Dr. Jeff Godin, Ph.D., CSCS, & Spartan Coach

What if there was a disease that afflicted 36% of the population in the United States of America, roughly about 78 million people? What if this disease was strongly related to other debilitating and life-halting diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes? Which Hollywood celebrity would start a foundation to crush this horrible disease?

The disease is obesity. On June 18th, 2013 the American Medical Association officially declared obesity a disease. This means that it will become a physician’s professional obligation to treat patients with obesity, the same way they would treat other diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. The optimist in me says that this will create a healthy discussion between the patient and physician on the health implications of obesity and physicians will prescribe a healthy diet and exercise as the primary mode of treatment. The cynic in me says that treatment will include prescriptive medications instead of encouraging preventative measures.

Why is it so hard to talk to people about obesity? Every time I teach it in class, I have to walk on egg shells. Even in the professional setting, if you tell someone they are obese they react as if it was a racial slur. I was called by an irate mother that accused me of ruining her daughter’s self-esteem by noting that her BMI and body fat percentage placed her in the obese category. Hopefully, classifying obesity as a disease will eliminate some of the awkwardness that comes with discussing it. It will be seen for what it is… a clinical diagnosis, not a personal attack. No one gets their feelings hurt when the doctor tells them that the hideous mole on their back should be removed and biopsied to see if it is cancerous. I understand that obesity is more than simply a physical problem, but until it can be discussed openly, and attacked vigorously, it will always remain as the elephant in the room and we will never make progress towards finding obesity’s root cause.

The best treatment for obesity is a Spartan Lifestyle, one that is founded on a healthy diet and loaded with physical activity. The Spartan Lifestyle includes a diet that is mostly plant based, that includes an abundance of vegetables and fruits, very moderate in grains and animal food products. It is a diet that eliminates processed foods, added sugars, and trans fats. A Spartan Lifestyle includes meals that are prepared from fresh foods, not ones that come from a box. For fluid, Spartans drink water, not sugary, over caffeinated beverages. You can get access to healthy and nutritious recipes by subscribing to our daily “Food of the Day” emails. They are FREE and provide recipes to help get you started and keep you fueled in a healthy way. Subscribe HERE.

Physical activity doesn’t require a fancy gym, or shiny plates, or cardio equipment. It does require a commitment of 60 minutes a day, which still leaves 1,380 minutes to sleep, work, and relax. It starts with motivation, if a BMI of 30 and all the excess baggage associated with it isn’t enough motivation; there are 1,000,000 trainers and coaches out there that are willing to help the right person find it.  Similar to our Food of the Day (FOD), Spartan Race offers FREE workouts WODs each day to keep you moving and active, and to prepare you for your Spartan Races.  Subscribe HERE

Spartan Race wants to lead the charge in crushing obesity. Do we really need a physician to treat obesity? Why not nip it in the bud before it gets to that point? Let’s rip 78 million people off of their couches and get them to follow the Spartan Lifestyle!

Who wants to join us in this crusade?

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by Carrie Adams

What does a Pineapple, Medusa’s Challenge, and Cheesy Fries have in common?   They’ll all get you in shape if you do them the Spartan Group Exercise way.  They are aptly named workouts, just three of many that are included in the Spartan Coaching program and Spartan Group Exercise (SGX) being offered to fitness professionals who wish to teach Spartan style  in their clubs and facilities.  In the emerging sport of obstacle racing, Spartan Race HQ is often inundated with questions on how to prepare and also from those who want to become a part of our movement and our way of coaching athletes for Spartan glory at one of our races.  According to Spartan Coaches, “Trainers work at the circus.  Coaches build better humans.”

Want to hear more?

Dr. G, the creator of Spartan Coaching and SGX who has competed in the Death Race four times, by the way, developed the program and has been using it with our own Chris Davis on his weight loss journey and his movement towards completing the Spartan Ultra Beast.  He explains this new concept of SGX and how you can get involved in the movement.

What is SGX?

Spartan Group Exercise (SGX) is the most unique group exercise program in the world. For the first time in group exercise history, an individual’s true purpose and motivation is at the forefront of design for a large scale fitness program. SGX is designed to create an exhilarating and community driven group atmosphere of fitness, nutrition, and performance that optimizes individual performance in Spartan Races, as well as daily life.

