basics

Spartan Fitness Simplified

by Jason Jaksetic

You can get really far on just a little information. For example, you can travel 1000 miles with simple direction ‘North’. You just want to make sure that ‘North’ is the right direction for where your heading before you set off.

What fitness tips give you the most traction for fitness gains? This blog is an attempt at breaking down these basics, to give your broad directions like “North” to follow. If you keep stumbling in the direction of these 5 fitness practices you’ll eventually get where you need to be.

In the words of Thoreau, ‘Simplify, simplify.’ If you were to come to Spartan HQ we’d have you focused on these 5 things before anything else. The less time you spend worrying about what to do, the more time you can spend doing. When in doubt, focus on one of these 5 fitness components, and begin.

 

Drink More Water


The minute the animal kingdom crawled itself out of the ocean, land based life needed to establish a means to keep water levels internally. Life is water based. You need water or you will die. Since you can’t absorb water through your skin like an amphibian, you need to drink it. This is why you hydrate.

Before you worry about what to drink, make sure you are drinking enough water. If you are thirsty, drink a glass of water. Sounds simple, but most people don’t really take the time, or opt for other options. Before you drink a glass of calorically dense and sugar-laden juice drink, drink a glass of water to quench some of that thirst. Before reaching for a soda, drink two glasses of water. This is a surefire way to reduce unwanted calorie consumption.

The goal is not to consciously try and stop drinking other kinds of beverages, but to just make sure you adequately quench your thirst with zero calorie water, so that you are not supplementing your caloric intake simply out of thirst. Also, thirst sometimes triggers the sensation of hunger. Drink more, and you might find yourself eating less.

 

Eat More ‘Real’ Food

There are a lot of different diets. It can get a bit complicated.

Regardless of particular diet, there is an underlying component that most viable ones involve: eat more food, and less food products.

The fewer ingredients the better. The less processing the better. Whatever the diet (fad) that you subscribe too, try and make sure the foods that you eat are as ‘real’ as possible. Real food is produced by nature. It grows. It has a very clear name like ‘apple’. Read the label on any food, and put it back if there are any unpronounceable things inside it. If you can’t figure out what it is, most likely your body will be confused too.

This is a principle that can be applied to any meal, regardless of your diet philosophy. Reach for apple sauce instead of apple pie. Reach for an apple, instead of apple sauce. In any given situation you can practice the reduction of ingredients.

The good news is, that you can eat as much as you want when you are eating raw fruits, vegetables, and seeds. They aren’t calorically dense like processed food. Your stomach will most always fill up on broccoli before you’ve overdone your caloric allotment for the day.

Run

 

Running is the most efficient way to condition your body for the demands of obstacle racing. No matter how ripped you are, you will need to transport yourself the entire distance of the course on your feet. If you want to be competitive, you need to practice doing this fast.

Running can be done pretty much anywhere. Road, trail, beach. Just get out the door and go. Somehow in recent times we found ourselves having to spend 20 minutes putting on and calibrating our running gear. There are many cyborg-looking types trail running these days, replete with an isle of Radioshack strapped to their bodies. This is cool, but don’t let it stand in your way of quickly running out the door for a 15 to 20 minute run. Most importantly don’t let it lead you to believe that running is too complicated for you. Heading out for a run should be a zero stress experience. Just like when you were a kid, and you ran out the door and didn’t stop until you came back. Start with 10 minutes at a time and don’t worry about the distance you cover. Go five minutes out and then turn around. It can be that simple.

Don’t over-think your running. If you are on your feet and moving forward you are doing better than most. You are surely doing better than if you are on your couch. If you have 20 minutes, grab a pair of basic running shoes and go for an easy jog. Once you are spending over 2-4 hours a week pounding pavement, then start your in-depth running research.

Do Burpees

The human body, with the addition of gravity, supplies most of the requisite gear for getting stronger. The burpee is the optimal dance between your body and gravity that will maximize your fitness gains for your entire body. No equipment needed. Hell, do burpees in your underwear first thing in the morning and you can have your daily workout taken care of before you brush your teeth.

This is a burpee. Learn it. Master it. When in doubt, do burpees. Here is a complete muscular analysis of the burpee.

A complete analysis of the burpee can be found here. You can study that, or simply do a bunch, and feel the ache all over your body as you start to suck wind. That will indicate that you are doing it right. Cardio plus strength equals your fitness foundation for Spartan Race.

Start with 1 burpee a day, even. Then move on to 2, only when you can do the first one with perfect form. Really, it’s that simple. Go slow, be careful, and just keep taking steady steps day to day. Take off every 3rd, 4th, or 5th day to rest. Figure out what works for you.

Stretch

There are legions of tremendously ‘fit’ athletes who are as inflexible as iron rods. This is actually a terrible weakness, and you are as strong as your weakest link. If you are inflexible, you will most likely break, at those times when you should bend. This is a serious chink in your amour, as one injury can end a season.

