For generations, women have felt immense pressure to be thin. We have felt inadequate as we compare our bodies to those of the women displayed in magazines, on TV, and on the runway. We are lead to believe that we are not beautiful if we cannot attain the unrealistic figures of the rail thin women who smile at us from their glossy displays. Despite the fact that we may realize what we desire is the product of genetics, photo shop, or could perhaps even be a completely fabricated digital woman who doesn’t even exist, we still continue to beat ourselves up, convincing ourselves that the way our bodies look is not good enough to be considered beautiful.

I’m here to refute that fact, and to provide a few quick examples of why Spartan women are incredibly beautiful, sexy, and just perfect the way we are. Ladies, it’s time to look in the mirror and remember why being a Spartan is so much better than simply being skinny.

 1) Spartan women are confident! Instead of whimpering as we look in the mirror, wishing we could squeeze into that size 0 skinny jean, we love our curves, our muscles, and how our athletic wear hugs the amazing body we’ve worked so hard to achieve! Spartan women are not cookie cutter, and we accept the fact that we all vary greatly in size, shape, height, and build. Many of us are actively working toward losing a few pounds, but what separates us is the fact that, for a Spartan, it’s not all about the weight loss, but instead it’s about getting healthy, feeling great, and being strong. A Spartan woman does not base her self-worth on what clothing size she wears, but instead takes stock in the fact that she works hard to be healthy for herself and her family, and her lifestyle reflects that.

2) Spartan women eat! As lovely as a 700 calorie diet based around food avoidance (all while obsessing about it!), unrealistic restrictions, and the insatiable grumble of a stomach confused as to why you are neglecting it, a Spartan woman knows she must eat to sustain herself.  To become strong, we must eat healthy, nutritious foods which are full of nutrients to provide ourselves with the energy to properly train.  We work hard, and we eat well! We don’t diet, but instead we commit ourselves to providing our bodies with what they need to perform their best. We don’t starve ourselves as though punishing our bodies for having curves; we nourish them so as to provide them with the best opportunity to be healthy and well.

3) Spartan women are strong! In a world where women have always been called “the weaker sex”, Spartan women are determined to prove that this is not the case! We flip tires, climb ropes, and scale walls. We lift weights, we practice our burpees, and we rejoice as we gain the strength to complete a push-up or pull-up.  We get up early to train, and we love sharing our progress with other women committed to the same journey. While few of us will ever earn a podium victory, we each tackle our races with a fire in our hearts, and the resolve to continue through to the bitter end.  We continually strive for growth and improvement, and we never give up.

4) Spartan women are fun! Who doesn’t love a carefree woman who enjoys challenging herself, and who doesn’t worry about breaking a nail, scraping her knee, or getting dirty? Spartan women are confident without makeup, and we show off our bruises as though they are badges of honor. We don’t mind being covered in mud from head to toe, and this laid back attitude makes us incredibly fun to be around. We don’t sweat the small stuff, we roll with the punches, and we are all about getting fresh air and living life to the fullest!

5) Spartan women support each other! While many women striving simply to be thin seem to endure their plight solo, bogged down by their jealousy of others while engulfed in their own self-conscious battle, Spartan women band together to support and encourage each other. We cheer each other on, provide advice when called upon, and never let each other give up.  We are a family of women committed to improving ourselves as individuals, and we do this by being there for each other as we each continue on our own personal journey. Spartan women cover the globe, yet we are not strangers to one another, we are connected by a beautiful passion for living life to the fullest, and we accept all members of the Spartan family as our sisters.

So to all of the gorgeous, strong, amazing Spartan women out in the world today, keep training hard and remember to love your body for what it is!  While the desire to be thin may always gnaw at the back of your mind, remember that a woman who starves herself to be skinny would never have the strength to climb an 8 foot wall, nor have the ability to lift a heavy atlas ball, much less survive miles of ruthless Spartan terrain. Be strong, be confident, and love the fact that the body you are building to be better and stronger is uniquely yours.

