By Holly Joy Berkey

After much of the country endured a very long and bitter winter, the cold has finally subsided and we now find ourselves eagerly anticipating the warmth of the summer months.  But along with the excitement of balmy summer days and the promise of sunshine and plenty of time spent outdoors, this time of year can also bring with it the jarring realization of forgotten New Year’s Resolutions, a sudden awareness of an overabundance of holiday indulging, and the overwhelming dread of “bikini season”.

Women are constantly bombarded with the pressure to fit a specific body type, especially as the warmest months of the year arrive.  It seems as though a wave of disappointment begins to wash over us as we are forced to peer back at the women on fashion magazines, smiling happily at us as they pose confidently in their tiny bikinis.  The headlines enticing us with their perfect “quick fix” to help us magically drop 10-15 pounds in just a matter of days.  And just like that our brains convince us that we are inferior, telling us that because we have not achieved the body we see before us that we have failed, and a sudden drop in self-confidence leaves us spiraling into a self-loathing depression.

Each year we repeat this cycle, and each year the pressure is on to achieve the perfect bikini body.  Unfortunately it seems that our society teaches us that little to no actual effort is required to attain long lasting results, and instead we are bombarded with ads promising that we can drop a copious amount of weight within just a few days by completing a quick workout and sticking to their prescribed diet.  This is not realistic, nor is it a healthy way to lose weight.

How many women do you know (or perhaps are you one of them?) who suddenly hit the panic button when summer suddenly arrives? Thus begins a manic flurry of massive calorie restrictions, diet pills and workout overkill guaranteed to burn out even the most determined of women.  Even though a few pounds may be initially lost, this weight reduction is fleeting, as sooner or later our bodies need proper nutrition, realistic fitness goals and a healthy approach to maintain lasting results.  The yo-yo effect can wreak havoc not only on your body, but on your self-confidence as well, as you swing back and forth between self-hatred and frantic desperation while trying to maintain a lifestyle based around deprivation.

So how do we overcome this vicious cycle and instead find ourselves approaching summer with confidence?  You may even wonder if this is even possible.  To begin with, committing to a lifestyle which combines healthy eating with a workout plan which is consistent and realistic is key.  Our bodies aren’t meant to gain and lose excessive amounts within a short period of time, but a pound or two lost a week by means of a healthy diet and exercise is much more likely to stay off in the long run.  We also need to realize that these goals take time.  Just as it takes time to gain weight (which is why we generally don’t realize the vast impact that we’ve made on our bodies until more pounds than we care to admit have crept onto our bodies), it also takes time to lose weight.  I’ve met countless women who have begun a journey towards better health, who become frustrated when results do not instantly happen, and then they give up, convinced that the desired weight loss will never occur.  It’s then that they then tend to revert to the “quick fix diets” which unfortunately will never truly deliver the results that are so desired.

But not only do women need to focus on committing to a lifestyle focused on healthy diet and exercise that is a long term investment, but also (and this is much easier said than done), we need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

I recently saw an incredibly inspiration video that had been shared in the Spartan Chicked Facebook group, and it moved me to think about how hard we as women are on ourselves, and a lot of times on each other as well.  The video hosted Tarynn Brumfitt, a woman who has struggled with body image issues for years, much like the majority of women in our society today.  As a former body builder, she realized that even with the “perfect body” she still found herself lacking confidence as to how she felt about herself.  She then went on to become a mother, which produced curves that left her feeling much less than perfect.  Upon taking on a project to ask 100 women to describe themselves in one word, she was horrified as each woman she asked replied with a self-loathing description; “Lumpy, Fat, Ugly, Average, Stumpy..” these are just a few of the replies she heard, and she began to wonder if her own daughter would someday feel the same way about her own body, refusing the see the beauty that she too possesses.  This changed something in Tarynn, and she has now committed to loving her body, no matter her shape, and began the “Embrace” movement, which is raising money for a documentary that will be centered on teaching women to learn to love their bodies.

Tarynn’s story is just one of many in which women are choosing to fight against the urge to fall into a pattern of self-hatred, fad dieting, and unrealistic workout goals.  What we as women need to do is band together to support one another in our individual objectives.  We need to encourage, love, and advocate for each other, and we need to commit to loving ourselves as well.  This isn’t easy, but it’s possible, and surrounding ourselves with other women who are devoted to this same mindset will help us be that much more successful in our own personal fitness and health goals.