Stretch numerous times during the day. Take a break from playing desk jockey every hour for 5 minutes of stretching. You don’t need to perform extreme yoga poses. Just touch your toes. Reach up and touch the ceiling. Or simply squat down with your heels flat on the ground and stand up a few times.

By scheduling yoga into your week you are guaranteed to integrate stretching into your practice. Yoga is a great way to recover from your more intense training, too.

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Spartan January BOOTCAMP:
Sprint Edition

by Spartan Coaching

This January, the entire month of Spartan WODs have been designed as a 31-day sequential workout plan engineered to leave you feeling fit, ripped, ready, and confident for any Spartan Sprint race in 2014. Regardless of your workout goals or race schedule, we hope that these workouts will give you a foundational insight into proper preparation for a Spartan Sprint, and offer instruction towards building out month long workout programs for yourself. As always, feel free to adjust these workouts to your specific needs and goals by scaling them to your current ability. All workouts can be cut in half, or doubled – do what you can, as best as you can, given your ability and time constraints.

Get in on this bootcamp by simply registering for the Spartan WOD, and have it emailed to you daily.

If you miss a day, or sign up late, swing back to this page, as we will be posting the archive here.  Be sure to check in here or on our Facebook to let us know how you are doing!

What will you need?

First, sign up for the Spartan WOD.

Then, you just need commitment.

Running shoes, a jump rope, and a sandbag are all the gear required of any of the workouts.  You can make a sandbag, or even substitute in a log or rock.

Also, nothing kicks your butt into shape more than having a deadline. Today, consider signing up for a Spartan Sprint near you – then there is no turning back, you’re committed to this.

Regarding time requirements, below you will find out a general calendar that will tell you how much time you will need on each day of the 31 day challenge.

How to Train to Finish a Spartan Sprint – General Training Guidelines

The fastest times for a Spartan Sprint are under 30 minutes, the average time is around one hour, and the slowest times are two hours or more. Because the race is 3-5 miles long, to finish in average time you would need to be able to maintain an average speed of 3-4 miles per hour, including the obstacles. Given that the course is not flat, this is no easy task. Penalties can also substantially increase your completion time: it may take up to fifteen minutes for some to complete a set of thirty burpees.

Because the fitness requirements to finish a Sprint are multidimensional, an effective training plan will incorporate each component of the 5 elements of fitness, with a particular emphasis on cardiorespiratory activity. Training breaks down into three types of workouts.

Aerobic Training
You should build aerobic capacity by walking/jogging/running three times a week, varying the type of aerobic training. Some of the training should include Long Slow Distance (LSD) training that is done at a lower intensity for extended periods of time. You should build LSD training to 1.5 times your predicted finishing time.

You should also incorporate some training that is conducted at or near the lactate threshold (TEMPO). This is an intensity that can only be maintained for 30-45 minutes. The best way to TEMPO train is through long intervals of 10-15 minutes at the lactate threshold followed by 5 minutes of recovery, repeated 2-4 times. Finally, you should also include some high intensity interval training (HIT). HIT is done at near maximal intensities for brief periods of 2-3 minutes, followed by an equal amount of active recovery. Running hills would be a good way to satisfy this component. Also since Spartan Race is run on trails, at least 50% of the training should be on trails.

Anaerobic Training
In order to complete an obstacle race, you will need strength and power. Your training program should include strength-building activities that stress the muscles used in climbing, crawling, and jumping. Exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, burpees, squats, lunges, and side lunges should be utilized throughout your training program. Other exercises that strengthen the chest, upper back, shoulders, hips, and core, such as dumbbell presses, lat pull-downs, seated rows, leg presses, curl-ups and back extensions can also be utilized, but since you will need to carry your body-weight over obstacles it makes sense to utilize body-weight activities as much as possible. Power can be developed in a number of ways. For the beginner, the best way to incorporate some power training is through bounding and jumping exercises. These should be incorporated slowly into your training to avoid overuse injuries.

Circuit Training
A good way to incorporate HIT and Strength/Power training is through circuit training. With circuit training you will select 3-4 exercises and perform them for a specified number of repetitions or time in a consecutive sequence without rest. As an example, you might perform push-ups, assisted pull-ups, squat jumps, each for one minute, followed by an all-out run for two minutes, and a 4-minute recovery; and then repeat the cycle three times. This is very intense and fatiguing. You should only attempt a workout like this after you have built a base level of fitness.

