Today Spartan Race hit a landmark of 4million Facebook fans! YOU made that happen and because of you we are going to celebrate being Spartans by cranking out 30 burpees all across the globe. Grab your friends, grab a camera, and get some video footage of yourselves doing 30 burpees! Spartan Citizen Cody Allen got us started today from far away Afghanistan. Thanks Cody!

 

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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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Arguably one of the most anticipated, popular, and well-visited venues of the Spartan Race calendar is the glorious surroundings of Vail Lake, Temecula in Southern California. Boasting not only mountains and hills that simply refuse to quit, but a range of different types of terrain that will constantly keep you guessing. It’s the ideal place to test Spartans that are serious about their goals. Rocky trails, brush trails, sand, grass, swampy areas, even the beautiful lake from which it takes its name; even if you think you know the venue, it will always throw up surprises to make sure you don’t  – or can’t – become comfortable. Best of all, while all of this is going on, the famous Californian sun will kiss you while those wine valley zephyrs dance over your skin.

Running across the landscape of Temecula is a joy.

But priorities for the travelling Spartan are, as always the first thing one must consider – accommodation. Good rest the day before. Temecula is nestled north of San Diego, but much closer, you’ll find that it’s sandwiched between Hemet and Escondido. As such, you have the choice of three places all well within spitting distance of the venue that has ample parking, regardless of whether you are aiming for the Beast on Saturday or the Sprint on Sunday. Maybe you’re considering the 12-Hour Hurricane Heat. Either way, you’re covered.

One thing that is a nailed-down certainty is that after burning hundreds and possibly thousands of calories over the picturesque scenery, you’ll want to eat heartily .Thankfully, Temecula has more than its fair share of restaurants and diners. But as any knowledgeable Spartan will appreciate, Temecula is famous for something a little different. Set in the heartland of wine country, it would be remiss to not sample what it has to offer. When in Rome, as the expression goes. There are many places to see and visit in the area and thankfully, what could be a wealth of information that actually saturates to the point of confusion, is actually neatly arranged in this website right here. Check out the various activities, too, as well as places to stay, eat, and of course, tickle those taste buds with a nice glass of wine or two.

Of course, if wine isn’t your thing and you much prefer shorts, or maybe just a good old-fashioned beer, there are a wide range of places where your thirst can be quenched. Check out the range of places right here and choose which sounds best to you, based upon the reviews of past patrons and customers.  If you’d prefer to keep up with the big game, there are a range of Sports bars, too. Maybe you just want to shake your stuff after claiming your finishers medal and who could blame you? Check out this link for places to celebrate at. The folk of Temecula like to party, so why not join in with the festivities?

Temecula encompasses all types of terrain.

Regardless of whether you prefer the grape or the grain, the responsibility of any Spartan remains the same. If you’re drinking, don’t drive. Use one of the taxis in the area that will make sure you get back to your accommodation safely and without being a bother to road users or pedestrians alike. Remember that when you wear that finishers shirt, you set an example that other athletes look up to!

Remember that Temecula is renowned for having those warm winds whip up the sides of those hills, bringing the sand and dust with it, so prepare for a long, warm, dry race. Consider wearing a camelback as, while there will be water stations, some folk may find the need for more fluids than others. Remember to never leave a fellow racer wanting. Share fluids, gels and salt packets. No Spartan left behind.

See you at the finish line!

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Each Tuesday I rise early to quietly prepare for my morning run, careful not to disturb the rest of my sleeping household. Once ready, instead of simply stepping outdoors and traveling through my own neighborhood to complete my training for the day, I instead hop into my Jeep and drive twenty minutes south to a beautiful waterfront park in St Petersburg, Florida. Tuesday is unique, as this particular day of the week compels me to wake much earlier than my typical training days, provides a commute which (even at the ungodly time in which I’m driving) seems to find a way to halt me at nearly every stop light along the way, and results in a run that is generally below my preferred training pace and mileage.  Yet, each and every Tuesday morning, I faithfully wake and journey south to complete this ritual.

Why do I do this? When the paragraph above is read, I’m sure it sounds less than desirable, and perhaps somewhat strange. But there is one main factor that keeps me coming back to this location each week, eagerly anticipating my morning run, and that is the fact that this is the day in which I get to run with my friends.  This aspect alone makes Tuesday a special day, one that I look forward to each week, and I’m sure anyone reading who has the pleasure of running with a friend, or group of friends, can attest to this fact as well.

