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Check out this weekends Winter Sprint in Brno, Czech Republic. AROO!!
Monday motivation from Joe De Sena. 💪🏼
It's #TrainingTipTuesday and the Spear Throw is one of the most commonly missed obstacles in a Spartan race. Rest assured, you will see the spear throw in every race, no matter the distance. Here are some helpful tips on how to succeed at the spear.
Are you ready to ring the bell at the top of the rope climb? Use these tips to make your rope climb a successs!
Excelling at Spartan racing means excelling at both running and dynamic strength work (and at a whole lot of other things too). But while many of us train our bodies in a fairly well-rounded way, sometimes as the race goes on we struggle with the running between obstacles. Our bodies start to break down and our form falls apart. Correct running form is crucial. Jay Dicharry is one of the premier running biomechanics experts in the country, working with top professional athletes out of his lab in Bend, Oregon. And the physical therapist has recently come out with a new book, Running Rewired, in which he tries to help runners with correct running form and get faster—something we all want. Here Dicharry offers three things you could do right now to start running better.
Fix Your Posture Most runners (and non-runners) have “horrible posture alignment,” says Dicharry, which throws off everything. If you’re arching your lower back, then it locks up the extension in your hips and hamstrings, and forces you to stretch out and overstride when you run, which reduces your running economy and increases the risk of injury. The problem is that many of us have a slouch in our upper backs and shoulders, but when we think about “running tall” or standing up straight, we tend to just stick out our chests in a kind of overextended military-style posture. This actually causes us to arch our lower backs, which isn’t good. Instead, to have proper alignment, we need to keep our ribs pulled down and our spine neutral.
Quick Test Dicharry has a quick test to see where your posture is at and a few cues to fix it. Stand straight and feel the position of where your weight falls in the middle of your foot. Rock forward and feel it, and rock back again. Then, put one hand on your sternum and one on your ribs, and focus on dropping down your rib cage without slouching. It helps to relax your shoulders. Drop your hands to your sides and turn your hands so your thumbs point out, then turn them in; this will help bring your shoulders down. Now that you feel good posture alignment, practice it. “The more time you spend practicing bad posture, the more normal it’ll feel,” says Dicharry. This might even mean stopping every half mile when you’re running and taking a few seconds to correct your posture.
Get Rotating to Correct Running Form Most of the work we do in the gym or training tends to be in two directions: front and back, or left and right. But when we run, we have to contend with rotational forces, which move in more than two planes. Our torso rotates slightly as we run, and we offset it by moving our opposite arm forward with our stride. “When we run, we have to stabilize a ton of rotational forces,” says Dicharry. If you can’t control those rotational forces, then your form will start to break down, and you’ll have too much movement side-to-side instead of forward. And you definitely want the majority of your momentum when running to push you forward. The only way to get your body prepared for rotational forces, however, is to train it with rotational forces. “Get into rotation,” says Dicharry. That means doing rotational work on your foot muscles, your hips, and your spine. For example, when training your foot muscles (which are often overlooked), try this exercise: anchor a Theraband to a table or another heavy object and then stand perpendicular to it, so that the band is at your side and stretches across the front of your body. Stand on one foot, holding the band in front of you with both hands, and rotate away from the anchor point and back. Turn around and repeat this while standing on the other foot. This exercise forces your foot to stabilize itself as you rotate, and requires you to push off from your big toe, which is important in running. This is the kind of rotational work that will make you a better runner—not necessarily bench pressing heavier.