Approximate Workout Durations for January Boot Camp:

Week 1: 5 hours 25 minutes

1.1.14: 60 minutes
1.2.14: 60 minutes
1.3.14: 15 minutes
1.4.14: 60 minutes
1.5.14: 80 minutes
1.6.14: 15 minutes
1.7.14: 45 minutes

Week 2: 5 hours, 10 minutes
1.8.14: 15 minutes
1.9.14: 40 minutes
1.10.14: 60 minutes
1.11.14: 15 minutes
1.12.14: 60 minutes
1.13.14: 60 minutes
1.14.14: 60 minutes

Week 3: 5 hours, 30 minutes
1.15.14: 15 minutes
1.16.14: 60 minutes
1.17.14: 60 minutes
1.18.14: 15 minutes
1.19.14: 45 minutes
1.20.14: 45 minutes
1.21.14: 90 minutes

Week 4: 6 hours
1.22.14: 15 minutes
1.23.14: 60 minutes
1.24.14: 15 minutes
1.25.14: 60 minutes
1.26.14: 105 minutes
1.27.14: 60 minutes
1.28.14: 45 minutes

Week 5: 2 hours, 15 minutes

1.29.14: 15 minutes
1.30.14: 60 minutes
1.31.14: 60 minutes

A Note About Generalized Workout Plans

Written workout plans are all fundamentally flawed in that generalizations have to be made on the part of the writers.  How else could we write to a wide audience, if we needed to specifically address the unique circumstances of each individual regarding their physical fitness and available time with which to train?  Some of these workouts will be too easy for some, too hard for others, and maybe ‘just right’ for a few lucky Goldilocks.  Ultimately, the responsibility is on the reader to modify as needed, given scaling methods of reduced/increased reps of exercises, and reduced/increased workout durations and intensities.  Foremost, it is the responsibility of the reader to make sure they are in sound physical health for physical training, and should consult a medical professional before beginning physical training.

 

January Boot Camp: Sprint Edition

Day 1 of 31

Simplify, simplify.
- Henry David Thoreau

Warm-up:
Jump rope 5 minutes
Dynamic warm-up
Skip, high knee jog, lateral lunge, back pedal

Main set:
.5 mi run, hard
10 push-ups
5 pull-ups
15 crunches
Repeat 1-4 times, on 10 seconds to 1 minute rest

Jog/walk until workout has reached the 50-minute mark.

Stretch

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition

Day 2 of 31:

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
- Frederick Douglas

Warm-up:
5 minute cardio (jog, cycle, or row)
Dynamic warm-up – each movement x2 at 25 yards each:

high knee walk
high knee jog
butt kickers
lateral shuffle
straight leg march
skip
straight leg skip

Main set – Repeat 1-5 times:
10 push-ups
10 burpees
5 pull-ups
30-second sprint
1-minute rest

Then with a sandbag, repeat this set 2-4 times:
15 squats
50 yard lunge walk
10 chest passes
10 underhand toss
1 minute rest between sets

Stretch

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition

Day 3 of 31:

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.
- Bruce Lee

Stretching is one of the best ways to get better flexibility and prevent injuries.

Stretch – 15 minutes.

Rest days like today are just as important as training days. This is the time when your body adapts to the previous day’s exercise. Make it anactive rest day by walking to the store, taking the stairs at work, parking at the far end of the parking lot, and every hour take a 1-minute break and stretch. If you did your last two workouts, today is the day to celebrate with some stretching, to best help you soak up your fitness gains! Recovery days will be periodically scheduled into January.

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition

Day 4 of 31

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.
- Buddhist Saying

Warm-up:
75 jumping jacks
Dynamic warm-up:
Skip, high knee jog, lateral lunge, back pedal

Main Set:
30-75 burpees
10-30 squat tosses with sandbag
10-30 pistol squats each leg
10-30 pull-ups
5 x 25’ bear crawl or rope climbs

Rest as needed between reps and exercise. Perform this main set once. Then run 10-20 minutes, if you have the time.

Stretch 

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition

Day 5 of 31

Medusa’s Challenge

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Warm-up:
Dynamic warm-up – each movement x2 at 25 yards each:
High knee walk, high knee jog, butt kickers, lateral shuffle, straight leg march, skip, straight leg skip

Main Set:
Run/Jog/Walk 15 minutes

Perform 1 minute of each exercise, with 10 second rest between:

push-ups
crunches
pull-ups
plank
squat jumps
jump rope (fast)
mountain climbers
flutter kicks
arm curls with sandbag
1-minute rest
Perform strength exercise sequence 1-3 times.

Run/Jog/Walk 15 minutes

Stretch 

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition

Day 6 of 31

Rest Day: Take a nap

Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
- The National Sleep Institute

Most times you need to plan 40 minutes of intense training in your day. But sometimes you should plan 40 minutes of intense recovery.

Try scheduling a 15 minute nap into your day and see how your overall performance might improve. Plus, you’ll want to be rested for tomorrow, trust us!

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 7 of 31

Unbreakable Hill Climbs

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.”
- John Muir

Perform this workout on a treadmill or outdoors if steep hills are in your area.