Since I initially began running, and (to be completely honest) still to this day, I tend to be a bit of a loner when it comes to my own personal training.  I like the ability to push my own limits without feeling like I’m going to hold someone back, and also without the pressure to wait for someone who may be lagging behind.  I can train at a pace that suits me, and modify my workouts at a moment’s notice depending on how I’m feeling on that particular day.  I also cherish my alone time each morning, as my work and home life thrusts me headfirst into the non-stop hustle and bustle of constant interaction with so many people on a daily basis. Although I love my family, and truly enjoy my day job, life without my morning workout to aid in clearing my head would greatly increase the chances of leaving me with a tad less patience, and feeling much more stressed.

The buddy system! It works! Try it!

With that said, even though I do love my solo workout sessions, there’s still nothing quite like Tuesday morning.  It rejuvenates me, and provides me with a morning that combines my love of running with a few of my favorite ladies.  We’re able to catch up on life, talk about our current emotional triumphs or woes, and unload on each other the random thoughts that pass through our minds so early in the day.  We laugh, we encourage each other, we divulge our stresses, we share our hopes and our dreams; and the miles pass by effortlessly as we travel along the otherwise quiet streets in the wee morning hours.  Some Tuesday’s we run side-by-side in silence, simply enjoying each other’s company, and other times we chat endlessly; but in the end, no matter the tone of the morning, we are together, and we each cherish the special time spent running in unison.

The reason I feel compelled to share this personal information is due to a recent Spartan Race challenge that was brought to my attention.  This challenge made me ponder my own dedication to my weekly group run, and also the bond that we (women specifically) glean from training and racing together.

Each month Spartan Race puts forth a 30-day challenge for those who are willing to accept the task appointed.  From push-ups to planks, burpees to squats, each month a specific workout is elected, and each month thousands of people commit to taking on that task for 30 full days.  The month of May brought with it a slight variation, as Spartan Race challenged individuals not to take on a specific bodyweight exercise, but to commit to completing 30 workouts in a group setting instead.  Whether it would be with one friend, or a whole team of people, it was encouraged to join together and complete daily workouts together.

The Spartan website detailed this challenge by saying, “A team workout is any exercise that can be done two or more people. Ideally, it incorporates movements that require a partner to complete. But in most cases, it is exercise where the motivation of a friend helps complete the workout.”  This idea intrigues me, and although I do not make a point to train with others on a daily basis, I can absolutely understand why this is such a great idea!

I bet that if you took the average American today and asked them about their current fitness status, they would most likely tell you that they wished they had more time for exercise.  They may lament as to their desire for the drive to achieve results they can be proud of, and to finally lose the added pounds that have crept on over the years.  But finally, with a defeated sigh, they will likely tell you that there’s just no way that that will ever happen.  Although past fitness goals may have been made, and things may have started out great, slowly but surely motivation ran dry, the snooze button became easier to hit, and now, months (maybe years) later, they realize that the initial resolve to get into great shape has dissipated.

But take this same person lamenting over their failed attempts at weight loss and add in a friend, a confidant, and more importantly, someone to hold them accountable, and this can result in a game changing formula much more likely to bring about the success that they so desire.  By incorporating another person into your daily routine, they will not only help keep you committed to your training, but you will also be doing the same for them.  Together you will celebrate each other’s strength, work toward improving your weaknesses.  You will encourage, support, struggle, and eventually succeed together.

Spartan Race events also display this very same concept on a very grand scale, as each race is full of teams of all sizes.  While there are some who choose to run the course solo, most participants elect to band together with a team of friends to tackle the course head on.  I’ve seen so many instances of a person frozen on an obstacle, terrified to continue on, but by the encouragement of their teammates they’ve been able to muster the courage to complete the challenge.  They emerge triumphant, celebrating their accomplishment with those who helped give them the confidence to continue on.  It’s an amazing scene to behold, and it happens hundreds, perhaps thousands of times at each event.

Run with others! It’ll make motivation easier.

