Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Spartan Fit and the transformation of one of America's finest

Last year I got to run a Spartan race with a group of America's finest.  Before the race, one of the LEOs who had signed up for this particular chest thumping torture test was a guy named Nate.

I didn't know Nate's story at the time but was able to learn a bit of it over the next year and the story was so inspiring that I wanted to take a moment to share.

First off, Nate was a college athlete and, as such, a big strong guy.
Nate was also diagnosed with diabetes and the medical condition began, over the years, to take a toll on his body.  Now, as an adult, a dedicated husband, a devoted father, and a fulltime sheep dog (with a K-9 partner of his own), Nate didn't have a lot of time to devote to himself.  Long hours, long nights, changing shifts, a four legged partner, a baby, and the extra jobs that our Law Enforcement officers have to take in order to support a family didn't allow Nate much remaining focus to take care of his diabetes or, therefore, his overall health.
One day, God gave Nate a serious wake up call.  Nate knew, that day, that it was time to change.... everything.

Most people would start small and verify results before making any big plunges.  That's what gets "most" people into trouble, often times.  Nate?  Nate, before his journey back to a healthy lifestyle even started, he got a call from a fellow officer inviting him to come with them on a Spartan race several months out.  That was all Nate needed - that was his motivational goal, that would be his measuring stick, he signed on the dotted line, and went to work.

Remember that first picture?

After several months, the day arrived (the day I met  Nate) and Nate, like thousands before him, toed the starting line of the biggest OCR brand in the world.

Also like thousands before him and thousands more to come (myself included), as soon as he finished the race, he was hooked.

In the next year, Nate would continue to trim down his waist, build up his strength, bore out his engine, and would run several half marathons and several more Spartans (even entering - and fairing quite well - in his first Competitive heat).

Nate didn't buy into any gimmicks.  There were no "super pills", no "detox" drinks, no fad videos, just clean eating and dirty training.  As the pictures show, Nate's dedication to his health, through diet control, protein consumption, HIIT, running, and support from his wife, Lauren, Nate was able to transform his life.  To beat back against the weight of his diabetes, and to make sure he keeps his ability to serve and protect the rest of us with the best of his ability, while being around for a very, Very long time for his beautiful family.

Nate, from the whole Spartan family, "AROO!"

Congratulations on all your accomplishments this past year.

Joe D and the Spartan family are proud to present you with a FREE RACE CODE good for Any open heat Spartan Race this year!
Notice the missing hardware in that 3rd picture!

For everyone else who wants to follow Nate's example and get on board, follow a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) program, love protein, HIIT is your friend, follow this blog, look for daily Spartan Workouts, daily Spartan Meals, and check out Joe DeSena's new book (releasing August 2nd) called "Spartan Fit!"

Spartan Fit book provides excellent whole life skills.  This is not a "get fit quick" strategy.  This is a book to get you to change your life, your habits, your thought process.  The lifeskills are great, the motivational stories will get you fired up ready to run through walls, the Hero Workouts are very cool, but the 30 day "do THIS" fitness program included in the book will be what most people find invaluable.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Spartan Race 2016 and crazy Joe De Sena's newest book Spartan Fit

Well, spring has sprung (sort of... East Tennessee is still trying to decide what season it is on a daily basis), the runners are out, and OCR is in full swing.

What do you need to know?

If you're new to Obstacle Course Racing check out my OCR post and/or some of the race recaps .  
If you have specific questions about races, venues, obstacles, or anything else, leave a comment or shoot me a note and we'll get it all figured out for you.

Also, be sure to check out often for races in your area.

Remember that if you are going for your trifecta (or Delta)   you should really look into the Run Your Region passes (to save money and bolster your commitment at the same time)

For me, I have several races that I'm looking at for 2016, some favorites, and maybe some new courses.  Last year I LOVED the Asheville Super course and it was immediately on my must-run-again list but, unfortunately, I'll be out of town on a scheduling conflict this year and miss it.  My other favorite new course last year was the Sprint at Fort Campbell  which I WILL definitely hit again this year.  I'm loving Spartan's new "Fort" series, I'm glad to see it expanded this year, and hope to see it expanded each year to come.