Warm up:

10 minute jog or jump rope

Main set:

On a treadmill

Run 5-10 minutes on a progressively steeper grade. Every minute, increase the grade to challenge your pace.
Walk 3 minutes to recover.
Repeat hill interval 2 more times for a total of 3 sets, totaling 15-30 minutes of climbing time.
Outdoors

Run 5-10 minutes intervals on the steepest hills you can find.
Walk 3 minutes to recover.
Repeat hill interval 2 more times for a total of 3 sets, totaling 15-30 minutes of climbing time.
Stretch

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 8 of 31

Rest Day: Stretching/Yoga

“Flexibility is a requirement for survival.”
- Roger von Oech

During the day be sure to stretch for at least 15 minutes. Increased flexibility is a key ingredient in injury prevention, particularly in a sport as demanding on your body as obstacle racing.

When things go wrong while training or racing, you want to bend, not break.

Most yoga studios have open classes where you can drop on in and try a session out for a one time fee. Consider trying a light session as a great way to actively recover from your routine training. Soon, after you start feeling the positive effects of yoga, you might find it part of your regular training regiment.

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 9 of 31

Trail Run + Strength Training

“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”
- Babe Ruth

There aren’t many paved roads on our Spartan courses. To prepare, it’s best to go trail running once a week if you can. The irregular terrain will help you build important stabilizing muscles, particularly if you are incorporating weight into your run.

Warm up:
10 minute easy jog.

Main set:
On a 30-minute trail run, every 10 minutes find a rock or log (or bring your own sandbag), and use it for 10 reps of arm curls, shoulder presses, and squats. Add 5 reps each time so that the last set is 20 reps for each exercise.

Stretch

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 10 of 31

The Basics

“To be is to do.”
- Immanuel Kant

Warm-up:
Jump rope 5 minutes
Dynamic warm-up (Skip, high knee jog, lateral lunge, back pedal)

Main set:
.5 mile run, hard
10 push-ups
5 pull-ups
15 crunches

Perform 2-4 times, with 1-2 minutes rest after each set.

Then run 1-3 miles at an easy pace.

Stretch

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 11 of 31

Rest Day: Memory Building

“Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.”
- William Shakespeare

Our Spartan race directors have been known to throw mental challenges into the mix during an event. There is nothing like having to memorize an 8 digit code while out of breath, under penalty of burpees, and having to recall it later on.

Today, take a break from exercising your body and train your mind instead. Some suggestions include:

Memorize the first 10 ingredients, in order, of your favorite breakfast food, then recall it at lunch
At lunch, memorize the number from a one-dollar bill, then recall it at dinner
Try and memorize one motivational quote, like the one above, during each workout

Like training, you need to push yourself, if you’re going to get to the next level.

Remember, your brain is like a muscle and needs to be exercised. And, like fitness of the body, there are multiple dimensions in keeping your mind in top shape. Brain boosting strategies include having sound nutrition, getting adequate sleep, and keeping stress in check.

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 12 of 31

Strength Building + Cardio (Kuato lite)

“Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.”
- Miquel d Cervantes

Warm-up:
Dynamic warm-up – each movement x2 at 25 yards each (high knee walk, high knee jog, butt kickers, lateral shuffle, straight leg march, skip)

Main set:
5 minutes jump rope
50-100 crunches
20-100 push-ups
10-30 box jumps
pull-ups to failure (use an assistance device or machine to get at least 5 reps)
10-30 hanging leg raises
20-50 bodyweight squats, fast tempo

Repeat optional.

Run 10- 30 minutes at hard tempo.

or full Kuato 

Main set:
5 minutes jump rope
50-100 crunches
20-100 push-ups
30-50 box jumps
pull-ups to failure (use an assistance device or machine to get at least 5 reps)
20-50 hanging leg raises
50-200 bodyweight squats, fast tempo

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 13 of 31

Run + Burpees

“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”
- Jesse Owens

Keep it simple. Never underestimate the power of mixing running and burpees together. With these two tools you can achieve huge fitness gains. Get out, get going, and rack up those miles and burpees. You’ll thank us come race day!

Warm-up:
Easy jog for 5 minutes

Main set:
Run 30-50 minutes at an easy to moderate pace with 10-30 burpees every 10 minutes.

Stretch

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 14 of 31

Unbreakable Hill Intervals

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
- Mario Andretti

High intensity intervals are one of the best ways to improve your overall fitness.

Warm-up:
Dynamic warm-up: Skip, high knee jog, lateral lunge, back pedal

Main set:
10-second hill climb (sprint)
10-second rest
x10

20-second hill climb (very high intensity)
20-second rest
x 4

30-second hill climb (high intensity)
10-second rest
x 2

Walk for 5 minutes to recover and repeat each interval length for half the reps (5, 2, 1).

15-20 minute jog

Stretch

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 15 of 31

Active Recovery

“That which yields is not always weak.”
- Jacqueline Carey

The athlete who never takes a break is destined to breakdown. Healing is a key ingredient in fitness gains – training wears you down, recovery is what builds you up stronger than when you started.

Active recovery is the process of letting yourself heal from previous workouts, not by sitting still, but by moving. Stretching is one of the best forms of active recovery while alternative forms include: low intensity swimming, jogging, or cycling.