SGX utilizes a unique, independently developed strategy of periodization that allows specific aspects of training, fitness, and nutrition to be targeted at various times throughout the year, while never sacrificing a shred of the well-rounded physical preparedness you demand each day.

SGX is about changing your mind, body, and life from the inside out. SGX prepares you for life! It is not about curling, running or biking, it is about pushing, pulling, jumping, stretching, breathing and sweating. Superficial motivations need not investigate further, intrigued minds are cautiously welcomed.

For the Fitness Pro:

SGX begins with a two-day instructional workshop where you will gain the foundational knowledge necessary to successfully run SGX at your health club or business. Included in this two day seminar are:

  • An in depth interpretation of The Seven Pillars of Spartan Training.
  • Complete needs analysis for the Spartan Race competitor.
  • Introduction to SGX program design for optimal performance in Spartan Races.
  • Nutritional guidelines including how to periodize nutritional strategies based on the current training.
  • Hands-on application and lecture
  • Written and practical examination to prove that you possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to carry out the SGX mission.
  • 16 hrs. of continuing education credit.
  • The rest and likely the most valuable take home lessons cannot be itemized by a bullet point.


  • Current CPR Certification
  • Current  Accredited Fitness Certification

To find out more about teaching SGX, go to www.spartancoaches.com.  In the meantime, check out our daily WODs to get ripped for Spartan Race day.

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by Chris Davis and Carrie Adams

As Chris Davis continues his journey towards the healthiest life possible, he continually reaches new milestones.  After officially hitting a milestone of 50% of his total weight loss last week, he hit another one over the weekend walking over 20 miles.  As he settles into his new life in Pittsfield and under the watchful eye of Dr. Jeff Godin and one of Spartan’s Founding Few Joe Desena he is achieving levels of success he never thought possible.  Here is his journal entry for March 7, 2012.

Check out Chris Davis’s Week Three Video HERE.


This weekend was a great weekend for me, I spent most of the weekend walking and I was able to walk over 20 miles, with an elevation climb of over 2,200 feet. I never thought I would walk 20 miles in a weekend. It funny to think I that soon will be doing that in a single day. I am so happy with the progress I am making here. In a few short months I will be walking 20+ miles a day a couple times a week. That is just going to be so cool!

This morning, my body felt good considering what I did to it over the weekend, but when I went to stand up I got a little light headed. Over the weekend Dr. Jeff Godin left me a glucose meter to try and keep an eye on my blood sugar levels when I get light headed like this. So I took emailed him and I ran the test. It was low, very low, so I ate a couple of oranges and I started to feel better. I guess this is something we are going to have to keep a close eye on days where I push hard to find my new limits.

It sounds like Mondays are now going to be my day to recover, so I have been taking it easy on the exercise today, and I have taken time to reply back to emails from fellow Spartans, and to go through and read the comments on Facebook and on the blog site. Thank you for all of your support, it is really helping me to keep my mind in the game.

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Originally posted in Dirt in Your Skirt

by Margaret Schlachter, Spartan Chick

It is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed… But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical will live the relation to another as something alive.“ ~ Rilke

In life sometimes we are presented with opportunities. These opportunities may only present themselves once so when given the chance you can either continue along with your life or take the opportunity and see where it goes. A couple of months ago I was in a conversation about a new program starting through Spartan Race called the Certified Spartan Coach Program. I was lucky enough to make into the first certification weekend. This is how I found myself in Pittsfield this past weekend, experiencing a life changing two days surrounded by truly incredible people. But it all started with the application…


Not just anyone can apply to be a Certified Spartan Coach, the mandates include training specific from one or the major organizations (ACSM, NSCA, NASM or ACE) or a four year degree in Exercise and Sports Science. Yes, this is a no joke certification. It was even asked for proof of this certification. All applicants were required to have five years working experience and a resume to back this up. We were each required to write two different essays the first of many more essays to come regarding our ideas on coaching and training.

To prove we weren’t just gym rats we were asked if we had completed in the last five years this short this: 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge, Marathon or longer, Century bike ride, or 50 mile mountain bike ride, 2 mile swim,  Super Spartan or greater. Again here we needed to include proof of results from races. A major part was do you live by the Spartan Code which included a list of several aspects of life.