Control, Control, Control In order to run fast, you have to apply a lot of power to the ground as quickly as possible. While general gym work and functional fitness training is good for your overall health, it doesn’t necessarily help you do that. What you need to work on is moving under control and then exploding. Many of us have strong quads, and yet we also do gym work (like squats) that loads our quads but doesn’t help us apply power in a controlled and explosive way. If we move from being quad-dominant to being more butt-dominant, then it can help us stop overstriding and shift the muscular load. Try this exercise. Stand holding a long dowel behind your back lengthwise, so that it touches your head, your mid-back, and your tailbone. Stand facing a box, with your toes against it. Now try to squat. Your knees won’t be able to go forward because of the box, and in order to keep your back neutral, with the dowel, you’ll have to shift the effort to your butt and hamstrings. Do these squats to teach your body how to engage those muscles. Deadlifts are also good, says Dicharry, because they often force us into a neutral posture, as long as we hold neutral between reps and don’t extend out at the top. “Make sure you control your body,” he says. Now that you have a plan to correct running form, make sure you pace yourself. You hit peak soreness 48 hours after a hard workout, says Dicharry, which means you don’t want to do a strength workout and then a sprint running workout two days apart. Instead, a common spacing is: Monday-Thursday, or Wednesday-Saturday. “You can’t do high intensity 100 percent of the time,” he says. But you can maintain good posture and body awareness 100 percent of the time.
Race day nutrition matters — a lot. The right foods eaten at the right time can supercharge your performance, decrease bonks (hitting the wall), and lessen gastrointestinal issues. But meal-timing around a race is tricky, so we tapped Spartan Pro Team member and Spartan SGX trainer Kevin Donoghue for the best advice on how to maximize your training diet. “Whether you’re a pro racer or doing your first open wave, we all require the same basic nutrients to succeed,” says Donoghue. “Nutrition is crucial to performance and recovery, and they actually go hand in hand. Donoghue also says that getting the most out of your race day nutrition starts well before the date of your event. “You can’t be bad with pre-race nutrition and then expect to recover well, even if your post-race nutrition is on point, and vice versa. So it’s important to plan well and be diligent and consistent in all phases of your diet.”
Race Day Nutrition Guide: Complete Instructions Your focus for optimal performance lies not only in the 24 hours surrounding the race, but also in the weeks (or even months) leading up to it: The better you eat, the more nutrients you’ll absorb and the better your performance. “Finding your nutritional spirituality the night before the race isn’t enough,” says Donoghue. “Just like studying for a test—you can’t absorb everything you need to know by cramming for a few hours the night before.”
Hydration also plays a crucial role in your prep. “Hydrating in the weeks leading up to a race is vital,” he says. “One product that I swear by in both training and during a race is nuun. It dissolves in your water in seconds and provides all the needed electrolytes. Tastes awesome, contains no sugar, and extremely portable.”
The Night Before the Race No matter how tempting, resist that cookie, those chili fries, and that event-eve cocktail. “If you’re looking to cramp, feel nauseous, and generally hate life on race day, then, by all means, wash your pizza and chips down with a glass of wine,” says Donoghue. “Not only will this food make you feel like death, but you put yourself at greater risk for injury and dehydration. Don’t be that person being taken off the course in the medical cart because you celebrated too early.” Eating an adequate amount of carbs the day before a long race can also improve your performance, according to two studies cited by The New York Times. For every 2.2 pounds of your body weight, try to eat about a quarter-ounce of carbohydrates. Donoghue recommends fueling up with plant-based starches like sweet potatoes, greens, squash, beets, and lean proteins such as fish and poultry. “Fish contains healthy fats, but you can also add some nuts to your greens to the same effect,” says Donoghue. “I feel energized, lean, and focused after a light clean meal—it gives me lots of sustainable energy, protects me against dehydration, and helps prevent tissue breakdown.”