Suggestions for Active Recovery

For every hour you spend at a desk, stretch 5-10 minutes.
Participate in a walk-in yoga class.
Invest your energy in procuring and cooking wholesome and nutritious foods.

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 16 of 31

Spartan 150

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
- Christopher Columbus

Warm-up:
Dynamic warm-up – each movement x2 at 25 yards each: high knee walk, high knee jog, butt kickers, lateral shuffle, straight leg march, skip

Main set:
30 mountain climbers
15 burpees
3 x 5 pull-ups
15 box jumps
15 sandbag squat-throws or squats
3 x 10 crunches
3 x 10 jumping lunges
5 x 25′ bear crawl
Run 1.5 miles

Repeat

Stretch

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 17 of 31

The Wrestler Returns

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
- William Faulkner

Warm-up:
75 jumping jacks
Dynamic warm-up – each movement at 50 yards: high knee walk, high knee jog, butt kickers, lateral shuffle, straight leg march, skip

Main Set:
75 burpees
30 squat tosses with sandbag
10-30 pistol squats each leg
10-30 pull-ups
5 x 25’ bear crawl or rope climbs

Rest as needed between reps and exercise. Perform this main set once for time. Then run 10-20 minutes, or as time allows.

Stretch

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 18 of 31

Active Recovery

“Sleep is the best meditation.”
- The Dalai Lama

Get some meditative rest today.

Here are some tips to get better sleep.

Oh, and don’t forget to stretch.

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 19 of 31

Outdoor Strength Conditioning

“It cannot be considered success unless you are smiling.”
- Joe De Sena

Do this workout outside no matter the conditions. Hopefully it is cold, rainy, with a chance of blizzard or hurricane.

Warm-up:
Dynamic warm-up – each movement x2 at 25 yards each: high knee walk, high knee jog, butt kickers, lateral shuffle, straight leg march, skip

Main set:
Jump rope 10 minutes
15 burpees
15 walking lunges, each leg
15 push-ups
Belly crawl 25 yards x 2
Bear crawl 25 yards x 2
15 stone/log/sandbag squats

Repeat optional.

Run 20 minutes.

Stretch.

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 20 of 31

Just Run

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
- Albert Einstein

What’s simpler than putting one foot in front of the other? This is all you need to focus on today.

Run 45 minutes. Your goal is to find a pace that you can hold steady the entire time.

Stretch

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 21 of 31

Weighted Hill Climb + Run

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
- Edmund Hillary

Do this workout twice to burn off half a serving of cheesy fries!

Warm-up:
10 minute jog or jump rope

Main set:
Hike a steep hill carrying a log, weight, rock, half-filled bucket of water, or sandbag. Hike back down. This should take about 10 minutes round trip.

Run/jog/walk the same hill.

Then:
10 burpees
15 squats
Hang from a low branch or bar for 30 seconds or as long as possible, until you accumulate 3 minutes of hanging.
Rest 2 minutes

Jog a flat trail or road for 20 minutes.

Stretch

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 22 of 31

Stretching

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
- Bruce Lee

Stretch – 15 minutes.

Rest days are just as important as training days. This is the time when your body adapts to the previous day’s exercise. Make it an active rest day by walking to the store, taking the stairs at work, parking at the far end of the parking lot, and every hour take a 1-minute break and stretch.

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 23 of 31

Strength Building

“Perseverance is strength.”
- Masutatsu Oyama

Warm-up:
5 minute cardio (jog, cycle, or row)
Dynamic warm-up – each movement x 50 yards: high knee walk, high knee jog, butt kickers, lateral shuffle, straight leg march, skip

Main set – Repeat 5 times:
10 push-ups
10 burpees
5 pull-ups
30-second sprint
1-minute rest

Then with a sandbag, repeat 4 times:
15 squats
50 yard lunge walk
10 chest pass/throw
10 underhand toss

1 minute rest after each set of exercises, before repeating them.

Stretch

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 24 of 31

Active Recovery: Walking

“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast.”
- Thomas Jefferson

Sometimes a walk is the perfect recipe to be ready for your next hard workout, especially if you are coming down from intense training. Feel free to jog a bit, but the goal is to loosen up your legs today, not make them tighter.

Also, be sure to stretch and try to practice some yoga if you can.

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 25 of 31

Medusa II

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
- Edmund Hillary

Warm-up:
Dynamic warm-up – each movement for 50 yards: high knee walk, high knee jog, butt kickers, lateral shuffle, straight leg march, skip

Main Set:
Run 15 minutes.

Then:
Perform 1 minute of each exercise, with 10 second rest in-between:

push-ups
crunches
pull-ups
plank
squat jumps
jump rope (fast)
mountain climbers
flutter kicks
arm curls with sandbag
1-minute rest

Repeat entire strength exercise sequence 3 times.

Run 15 minutes.

Stretch

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 26 of 31

Endurance Mode

Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.

