Obstacle Course Racing: How to Train & Succeed

Obstacle course racing (OCR) is taking the world by storm and the sports popularity is catching on like wildfire. What’s the appeal? It requires the best of both ‘fitness’ worlds: strength and endurance. Not much of a runner? That’s quite alright. There are strength testing obstacles along the way to give you a competitive advantage. Not as strong as you’d like to be? Don’t worry, if you can run you’ll be more than competitive with others in the field. The range of athletes OCR draws covers the full spectrum of participants: distance runners, weightlifters, hikers, bikers, and fitness enthusiasts looking for a new challenge. And WHAT a challenge OCR is!


Obstacle Race TrainingThe first thing people realize when they compete in their first OCR is that these races are no joke. The physical demand of running while simultaneously conquering strength-blasting obstacles catches people by surprise. I often hear “…that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done’” by first-time participants. The odd thing? They can’t wait to do it again. Something about the event hits people just right: the challenge, the excitement, the comradery with other athletes, and the general energy these events instill in you. Point being? OCR is cool. Really cool! Thus why it’s growing so quickly. The next question? How do you prepare for such events?


My personal quest is to qualify and compete in the Spartan Race World Championships in Lake Tahoe in October. Spartan racing takes place all over the world and is known for their punishing obstacles, lots of mud, and challenging terrain. To compete with the best in the world (or at any OCR) you need to be prepared by working both avenues OCR requires: strength and endurance. If you can work on the combination of both, you’ll no doubt set yourself up for success when you toe the starting line. Here are the key components of OCR training:


1) Run. You’ll want to build up your run endurance.

2) Strength. You’ll want to be strong enough to take on the obstacles

3) Grip Strength. Many of the obstacles require carrying objects, climbing rope, traversing ‘rigs’ and holding your own body weight. Grip strength is imperative.


With the above components in mind we want to make sure to work on all three of the things mentioned above. Here is an example of weekly breakdown of workouts.


M- Strength work (upper body, core, and grip strength focus)

T- Run (medium distance)

W- Interval Run day (HARD interval workout for the week)

R- Strength work (upper & lower body)

F- OCR Workout (combining carries, lifts, burpees, climbs, etc amidst a circuit style running workout)

S- Run (medium distance)

S- Long Run

unnamed-7In total you’re looking at 4 running-only days, 2 strength days, and 1 day that combines both (the OCR workout). This balanced schedule will improve your aerobic capacity, strength, and adjust your body to the endurance/strength combination during your weekly OCR workout. There are numerous specific workouts to follow through this weekly format but the most important thing to remember is that preparing for both the endurance and strength components OCR demands is the key to success.


If you’re looking to challenge yourself to an OCR event and aren’t sure of the right program for you I am absolutely here to help. OCR workouts, strength, and endurance training are all included in my personal training packages and online coaching services. Don’t hesitate to reach out on my contact page for more information!


5 Butt Busting Treadmill Workouts

I’ve always been a preacher of getting your booty outside, enjoying some fresh air, and pounding the pavement. But, if you’re one of those drones who gravitate towards running in place on a treadmill… then this is the article for you! I only kid, slightly. There is actually a time and place for indoor running such as unbearable weather, running in a safe and controlled environment, and (most importantly) when you want to know precisely how far and how fast you’re running. Truth be told you can get one hell of a workout done on a treadmill if it’s done right. The key is to work HARD, mostly by means of intervals, hills, and progression training. These three types of workouts will spike your heart rate, boost your metabolism, and drastically improve your fitness. Not only will these workouts be great for your bod, they will be great for your sanity, too. Below are 5 treadmill routines that will help the time, and your heartrate fly.


*Note: ALL treadmill running should be done at a 1% incline to better simulate outdoor running. Also, if you have a GPS these workouts can easily be done outside.

