Tag Archives: motivation

Humble Pie

Written by guest blogger Aaron Werner

Humble transitive verb\ˈhəm-bəl
1: to make (someone) humble (see 1humble) in spirit or manner
2: to destroy the power, independence, or prestige of

This morning I had a righteous dose of humbling. While browsing through a local race directory I came across a race series called “King of The Hill” that was put on by Gut Check Fitness, self described as “San Diego’s #1 boot camp” and run by Joe Decker (go ahead and google him – pretty amazing story). I had never heard of Joe, Gut Check Fitness, or this King of the Hill series of races before seeing it in the directory – but running 7 miles up and down Mt Woodson with physical challenges along the way sounded like a fun time so I signed up.

Now, I know what you are thinking: a 7 mile trail run up and back a steep hill with burpees, pushups, leapfrog jumps and other challenges does NOT sound like fun!! Well to me and the 50 other people who showed up this morning it does. There is just something about pushing through physical and mental adversity that excites me.

Anyway, the run started on a quick downhill that immediately turned into an uphill. It was not STRAIGHT up, but with my lungs burning in the cold January morning air it sure felt like it. I’ve been doing some hill runs around 7-8 miles so I thought I would have a pretty good day…..I was humbled. I didn’t feel comfortable till mile 1.5 when it flattened out and we were required to do 10 burpees, which is not a lot but after running uphill for over a mile my legs were already tight. Consequently my shoulders and arms were incredibly sore from playing Just Dance on the Wii we got for Christmas and which didn’t help any. For the next 1.5 miles up the seemingly steeper trail I employed a routine of running, walking, and eating slices of Humble Pie all the while realizing my fitness has dropped over the Christmas holiday. I picked racers ahead of me and fought to catch them, especially the old guy in white spandex shorts. Cycling, triathlon, running, it doesn’t matter, white spandex is never acceptable (however racing behind someone who is wearing white spandex is great motivation to go faster).

The view atop Mt Woodson is beautiful, and today was exceptionally clear. I took a quick drink of water, appreciated the view as I touched the turn-around rock and headed downhill. For as challenging as going up was, going down was insane! I was 99% out-of-control as my legs turned at an incredible rate. It felt like at any moment I was going to miss the turn and run myself right off the mountain. Thankfully I kept upright thanks to my Brooks PureGrit shoes. I’ve never appreciated them so much!

Mentally the challenge was reaching the top. We were told several times that there were NO challenges on the way down. This meant that as soon as I turned around my mind relaxed and just held on for the ride. I should have known better. A “King of the Hill” race put on by company called “Gut Check Fitness” that is owned by “The World’s Fittest Man” per Guinness World Records should have clued me in that there would be challenges all the way to the finish. Remember that quick downhill at the beginning of the race. Well it was steep, and now that was an uphill with the finish at the top. We didn’t just have to run up that hill to finish…..no, we had to do Leapfrog Jumps up that hill. One last slice of Humble Pie.

I finished with a time around 1:24ish. I’m not sure exactly because I didn’t look at the clock and forgot to stop my watch till after getting a drink. It was fun, tough, and humbling. There are 3 more races in this series, all progressively more difficult. I’d like to do them, but I’ll put in some work before then, and before the SoCal Super Spartan in a few weeks!

I was impressed by the finish food, beer with koozie and quality of finisher medal. Excellent race origination and experience. I even appreciated the chance to eat some humble pie.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the dude in the white spandex passed me just before the finish.

Check out more stories from Aaron here.

The Benefits of Group Fitness

Written by Joe Decker

You know what is awesome? Working out. Do you know what is even better? Meeting new people that share the same love of fitness. Simply put, group fitness is a huge trend, and for good reason.

I’ve been involved in fitness for over 25 years and have belonged to groups ranging from power lifting to running clubs, but I’ve also been that solitary figure in the gym and on the road. I do feel this has given me a pretty good understanding of the appeal and the dynamics of both; however, I strongly encourage group fitness. Whether you have joined a workout group or have gotten your own group of friends together for a workout, here are three reasons more is merrier in helping you earn your fitness gains.

Unless you’re that rare person that can jump out of bed at 5 a.m. and hit the ground running, odds are that getting and staying motivated are difficult for you. You are not alone. The majority of the people I’ve worked with over the years have had the same problem. Here lies one of the greatest benefits about working out in a group setting. Many people who attend a class will show up exhausted from the ups and downs of everyday life, but once they join the group, they become re-energized. With a friendly fitness instructor there to light a fire under you rear, it can’t get any better.
Not only are you more motivated to get up and out to exercise, but the motivation of your instructor and you fellow group members WILL keep you going.  Another plus? If you work out with people who are faster, stronger or fitter than you, they will push you to go faster, be stronger and go further, ultimately increasing your fitness level. There’s an old saying that goes, “The lead dog sets the pace for the rest of the pack.” Think about it.

Remember when you were in high school and your mom would wake you up in the morning to get you up, moving and ensure you were on your way to school? She was holding you accountable. If you were anything like me, you probably wouldn’t have graduated without her wake-up calls (thanks Mom). ! A workout group can do the same thing for your exercise routine. I’ve had countless clients over the years at Gut Check Fitness say, “I wouldn’t be there in the morning if I didn’t know that Nicole, Meg, Mike, etc. were going to give me a hard time for not showing up.”

The fear of group teasing gets them out of bed. Hey, it works!
Plus, there’s the friendly instructor, again, that keeps track of your tardiness. I take a daily roll at my classes then each week I look to see who’s been playing Harry Houdini. If I haven’t seen someone for a week or two, I’ll generally send them a friendly reminder with the threat of numerous burpees.

Group Camaraderie
Human beings are social creatures. Yes, a few are hermits and recluses, but the majority of us love to be around other people. We love to laugh, joke and have fun. I feel this is one of the greatest products of a group workout setting. Nothing brings people closer quite like misery and physical suffering. If you’ve ever done a boot camp or similar class, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Many people sign up to get more fit and along the way become friends through this mutual ritual. Many become lifelong best friends. My classes not only work hard together, but they play hard together. We regularly have happy hours, wine tastings, and sports days where we do races and events together. We sincerely enjoy one another’s company. It’s truly one of the best ways to meet people like you and develop a common bond while getting into the best shape possible.
Joining a workout group can keep you motivated, hold you accountable and help you develop a sense of group camaraderie.

Finally, in a world where we’ve become so dependent on email and texting, working out with a group offers that human interaction that is slowly disappearing. We can do just about everything today virtually without ever talking to a person. That is outside of a group fitness setting. With group fitness, you have to get involved. You can try to escape to the back of the pack, but a good instructor will integrate you into the group whether you like or not. That’s why it’s called group dynamics, and that’s why technology will never replace the good ‘ol fashioned group workout. Get out of your cubicle, your car or your house and go meet other people that have a common interest just like you. You never know, you might just meet some real friends instead of the virtual ones you find online.