In other news, a couple of years ago Spartan founder Joe De Sena (look him up... he's _kind of_ a big deal...) wrote a book that I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a little early and share with you all called "Spartan Up!" .  
Well, he's at it again ("daaaaaaang Joe, at it again!") with a new book, coming soon, called Spartan Fit (#SpartanFit) and I'll have some more information about that coming soon as well  - stay tuned.

In the mean time, check out the races, start hitting the trails, picking up heavy things and putting them down, shedding that Thanksgiving/Christmas/NewYears/NahI'mStillBulingBruh weight, and working on everyone's favorite movement... burpees (buck. furpees.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cardio: You're doing it wrong (try boxing!)

If we aren't careful we can find ourselves in a bit of a rut.  Ironically, most people say their "rut" is in cardio.  

Here's why this doesn't make sense:  Cardio possibilities are nearly endless.
Too often people hear "cardio" and (after they cringe, weep, gnash teeth, and maybe die a little inside) they think only of a treadmill.  

Let me tell you something, if a treadmill were the only source of cardio, I would just have to kill myself.  There is nothing worse than the treadmill.  All you treadmill heroes, bless you, and... you can have it.  "But" no.  Just... no.

Cardio can be running, biking, a thousand different sprint variations (400s, gassers, fartleks, ), burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and the list literally goes on for thousands more.  For that matter, almost any workout movement you do can be cardio if simply done rapidly and in chains where you don't allow your heartrate to completely recover between each 
I love distance running (in the woods), but in all honestly, "just" running long distances at a near constant pace is pretty terrible (inefficient) form of cardio.  Your body is so efficient that it just learns to complete to task with the least amount of effort possible and so you don't get the heart rate training or weight loss you think you're working so hard on.  Then, if you couple long distance runs with a treadmill, not only do you not get the training benefits, but your quality of life just goes into the toilet as the digital distance readout sucks the happiness right out of your soul.  No, really.

So, pick something else (anything else) and make cardio fun again.  After all, what you're trying to do is spike your heart rate, bring it down (some), spike, fall, up, down - you're training your heart rate to rise slower and recover quicker.  

I basically stood on the soap box there to remind you (or introduce you) of a fantastically efficient cardio (and full body - if done correctly) workout that actually IS a lot of fun (news flash:  hating life while doing it doesn't actually make you better at cardio):

Spice up your training with the Heavy Bag.  Knuckle up.  Throw some blows.  take out some aggression.  Burn calories while you burn aggression.  Have some fun.  

There's nothing quite like laying into a heavy bag.  Your arms get a workout, your shoulders get roasted, you rotate your hips, use your legs, tighten your abs, your lungs are screaming, your heart is taxed, and in seconds you are sweating like crazy.  

Ever laugh when you heard boxers talk about how heavy their gloves feel?  After a few minutes of speed work you'll swear those 8oz-16oz gloves weigh 5 pounds a piece.  

Find a bag at your gym, or just buy a bag - you can get a nice heavy bag for not a lot of money.  Same goes for gloves.  Get a nice, padded pair of gloves ("training"/"bag"), your knuckles will thank you.  I bought a new 100# heavy bag last week on sale for $65 from WalMart (the one in the picture above), then I bought a nice pair of synthetic gloves off Amazon on sale for $18 and a really nice genuine leather pair off Amazon for $40.  

"What weight bag should I get?"  Nothing less than 70, get the 100 if you can find it.

"What weight glove should I get?"  Are you an actual fighter?  If so, you don't need my advice and you're getting 16oz-20oz already.  If not, I would suggest 12oz.  They're heavy enough to add a little weight, to be available in nice gloves (with good padding/protection), but not too heavy to take some of the fun out of it and ruin your form.  Just my 2 cents.

"I got some gloves, how do I punch?"  The gloves take care of your hand form, mostly, but some things you need to think about are keeping loose until you land the punch, then after it lands, go loose again.  Throw snapping punches, not pushing punches (watch this youtube video).  Keep your wrist solid on the impact.  Twist your punch on impact.  Keep your hands up and move.  Yes, even if you aren't fighting, you don't plan on ever fighting, and the bag isn't moving or hitting back, keeping your hands up and moving is a big part of the workout - maximize your efforts.

