Train Like (or For) A Spartan…Mix it Up!

One of the things that I deal with from time to time and the debate between whether or not I should train on any given day.  I do not train myself for competitions, so the pressure to stick to a highly regimented program is not there.  I train to push my personal limits and grow my abilities.  I take this approach with many of the people that train with me in the garage.

One of the things that I do train for are the Spartan Races that I do.  I train for them because they push me mentally and physically.  But this post is not about the races, it is about how some days, you have to mix up the script and throw away the barbell for a little while and train differently.

In any given week, I will follow a training that allows for the following types of workouts:

General Warm-up:  This is generally some time on the bike or rower.  Then some dynamic stretching and dynamic drills to get the blood flowing.  Once those are done, I will do some workout specific mobility and body priming movements.  This can include any warm-up weights and reps that are needed before moving heavier objects begin.

The Workout Types

Specialized Emphasis Training – This is generally a program that is designed to get stronger in any of the various lifts or movements.  Currently, I am following a program to help with my squat and press numbers.  For the most part, this is what I am building my workout around.  This is the central part that I have to get done in the day…anything else that I do is icing on the cake.  On a 7 day calendar, I will make sure that I work through some specialized lifting at least 4 days.

Cardiovascular Training –  This is exactly what it sounds like.  This can be a straight up endurance session on the bike, rower, a nice long run, or sprints.  Other times, it is a longer workout performed with bodyweight movements.  The challenge here is to just keep moving.  Just keep going and focus on doing this correctly.  I try to have these sessions on at least 3 of the 7 days I might train.  They can overlap and be done before or after my strength work.  And yes, I do mix them up.

Odd Object Work – Now we are getting into the fun stuff. This is what I consider play when it comes to my garage gym time.  During this time, I will take advantage of my sandbags, kettlebells, atlas stones, sleds, paralletes, rings…rocks, logs, and ropes.  Some days I will use these instruments instead of my barbell just to shock the system so to speak.  They help with recruiting and engaging different muscles, making the whole system stronger and taxing the Central Nervous System.  I attempt to make sure that I have at least 1 day of this in my cycle.  But I also will utilize the odd objects more in de-load sessions or days when the mind just needs to be re-ignited to the joy that training can be.

The Anything Goes/ This Just Sucks/ I Welcome Death Workout – These do not come up all that often.  Once or twice a month I will do this.  These are the workouts that have no real solid purpose except to test your willpower to finish them.  These are the mental workouts that just flat out suck.  They are the workouts that take everything above and twist them into an hour or more and wondering why you are doing this to yourself.  That have very little benefit in the scheme of your physical abilities, but they pay huge dividends when it comes to your mental strength and toughness (something that is disappearing rapidly in today’s western culture).  For me, these are the workouts that prepare me for the test that is a multi-mile obstacle course race.  This is a workout that is there to make sure that I am not going to quit when things get difficult.  These are the tests of my previous training.  I take them on when I just need to be reminded that I am stronger than my mind says I am.

Rest Days – These are as important as your training days.  If you want to get stronger and better, you have to give our body the time to repair and recover.  In any given week, I try to have two days where rest is my emphasis.  I might focus on stretching and mobility or work on some gymnastic-centric skills.  I might do absolutely nothing except chase my wife and kids around the yard or house.  Rest and nutrition are the two “others” in achieving successful results.

And this is how I train myself and my clients.  When they come in, I get a feel for how they are feeling and what they are needing that day.  I look at what is a part of their program and we go.  We get the work done and we get the results that we need.

How do you train!  Let me know on my Facebook Page!




I’m Not the Expert…I Just Care! Keys to Success

One of the things that you see all over the place as you explore how to be a success in any field is the idea that you have to insert yourself as being the expert in the field.  I work with IT for a large university, mentor small businesses, and in the fitness field as a personal trainer.  I am constantly growing and learning in all areas of relevance so that I can be the best that I can be.

If you are looking to grow your name at a break-neck pace, then inserting yourself as “the expert” might be the way to go.  But you might also be proven to be just another person claiming to know more than they actually do.

One of the things that I emphasize is to provide the most value and knowledge to the people that trust you.  I encourage people to approach their business how they would want to be treated by the companies they choose to work for.  Don’t be like the cable companies and telephone companies setting up deals to get people to switch to you.  Take care of the people that have been with you and reward longevity.

The same holds true with being an expert.  Focus on becoming an expert in your one-on-one relationships.  Focus on providing the value to the people who already have chosen you.  Constantly grow in the areas that they need to develop.  Most of the people that you work with are going to have very specific needs to reach their goals.  Increase your value to them, by focusing your talents and efforts on making sure they know that their areas of concern are the very issues that you are devoting yourself to growing.

Let them know that your goal is to stay on top of the latest trends that will help them with their specific needs.  For example, if someone is looking for a coach or trainer.  I like to sit down with them and ask about what their goals are.  From there, I will talk to them about setting up a basic program for their general health and well-being.  From there, I take pre-existing knowledge and incorporate it into their training to meet their specific goals and explain exactly why I am introducing and training them the way that I do.  The next step is to grow my knowledge base in the areas of helping them and sharing that knowledge with them.