Spartan is the new skinny ladies!

Let’s share this message and continue to build this beautiful sisterhood that is Spartan Chicked.  AROO!

Holly Joy Berkey

www.muddymommy.com

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Particularly around the holidays, we really get into food extravagance.  Extreme acts of desserts happen more than extreme bouts of exercising.  Equations of fitness we have been working into our bodies throughout the year unravel with smells from the kitchen.  Rapid caloric ingestions far outweighing our caloric expenditures happen, and hapen on many consecutive days. Bad choices are made about the carbs and fats we hook up with, and we take walks of shame towards our workout the next day.

You are going to have to work to get those bad calories back.  You are also going to need to clear your system that you  just gunked up.

If you do extremely complex foods (processed desserts), try extremely simple foods (raw foods) for a change.

Once a week a Spartans should get in touch with their primitive eating instinct, and simply enjoy the deliciousness of eating only raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts for a day.  ‘

If you want to go next-level, don’t even mix your raw food.  In fact, put three hours between each one type of raw food you choose to consume, and the next raw food you choose to consume, so that you don’t cross them, even in your stomachs.

Sounds extreme, right?  You run through fire, crawl under barbed wire, carry heavy objects around mountains…you are freaked out about eating as much as you want all day, as long as you just make sure it is raw whole goodness? Better fuel comes from fewer ingredients.  Processed food products are the worst kind of fuel.  Raw food ingredients are the best. Therefore more processing of products equals worse products.

One ingredient is the best ingredient.  It goes down hill from there, as soon as you start mixing and matching, and then doing various eat processes (cooking) as well. If you want to eat avocados, eat as much as you want, just only eat avocados – eat 2lbs of avocados, go till your full.  Then, wait 3 hours before you eat 2 lbs of cashews.

This is what we did with Chris Davis and Danny Rodriguez, collectively loosing over 300 pounds here at Spartan HQ.

They did it for weeks at a time to really get the benefits, but you can get benefits just by trying this kind of diet once a week. More than anything, use it as an opportunity to reflect carefully about your food choices, and really experience them first hand. To learn that humans were made and evolved to eat foods, not food products.  More nutritional advice can be found by signing up to our Food Of The Day.

What do you have to lose?  Weight?  Try raw food.

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While America still wrestles with the idea of universal health care and many still groan at the idea of having to remortgage the house because little Billy needs an in-growing toenail removed, think yourselves lucky we live in an age where buttock cupping isn’t considered normal practice. Well, perhaps it is where you live, but let’s all agree it’s not considered normal, yes?

The Wellcome Library – one of the world’s leading collections of medical history – has made over 100,000 images freely available of etchings and drawings of a bygone era where medicine wasn’t perhaps quite as advanced as it is today.

With a few teasing glimpses already having been shown on the BBC, many sketches by none other than Goya and Van Gogh are available for downloading via the Wellcome website.

No talk of Paleo this or vegan that. Just health practices that are equal parts humorous and sometimes just a touch horrifying. Click here if your curiosity is getting the better of you.

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OK, bear with me on this one. It’s a little out of left field and I wouldn’t want you to go thinking I’ve turned a little bit, well, “frustrated”, but when it comes to being healthy and happy, have you considered getting frisky with your significant other?

Yes – I told you that I needed you to bear me out on this one. No giggling at the back. This is serious.

Not that you may need an excuse to leave a trail of clothes to whichever room you prefer to show your “approval” in, wouldn’t you like to know how horizontal tangos are a benefit to you?

Well, there’s the fact that whilst enjoying some conjugal rights once or twice a week experience higher levels of immunoglobin A or, for short, IgA. This is what you need to help fight off colds and flus. It binds to bacteria that invade the body, and then activates the immune system to destroy them.

Dr Carl Charnetski, of  Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylavania, and his colleague Frank Brennan researched the effect that sex had on IgA levels.