Running, working out, or racing with a friend will build memories that are lasting, and help to make an uncomfortable situation bearable, even enjoyable.  By joining forces with others with the same goal in mind, each person of the group will find it more difficult to back out of the commitment to train together, especially on mornings when hitting the snooze button sounds so much more appealing than rolling out of bed before the sun rises to get a workout in.  Friends hold each other accountable to their pledge by keeping each other moving forward, and by allowing for anyone to fall by the wayside.

If you’ve been struggling to find the motivation to keep up a consistent workout routine, I strongly encourage you to find a friend or two and ask them if they are willing to join you in your training.  Set a schedule and stick to it!  If no one is willing, there are typically many different style indoor and outdoor fitness classes available in most areas that you can join for a low cost.  In addition, many communities have local running groups that you can join for free or a very low cost as well (some even stop for a drink after their scheduled run!).  If all else fails, find a gym nearby and stop in to see if they offer any group activities, or have personal trainers available to help whip you into shape!  There are so many different resources available for someone looking for options to be held accountable; all you have to do is ask!

So my challenge to you as summer approaches, and the impending threat of the dreaded “bikini season” looms nearer, is to grab a friend, make a plan, and stick to it together! Already have a great workout routine in place?  My bet is that you know someone who’s struggling with theirs!  Invite them along to join you, even if only for a day or two a week, and I can guarantee it will help them stay more committed to their goals.

Being a part of the Spartan Race family brings along with it the obligation that we take care of all of our members across the globe.  We are all at different points in our fitness journey (some aren’t even off the couch yet!), and it is up to us to encourage and support each other, no matter our level of fitness, so we can hold each other accountable to the expectation of self-improvement.  It’s a big part of why I love Tuesday morning, and you can bet I won’t be giving up on that weekly run anytime soon.

Check out the Spartan 30 online and sign up for the current workout of the month.  Once signed up, get someone else to commit with you too!  My husband and I recently completed a 30 days of 30 push-ups, and we wouldn’t let each other forget our commitment!  Now grab some friends, create a team, and sign up for the next Spartan Race that’s coming your way!  A year fully of training and racing with friends will be a year enriched with great memories, and amazing results.

~Holly Joy Berkey

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40 Reasons Why You SHOULDN’T Run a Spartan Race
1. You hate adventure.
2. You dislike the feeling of excitement you get when you try something new.Women Spartan Race Tuxedo New York
3. You don’t enjoy challenging yourself.
4.Fitness is not important to you.
5. You don’t enjoy getting together with friends.
6. You want nothing to do with camaraderie or teamwork.
7. You despise the idea of being outside.
8. Seeing people having fun makes you angry.
9. You don’t appreciate or enjoy exhilarating scenery.
10. You would rather see a pre-installed computer desktop background of a mountain or forest than witness it in real life.
11. The idea of strengthening your social network makes you cringe.
12. Developing the trust and loyalty of another human is absurd to you.
13. You don’t like free beer.
14. You hate seeing chiseled men and fit women in tight clothing.
15. Free stuff like bananas, Clif Builder’s Bars, and Core Power Protein Drinks are not your thing.Reebok Spartan Race New York Tuxedo Rope Climb
16. You hate having memories to tell your children and grandchildren about.
17. You have no interest in seeing the view from the tops of mountains and hills.
18. You hate earning medals and accomplishing tasks.
19. The idea of satisfaction makes you feel ill.
20. The idea of setting goals and seeing them through is stupid to you.
21. You have no desire to turn exercise into something fun and enjoyable.
22. Traveling and seeing the country/world is of no interest to you.
23. Experiencing life, culture and the sort is just not on your to-do list.
24. You prefer to have bathroom selfies over epic professional photos of yourself.
25. Free t-shirt is not in your vocabulary.
26. You don’t like helping others accomplish their goals.
27. You have no faith in mankind or the kindness of strangers.
28. You have no interest in learning new skills.
29. Party atmospheres with fun challenges is something you find boring
30. You don’t see anything inspiring in watching veterans with missing limbs conquer courses.
31. Watching folk with Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy and MS do the same thing is something that makes you yawn.Tuxedo New York Spartan Race Reebok Cargo Climb Obstacle 32. Watching the joy in children’s faces doing a kids race is something you find repulsive.
33. …and seeing their eyes light up when they receive a medal is just plain stupid.
34. You have no interest in helping charities.
35. You hate cheering strangers on. What is the point of that?
36. You’d rather not witness nature up close and see animals you’d never otherwise see.
37. You are allergic to all of or some of the following; mud, wind, sand, water, grass, fun.
38. You hate the sound of laughter and cheering.
39. Bumping into the occasional celebrity and grabbing a photo opportunity is boring.
40. You have nothing left to learn, as you know everything, so learning something new about yourself when your body is pushed is a complete waste of time.