"Okay, I got a bag, I got some gloves, now what?"  Start out based on your ability.  If you're in terrible shape, you might start with 1 minute rounds, moderate try 2 min rounds, and I wouldn't recommend anyone doing more than 3 minute rounds.  If you're good and 3 minutes is good, instead of going up in minutes, just add rounds.

"Okay... what's a round look like?  Just float like a butterfly?"  Try alternating 30 seconds of hard power punching, 30 seconds of speed.  In the beginning you might try 15 seconds of left hand power punches, 15 seconds of right hand power punches until you get comfortable.

"I've got that down pretty well - what next?"  Keep the rounds to 3 minutes, keep the 30 sec power/30 sec speed, add rounds.  During the power 30 seconds, hit Hard, always combos, (touch, power, power - touch, power, power, power, etc.), and keep them coming (don't throw 1 hard punch then dance around for 10 seconds and throw another).  In the speed, move up from just playing pattycake with those 7 pound hands to actually making the speed punches pop.  In both speed and power, swap striking location often (head, body, ear, groin, kidney, etc).

It will be a TON of fun... AND crushing.  You'll love it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

$40 off 2016 Spartan Races - Ends TONIGHT!

Okay, so the folks over at Spartan HQ sent me over the news just now that they are running a CYBER discount code that gives up $40 off any and all 2016 Spartan Races!

This code is Only good until midnight Tonight so jump on it, take the leap, and come Spartan Up with us next year!

These codes are good for any race, nationwide!

Code:  CYBER

Friday, October 9, 2015

Running Season

Unlike most sports, there is no formal "running season".  Track, cross country, marathons, obstacle course races, 5ks, ultras... they happen all the time, every weekend, all year long the world over.

Beyond that if you were to ask runners from around the world what their favorite season to run in was you'd get a myriad of different answers (some determined by their home's climate no doubt).

Some people love the New Year.  That time in January and February where you capitalize on the cliche "New Year Resolution" and carry (or begin) the momentum of New.  New start, new plan, new life, new year, new beginning.

For others the perfect running season is spring.  The sun is out, the snow is melting, and there's the glory of that perfect light misting rain (running in the rain automatically increases your hardcoreness 10x... in case you didn't know).

Droves come out to run in the summer.  The sun is out, the showers have mostly dried up, and (for many) the heat invigorates.  Shorts get shorter, shirts come off, and the primal sweat that gives instant feedback to your hard work, sacrifice, and dedication is... abundant.

All of those seasons have their merits.  They're also all wrong.  You see, there is no weather to run in quite like fall.  Additionally, if you are so blessed to live in God's country (East Tennessee), than Fall is even more wonderful.
The humidity retreats, the air is light and crisp, the breeze is magical, and the temperature is... perfect.

It's impossible to walk outside on a crisp fall morning in Tennessee and not be overcome with the _need_ to take off and run.  Run from your problems, sprint away your stress, leave your haters behind, and just run from it all.

Meditation in motion.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Can Nike really = Minimalism?

Nike spent years of denying the existence of the minimalist market. This was even after they had created one of the earliest _more_ minimalist shoes in 2005 with the Free. Granted, that's an AWFUL minimalist shoe, but for the time, it was about as minimalist as any mainstream shoe out. 

Nike has continued to stay out of the discussion mostly, save a few feeble attempts at comparing Free 5.0/6.0/7.0 to "free movement" running shoes. 

But, try as they might to ignore the Crossfit movement and the minimalist movements and write them off as fads (after Reebok had the Crossfit contract), both fitness revolutions are still alive and kicking. 

As such, Nike finally decided to get in on the action!  Earlier this year they released their first Crossfit shoe in the Metcon1. 
Now... It's the minimalist's turn!  Nike is Finally entering the field with the Free 1.0

It's a VERY early look... But first look looks pretty good!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

$20/$30/$40 off SPARTAN races with discount code! AROO!!

Here's your chance!  Use Spartan Race discount code:  "MEMORIAL"
to save up to $40 on your next race registration!

Offer expires in just over a week so go sign up now at Spartan Race and find out for yourself what myself and 3/4 of a Million other people will learn this year at Spartan Races the world over:
What are you made of?  Why do YOU race?

Check out my other Spartan blogs:

Spartan Cruise
Spartan Up 2015
Spartan Up with Joe De Sena
Spartan Beast race Review:
Spartan Race takes OCR to TV
OCR and the Spartan