Just over 100 Wilkes undergraduates, aged 16 to 23, were asked how frequently within the past month they had had sex. In addition to this, they measured levels of IgA in the volunteers’ saliva.

According to the New Scientist, the results showed that participants who had sex less than once a week had a tiny increase in IgA over those who abstained completely, but those who had one or two sexual encounters each week had a 30% rise in levels.

Interestingly, those people who had very frequent (which was regarded as three or more times a week), had lower IgA levels than those who didn’t participate at all.

So while the research doesn’t prove that it’s a 100% certainty that enjoying intimacy with your partner will definitely keep you free from illness, it’s still a fun path to tread in the name of research. More loving equals a better immune system? Who’d have thought it?

But it doesn’t end there. Those experiencing high blood pressure – and we’ll avoid the most obvious joke here – and high levels of stress can find pleasing results in maintaining a healthy sex life. It has been proven to de-stress and while your heart rate may be a little quicker for the duration, long term it’s been shown that it is a great avenue of stress reduction.

Want a healthy heart? Have an “early night”. While you may hear stories of some men having heart attacks whilst in the middle of the deed, these instances are very Hollywood and are very rare. In fact a regular love life of once or twice a week has proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks for men.

Again, avoiding obvious and easy-to-make jokes, did you ever wonder why a man may occasionally nod off afterwards? A chemical called oxytocin is released when he’s “done” and this promotes healthy sleep. As we’ve already explained on this blog before, healthy sleep helps with blood pressure and weight maintenance.

Here’s something that will bust a few myths wide open for you. Having a headache is no longer a good excuse. Oxytocin also increases endorphins and decreases pain, especially headaches. Yes, it’s true. Sex is a great cure for a headache! A little snuggle is also a great way to heal up wounds, especially those suffered by diabetics, as it accelerates healing by regenerating certain cells.

If you’re lacking in calcium, don’t bother with milk (it actually leeches calcium from the bones, not adds to it), have sex. This especially applies to women. Women who have sex regularly have higher testosterone levels, and higher testosterone levels mean better bone density and lower risk of osteoporosis.

Sex is a great anti-aging avenue to explore, too. During sex, the body secretes the steroid hormone  DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) which is linked to longevity. It’s also good for the circulatory system. In addition it reduces cholesterol and stimulates the oxygen supply to cells as well as burning calories.

According to Help the Aged’s website, sexually active people live longer.

So there you have it. Turn off the computer and go to bed. It’s good for you.

Single? Register for a Spartan Race at spartanrace.com and maybe you will find someone to get dirty with…we mean in the mud (get your minds out of the gutter people).

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by Carrie Adams

Photo courtesy Nuvision Action Images, Brent Doscher

Spartan Races are grueling endurance events designed to push you physically and mentally through obstacles and trail running.  Fueling your body for a long distance run on Spartan Race day is a critical part of being successful and kicking ass without cramping, fainting, and letting the Spartans with pugil sticks take you out before you cross the finish line.

For Spartan events, I recommend the same kind of preparation I use for full and half marathons.  A few weeks before your event, work as many raw veggies into your diet as you can.  This helps clear out your intestinal walls of build up so you can effectively absorb the good stuff when you really need it.  Additionally, eliminating dairy from your diet helps avoid excess mucous build-up, which can interfere with effective respiration while you run.

On race day, you can get off to the right start by consuming the proper amount of fluid and glycogen (sugar) stores that you will just maintain as you race.   I always tell people that you want to be done eating two hours before your event.  Just be mindful of when your wave starts and plan accordingly.  Eating too close to an event can lead to an upset stomach or can negatively interact with your body’s natural insulin response.  Get to bed early so you can get up and get prepared–there’s plenty of time to party AFTER you run.  For each city that hosts a Spartan Race I have created smoothie recipes that are the perfect pre-race fuel.   Look for those a day or two before the event.

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