If this is not the case, then we’ll see you at the finish line!

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By Heather Gannoe of Relentless Forward Commotion

Scaling 8 foot walls.  Crawling under razor sharp barbed wire.  Leaping through waist high flames.   These are the type of daredevil moves one might associate with a Hollywood stunt double, not a suburban stay at home mom.

Until now.

Obstacle course racing has seemingly taken over both the athletic and weekend warrior world alike.   Now your average Joe or Jane are given opportunities to test their physical prowess with so much more than a road 5K; they are getting dirty, facing fears, and proving that they are capable of so much more than they ever imagined.

As an avid obstacle course racer and fitness professional, I often encounter people who tell me that they could never do a Spartan race.   They think that perhaps a “fun” mud run with a few walls and a beer at the finish line is more realistic,  but never a course as physically and mentally demanding as a Spartan race.   I always immediately interrupt and inform them that not only could they do it with proper training, but they absolutely should…and here are four reasons why:

Spartan races challenge your entire body.  One of the weaknesses I see in a lot of my clients, especially runners, is a huge focus on cardiovascular endurance, with little to no focus on muscular strength and endurance. Spartan races require not only cardiovascular endurance to cover the course distance (and climb those infamous ski hills), but also muscular strength to complete many of the obstacles, such as the herculean hoist, sandbag carry, or rope climbs.  Therefore, the playing field is often leveled: everyone who steps up to the starting line of a Spartan race will have strengths and weaknesses. What better way to get in shape and improve overall physical fitness than to train for a race?

You are capable of more than you think…and that is a great ego boost.  It sounds vain, but it is true. I will never forget the first time I actually made it to the top of a rope climb during a race.  Countless races prior I climbed a few feet up, felt weak, and quit.   But during the 2012 Ultra Beast, I pushed those negative thoughts aside, and despite my shaking arms and the fact that I had failed a rope climb just a few miles earlier, I kept climbing.  I rang the bell at the top while simultaneously shouting “YES!!!!!”  Though exhausted, scraped, and bruised, I could not stop smiling for the rest of the race (and trust me, it was a long race!). Spartan races challenge us in many physical and emotional ways, be it facing your fear of heights or running farther than you ever have before.  Successfully completing tasks you once thought were impossible is an empowering, amazing feeling that carries over into your entire outlook on life.

Spartan athletes are some of the friendliest people on earth.  Need a boost to get over the wall? Turn around and ask the stranger to your left.   Struggling with the tractor pull (dragging a cement block by a heavy chain, typically through rough terrain)?  Chances are someone will come along and help you drag it to the finish.   The camaraderie among obstacle course racers is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my athletic career; just look at the massive teams such as the New England Spahtens, Weeple Army, or Corn Fed Spartans.   We are one big family, and that family will not let you fail.

Because your inner child really wants to jump in that puddle…and your mom isn’t there to tell you not to. You will get muddy. You will get soaked. You will have dirt in places you never imagined. And you know what? It’s really fun. You may even get to jump off of really high walls and play with sharp spears. (Shhhh….don’t tell mom!)  Despite the competition and often difficult challenges, Spartan races truly bring out a primal feeling of freedom and fun that so many of us lose in our adult lives.

Sure, I’ve seen avid athletes humbled by the difficulty of an OCR. But I’ve seen a 60 year old woman successfully cross the finish line of her first race beside her grown children.   I’ve seen new friendships formed.  I’ve seen lives changed by the sport as a whole.  But one thing I’ve never seen is a person cross the finish line and say “I regret doing this”.     Here’s the thing: Spartan races are not only for the elite athletes, they are for anyone who is willing to step up to the challenge.  Do not be afraid of the possible difficulty of your first Spartan race; instead use this opportunity to truly realize you are capable of so much  more than you think.

As they say…you’ll know at the finish line.

