It’s Race Week

Race at Cowboys Stadium!This Saturday I’ll be in the stadium of the Dallas Cowboys doing the Spartan Sprint. I am so excited to be able to compete in the stadium of my all time favorite sports team!! This will be the shortest distance Spartan Race I’ve ever done, but I’m betting that the obstacles and bleachers will make up for the 3 mile distance, still providing a fun and challenging course. I am a die hard Dallas Cowboys fan, and always have been. This race represents an opportunity to sweat, struggle and perform in the same arena as the Cowboys on Sundays. What a wild and awesome experience. My first ever stadium race and I hear they are a different animal. Without the necessity for long distance endurance, more explosive athletes may have a better day.  This week I’m getting prepared to race my best race, I have nutrition and training at the best they’ve been so far. I’ve been really honing in my training and improving the consistency. I know that after my races in May (posts and videos to come) that I will have to really continue to innovate, improve, and invest in my training. I want to be at a true elite level, not just paying the extra money to sign up for the elite heats, but really being at my best and competing at a level worthy of the title elite. I have a long way to go and mountains to climb on my journey to the pinnacle of my own performance. But this Saturday I’m going to enjoy how far I’ve come and the chance to Throw Up the X on the Jumbotron at JerryWorld. I’ll be capturing and creating content over the weekend to showcase this unique and exciting experience. Wish me luck!

BattleFrog vs. Spartan Race. How did it measure up? (In my opinion)

April 11th 2015 I volunteered with some friends at BattleFrog Dallas. At that point, I had ran 4 Spartan races as my primary reference point for the Obstacle Course Racing world. What did I think of the BattleFrog? Does it live up to it’s Spartan counterpart? Let me tell you that BattleFrog is a serious race, and I was very impressed with the obstacles and course design. Volunteering was a truly fulfilling experience too, and I highly recommend it to anybody, not just for the free race either.

My friend Liam is a Beast, he could have won the Open Category race that day, but was slowing down to run with me.

My friend Liam is a Beast, he could have won the Open Category race that day, but was slowing down to run with me. I was struggling with this obstacle!!

Volunteering was fun? Yes, without a doubt. Being behind the scenes of an OCR event was a cool perspective, and made me totally respect all the volunteers even more at every race! There is so much work that goes into these races, and it’s easy to just show up run it and never give it a second thought. I was an elite course marshall on the 12ft wall and it was a great experience. Being able to help people overcome the obstacle from a physical and mental standpoint was very rewarding. There were a few racers I remember in particular, racers who I helped get over the top, through words of encouragement, and bringing out their own determination. I often heard “I can’t do it!” or “I’m going to fail.” To those affirming the negative, I would repeat with great force “Don’t say that! You CAN do it!” or “You’re almost there, don’t give up!!” To see someone who once vehemently believed they couldn’t accomplish something, change their mind-set and overcome the wall was really special. Seeing others in that situation gives me a good perspective when I’m suffering on a tough course or through a tough training session.

What makes BattleFrog tough? Is it tougher then a Spartan Race? I think BattleFrog presents more challenging obstacles, especially for grip strength and the upper body. I felt as challenged at the BattleFrog Dallas as I did at the Dallas Beast 2014, but the running was much less. The course was designed to strategically call on grip strength endurance, and overall strength endurance something which I found out was a real weakness in my repertoire. Not just being able to do monkey bars, carry gas cans and sandbags, but doing so during a distance running event in a sequence designed to promote total muscle fatigue. I personally realized during the gas can carry that my grip was weak, and my left arm was giving out sooner than my right. I had to stop several times and put the cans down. After that there were many walls, ropes, monkey bars and structures to climb and all required the grip strength that I had fatigued immensely carrying the 20lb gas cans earlier. Very challenging, and helped me re-visit my training protocols and include grip strength routines often. Overall BattleFrog gave any Spartan Race I’ve done a run for it’s money—and speaking of running for money, they pay the elite winners more then Spartan Race does. Is one race superior? To me both have their merits and I’ll continue to race both brands. I was just surprised that BattleFrog was able to hold its own and actually be more challenging than Spartans in some aspects.

I am committed to continuing my fitness journey and testing my progress via obstacle course races. I will be racing a minimum of 3 more Spartan Races this year: Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Lake Tahoe World Championship Beast course, and the Dallas Beast. I would really like to fit another Battle Frog in there too. Have you done an Obstacle Course Race, or several? Any comments or opinions?

200 Mile Relay Race in South Texas…Why Not?

Suddenly I’m thrust into an unexpected challenge. A friend of mine contacted me on Tuesday, informing me that a teammate for the Texas Independence Relay had dropped out, would I care to take their place? I said yes with little hesitation, even though I’m arguably “out of shape” presently. I chose to accept because I need this. It is well within my capabilities, and the only thing separating me from rising to the challenge is utilizing my time now for proper preparation, and adopting a positive mind-set that accepts the challenge and believes I can accomplish it. This will be a good spark to ignite my training for the May/June Spartan Races I plan on doing.