The Morning of the Race Timing your meal properly on race day is imperative. “Your blood supply should be going to your muscles when racing, not your digestive system,” says Donoghue. “So don’t eat too close to a race or you’ll experience cramping and vomiting shortly after starting.” His advice: Eat 90 minutes before race time, and stick to what you would normally eat for breakfast. “Don’t try anything new on race day,” says Donoghue. You don’t know how this food will digest, affect your energy, or make you feel. Research supports Donoghue’s advice to avoid adding new foods to your race day nutrition, especially if you’re prone to stomach issues. In a 2012 study by the American College of Sports Medicine, European researchers found that competitors with a “predisposition and history of gastrointestinal distress (GI)” were more likely to have GI issues during a competition. So to play it safe, eat the foods you know your stomach can handle. Donoghue knows what works for him. “My favorite race-morning meal is a Boku SuperFoods shake with a little all-natural nut butter and fruit,” he says. “It’s the perfect way for me to supply maximum nutritional value into a very small serving size. If I get a little hungry after that I might have some fruit during warm-ups.” As for your morning Joe? By all means, partake. “Coffee is a great way to increase blood flow,” says Donoghue. “Just don’t overdo it.” During the Race Race length, your physical condition, and race day temperature will determine what you should eat and drink during a competition. “I make sure I grab a cup of water at every water station because those 3 seconds may save me minutes later by keeping me cooler and hydrated,” Donoghue says. Research published in the journal, Sports Medicine, found that if your race is longer than 90 minutes, is high intensity, or is in a warm climate, it’s best to plan a drinking strategy as part of your race day nutrition. Donoghue recommends carrying your own hydration pack for races that last longer than two hours, or on very hot days. “Keep powdered electrolytes to mix into your water, and have bars or things like Clif Bar Shot Bloks for quick energy boosts on hand. But remember: Whatever you pack you have to carry, so choose wisely.”
Right After the Race Time to head to the beer tent, right? Slow down, says Donoghue. Help your body recover and replenish with some quality nutrients first. “The 30 minutes right after the race are vital and you should be ingesting quickly-absorbed proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.” Have a small sandwich and some fruit, some chocolate milk, or even a shake to kick-start the recovery process and get your body back into working order before you drink alcohol.
The Evening After the Race Once you’ve showered off the dust and grime and settled in for the evening, eat a meal of lean fish and tons of greens. “Both of these foods reduce inflammation and aid in recovery,” says Donoghue. “If you’re feeling celebratory, a good milkshake might be just what you’re looking for.” After your celebration, review your race day nutrition plan. Consider what worked and what didn’t so you can finish your next Spartan Race with even more success.
San Jose, CA
Marvel Stadium, Australia
I am not racing
What is a Spartan race?
We have races across the world this weekend! Where will you be?
Let's talk about the Twister obstacle. This one takes upper body strength, grip and momentum. Do you struggle with this one? Check out these helpful tips.
Are you ready for the Z Wall? Check it out here!
This Upper Body Strength Workout Will Help You Crush Obstacles. What do obstacles like the monkey bars, cargo nets, rope climb, Tyrolean Traverse, and wall climb have in common? They all require preparation via serious upper body strength exercises (and grip strength, but that’s another story).Not only do your arms, shoulders, back, and core need to be strong enough for you to lift your body weight up and over the obstacles, but they need to have the muscular endurance for you to do it over and over (and over) again. If you don’t have that kind of upper body strength and endurance, you’re going to fatigue by obstacle four or five and end up not being able to complete the rest—which means your going to find yourself doing burpees on burpees, a surefire way to kill any endurance you have left in your arms. These upper body strength exercises aim to increase both muscular strength and endurance. You should complete the entire workout three times a week on non-consecutive days (follow Spartan on Instagram for additional cardio and recovery workouts to fill out the week). You can condense the warm-up if you’re short on time, but keep in mind that these warm-up moves were designed to prep your body for this specific sequence. You’ll need: a foam roller, superband, med ball, box, pull-up bar, ab wheel, and kettlebell.