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I asked my ten year old son Michael what he thought a Spartan dad was. He responded that it’s coming home from races on the weekend with barbed wire scratches across your back and bruises all over your body. While that is definitely part of being a Spartan dad, there is certainly a lot more to it than that. In the Krueger family we have a passion for health and fitness. It wasn’t always like that – there was a period of time for about 7 to 8 years where I did not exercise and ate everything from pizza to Chinese food on a daily basis. I woke up about 5 years ago 30lbs overweight and looking pretty chubby. I am now 40 years old and through clean eating, exercise and the support of my family, I dropped 30lbs and I am now in the best shape of my life.

It is not easy. We have lacrosse practice, wrestling practice, violin, saxophone, piano, chorus – my wife Gretchen coaches’ middle school soccer in the fall and lacrosse in the spring. Gretchen and I do CrossFit as well as run and work out. Then there are the races…The key that we’ve found is making time for the family. Our “selfish” activities (training, races, and competitions) are all worked around our children’s activities. It is not easy but we make the time. In the winter, I get up at 4:40am to train so I can be back home by 6:15 for Gretchen to be out the door by 6:30am to go teach while I get the kids ready for school. If the children do not have any activities in the evening, they train with us. Michael and Mya have both been doing CrossFit for the past year and love it. Gretchen and I do not always get to train together but we all go to races together.

Our front and backyard have become an obstacle training playground for both adults and kids. We have a 20’ rope climb in our front tree. Our backyard has a spear throw, pull up bar, box jump and rings from our back tree. Our children are engaged in healthy activities, root for us at races (and race themselves) and are included in our passions. It is difficult but doable.

I am incredibly lucky to be a Spartan dad because I truly have a Spartan wife and Spartan children.

Dan Krueger

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We all know being a Spartan is sexy already. It’s just the natural effect of pushing your limits and cranking out relentless, unspeakable quantities of burpees. While “sexy” might be relative in the world of Spartan it’s quite synonymous with many of the activities we perform on the daily. As it just so happens to be, there are some things that get a fellow Spartan more riled up than others. Quite often it’ll be the subtle things that we take for granted once we become engrossed in the world of Spartan.

Spartan Obstacle Race Women and Men Compression clothing

THAT TIGHT COMPRESSION GEAR

You walk up to the starting line of any heat and you’ll see it, all the tight little outfits. Clothing so tight that hugs those chiseled muscles ever so carefully, in a manner that almost naturally urges you to stare. Fabric so tight it gives all the right curves a proper lift; all the talent of a Spartan that lies beneath accentuated to the nth degree.

What might appear as showing off one’s physique to the untrained obstacle racer is in all actuality a testament to a Spartan’s dedication to their performance on the course. Those tight spandex provide many benefits to a racer including their unbelievably quick drying abilities; compression gear doesn’t retain moisture much, meaning none of that sloppy, saggy, heavy feeling you get with a lesser material like cotton. Tighter fitting clothes also mean less chances of getting snagged up in an obstacle such as the barbed wire crawl. It’s not all about a look in obstacle racing, there’s a great many more benefits to all that tight clothing that’d have your great grandmother and great grandfather rolling in their graves.

HITTING THAT DOWNWARD DOG ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE

Take it easy lad, we’re talking about the yoga pose. It’s actually quite easy to drop down almost anywhere in a downward dog and many a Spartan will do so without hesitation. It’s a great way to loosen up the joints. Honestly, it’s just one of those odd somethings that Spartans do, much like the now classic Burpees in public epidemic. Are you feeling tight or sore? Then it’s time to stretch it out! That’s how a Spartan decides when and where they stretch. Don’t be surprised if you spot a Spartan on the side of the road or trail with their backside in the air, they’re just making sure those hamstrings get nice and loose so they can complete the Spartan WOD.

spear throw obstacle race spartan race spartan chicked

ALWAYS PERFECTING A TIGHT GRIP

You may have never thought about it, or perhaps you have, regardless grip strength is one of the most important elements to being successful at a Spartan Race. Your ability to hold-on-tight is tested over and over again from pulling a heavy bag up to the very top of the Hercules Hoist, to holding on for dear life at the rope climb, your grip is tested in the worst of conditions. Many Spartan obstacles test your grip, like the traverse wall, or the unforgiving nature of the slippery ropes they provide to pull yourself up the equally slippery wall. There’s no doubt about it, Spartans know how to hold on tight and in more ways than one. We hear they are pretty good at it.

