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Ice Baths The Good The Bad The Ugly

Ice baths - The good, the bad, and the ugly

By Jeff Rondina Team Strength Runner Athlete


As always, I am not a medical professional (although I have recently completed an EMT course) and everything here is based on my own experience or research. You should do your own as well.


Ice baths are controversial. Studies have been done extensively and they best they have come up with is a resounding maybe. Some athletes swear by them, other athletes avoid them at all costs, and most fall in that grey area of why would you do it to yourself. I have been ice bathing for a couple years ago, but only very intermittently because getting in a tub of ice cold water sucks. That is probably the one area all athletes can agree on.I first heard of ice baths about two years ago. I was reading an athlete’s blog and saw it mentioned. First thought was of course, why would you do that to yourself? Second thought was, what’s this whole ice bath thing about? So I did a little internet searching and found the 3 camps of ice bath thought.  Let me give a quick synopsis of each camp.


#1. Ice baths are the greatest ever. This camp has staunch supporters who will defend the ice bath to the death. They will insist it fixes everything. It will strengthen the constitution, heal your sore muscles over night, and make you run twice as fast. I am of course being facetious.


#2.Ice baths are the worst. They will tell you how the cold water slows down fluid movement thereby lengthening healing time, it weakens your immune system, and a host of other ill effects. 

#3. Ice baths are neither bad nor good. These knowledgeable people will tell you about how the science behind the ice bath is vague and there are no proven benefits or negative effects.


So which camp is right, or the closest to being right? All three are right. When it comes to ice baths, there is no straight answer. For some it works, for some it doesn’t, and no one knows why.  The idea behind it is that after intense physical activity, the ice bath will help the muscles recover faster. The cold temperature causes vasoconstriction, which according to some, will help get rid of lactic acid buildup, cause the blood to leave the extremities, and reduce swelling. The blood then rushes back to the muscles when the body warms back up, bringing healing nutrients, and flushing out the toxins. Of course none of this has been proven. The flip side of the coin is that the inflammation is your body’s natural response to muscle damage and that is necessary for healing. By using ice, you are slowing the healing process down. Another negative effect is the sudden immersion in cold water can shock your body leading in worst case scenarios to breathing problems. That’s very worst case and unlikely to happen.


In my personal experience, ice baths help me. I only use them after long runs/races or after a very intense leg workout. They may help for the upper body as well but it’s hard enough to sit waist deep in ice water as it is. I only use them very occasionally, mostly because I don’t like buying that much ice. But when I do utilize an ice bath for recovery, I notice my legs are not as sore the following day. I have done a few back to back races on a Saturday and Sunday and think that Saturday night’s ice bath is one of the only reasons I could get back out there the next day. The most notable was my first ultra marathon, a very technical and steep 50k, followed the next day by a gnarly 12 mile trail race of which about a 1/2 mile of it was flat. I don’t recommend doing that. But I did my ice bath, as well as foam rolling, massage, and plenty of water, protein, and amino acids for recovery and was able to run the next day.


Ice Bath Recipe1 tub filled 3/4 with cold water20-30lbs of ice depending on starting water temp.Open bags of ice and dump into tub. While mustering all of your courage, get into the tub*. Sit for 12-15 minutes. Quicklyexit the water, and towel dry off. If you prefer to get comfortable quicker, take a hot shower immediately afterwards**.*Optional, yell your favorite curse word as you get in.**Contrast baths, one hot, one cold are another form and just as hotly contested.


If you find yourself intrigued and want to try this out for yourself, I have a few tips and tricks: 


1. The ideal water temperature is supposedly between 52-58 degrees. I used to have a thermometer but now I just estimate. And believe me, that 6 degree difference can feel huge. 

2. Bring a distraction. It’s far easier to sit in a cold bath while reading a book than just staring at the clock.

3. If you position yourself so your toes are sticking out of the water, it can make it suck that much less. Cold toes suck.

4. Even if you take a hot shower immediately after, you won’t be warm for awhile. Be prepared to shiver for longer than you’d like.

5. If you have a significant other, they most likely will not be willing to share body heat. No one likes cuddling with a Popsicle.There you have it. There are many more articles out there about this, and you can see for yourself the controversy surrounding it, but everybody is different. Give it a shot after your next long run, maybe it will help. And remember to hydrate.

The Northeast Suck Review

The Northeast Suck Review

(Spoiler Alert)

By Team Strength Runner OCR Elite Athlete Brandon Seale


Gut Check Fitness: The Suck is a 12 hour event that is designed to put people through what the soldiers went through in Vietnam. The term Welcome to the shit often meant that that is the worst place you can possibly be because the conditions were very harsh and the mortality rate was very high.  Joe Decker’s event The Suck is to put people through just that.There are 12 hour events and there are 12 hour events at 100 miles an hour. This is definitely a 100 mile an hour event!


