I’ve been working out now for almost 30 years. Wow where has the time and my hair gone?!haha…It’s funny but looking back over the years, workouts are kind of like an old pair of favorite shoes or a favorite sweatshirt or hat. There always there, comfortable and you just can’t get rid of them. As you can imagine I have quite a few workouts that fit this criteria but the one below is probably one of my favorite. Not meaning that it’s easy by any means because it’s not but I know that if I complete it that I’ll get one helluva workout. One of the greatest things about it is it can be done outside and just about anywhere. Whether you’re at the beach, on vacation or in the neighborhood park you should be able to find an area to do most of this workout. I call it a descending pyramid workout. There are 3 different levels to choose from depending on your current fitness level. Advanced reps are 50-40-30-20-10, Intermediate are 30-25-20-15-10 and Beginner are 10-9-8-7-6. So are you can see there are 5 circuits done with various repetitions depending on your fitness level. In my example below I’ll list the Advanced as that was generally what I did. So hold on and here we go!
Begin with a 5-10 minute jogging warm-up
Pull-ups (optional) I like to do a set of 10-15 before each round and change up my grip.
50 box jumps or alternating step-ups
50 bench dips
Run/jog 400 meters (one lap around a track)
40 box jumps or alternating step-ups
40 bench dips
Run/jog 400 meters (one lap around a track)
30 box jumps or alternating step-ups
30 bench dips
Run/jog 400 meters (one lap around a track)
20 box jumps or alternating step-ups
20 bench dips
Run/jog 400 meters (one lap around a track)
10 box jumps or alternating step-ups
10 bench dips
5-10 min cool down
The photo pretty much sums about how you’ll feel when you’ve finished this workout! Enjoy! Remember push yourself as hard as you can but don’t forget to have fun while doing it!
I’ve been involved in competitive fitness of some sort for about 25 years. I started out as a powerlifter and football player while also running track for a little farming community in the Midwest where I grew up. Then I joined the military only to find Uncle Sam’s one-of-a-kind intense fitness program. After my time in the military, I decided to combine a couple newfound passions of Strongman with Ultra Running to eventually go on and break a World Record for fitness. Having a love of such diverse outdoor disciplines has called for a unique array of gear. Here’s my top 10 list of favorite gear that has helped me run long and fast, stay strong and be continually fit.
1. Real Food
I eat an array of fruits, vegetables & lean meats plus drink plenty of water daily. I take no supplements, no shakes and no shortcuts. My mantra is and always has been, “eat right, work hard and play harder.” You’ll find quite a bit of helpful eating information at the Food Guide Pyramid – http://1.usa.gov/jdW74y
I do not leave home without it. As a big strong guy who likes to run, cycle and lift, I’ve found my frame more prone to chaffing in all the wrong areas. This stuff is a life saver, especially on long runs and rides.
Listen, if you’re going to be on the ground doing push-ups, on your back doing sit-ups or just running around in shorts and shirts all day, these babies keep the pieces and parts in place. Again, not glamorous but this is for real people and not prima donnas.
I swear by the toe socks. I’ve worn them across Death Valley, through the Himalayas and during numerous 100 mile trail races without getting one blister. They’re like Isotoner gloves for your feet.
5. Running Shoes I have two favorite running shoes. My longtime love that has been with me since before the Guinness Book in 2000 is the New Balance 1220 series which is now the 1260. They have many styles and widths that fit great and hold up well.
My next pair is for down and dirty, in your face trail running. They are the Salomon XT Wings. Not quite the ride of the New Balance, but I call them the “Monster Truck of Off-Road Running.” They have gone with me to the Barkley 100 miler and Death Race with me.
6. Watch I’m not a big gizmo guy and actually still wear my old school Casio G Shock watch. It doesn’t have a compass or GPS but it is affordable, durable and still looks tough. I don’t like to sweat my pace or the mileage, but just enjoy my time on the trail.
7. Hydration Pack
I’ve been using CamelBak products for hiking, trail running and cycling since they first appeared on the market. I still love and use their products today. I have a 100 oz. OCTANE 18X hydration pack that goes everywhere with me. I wouldn’t leave home without it.
8. Osprey Backpack
Having been a ‘Grunt’ in the military and living out of my pack, I know the importance of having one that is lightweight, durable and comfortable. Osprey makes one of the best out there. My has raced with me across the Himalayas, the Sahara Desert and even won the Death Race a couple times.
9. Tractor Tires
You can get large tractor tires from many implement dealers that are looking to get rid of them. I have about a dozen in my garage that range from 200 to 500 lbs. Who doesn’t love throwing around a big tire? And it’s an incredible workout.
10. Atlas Stones
Atlas stones range in size from 75 lbs all the way up to 500 lbs. This is another old school strength exercise that is lots of fun. It’s very effective and can be done outdoors. I got my stone molds from Slater’s Hardware.
The most important piece of gear is a healthy body, a strong mind and a fire inside of you.
You cannot buy this in a store. You have to be born with some of it and build the rest. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, only to fail miserably and then learn from your mistakes and come back stronger than ever. As the saying goes, “Where the mind is willing, the body will follow.”
These are just a few of the things I have continued to use over the years. They have helped me along the way and will hopefully do the same for you. But remember, gear can only help. You have to do the rest. Hope this helps you on your journey!
How many times have you watched a sporting event on TV like a football game, tennis match, or even the Olympics –and been in awe of the athletes that are competing? If you’re like me, probably many. Occasionally you’ll hear people say, “Oh they’re just born that way.” Granted, many are born with a innate talent that the average person might not have; however, don’t be fooled. Their obviously talent doesn’t take away from the fact that they not only dedicate their life to their sport but also train their butts off to be the best that they can be. They HAD to train and plan to get where they are at.