CARRY BIG BALLS AND HEAVY SACKS

Get your mind out of the gutter, we’re talking about the Atlas Stones and Sandbags, shame on you Spartan. Those who are part of the Spartan lifestyle will commonly practice carrying sandbags of all shapes and sizes and various stones to simulate the challenge of the Atlas Carry. If you see a Spartan carrying a heavy sack, shout out a good ol “Aroo!” in support.

Man Atlas Stone Carry Spartan Obstacle Race

HERCULEAN GRUNTS AND GROANS

Have you ever listened and paid attention to what it sounds like by the Hercules Hoist? Honestly next time you’re near this obstacle, give it a listen. You’ll hear the grunts and groans of what might sound like an old Spartan pastime of our ancient brothers and sisters but I assure you, only feats of strength and tenacity are being tested here.

SMELL OF SPARTAN COURAGE

Get close to a Spartan and give them a whiff. Smell that? That smell is what we call the Courage of a Spartan. Take it all in the next time you get a chance. Be warned, it’s not our fault if you become radically turned on by those pheromones infused with a taste of that Sparan courage. Spartans with this smell know what it means to sign up, show up and never give up. They already figured out what it means to Spartan UP!, now it’s your turn. Remember we warned you their smell could lure you in forever. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a Spartan Race and put your courage to the test.

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As the year rolls around to a day of the year that is often overlooked, we wanted to give a shout out to those guys that you see on the course that, while striving to reach the finish line, have a greater goal in their lives. This, of course, is continuing to be the best Spartan dad they can possibly be.

Daren De Heras of Monrovia, California might be more familiar to many as the man who continues to set multiple lap records or as the face of Team SISU. Many will see him as the guy that has now visited the Death Race 5 times, but to his little girl Maddy, he’s just daddy.

“I’ve always wanted her to know that she is always front and center in everything I do”, he explains. 

“When she was born, I was a very passionate wrestling coach, business owner and marathoner.  I wanted her to see my passion for fitness and hoped she caught on for a love of sport, but it was important that she find her way, not what my way was.  All I ever want is for her to always finish what she started, to always challenge herself, and to know that it’s all about the journey, not the finish.  As she grew up she fell in love with Soccer and Gymnastics.  I spent the next 6 years learning soccer and coaching her teams.   During that time, Spartan Race popped up and I fell in love with it right from the start.  In 2011 I participated in my first Spartan Death Race, and suffered my first DNF.  After I quit the race, I was fortunate to spend some time with Joe De Sena the founder of Spartan Race.  I listened to his story, passion, and drive he had for the sport of obstacle racing and the positive impact it could have on so many.  I went home that weekend, inspired, motivated, but most of all it made me think if I can teach my daughter how to live this Spartan lifestyle and apply it to her everyday life, there will be no limits to what she can achieve.

“Spartan has given us a place that we feel is our special place.  We both have our own goals, and share some, but most important it’s not a race to us, it’s a journey, a way of life.  I have been to five Spartan Death Races competing in all of them with bracelets she made me, her name written on me with a sharpie and her picture in my pocket.  She has completed 5 Spartan Races, finishing 4th overall and 1st for the girls in her previous Spartan Race.  We inspire one another, push one another, and never let the other one think we have anything less than more to give. She is my heart and soul and the best thing I will ever be is her daddy.”

Sign up for your next Spartan Race here and sign up your child for Spartan Kids right here.

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A Call for Confidence: Building up The Spartan Woman

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle”. 

This quote has been a favorite of mine for several years now, and I keep it close at all times as a constant reminder to continually strive to treat anyone I encounter with respect and understanding, even if I don’t completely comprehend or agree with their personal life decisions. As an inherent people pleaser, it took me many years to be able to acknowledge and accept that not every single person I meet in life will like me, and in the same respect, I also needed to understand that I won’t see eye-to-eye with everyone who crosses my path either. People are born with many different personality traits and preferences, and the vast array of different personal life experiences also has a great influence on how we feel about, and react to, certain situations.

