For those of you who don’t know, I really enjoy doing obstacle course races. Not just any obstacle course race, mind you, but Spartan Race. These races are tough, challenging, and push you hard, but the best part is the amazing support system that Spartan offers. They post Workouts of the Day, Foods of the Day, motivational quotes, and offer practice sessions to “rip you off your couch”, as they tout in their slogan. They offer multiple races to target whatever level you may be at, with the Spartan Sprint (3-5 miles), Super (7-9 miles), and Beast (12+ miles). For the more adventurous, there’s the Ultra Beast (double the Beast course) and the Death Race. For the last two years, I’ve done the Texas Beast and plan on making it a yearly tradition, recruiting more friends each year to hit the course with me!
So are you ready to Spartan Up? Are you ready to get “ripped off the couch”? If you’re ready to challenge yourself to do things you never thought possible, whether that doing 30 burpees in a row or winning your age group, then you need to check out Spartan Up! Spartan Race founder Joe DeSena has collaborated with Jeff O’Connell on this brand new book. The book isn’t available until May 13, but you can check out the synopsis now and pre-order the book on Amazon. I read over the synopsis myself, and generated some questions for Joe in an interview that is coming soon! But I also wanted to share a few thoughts after reading the synopsis, so here are some of the main points I’ve identified as thought-provoking, interesting, and important:
Spartan Up! embraces three main concepts: Question your Assumptions, Less is More, Discipline is Everything.
“Our self-control pales next to the Spartans. I’m convinced they would have looked at us with disgust and disbelief.”
People think they can’t attain lofty fitness goals, but anyone can IF they keep in mind that it is truly a “way of life”. So many people want results NOW. So many companies advertise the shortest amount of time to see results. Some companies advertise that you won’t even have to put work in. But a real athlete and competitor knows that it takes a LONG TIME of working REALLY HARD to reach your ultimate goals. That’s why I believe it’s important to set “stepping stone” goals along the way to keep you hungry and satisfied at the same time.
Learning from Failure
You won’t always have successes. Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, you will experience failures. How will you cope? Will you make it a learning experience or will you let it bring you down?
Importance of Obstacles
“As Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher king portrayed in The Gladiator, noted: ‘Fire feeds on obstacles…and inversely dies without them.'”
What can an obstacle course teach you? It can help you recognize your limits, learn when to hold on and when to let go, when to ask for help, how to be a good teammate, how to analyze a situation, and how to move on after failures.
Battle of the Mind
Spartan Races aren’t just for your body. You strengthen and quicken your mind as well. Decisions made in the mud, with barbed wire pressing into your back, in cold weather and cold water help you make decisions efficiently in other areas of your life.
“History’s elite warriors have known that to win on the real battlefield, you must first win on the battlefield of your mind.”
The Spartan Race is aptly named, and reminds us of the Spartan philosophy that to “win on the real battlefield, you must first win on the battlefield of your mind.” The Spartan Race makes you think. Makes you analyze your situation. Makes you doubt yourself at times. But ultimately, it helps you win, whether that’s your age group, your battle with weight, in the classroom, or on the job.
“If you find the prospect of navigating mud swamps, hill climbs and walls to be daunting, imagine tackling them from the confines a wheelchair. Yet Michael became the first paralyzed individual to ever finish a Spartan race.”
This shows us that everyone has a story. Everyone has their own personal obstacles. But seeing people like Michael help us put our problems, challenges, and setbacks into perspective.
“If freedom is what you are after, it comes not from discipline, but through discipline.”
“Most people waste much of their days simply by not being organized and planning ahead.”
People often say they just don’t have time to workout every day, yet I’ve never seen a schedue that absolutely doesn’t allow it. If you are organized and driven enough, you wil make time.
“Can attitude be taught? I believe it can. The way to create great attitudes is to push through adversity. Once you have seen the dark side, everything looks brighter.”
Is it your body that needs to be changed? Or is it your attitude? You may have to start with the latter first.
Fit not Fancy
“Our philosophy is that all you need to be fit is intestinal fortitude and a will, and that equipment shouldn’t be the difference maker.”
Many people think you can’t be fit without a gym, but that’s simply not true! The Spartan Race is an extremely challenging test of your physical fitness, and you can train for it anywhere. The necessary equipment for most of the Spartan workouts include your body and maybe a rock or branch to use for weights or pull up bars. Spartan workouts literally leave you with no excuses not to do them.
“Why do a competitive race? Because you might be just dogging it through life.”
Finally, one of my favorite quotes from the article is the following, that “life was not worth living unless you were going to live it fully.”
So view the synopsis, grab the book, and sign up for a race. It’s time to get moving. Spartan Up!