Upper Body Strength Exercises: Self-Myofascial Release + Static Stretching Warm-up Perform 1 set of the number of reps indicated. Self-myofascial release: lats, posterior shoulder, pec Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch: 30 seconds on each side Prone lat stretch: 30 seconds on each side Half-kneeling pec stretch: 30 seconds on each side
Upper Body Strength Exercises: Mobility and Joint Stabilization Warm-up Perform 1 set of the number of reps indicated. Quadruped wrist rock: 6 reps Quadruped T-spine rotation: 6 reps on each side Windmill T-spine rotation: 6 reps on each side Shoulder slide: 8 reps Band pull-apart series: 8 reps on each side Seal jack: 15 reps
Upper Body Strength Exercises: Power + Speed Circuit Perform 3 sets of the number of reps indicated. Overhead slam: 12 reps Plyo push-up: 8 reps
Upper Body Strength Exercises: Strength + Conditioning Circuit Perform 3 sets of the number of reps indicated. Eccentric pull-up: 8 reps Suspension ab rollout: 10 reps Floor press: 8 reps Farmer carry: 10 yards Overhead press: 8 reps Quadruped row: 8 reps on each side
Getting another workout in today? Read below to find the best Carb-to-Protein Ratio for after your workout!
There’s a lot of confusion about what best boosts recovery from a workout when it comes to getting the right carb-to-protein ratio down. Most of us understand that carbohydrates and protein, along with fat, are central to recovery. We need them to replenish energy, build up our bodies, and continue boosting performance. But we can still be left wondering whether what we’re eating is enough to refuel and repair the muscles that just took a Captain Marvel–sized pounding in our workout. After all, science has been doling out a lot of mixed messages relating to macronutrients over the decades. Back in the ’70s, we were advised to step away from fat. The belief was that all fat caused weight gain, and that it also reduced the benefits of protein and carb consumption after a workout.
In addition, not too long ago, word was that a sports drinks supplemented with sugars and electrolytes were the ideal post workout supplements to replace fluids and boost blood sugar levels. This makes sense if you’re training double days or getting in shape for a major race or sporting event. But recovering after a chatty 45-minute barre class? Not so much. And of course, the recent demon in our midst has become carbohydrates—blamed for all health ills from weight gain to energy loss to uncontrollable 3 a.m. doughnut cravings. But don’t we need it along with protein to restore glycogen and so increase or maintain muscle tissue? Is it any wonder that our heads are in a spin as to what post workout nutrition we need? “What we must understand before anything else,” says Anne L’Heureux, head of Spartan Nutrition and a registered dietitian nutritionist as well as a Spartan SGX coach, “Is that none of the macronutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—are inherently the enemy.”
Nutrient-Dense versus Nutrient-Poor Foods: Rather than fixate first on a carb-to-protein ratio, L’Heureux suggests our starting point should be figuring out which foods are nutrient-dense and nutrient-poor. “Carbohydrates get a bad rap because everyone puts them in the same bucket and uses the generalized term ‘carbs,’” she says. “Even the media and the medical field do it. But remember, vegetables and fruit are ‘carbs’ too. And our bodies really benefit from these carbohydrates. These provide us with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and hydration because of the water content.” “So let’s stop thinking anything called a carbohydrate is bad,” L’Heureux suggests, “and instead get clear on the difference between nutrient-dense and nutrient-poor carbohydrates and other macronutrients, as well as whole-food carbohydrates and highly processed carbohydrates.”
There’s No “One Size Fits All”: Secondly, L’Heureux says we’ve got to accept that when it comes to what to eat post-workout, people are different. “I get it,” she says. “People like quick answers. But there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ regimen.” Instead, there is a series of questions that individual athletes need to ask themselves. “It really comes down to three components and knowing what the goal of your workout is,” L’Heureux claims. For starters, ask yourself what kind of training you are going to do. Is it cardio or strength? Follow that with, what’s the duration? Is it a 30-minute aerobics class three times a week or a two- to three-hour run every day? And finally—what’s the intensity? “An easy two- to three-hour run where I can talk throughout is a very different intensity from a two- to three-hour run up a mountain when I’m training for a race. For that latter workout, my body is going to use a lot more carbohydrates than the steady-paced run. Or it’s going to burn more of my stored fat as energy.” Truth is, those of us who typically work out quite moderately will not need to restore muscle and liver glycogen with carbs immediately after exercising. Nor will we need to eat something sugary to “spike” our insulin levels. “In fact, we have about 24 hours to replenish,” L’Heureux claims. “And if you don’t have another workout scheduled in that time frame, you can get those carbohydrates in the meals you’re having throughout the rest of the day.” In other words, it might be time to stop scoffing back that banana and Rxbar directly after spin class. “When you know what the goal of your training is—and that can change from day to day—and then you ask yourself these questions,” L’Heureux says, “you’re better placed to know what food you need to support that training.”
