The messages for Joe have been pouring in, all wanting to ask questions, make suggestions or ask things about Spartan Race. This week, “Confused In Compton” asks for clarity in the best way they can overcome an injury they sustained.

Dear Joe,

I’m in the process of training for the Spartan Race in Vegas later this month. The running is going well and I’ve even learned how to do the hook with my feet for when I do the rope climb.

I’ve managed to incorporate weights and kettlebells into my training too, but I think I may be overdoing it. As such, I’ve now pulled a muscle in my shoulder on the top left side, which now means that anything involving upper body, shoulder or left arms hurts. My flexibility has also suffered because of this.

I’ve looked online, asked my friends and trainers and it’s all a mixed bag of opinion and remedies, some of which even contradicts other advice.

So, rather than mess around with more conflicting advice, I thought I’d go straight to source. Training for Spartan Races is well documented, but what about recovery from small injuries? How do I accelerate the healing? What do you do if you have the same kind of setback?

Thanks for your time.

Confused in Compton, CA.

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In 2006, Luke Opps’ life changed.

The resident of Columbia Falls, Montana was changing a tire of his tool trailer at the side of the interstate when another motorist, while speeding, fell asleep at the wheel. Her car struck the tool trailer he was repairing and threw him over 35 feet away into a ditch. The result was a broken tibia in 7 places, a fibula in half and a shattered ankle. The resulting convalescence and inactivity caused Luke’s weight to increase from 190lbs to 255lb at his heaviest. Additionally, he now has a titanium implant in his left leg that runs from his knee to his ankle with a gear on his ankle end.

 In August of last year, he decided enough was enough and began a new regime. He recalls how it started all too clearly, “over the course of the months and grueling pain in my left leg from the wreck and being out of shape, the weight started to come off and I felt better.. In November I made the final leap and decided to run the Montana Spartan Sprint and jumped right in.”

Using his previous days as a Marine Corps veteran as the mental training that he’d already done as the fuel he needed, it was only the physical side that was stopping him. Along with this, Luke knew the right foods was also very important. “Still eating certain macros and counting grams daily, ie: carbs, fats, and protein and meeting them to the gram for my diet daily, I started to get stronger and healthier, I could run on hard surfaces which I had not done since the Corps. Finally a very dear friend of mine and Professional NGA Bodybuilder came to town from Havre, Montana and my workout and intensity level TRIPLED!”

Luke decided to set a goal that would be a goal weight of 177lbs by his wife’s birthday of April 15th. When that day came, he weighed 174lbs and had lost 15% body fat. A remarkable achievement by any standards. With his last goal set – the Montana Spartan Sprint – he was ready. Choosing not to go for a time, given that the Sprint was an unknown quantity, he and his team attacked the course and finished in 1 hour 21 minutes. “My team finished 24th out of 292 teams and I told myself when I was done with the race I was getting the Spartan Race Logo Tattooed, and that I did and man do I wear it proud!!!! My regime ( this one) is finished, I am stitting at 168 to date and slowly putting on more lean muscle and waiting for the day when I can do the next one and show off the logo with pride! No fitness trainer helped me with this, it was determination.”

Getting to be where he wanted to be was a very simple procedure for Luke. With his focus, he explains how he got to be where he wanted to be, “When it comes to training, I wake up daily at 3:45 go workout and then go to work a twelve hour day running my own construction business here in Montana, I run my own show start to finish, I do log work and building. When it comes to thinking of giving up while training I have severe drive, early on in my training I would think of corporal Todd Love, and actually train for him to keep going and a lot of time I use the simple saying “if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. I am very determined and driven mentally, like I said, you can tell your body to do anything.
I also contribute alot of my drive and strength to my wife’s support and my faith in Christ”. 

When asked about any advice he may want to give others about where he is and how he could help someone get to that point, he pauses briefly to collect his thoughts. Smiling, he says, “Everyone is tough in their own way…if it were easy everyone would do it…giving up is the first stage of quitting, never give up and push through the pain. I work for a living and find time to train…if you want it you will work for it.”

See you at the finish line…

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Editor’s Note:  When writing many of the WODs for the week I like to pick the brain of our Founder/CEO Joe Desena on the subject of training.  I am happy to introduce you to a weekly feature on our blog where then man behind Spartan Race gives it to you straight.  I hope you enjoy his insights as much as I do.  I began by asking Joe to write for me a WOD for a recovery day.  If, my Spartan friends, I could only convey to you the look I got at mere the suggestion of a day off… – Jason J 

People always say ‘stop and smell the roses’?  But smell the roses when you are planting, watering, or trimming them.

A Recovery WOD by Joe D

Rest is for when you’re dead.

Active recovery is the only recovery.  This means walk, get in a pool, do crunches in front of the TV…do something.

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