- Virgil

Supercharge your aerobic capacity by spending more time moving forward. When you can’t run anymore, walk. Just keep moving forward.  You must learn how to keep going.

Run/jog/walk/crawl 90 minutes. Consider carrying 5-15 lbs in a backpack.

Stretch

Come race day, you’ll be thankful for all that extra time you spent on your feet. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

 

 

January Boot Camp – Sprint Edition
Day 28 of 31

Running Inclines

“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it.”
- Priscilla Welch

Perform this workout on a treadmill, or outdoors if hills are near. Once again, we are looking towards running inclines to force us into tip top fitness. Read: Spartans Run Hills – Part II.

Warm up:
10 minute jog or jump rope

Main set:
On treadmill
Run 10 minutes on a progressively steeper grade. Every minute, increase the grade to challenge your pace.
Walk 3 minutes to recover.
Repeat for a total of 3, 10 minute sets.

Outdoors
Run 3 x 10 minutes intervals on the steepest hills you can find.
Walk 3 minutes to recover.

Stretch

January Boot Camp - Sprint Edition
Day 29 of 31

Rest Day: Nutrition

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. “
- Hipponcrates

The next two days of training will be the culmination of all your work this month. Take it easy today, and be sure to stretch.

Eating well is a great recovery strategy. Take time today to make yourself a nutritious meal. Treat yourself to an extra helping of vegetables – the next two days will be tough.

Need nutrition tips? Sign up for our Spartan Food of the Day.

January Boot Camp - Sprint Edition
Day 30 of 31

Rest Day: Suffer-fest

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
- Muhammad Ali

2 minutes of burpees
800-meter run above lactic threshold*
Recover 1-2 minutes
2 minutes of jumping rope (or rowing)
800-meter run above lactic threshold*
Recover 1-2 minutes.

*Very hard intensity – close to maximum

Stretch

Rest well, tomorrow is the last day of the JanuaryBoot Camp - Sprint Edition!

January Boot Camp - Sprint Edition
Day 31 of 31

The Final Exam

“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.”
- Alfred Adler

Perform this workout ‘for time.’ This means that you time yourself completing the main set, trying to finish it as fast as you can – just like a race. Like we said earlier this month, you can cover almost all your fitness bases with running and burpees.

Warm-up:
Dynamic warm-up:
Skip, high knee jog, lateral lunge, back pedal

Main-set: For Time
Run 1 mile
30 burpees
recover 1-2 minutes
x 4

Stretch

If you can do this workout, then you can confidently stand at the starting line of a Spartan Sprint race. Mix this workout with all the other elements of fitness that were covered this month, and you should feel well equipped to tackle any of the obstacles that will confront you in a Spartan Race.

We’ll see you at the finish line. Sign up now.

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Eat Your Crucifers

A Closer Look at Brassica Oleracea aka Super-Veggies

by Jason Jaksetic

What do kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts have in common? That is, besides being damn flavorful, densely nutritious, and hearty vegetables? They all fall under the umbrella of being Brassica oleracea.

Brassica oleracea is a species of the plant kingdom that contains some of the most nutritionally dense foods that you can pick up in the produce section of your local food store or co-op. Another common term for these species of plants as they relate to human consumption is cruciferous vegetables (or crucifers). Whatever you decide to call them, just file them away in your mind as ‘good foods’. In short, eat more cruciferous vegetables. So, what exactly is a crucifer?

In nature, when speaking of Brassica oleracea, or crucifers, one is speaking of wild cabbages. But in your diet (unless you gather your own wild cabbage), this species of plant boils down to a common vegetables that have been cultivated for human consumption for thousands of years, examples of which are cabbage, kale, broccoli, bok choy, collards, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

It is thought that humans have been eating crucifers since the most ancient of times, but the first documentations of their cultivation for food can be traced back to the Greeks, specifically to the writings of Theophrastus (a guy who not only studied with Plato in his youth, but took over the Peripatetic school of philosophy after Aristotle – a very smart fellow, who obviously understood the importance of these vegetables)[1].

From the standpoint of your palate, these beefy vegetables are big on flavor. Some people find that they are, too, flavorful, in fact, and are taken off guard by the intensity of vegetable taste that has been lost in our contemporary diets of processed sweets, sugars, and syrups. They are like the steaks of vegetables – thick, luscious, and something dense to sink your teeth into. They fill you up like few items from the garden can. They make a soup a meal. They make a salad a feast. Stir fry them with rice, and you might be too full to worry about having to prepare a meat. However, they are not only big on taste, they are big on nutrition, delivering huge amounts of the vital elements that make your body go, and keep your immune and cardiovascular system in great shape.

Generally speaking, crucifers are noteworthy for a few reasons:

- They contain a type of flavonoid that activates liver detoxifying enzymes.[2]

- Crucifers are high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.

- They regulate white blood cells and cytokines. White blood cells are the scavengers of your immune system, while the cytokines are the messengers that coordinate the activities of the immune system’s cells, in general.[3]

- They are great preventative weapons against cancer.

