Once I committed to the Spartan race, figured out how to make space for training in my busy schedule, and then got my body (and how it moves) tested by the experts... I decided to up the intensity of my training a few notches!
Whenever possible I hit the Redcord suspension ropes first in my workout. It helps activate the myofascial chains and prepare my neuromuscular system, so that I can train at my very best.
I began squatting and deadlifting at heavier resistances. I also did more chin-ups and pull-ups, as well as elevated and weighted calf raises. I also started using a weighted vest, ankle weights, and wrist weights. And I amped up my kettlebell swing and cardio rope time!
Here are two videos that I created for any readers who want to work on their cardio rope or kettlebell swing form:
I knew that as I increased the intensity of my training, I needed to take a look at my nutrition. I felt good about lean body mass so I didn't need to diet or lose any weight. But I wanted to make some nutritional tweaks to optimize my performance. For this, I called on the knowledge base from my NASM personal trainer certification.
When it comes to nutrition, I like to keep it simple. First, more water in between meals and before, during and after exercise. I added a little juice and a touch of salt to help me rehydrate quicker. I also reduced my alcohol consumption.
Instead of having lots of crackers and chips on hand to snack on, I ate more fresh fruit and vegetables. I am an avid dessert enthusiast, but I cut back slightly here. I made incremental and sustainable changes to my eating habits, mostly making sure that I was not consuming filler snack foods. But rather I was just eating healthier food.
I drink a lot of espresso. I decided to cut back. No, no I didn't cut back on that. Who are we kidding?!
I knew that I needed to increase my muscle mass, so I added in protein shakes right after hard workouts. This is the most optimal time to help your body recover and build muscle.
Incidentally, the protein helped with a feeling of satiety. I know that when I am eating enough protein, I’m just not compelled to immediately devour whatever random snack is close by. Within a few weeks, I could see that I was building more muscle and (bonus!) getting leaner too!
Finally, I thought about supplementation. I added a standard multivitamin to cover my bases for anything I’m not getting in my food. I also added in Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM and turmeric. Studies indicate this supplement likely leads to healthy joint function, and perhaps reduced pain and inflammation. After adding this in, I did actually feel less joint discomfort. Placebo effect? Possibly!
With my training underway and a nutrition plan in place, it was finally time to get more 'race specific’ in my training. Stay tuned to learn about how I dove into real Spartan specific exercises, like heavier lifts and carries, more chin-ups and climbing, more running, and (of course) burpees!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.