While you might never be a professional athlete making millions of dollars or winning race after race, it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t train to the very best of your ability. Having personally competed in some of the world’s toughest events like the Raid Gauloises, the Badwater 135, the Death Race, Guinness World Records and more, I’ve learned the irreplaceable importance of putting together a thorough training program to help be best prepared. This is probably one of the biggest benefits our clients at Gut Check Fitness take away from their experience with us. They then utilize this first hand information to get them ready for Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, King of the Hill trail races and similar events.
Where do I begin? You’ve probably already signed up for an event with family, friends or coworkers. You’re all excited but have no idea what you’re doing; you’re scared, you’re nervous, you’re not sure where to start., you’re looking for an exit. Fear not. The first thing you have to do is get a plan. There’s an old saying I live by: “Fail to plan and you plan to fail.” Planning ahead is a must. You can get this information from a qualified fitness or race coach, which I recommend, or take your chances and research online. Regardless put a daily, weekly and monthly plan together. This will help keep you on track and hold you accountable. Also it allows you to monitor your progress, or lack of, periodically along the way.
How do I train? This is another question I’ve gotten asked many times over the years. “How do I run longer? “How do I lift more weight?” I always reply, “You run longer or you lift more weight.” Granted it’s a little more complicated than this but you get the point. There’s a fitness principle called “specificity,” meaning, if I want to work on my 40 yd. dash time then this is what I work on –not my marathon time. You must concentrate your efforts where you want to see progress and based on the event you’re participating in. To be prepared for particular events, you must train accordingly – and with races like Spartan and Tough Mudders, you must specifically incorporate hills, walls, monkey bars, low-crawls and more.
Bottom line if you want to reach your true fitness potential, do your absolute best, and reach your goals –while hopefully avoiding injury along the way, you MUST train and you MUST plan. At Gut Check Fitness we’ve trained thousands of people over the years for the more popular obstacle-course races, long-distance trail races to even 12 – 36 hour overnight events. Give us a shout-out, stop by a class, or sign up for an event – take the first step in training and planning for your upcoming event.
It’s amazing today to see all the crazy and insane events that are out there for people like me to pay big money to enter only to have ourselves tortured, beaten and battered. What a crazy wonderful world we live in. I have competed in many of them around the word and plan to continue to until the day I exit this place. People often ask, “Why do you continue to do this nonsense and put yourself at risk?” I reply, “I cannot imagine life without it. This is the stuff that keeps me young mentally, that keeps me excited to live. I love being able to put this wonderful human body of mine out there only to see how far it will go before the tires fall off. And trust me, it truly keep on ticking!” Have fun finding your own crazy, fun events to challenge yourself.
Each year a new theme is built into Tough Guy this ensures that it remains the world’s safest most dangerous taste of mental physical pain endurance toughest events. Tough Guy will always be a physically challenging, mentally demanding, fear inducing, visual spectacular. After you have taken part you will understand why thousands keep coming back, year after year to experience some of the most demanding yet rewarding challenges of their life!
I love this event. It’s absolutely insane but so much fun. Nothing like swimming in frigid waters, running through fire and then crossing an electric field while still wet. This is not for the faint of heart.
Raid Gauloises – The Raid Gauloises is a Sports-Adventure-Nature concept that calls upon nothing more than man, his resourcefulness, intelligence, experience and energy, excluding all outside intervention and use of motorized vehicles. This is absolute self-sufficiency, total immersion in a natural environment in search of others, of oneself, and of another kind of life far from the usual everyday existence in our highly mechanized societies.
This is an epic adventure race. The year I did it we raced 520 miles across the Himalayas from Janapur, India to Lhasa, Tibet. The views and scenery were absolutely awe inspiring. http://www.raid-gauloises.com/
Barkley 100 Trail Race– The Barkley is considered one of the toughest 100 mile races in the world. It has 52,900 feet of climb (and 52,900 feet of descent), more than any other 100 mile race, more than the 33,000 ft. of climb at Hardrock, and more than the 45,000 ft. at Nolan’s 14.
Since the race began in 1986, only 8 runners out of about 700 have finished within the 60 hour cutoff. Mark Williams of the UK finished first in 1995 in 59:28. In 2001, after several failed attempts, Blake Wood, 42, NM, and David Horton, 50, VA, finished together in 58:21, only to be disqualified for inadvertently leaving the course to follow a parallel route for about 200 yards. This route (on the south side of the stream instead of the north side) has slightly better footing and had been the normal route until 2000.
This is a true purist’s Ultra Marathon. There are no aid stations, no fans, hardly any trail and tons of elevation, briars and insane weather. I made 2 loops in 2008 and will hopefully be going back for another try in 2010. http://www.mattmahoney.net/barkley
California’s Strongest Man Competition – I really enjoy Strong Man competitions for their true test of human strength. It’s you against massive tires, huge atlas stones, monster trucks, and other large implements of torture. The nice thing is that many events offer weight classes for us smaller guys and yes, even girls. There are many incredible female competitors out there that are many times beating the boys today. Watch out guys!
The Death Race – A friend sent me this link and had to check out. It looked so insane that I even decided to sign up for it next year on my 40th birthday. At least like the name states there’s no beating around the bush.
Very challenging race. Course has been determined. 24 hours to finish with cut offs. The cut offs will not be in effect until Noon on race day. You must make the cut offs or you’ll be eliminated from the race. Expect to cry, scream, barbed wire, wood chopping, mud, water, ponds, waterfalls, etc. $2000 in prize money. Remember – 24 hours to finish. http://www.youmaydie.com/
I know this kinda stuff might not be for everyone but if you are looking for something new, different or just plain crazy, give it a try. As scary as they seem or pretend to be I’ve actually never heard of anyone actually dying during one of these events. Just many times you wish you would. Have fun and never stop playing like a kid.