 

This is also a really cool race: historic, and requiring strategy and advanced planning. The race goes from Gonzales, Texas to Houston.

Road Tripping To South Texas this weekend

Road Tripping To South Texas this weekend

Fortunately the team I’m a part of has everything worked out, all I have to do is prepare myself, my equipment/supplies, and show up to run. All totaled I’ll be doing 3 legs, spaced out pretty generously…totaling 16.65 miles. That will be a  new personal record for most miles in 24h, but there is a substantial break between my first and second legs. I plan on foam rolling after all my legs, with some good stretching and I should be good to go. Nutrition and hydration are also key. I plan on starting hydrating extra today (2 days out), and even more so the day before the race. I’m learning that hydration is a pre-preparation priority, and that hydration during a competition should be never from a depleted state–starting saturated with water from the prior 24h seems to have a very beneficial effect, and I find myself less thirsty, and performing better. For some performance hacks, I’ll be consuming pickle juice, coconut water, and various supplements. I plan on using: Shroom Tech Sport by Onnit Labs, it’s a great energy supplement that actually uses your bodies natural ATP production system rather than being an external energy boost, Beet Elite–a natural Nitric Oxide boosting supplement made from real beets, lastly to take before sleep ZMA–a mineral based mix of Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6–helps the body during intense training to recover (click the link to find out more about ZMA).

 

In last-minute preparation I’ve been wearing my Training Mask, often even when sedentary

Wearing this mask as much as I can stand to get my lungs working even when "resting".

Wearing this mask as much as I can stand to get my lungs working even when “resting”.

. Warming up my lungs a few days out and working my diaphragm to hopefully enable me to get more oxygen during the race. Other than that, just made my final packing and shopping lists. A deep stretching and yoga session tonight will be the last step to prepare adequately for the short time frame I’ve had.

 

Follow along on Twitter, and Instagram @multitude27 to see Behind the Scenes.

 

 

Health and Fitness Right Now

When it comes to health and fitness, I’m not “an expert”, yet. However, I’ve been studying it and increasingly dedicated to it for the last 6 years. I have learned an immense amount, but there is always more to learn. Plus, science, technology, and information sharing have all increased available knowledge, and progressed health and fitness to new realms. I’m skeptical about training just one way, I believe in a balanced approach, and that’s what I’m working towards.  Gradually improving what I eat, how I train, and what I study/believe. I want to share resources, workouts, diet tips, and progress in this category of the blog, also make myself available to answer any questions. I’m working on becoming a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) this year so if you’ve got questions I’d be happy to help.

This is a passion that’s borderline obsessive. Not as obsessive as some people, but it’s still been something I’ve been very focused on, and progressively more so. I invest money, time, and substantial effort. Results have been steady, but finally breakthroughs are here. (6/19/13), I set 2 personal records for lifting. Dead Lift over 200lbs. (205×6)x2. And, Bench press over 200lbs 225–4x. Both of these have been on my fitness goals since LAST YEAR. So I’m pretty happy that I’ve been able to cross them off. Evernote Snapshot 20130619 234635 That’s one thing I love about having clearly defined goals in places you’ll see them; sometimes it may seem like nothing’s happening but the more you see that and think about it the more likely you are to take action. The thing is that I’ve probably been strong enough for quite some time now, but just never tried. That being said those are relatively light weights in the fitness world, but nonetheless for my 170lb frame, mark a decent strength benchmark, and a place to keep improving from. My body fat percentage is surely dropping and overall body aesthetics are improving.

I always record my workouts, so I can see progress and learn from mistakes, and for personal accountability. Evernote Snapshot 20130619 204932

(I recommend pen and paper, but digital is an option)

This was today’s workout with notes: (weight/reps unless otherwise indicated)

This workout is a variation on a total body day from a self designed program I’ve been developing over the last several years. The more I learn the more I adapt this and add/remove exercises.

Warm up:

Bike 10 minutes: stationary bike on a moderately challenging setting.

Stretch: upper/lower body, compound movements, and total body stretches

Warm up circuit: Complete 3 circuits

(no rest between exercises)

15 lateral raise with resistance band

15 incline situps with 10lb medicine ball (alternate twisting each set)

15 box jumps 1.5 feet

Main Lifts: (maximum 1.5 minute rest between lifts)

Seated Machine Row: 60/20, 90/10, 120/8, 90/10, 45/15

Bench Press: 135/8, 225/4*, 135/8

Dead Lift: 135/8, 205/6*, 205/6, 135/8

Hammer Curl: 40/12, 45/10, 50/8, 45/10, 35/12

Leg Press: 180/15, 225/FAIL (65)

Myotatic Crunch: 12 reps

Chinups: 7 (legs at 90 degrees), 6 (reversed grip), 4 (2 finger).

*Indicates personal best & goal accomplished.

In my next fitness post I’ll be sharing some of the resources that have taught me the most in the past, as well as the one’s I’m learning from now.

Thanks for reading, and keep training. Ask me any questions in regards to this post or health and fitness in general, and I’ll share what I know or find an answer.

Brendan