Healthy couple running on a treadmill in a sport centre


Workout #1


1-2 mile easy warm-up jog. After the warm-up, go immediately into the following:
1/4 mile walk followed by 1/2 mile run (HARD- push yourself 1-2mph over the pace you’d normally run at)


Repeat the walk/run alternating 6 times


1-2 mile easy cool-down when your intervals are completed


TOTAL: 6.5-8.5 miles


Workout #2


1-2 mile easy warm-up jog


At 1 (or 2) miles when you’re finished with your warm-up, start increasing your speed by .1mph every 1/4 of a mile. This is called a progression run. Increase your speed every 1/4 mile by .1mph until you can no longer sustain the pace without falling off the back of the treadmill.
Once you’re cashed, slow the treadmil back down to a walk. Walk it out for 1/4 mile then go into a 1-2 mile easy cool-down jog

Note* Start conservatively slow with this workout- your goal should be to cover 4+ miles in total


TOTAL: 4+ miles




Workout #3


1-2 mile easy warm-up jog. Go immediately into the following:


5 min HARD run, 5 min recovery walk


4 min HARD run, 4 min recovery walk


3 min HARD run, 3 min recovery walk


2 min HARD run, 2 min recovery walk


1 min ALL-OUT run, 1 min recovery walk
Walk it out for 1/4 mile

1-2 mile easy cool down jog


TOTAL: 4+ miles


Workout #4


1-2 mile easy warm-up jog


Stop the treadmil, stretch and catch your breath (for 3-5 minutes)


3 x 1 mile HARD w/ 1/4 mile walk between intervals


1-2 mile easy cool-down


TOTAL: 6-8 miles

Workout #5

1-2 mile easy warm-up jog


Choose a pace that you think you could run comfortably for 30 minutes of running.


Every 1/4 mile, increase your incline by .5%, while keeping your treadmil at a consistent speed


Increase incline by .5% every quarter mile until you can no longer sustain the effort. Once you’re cashed out walk 1/4 mile then go into a 1-2 mile easy cool-down jog


TOTAL: 4+ miles

5 Fool Proof Fitness Tips for a New You



Yep, March is almost over. Your ‘New Years Resolution’ ambition has faded and the reality that you’ve been less-than stellar with your fitness commitment has set in. Let’s face it, you’ve fallen off the wagon. But wait! All is not lost. There is still plenty of time to pick yourself up, and get that bod of yours ready for summer. And hey, maybe if you do things right this time around it will actually stick and the new you can proudly shine through. Truth be told, half the time an exercise program fails is because we aren’t seeing results. After all, results are what keep us motivated to continue the habit. Here are my top 5 fool-proof tips that will help get you, and keep you, on the right track.

1) Eat Breakfast, Eat Often

Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism. Period. When you skip breakfast your body goes into ‘starvation’ mode and tends to store more of what you eat. Your body thinks “Well, you haven’t fed me since dinner last night (18 hours ago) and I don’t know when I’m going to get fed again. I think I’ll hold onto whatever is put in me next… incase they starve me again.” Also, now that you’ve eaten breakfast, EAT OFTEN.  That way, your body knows it will constantly be supplied with fuel, so it’s FAR less likely to store access calories as fat. Simply eating breakfast and eating more often will shed pounds regardless as to your exercise program.

2)   Find a Workout Buddy

You know the feeling… it’s time to workout and it’s the absolute last thing you want to do. You choose to go to happy hour instead.  Fail.  But, what if your bestie is already at the gym waiting for you?  You’d never leave them hanging would you?  Research shows having a workout buddy holds you accountable, and you’re FAR more likely to carry out your exercise plans. Having a buddy makes things fun, holds you accountable, and will help you set aside time to workout. Plus it’s an excuse for you and your pal to get together and gossip about the last obnoxious episode of The Bachelor, or whatever.



3) Be Consistent, Start Slow

Rome wasn’t built in a day, just like your body won’t change overnight. Far too often when starting an exercise program people dive in head first… only to lose their ambition, burn themselves out, or get injured. Start with an exercise regimen that doesn’t consume your life so you can maintain life balance, and your sanity. This way you won’t come to hate your new exercise lifestyle and thus are FAR more likely to stick with it. Consistency TRUMPS short term ambition.