Cancer Fighting Properties of Cruciferous Vegetables

Most research and documentation about crucifers focuses on the anti-cancer qualities of these vegetables. A review of research published in the October 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that 70% or more of the studies found a link between cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer.[4] These studies ranged from examinations of reductions in oxidative stress (the overload of harmful molecules that called oxygen-free radicals) to the benefits of phytochemicals (specifically sulforaphane, which stimulates the enzymes involved in detoxification of carcinogens).

In short, the badass nature of these vegetables in the anti-cancer realm is well documented. Do some research and you’ll find more reasons to eat crucifers that you’ll fell like reading.

Nutritional Values of Common Crucifers

A quick peak at the nutritional values of common crucifers. [5]

How to Cook Crucifers

Like with most things Spartan, less is more. Raw consumption of these vegetables insures that you are getting the most of the good stuff, without breaking down and boiling away the good stuff (like phytochemicals). Light steaming is second best to raw. But, ultimately, just eat your crucifers, your body will thank you.

Tips for Including More Crucifers in your Diet

- Use kale on your sandwiches instead of lettuce
- Scooping hummus? Use broccoli or cauliflower.
- Add them to soups and salads alike.

A Spartan Crucifer Recipe: Kale, Broccoli and Sweet Potato Soup

Kale, Broccoli, and Potato Soup

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
6 garlic bulbs, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, chopped
2 broccoli crowns, chopped
3 cups of chopped kale
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh or dried thyme

Directions
In large sauce pan heat up olive oil. Add chopped onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes. Saute on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
Add vegetable broth, water, salt, and thyme. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and then let simmer 10-15 minutes.
Add broccoli and kale, and let simmer additional 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

[1]Daniel Zohary and Maria Hopf, Domestication of plants in the Old World, third edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 199.
[2]Trivieri, Larry, John W. Anderson, and Burton Goldberg. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2002. Print.
[3]Ibid.
[4]Clinic-Feature, Elaine Magee, MPH, RDWebMD Weight Loss. “The Super-Veggies: Cruciferous Vegetables.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
[5]Ibid.

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Team Challenge: Group WOD 1.1 – 1.4

by Jason Jaksetic

Get your friends together, form a team, and train together for a Spartan Race.  This 4 week challenge is a great way to combine forces with your teammates to build the fitness you will need to conquer a Spartan Course.


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Spartan Chicked Challenge 1.1 -1.4

At Spartan Race, we like to see our female obstacle racers out front. Ladies, try this 4-week challenge, and see if it helps you drop your race time, not to mention leave much of the male field in your dust. These workouts all feature bodyweight exercises that address the specific needs and physiology of female obstacle racers.

The Bowler Squat
The Reverse Bear Crawl
The Jumping Pull-up

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Beast Mode Challenge 1.1 to 1.4

Let this 4-week workout challenge kick your Spartan training into the next gear.  Try each workout 1-2x a week for 4 weeks to experience the intense training that you will find our most vicious racers doing to prepare, especially for the brutal endeavor of completing a Spartan Beast.

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Spartan Thanksgiving Feast Week

 

This Thanksgiving try to these Spartan takes on traditional favorites.  Simply changing a few key ingredients can make these classic dishes into fitness friendly supplements to your training.  There is no reason to have your training and dieting plans derailed by the holiday – subscribe to the Spartan FOD and get recipes sent to your inbox daily.

Corn

Sweet corn is a gluten-free cereal, and may be used much like rice and quinoa by those with celiac disease and those wishing to maintain a gluten-free diet. In addition, corn is also a source of high quality fiber.

Spartan Roasted Corn

by Jason Jaksetic

60 minutes
Serves 4
140 calories per serving
Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients

4 ears of corn
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 small onion
1 small garlic bulb
Salt and pepper

Directions

1.  Soak corn (still in husks) in water for 30 minutes.
2.  Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
3.  Chop up garlic cloves and onion into small pieces.
4.  Remove corn from husks.
5.  Rub coconut oil all over each ear of corn. The easiest way is to slather it on with your fingers.
6.  Put each ear of corn in a piece of foil along with 1/4 of your chopped garlic and onions.
7.  Salt and pepper everything and then wrap up your corn, garlic, and onions in the foil.
8.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F, unwrap, and serve.

Cranberries

Following decreased risk of urinary tract infections, increased health of the cardiovascular system is perhaps the best-researched area of the health benefits of including cranberries into your diet. The combined impact of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in cranberries help ensure that your cardio will be top notch.

Healthified Cranberry Sauce

by Andrew Thomas

20-30 minutes
Serves 3-5
Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients

3 cups of cranberries
2 oranges
1/3 cup of honey
1/4 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons of nutmeg

Directions

1.  Peel orange, remove white rind, and chop into 1/2″ pieces.
2.  Add cranberries, orange pieces, honey, water and spices to saucepan.
3.  Bring to boil.
4.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every now and then.
5.  Remove from heat and pour into bowl. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Potatoes

Potatoes are a great source of vitamin B6, which plays numerous roles in our nervous system, many of which involve our neurological activity. B6 is necessary for the creation of amines, a type of messaging molecule or neurotransmitter that the nervous system relies on to transmit messages from one nerve to the next.  Potatoes also contain healthy doses of iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper and potassium.