We live in a world which has always struggled with the acceptance of those who are different than we are. Our history is marred with the indiscretions of our ancestors, as, for centuries, we have resisted the approval of others who hail from different races, lifestyles, and religions; and unfortunately this is still an issue in our world today.

Not only do we tend to struggle with accepting others on a grand scale, but we also hold onto our own personal opinions about what we believe makes a person good or bad, and this typically seems to be based loosely on our specific experiences with certain people or events. This very circumstance also rings very true in the fitness world, but not only there, as it is also quite prevalent between the women who pursue a healthy lifestyle.

For centuries, women have felt the pressure to maintain a certain exterior image, while our male counterparts seem to receive much more leniency with regards to the expectation of attaining a specific physique. Now I’m not saying that men don’t put pressure on each other, or themselves, to achieve a specific body type (I’m sure every man dreams to some degree of attaining those 6-pack Spartan Gladiator abs), but women specifically tend to place high expectations on ourselves when it comes to body image and how we should physically look. And while we struggle with our own personal insecurities with regards to our bodies, we tend to take this frustration out on other women who are not currently dealing with our specific issue.

I recall just three years ago, at 50 pounds overweight, I was sorely insecure. Each time I would see a woman who was thinner than I, or who had an athletic physique making it clear that she took the time to work out, I would quickly fluctuate between moments of jealousy, admiration, and downright dislike. This range of emotions were directed at a complete stranger, and left me feeling inadequate, and an unhappy mess. The silly thing is, it wasn’t the other woman’s fault for having a beautiful body, nor should I have judged her for making a personal choice that provided her with a body that I wished I had. Instead of focusing on the negative emotions toward her, which only existed because of my own insecurities, I should have been inspired by her. Unfortunately at that time I was not in a place to realize this negative cycle, and I have to admit, that even today I’m not perfect, as I need to consciously remind myself regularly to put away my insecurities, to squash the instinct to react negatively, and to realize the beauty in the person who creates such a reaction.

I also see this sort of behavior within many groups of women, and even within the Spartan Chicked community. While the majority of women in the group are wonderfully supportive, inspired, and encouraging, there are times when specific photos or posts create a negative backlash. Whether it’s someone we judge to be too heavy, too thin, or perhaps we think they choose a workout method we don’t quite understand (anyone want to get into a CrossFit debate?), we occasionally get sucked into a feisty debate, thinking we know best. I know I’ve done my fair share of judgmental thinking in my day, so I’m not writing this self-righteously by any means. I don’t always understand where everyone is coming from, nor do I always agree with them, but I also strive to approach each topic or person with the acknowledgement that I do not know their specific story.

My goal for writing this is to raise awareness about how critical we as women tend to be on each other, when perhaps we are reacting out of our own insecurity. I believe there are times when we need to sit back for a moment and assess why we are feeling these negative emotions toward a person we’ve never met; and we may just realize that support, understanding, and affirmation is probably what they are looking for, just as much as we are.  I love when I see women in the group build each other up, it’s so amazing! And I want to see that awesome encouragement to grow exponentially.

That woman who looks perfectly fit with the 6-pack abs? I can guarantee you she still has days when she feels bloated, gross, and insecure. How about the overweight woman who gasps for breath along the road, appearing to barely shuffle along as she struggles to continue on her run? Don’t look at her with disdain, applaud her for getting out and trying. We are all different, with different stories and different challenges. I’m certain that I’ve gotten some strange looks when training with my tire, boldly decorated in hot pink duct tape and race stickers. But does that mean that my style of working out is better or worse than someone who chooses Zumba as their favorite way to work out? Absolutely not.

I’d like to challenge every woman of Spartan Chicked to stand up not only for each other, as we all continue on this great journey toward healthier, happier living, but to also believe in yourself! Gaining personal confidence will aid in your ability to also build others up, and if we truly continue to strive toward supporting one another as a unified group, no matter where we are at in our journey or how we choose to get there, we will truly become an unstoppable force, inspiring many more women to tear themselves off the couch, get healthy, and (hopefully!) come lose their sparkle with us at an upcoming Spartan Race.

Thank you all for being a part of this wonderful, beautiful movement full of vibrancy, beauty, and motivation. Let’s keep Spartan Chicked growing by inspiring one another daily. AROO!

~Holly Joy Berkey

www.muddymommy.com

Sign up for your next Spartan Race right here. 

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