4) Strength & Endurance

Strength training coupled with a cardio routine such as running will increase your metabolism drastically. Weight training builds calorie consuming muscle and cardio burns calories.  Putting on a few pounds of muscle mass will increase your resting metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories at rest. Not to mention the calories it takes your body to recover after a tough weight training sesh. Now, add cardio in the mix which burns a ton of calories, and you have a revved up metabolism that has now become a fat-burning machine. Your body and your waistline will thank you for mixing in both weights along with cardio.



5) Ask for Help

This is where you check your pride and do the smart thing- ask for help. People who seek help from a professional are FAR more likely to be successful in their exercise program. A good trainer will keep you motivated, hold you accountable, keep your workouts innovative, and get you on track with your diet. A first time exerciser is more than twice as likely to get results and still be exercising a year later if they’ve worked with a professional. Having a specialist who supervises, supports, and motivates you will help you stay on track with your fitness or weight loss goals.



Boost Your Metabolism and Shed Pounds with this Fool Proof Diet

Your metabolism is a slug. You’ve tried to lose weight but just can’t seem to get it right. You’re looking to cleanse your body and shed a few pounds. You HATE restrictive diets and stupid fads. Do any of these describe you?  If so, I have the diet for you!


I experimented with this diet myself back in January with the intention of only doing it for a few days. After day three I felt so good I couldn’t help but continue the rest of the month.  This diet will no doubt help you lose weight and boost your metabolism beyond where it’s ever been.  Best part is, you don’t have to count calories and can eat AS MUCH as you’d like while doing it. I know, sounds too good to be true. But, It’s not! It’s called the 80/10/10 diet and it will change the way you look at eating.


I recommend you do this diet for 2 weeks. It will jump start your metabolism, cleanse your body, and force your body to lose weight. All while providing you with whole food nutrition through the process.






Here is the gist of it:


1) You’re going vegan. Yep, vegan. (Again, only for two weeks) This means NO animal products whatsoever. That includes all meats, butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, etc)


2) You’re not eating wheat. (it’s inflammatory)


3) You’re eating as many fruits and vegetables throughout the day as you can possibly handle. That’s it. No other foods besides fruits and veggies until dinner.


4) At dinner, you can have grains (rice, quinoa, millet), starches (potatoes, beans, etc), nuts, seeds, avocados, oils, etc.  This will be the only time throughout the day fat will be allowed.


5) You can eat as MUCH of all of this as you want. By all means PIG OUT on these foods!


Summary: Fruits and veggies only until dinner. At dinner you can have any food you’d like that DOESN’T contain animal products of any form or wheat. Simple, right?! It will BLOW YOU AWAY how your metabolism amps up and how often you get hungry. Also, don’t worry about your protein intake on this diet as it’s only 2 weeks- you’ll be fine.





Foods to stock up on:


Bananas (LOTS of them)




Frozen Berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc)


ANY fruit you enjoy


ANY veggies you enjoy




Veggie steamer bags


Lettuce (spinach, etc)


Rice and Rice pasta








Fat Free Dressing (for salads)


A Typical day should look like:


Breakfast: Blended fruit smoothie containing 4+ bananas, 1 cup+ frozen berries, fruit juice, and whatever else you’d like to throw in there. (I like throwing dates in as well as cocoa powder to give it a chocolate taste and give you a little buzz)


Snack: Whatever fruit and/or veggies you’d like. Dates make a great snack.


Lunch: Veggie steamers bag or LARGE salad with whatever veggies you’d like on it. Follow this up with a fruit smoothie again or fruit of any kind.


Snack: Whatever fruit and/or veggies you’d like.


Dinner: Rice, rice pasta, Potatoes, beans, etc. This can be made with oils, or add nuts/avocados, olives, etc to get in healthy fats for the day.