Rosemary and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

by Andrew Thomas

25 minutes
4-6 servings
Vegetarian, gluten-free

Ingredients

4 medium Yukon gold potatoes
2 tablespoons of organic butter
4 tablespoons of organic heavy cream
1 teaspoon of olive oil
3 cloves of fresh garlic
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Directions

1.  Put potatoes into a saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add water until potatoes are covered. Bring to boil.
2.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
3.  Warm cream and melt butter together in a pan on the stove.
4.  Drain water from potatoes. Put hot potatoes into a bowl.
5.  Add cream and melted butter. Use potato masher or fork to mash potatoes until desired consistency.
6.  Dice garlic and rosemary, then add to mashed potatoes. Mix thoroughly and serve!

Turkey

Plan a wicked hard workout before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, for there are about 32g of protein in a 4-oz. serving of turkey, making it a solid source of essential amino acids. In fact, just one serving of turkey provides 65 percent of your recommended daily intake of protein.

Turkey is also considered a good source of vitamins B3 and B6. A serving of turkey meat has 36 percent of the daily allowance of B3 and 27 percent of your recommended intake of B6. Additionally, turkey also contains selenium, which is essential for the healthy function of the thyroid and immune system, and also plays a role in your antioxidant defense system, helping to eliminate free radicals from your body.

Spartan Turkey

by Andrew Thomas

3-4 hours
4-6 servings
Gluten free

Ingredients

12 lb turkey
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub the lemon juice, salt, and pepper on outside of the turkey.
2.  Place the turkey breast side down in a shallow roasting pan. Roast un-stuffed turkey 3.  for 15 minutes for each pound.
4.  45 minutes before it is done, measure the internal temperature with a thermometer. 5.  When it reaches 125°F, turn the turkey and increase the oven temperature to 400°F for the remaining roasting time.
6.  The turkey is cooked once its internal temperature reads 165°-170°F while the thermometer is inserted into the mid-thigh.
7.  When it is done, place turkey on a large platter and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to be redistributed and the meat to become moist throughout.

Pumpkin

Make pumpkin a part of this holiday season and harvest for yourself the benefits of its mood enhancing amino acid tryptophan – a serotonin boosting agent that can positively affect your mood.

Pumpkin Mango Pudding

by Rose Marie Jarry 

15 minutes
2 servings
154 calories per serving
Gluten-free, vegan

Ingredients

1 cup of frozen diced mango
1 cup of cooked pumpkin
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1 tablespoon of agave syrup

Directions

1.  Blend together the fruits and agave syrup.
2.  Add the chia seeds, and mix well.
3.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for a more jellylike texture.

Cinnamon

When cooking desserts, reach for sweet and savory cinnamon. Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. This is because cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after a meal, thus reducing a rise in blood sugar after eating.

Cinnamon Apple Crisps

by Andrew Thomas

40 minutes
Serves 6-8
Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients

6 apples, peeled
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Directions

1.  Peel and slice the apples, then lay them into a 9 X 11 baking dish.
2.  Squeeze lemon juice onto the apples to prevent browning.
3.  In a bowl, mix the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and sea salt, 4.  until it resembles a crumble.
5.  Sprinkle crumble over the apples, and place in the oven at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
6.  Remove from oven, let cool, and indulge!

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Spartan Beginner Challenge 1.1 – 1.4

by Jason Jaksetic

Let this 4-week progress act as your introduction into Spartan training.  Try each workout 1-2x a week for 4 weeks to get your feet wet, and you’ll soon be more than confident to sign up for a Spartan Race.

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Challenge: Beast Mode 1.3
Part 3 of a 4-week Challenge

Part 1, Part 2

Run 5 miles then:

30 burpees
10 burpee/pullups
10 pull-ups
30 box jumps
30 crunches
30 body weight squats
30 side kicks (each side)
30 jumping lunges
30 sandbag curls
30 sandbag triceps overhead presses
30 squat jumps
3 x rope climbs, 10 chin-ups or 3 x 25′ bear crawl

x 3

Stretch


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Challenge: Spartan Chicked 1.2

Part 2 of a 4-week Challenge

At Spartan Race, we like to see our female obstacle racers out front. Ladies, try this 2nd installment of a 4-week challenge. These workouts all feature bodyweight exercises that address the specific needs and physiology of female obstacle racers.

This week, .

 

Chicked 1.2

20 minute run
3 x 25’ reverse bear crawl*

then:

30-second plank
10 crunches
30-second plank
15 bicycles
30-second plank
5 laying leg raises

x 3

Stretch

WTF is a reverse bear crawl?

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