I recently saw a great meme online that said, “How do you get a bikini body? Simple.  Put a bikini on your body.”  Several drawings of women of all shapes and sizes in bikinis were then displayed.  What a great message!  Yes, I do believe we should all strive to be as healthy as we can, but we also must realize that we are all at different stages of that journey.  Just because you may not look like a model on a magazine, does not mean that the great things that you are working toward achieving shouldn’t be celebrated!  Just don’t give up; you can do what you set out to do!

So should you rock that bikini?  Yes!  Wear it confidently!  Love the body you have, and keep working steadily toward your goals, I know you’ve got this! Spartan Chicked women are strong, confident, and dedicated, and as long as you don’t forget how beautiful you truly are, you’ll live with confidence as you continue on your journey of healthy, happy living.

~Holly Joy Berkey

www.muddymommy.com

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This January, the entire month of Spartan WODs was designed as a 31-day workout plan to leave you feeling ripped, ready, and confident to conquer any Spartan Sprint race in 2014. Today, we run outside as we revisit this staple Spartan WOD.  Share this WOD if you plan on completing it today or within the month.

If you want to find the entire months WOD schedule, check out the program and sign up here: http://bit.ly/SpartanBootCamp

Sign up for your Spartan Race today: http://bitly.com/SpartanRACE

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Stretching 101

by Spartan Coaches

For most obstacles in a Spartan Race, your ability to bend will keep you from breaking. This is because stretching is related not only increased flexility and range of motion, but also injury prevention. This is why a Spartan stretches daily.

Do the following stretching routine to help you maintain flexibility. It will only take a few minutes, and you will feel better afterwards.

Fire Jumping Stretch Routine

1. Hip stretch – Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your butt and raise it off the ground so that your knees, hips, and shoulders are in one straight line. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 10-20 times. This will help wake up your hips and glutes, and warm you up for the next stretch.

2. Squat Stretch – Keeping your feet flat on, simply squat down so that your butt nearly touches to floor. Do 6-8 repetitions of this, pausing for 2 seconds at the bottom of the squat, attempting to maintain a tall spine.

3. Toe Touch Stretch - Once you’ve squatted a few times, and have your ankles, hips, and spine all working together, the stage is set for a toe touch. Do 10 repetitions, bending your knees as much as you need to, but not more than you have to. After each toe touch stand tall, straight up and down, and reach overhead as high as you can, squeezing your butt.

Other Stretches
1.  Delt/Pec Stretch – Put your hands behind your head and stretch your elbows back as far as you can. Do this 3-4 times, holding your elbows back for 2 seconds.

2. Standing Quad Stretch - Kick a foot up behind you and grab your toes with your hand. Try and point your knee straight to the ground. Stretch both legs a 3-5 times.

 

Somethings to keep in mind:

1. Move progressively through the range of motion.

2. Have the movement controlled at all times.

3. Do not risk poor technique for additional range of motion.

4. Repeat unilateral stretches on both sides.

More Advanced Stuff


Why You Must Stretch

Warming Up – Pre Workout Stretching Routine

Cooling Down – Post Workout Stretching Routine

 

 

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This January, the entire month of Spartan WODs have been designed as a 31-day workout plan to leave you feeling ripped, ready, and confident to conquer any Spartan Sprint race in 2014. Today, we run.  Share this WOD if you plan on completing it today or within the month.

If you want to find the entire months WOD schedule, check out the program and sign up here: http://bit.ly/SpartanBootCamp

Sign up for your Spartan Race today: http://bitly.com/SpartanRACE

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This January, the entire month of Spartan WODs have been designed as a 31-day workout plan to leave you feeling ripped, ready, and confident to conquer any Spartan Sprint race in 2014. Today, we run.  Share this WOD if you plan on completing it today or within the month.

If you want to find the entire months WOD schedule, check out the program and sign up here: http://bit.ly/SpartanBootCamp

Sign up for your Spartan Race today: http://bitly.com/SpartanRACE

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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 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: 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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Beast Mode 1.1 – Spartan WOD Challenge:  Week 1

Think you are ready for a beast of a challenge in your weekly training?  Try this workout as part 1 of a 4-week Beast Mode Challenge and rip up this November.  Swing by our Facebook wall for more info and to post your progress.

Click here for week 2.

 

Well done is better than well said.
– Benjamin Franklin

At the end of a run, and/or after a serious dynamic warm-up, perform the following high intensity intervals:

High Intensity Intervals:
30 seconds of burpees
30 seconds recovery
30 seconds sprint
30 seconds recovery

8 x

Stretch


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