If you rock this diet out right, I fully expect you to lose 4-8 pounds in two weeks. Not to mention your energy levels will be through the roof and you’ll have a new found metabolism that of a 12 year old. For a testimonial on the diet, visit this website:



8 Questions WOMEN NEED Answers to when it comes to WEIGHT TRAINING



Why is weight training so important for women?

Weight training is important for 3 main reasons. 1) Strong is sexy. The best way to get long, lean, defined muscles is to hit the weights. Any woman you’ve looked at and thought to yourself “she has nice arms”, or “look at her figure”… probably weight trains. 2) Weight training boosts your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories per day your body burns at rest. That’s right, adding a few pounds of muscle helps your body shed fat easier. And, you can get away with eating a bit more each day without gaining fat- not a bad deal, right? 3) The prevention of osteoporosis. I know, you’re 20 or 30 and thinking you don’t need to worry about it. Well, you do! Keeping up on weight bearing activities like weight training significantly increases your bone density. Thus, building up your resistance to osteoporosis developing in the future.

Is it true that I will get “bulky” if I lift heavy?

No. Nothing could be further from the truth. You’ve probably seen some huge, ripped, muscular woman on the cover of some obnoxious fitness magazine that has scared you away from the weight room. Want to know how she got that way? Heavy lifting twice a day for HOURS on end, taking every supplement in the book, and secretly aspiring to be a man. She also probably (and freakishly) decided to supplement with testosterone or other hormone enhancers to grow big muscles. Seeing you’re a woman, you don’t have enough testosterone in your body to build very much bulk. And, if you were to bulk up, it would take a heck of a lot more than a few weight-training sessions a week. Weight training will only help your muscles show through better, not bulk up.




How frequently should I incorporate resistance training into my exercise routine for maximum results?

I recommend women weight train 2-3 times per week. If you’re going for the long, sexy, lean look that’s all you need. Spend your other days at the gym running or doing another type of cardio to stay lean.

Which is more important for fat loss – cardio or weights?

Both. Weights boost your resting metabolism, and cardio burns calories. The combination is deadly for turning your body into a calorie-burning machine? Want even faster results? Eat clean.

How do I know what the right weight/rep combination is for me, in order to see results?

I imagine your goal is to tone up, not bulk up (which I already mentioned is near impossible for the average woman). With that in mind, I always recommend testing yourself with the amount of weight you use. Press your luck a bit and leave the 5 pounders on the rack. Doing 3 sets of most exercises should be enough- looking to fail around the 10 to 12 repetition range. That’s right, failure is a good thing when it comes to weight training.





What is the best pre-workout meal to have before lifting weights?

Keep it healthy and simple. A piece of fruit (banana, apple, etc.) is enough to get your blood sugar up, but not too many calories to offset the caloric burn you’re about to create in the gym. Also, tea or coffee can really amp you up for an effective gym session.

What is the best routine or exercise for defined abs?

Let’s be honest, abs are made in the kitchen. Abs won’t show through if they are covered in fat. So make sure you’re being smart about what you’re putting in your mouth. But, if we are going to talk specifics, variation is key. Doing the same exercises everyday will lead to you hitting a plateau. Variation will keep your body guessing and the results coming. Also, that hard to reach ‘lower belly button’ area can be best reached with any exercise in which your legs are extended. Here are my favorites:


1) Leg Raises (hanging or back on the ground, hands under butt)


2) Ball Passes (on your back, passing pilates ball back and forth from feet to hands)


3) Side Plank Pikes (hold side plank, pop hip up, squeeze oblique, repeat)


4) Front Plank Pikes (Hold front plank, pop butt in the air, back to starting position, repeat)

What is the best routine or exercise for a toned tush?

The list is endless, but here are my favorites:


1) Walking Lunges (simple but very effective)


2) Bridges (Laying on your back, set a weight on your pelvis. Push pelvis up as high as you can while squeezing your booty, repeat)


3) Deep Squats (get down to 90 degrees or less, this is when your butt REALLY engages)