The Window Is Wider than We Think: This leads to another brain-inscribed belief that we may need to let go of: the idea that regardless of the kind of workout we’ve done, we only ever have a 30-minute window afterward to recover protein. L’Heureux acknowledges that it’s good for even amateur gym-goers to aim to replenish within a short time of finishing their workouts, particularly if they’re focusing on strength routines. Eating protein after a workout can help prevent protein breakdown and so speed up muscle recovery. However, she does stress that refueling within a strict 30-minute window is more pertinent to professional athletes or those involved in intense training for an event. “If you can organize a meal that includes a protein component within an hour or so of working out, you’re good,” she says. “You don’t have to worry that you’re not replenishing if you don’t have a protein drink immediately after training.” The point is that if we eat well throughout our day, paying particular attention to consuming a sufficient amount of all three macronutrients—carbs, proteins, and fats—then we don’t have to supplement with additional food during and directly after our workouts. “Most of us tend to overestimate calories burned and underestimate calories consumed,” she says. “So rather than being caught up in eating protein or carbs after exercise, it’s more beneficial to focus on becoming more aware of what we’re actually doing, and how we’re moving, during our workouts. Then we’ll know exactly what foods we need to support that activity.”
Ideal Carb-to-Protein Ratio: But, of course, all that said, L’Heureux does note that there are general recommendations surrounding carb-to-protein ratio that many athletes follow. For example, she says, “If your focus is on strength then you may find a one-to-one ratio of carbs to protein to be appropriate.” When it comes to post workout meals, this means that for every gram of carbohydrates you have a gram of protein. A workout geared more toward cardio typically calls for a two-to-one ratio of carbs to protein. Athletes who undertake intense long-duration cardio exercise often follow a three-to-one carb-to-protein ratio. Still, L’Heureux is keen to point out that these remain general carb-to-protein ratio guidelines and will not work for everyone. Some people’s bodies are more metabolically efficient than others, such as those successfully following a ketogenic lifestyle. “People leading a ketogenic lifestyle may be better at burning stored energy,” L’Heureux says, “And therefore they’ll likely get away with fueling less with carbs. So again, it comes down to an individualized approach to the carb-to-protein ratio you may need.” “It’s not the quick answer people might be looking for. But it’s a much better answer instead. It’s also very Spartan,” she adds, “because as a Spartan the best way to get this right is to stop trying to follow the masses or what everyone else is saying. Instead, educate yourself and figure out the plan that works for you and your goals. That really is the way to figure out the appropriate intake of post-workout carbs and protein—for you.”
Jacksonville, FL (USA)
I am not racing this weekend
What is a Spartan Race?
Spartans! We have three races across the globe this weekend. Where are you racing?
The 2020 Spartan US National Series presented by Harley-Davidson kicked off in Jacksonville, Florida this past weekend. Over 8,000 racers attended, including Spartan Elite Athletes from all over the world!
Canada's Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster took first place in the Men's and Women's Sprint.
Here's the full Men's and Women's Leaderboard coming out fo the first event of the Series:
Tune in for the next US National Series event this April in Seattle, Washington, as part of our #RoadToAbuDhabi where we'll host the 2020 Spartan World Championship Powered by Rakuten!