I am not the expert in my space, but I am the expert of my people.  If you want to be successful, you have to give people a reason to stay with you.  That generally comes not from how much you know, but in how you develop your knowledge and make it personal to them.

I see too many people that want to be the expert and expect to have huge client basis just because they have inserted themselves as an expert.  For me, that is not the best path.  If you only have one client, be an expert on their business and their needs.  Give them a reason to talk about you and refer you to others.  Your business will grow if you devote your time to the needs of your clients first and foremost.  They are telling you what is and is not important to know about.  Focus on them, they are the one’s that need your services…and they need it now!


What’s Next with Spartan Races?

spartan fit banner

SpartanFit Banner

If you have followed me you know that the majority of my training centers around getting ready for Spartan races.  In addition to wanting to live a healthy lifestyle and set an example for my wife and daughters, after reading Spartan Up!, I appreciated Joe De Sena’s approach to mental toughness.

I have given out copies of Spartan Up! to many people who train with me in order to help them get their mind right.  If you are not training with me or with a coach, then you might be interested in the next book coming out from Joe and his team.  SpartanFit! will be hitting stores and online retailers this summer.

For more information on Spartan Fit! Click here! 

Based on Joe De Sena’s first book, I primarily run Spartan Races over any other obstacle course race.  It is a blessing to live in Texas, as there are several OC Races within a three-hour drive of my home and garage gym.  This year, I completed the Sprint earlier and am currently in training for the Austin Super and will conquer the Dallas Beast for my trifecta this year.  This is the traditional Trifecta, all three race distances in one calendar year.

That was goal number 1 for me and my adventures with Spartan.  So what is next?  What is on the horizon for Spartan Races and what new challenges will I be trying to tackle.  I am actually looking seriously at the Summer Spartan Agoge.  I think I can handle heat a little bit better than cold, so watching the promo below for the winter Agoge, definitely made me look forward to the summer challenges.

To learn more about the Agoge, click here!

If I complete the Agoge this year, or next, it will be the ultimate accomplishment.  It will be a great achievement that will only be behind, completing my first Beast with my wife and knowing that one daughter completed her first race this year and the other one wants to compete and the only thing holding her back is her age…not her heart.



Houston Spartan 2016 aka Mud Fest,Friends, and Fun

Hard to believe that this is the first post that I have made for the month of March.  The month is halfway over.  I apologize for having an off month.  Wish I could blame it on the weather or something, but I just have not put fingers to keys or pen to paper as much as I would have liked.  (Although, I did get a children’s book written and started work on a novel…)


This past weekend, my family and some friends loaded up and headed to Houston to tackle the Spartan Sprint, 2016 edition.  For me, this was my third Spartan race to take on.  It was the second Sprint that I have done and it was a unique experience for me.  The race was about an hour from my home, so we knew that the weather had already done it’s part to make sure this event was going to be special.  It had poured down rain during the week leading up to the event.

The night before we were set to run the email was received stating that parking was a “no-go” and we would all be bussed to the site of the race.  The inner sadist in me was actually excited about the challenges that were being presented.  The father in me was cursing about having to somehow maneuver a 2-year-old through what would be more than just a little bit of mud.  (Thank the Lord for amazing wives…desperate housewife she is NOT!).

We parked at the stadium, loaded the bus, stroller and all and were headed to the venue.  We were ready to rock and roll.  My friend and I would be tackling the Sprint (he was probably better prepared for it than I was, but I did make him run a couple times).  My daughter, 6, was going to take on the Spartan Kids race…she snuck in and took on the full mile (proud daddy moment)!


The race itself was full of 24 obstacles (25 if you count the mud itself), but it was a lot of fun.  It had all the old favorites there – bucket brigade (only you couldn’t put the bucket down many places or it would sink), over-under-thru, walls and pyramids a plenty, cargo net, atlas stone carry and the like.  Some of the obstacles had a new twist to them.  The sandbell carry with the crawl station was new to me.  I liked it, even if my wrists did not like me burying them in the crawl.

It was my understanding that they did have to take down the barbed wire crawl, but I am not going to complain about that.  I believe that was the only modification that was made.  We finished the race right at the 2-hour mark.  It was a little slower than I had hoped for, but I was content after seeing the course conditions.

With the conditions of the course and everything else, this course was an upper body thrashing.  This is true of most of them, though.  I am a fan of Spartan and have read and enjoyed Spartan Up.  This course lived up to the goals that Joe De Sena sets out and that was to still find a way to test you physically and mentally.  This course did that.  The biggest challenge for me came right at the end.  The back-to-back challenge of the rope climb and then the odd object monkey bars proved to be too much on the forearms and I did a set of 30 burpees.  I have now decided to create the baseball/ softball pullup implements so that this obstacle will not stop me again.

Overall, I thought that this was a well laid out course.  It was not one that took you so far away from Spartan Village that you felt all alone on the course.  With it weaving back and forth, you would be reminded that there is, in fact, a finish line and you just had to keep going.  I am looking forward to tackling the Spartan Super in April in Austin.  This year, I will complete the trifecta.