Finally, the most rewarding part of the application was the letters of recommendations, eight from former or current athletes and an additional five character letters of recommendation. This was the most rewarding for me. I had letters of recommendation spanning from 10 year olds up through one of my former athletes who is now a Division 1 college athlete. It was wonderful to get to read what they all had to say about what they had learned from me. The most rewarding aspect was finding out the pieces that stuck with them the longest were the other pieces for many it was the emotional support I gave them and this struck home with me.

Dr. Jeff Godin who is in charge of the process I thanked as I submitted my 30+ page application for the exercise within itself was reward enough for me. However, I found out I would be making the initial cut and thus I found myself packing my bags on Friday and heading down the road.


Dr. Jeff is a veteran of the Death Race so when I got the packing list for the weekend I was not surprised at the randomness of some of the items. Our packing list included many basics; notebook, pens, pencils, snacks, workout attire, extra socks, calculator, copy of your consent form, jump rope, resistance band, and extra socks. None of these things stood out in my mind as strange items for a certification weekend.

The came the items that had the Death Race and Spartan Race flair to them; backpack, sleeping bag, headlamp, swim goggles, duct tape, first aid kit. But still being a Wilderness EMT and living in Vermont all of these items still seemed logical. Although this was the point where I was thinking we were going to be spending more time then they were letting on outside (sleeping bag).

Finally, the items that made you say WTF and scratch your head; “extra rope” no detail for what it was for, Aluminum foil, oven mitt (my thought cooking might be involved), and finally a copy of your favorite non-exercise book.  It was at this point I started to think carefully about what this weekend would actually entail. I sent Jeff an email:

Hi Jeff,

Not sure if your packing list is DR style or if you are actually going to give me a helpful answer. I spend far too much time around Joe. In the things you need list I had a question or two. 

1. Extra Rope – are we talking paracord like for rescue scenario or are we talking more like climbing rope or something like that. Also what lengths? I don’t need to begin to know what we are doing just want to have the right thing.

2. Aluminum Foil – For cooking or survival as in a foil wrap or heat blanket. I am assuming cooking but want to be sure.

3. Backpack, full on camping pack or light pack used for training.

His answer, DR style. So it was going to be one of those weekends. I packed with this thought in my head the whole time knowing it was a weekend which would most likely include very little sleep, high stress physically and mentally, and you would be judged at all stages of the weekend.


Nothing with Spartan Race is easy nor is it ever a straight line. A weekend in Pittsfield is also never as it seems on paper. As I pulled into Trailside Lodge just 5 miles from my house armed with all I would need for the weekend I knew it was on. Quickly I got to meet my fellow candidates, an impressive group of people. We had trainers who work with college and professional athletes, CrossFit trainers, strength guys, MMA specialist, gymnastics backgrounds, Parkour Trainer, Movement Specialists, and many more. Over thirty people applied for the certification only seven were picked from this pool and an additional seven were invited based on experience and expertise. We had a highly knowledgeable and diverse group of individuals.


The weekend started off nice with some time to chat and get to know one another. At dinner we had a lively round table discussion regarding nutrition and supplements. This was the most relaxed the weekend would be. After our discussion the first of three tests began. We had two hours to answer over 350 multiple choice questions. Remember those scantron sheets you had in high school, yup it was one of those tests. The test was comprehensive to say the least, detailed questions regarding the all aspects of the body function and how it applies to fitness were asked. If you want this certification you better know all about ATP, the respiratory system, muscle development, how to train children, VO2Max and many more topics. The topics were diverse and at the end of two hours I found the questions blending together. I was also still about twenty short of the last one when we had to hand the test in. Yes, wish I had studied more for that one! Only two people in the room actually answered all the questions and one is a current doctoral student finishing his PhD in exercise science.

After the test we met as a group and were informed that Bikram Yoga would start at 6:00am and we had two options A) Run (5 miles) to yoga or B) Run back to breakfast after the yoga session. This was the easiest decision of the weekend. Yes it cut into sleep time but knowing Bikram running home was not the better option. Also the run there was all downhill. We were then told we could go to bed. Knowing Spartan Race I felt as if we were going to be messed with overnight. I slept in my yoga clothing with shoes and essentials less than a arms reach away.

(More to come from Margaret on Spartan Coaching weekend)

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