My first year doing it the conditions were very hard to bare in fact I almost dropped from the cold temperatures alone. This year I had a stomach bug during the event that almost caused me to drop from dehydration. Luckily I was able to overcome the sickness and got lucky from eating some dry food that helped me calm and balance my stomach.  


During the event we were expected to complete a few strong man competitions involving 200+ pound atlas stone lifts, dead lifts, flipping a telephone pole which is much heavier than a long ground to overhead 100pound dumb bell, pull ups, and burpees each time we ascended down the mountain from the mountain tasks. I remember doing the strong man work outs each time I came down the mountain and I had no comfort in returning to base camp


Over the course of the event we carried around 150 pounds of gear up the mountain piece by piece; and in many instances we were carrying our 100lbs of sand in buckets up ½ mile stretches up the mountain. ½ a mile never seems like much to me but carrying those buckets up the mountain even took me an hour and a half on one leg (the Last leg up). After getting up to each station along our way up the mountain there would be a series of work outs such as 100 sledgehammer swings and 100 sand bag thrusters. When we completed that they would send us back down the mountain for another strong man work out before we could then go back up the mountain and begin another long leg up the mountain with more bucket carrying and bushwhacking. At 4am I made it to the top of the mountain and was told to go back down a mile or so and carry one 50 lb sandbag, 2 buckets, a sledge hammer and a tire back up to the top. That carry is what took me an hour and a half because the carry was so uneven that I had to carry half up then the other half of the items up. 


This is just a taste of the 12 hours I went through overnight. I honestly do not remember most of it but the small amount I do remember can help you visualize what kind of conditions you can expect. This is definitely a hidden gem as far as fitness events because many people know little about it. Joe and Nichole Decker believe both have a background in exercise science and monitor your technique. They believe in encouragement over negative reinforcement, which can go a long way in that type of situation. 


The Bonk

The Bonk.

by Leslie St. Louis (Team Strength Runner Athlete)


Most runners have experienced it: that moment mid race, where you

Or puke. 

Or find a lounger and have an umbrella drink. 

For me, it came mile nine, while traversing the dusty trails at Soldier’s Hollow in Midway Utah during the Spartan Beast, a 12 mile, 24+ obstacle race. 

Until that moment, I was feeling pretty good, excellent actually, considering the day before I had caught a one-day stomach bug my six-year-old had passed to me. 24-hours, 30 Pepto Bismolsand half a jar of Tums later my stomach felt normal at the Start Line (antacids are performance enhancers, right?), and I had been hydrating, hydrating, hydrating all week. 

This was my third year running this race and in the past the water stations had sufficed, so I had decided to race with nothing other than my normal gummies and gels stuffed strategically along my body. 

The race started with a mile going straight UP and all was good! Add some steep downhills, 6 foot walls,  concrete pulls and carries, crawls, rope climbs and even 60 penalty burpees still trucking along.

But this course was living up to its Beast title and had changed a bit from year’s past, with two extra miles, more hills and added obstacles. 

After the bucket carry, a concrete hoist and drag and going down and over a set of mud hills, started wishing there were more water stations. It seemed as though my gummies werehardening, turning into chalk and making me want to gag.  I spit one out, leaving a neon blob of orange on the side of the trail. 

Ugh, queasiness. 

Seriously?! Another switchback? 

Um, this is mile 9, not 10?

When did my feet become bricks?

I felt sick – light headed, stomach bubbly -- and I pondered the pros and cons of stopping. 

It lasted only a few minutes before I finally realized what was happening. as if ripping off a Halloween mask, I suddenly recognized: The Bonk! And it was chasing me. 

With only a few miles left, I scarfed down nearly all of myremaining gels, choked down a few chomps and took a few extra moments at the water stations to refill.  

My feet kept moving and I made my to the spectator area for some more obstacles. The inverted and traverse wall went by in a blur, “Don’t fall and don’t hurl,” I willed my body. 

As I jumped off the wall, the battle was starting to subside. A few more switchbacks and while I didn’t feel as though the hills were alive with the sound of music, I knew I would finish, even starting to run faster. Crawling through one of the muckiest, muddiest and sloppy barbed wire crawls I’ve ever experienced, I swished my way up the (very,very) slippery wall and heard my family cheering for me. 

The Bonk never did stop its pursuit, but it didn’t prevail either. I happily jumped over the fire finish!   


This race was one of my favorites so far this yearI race for many reasons, but one of them is discovering more about myself and overcoming both physical and mental challenges, even when it’s uncomfortable. While I thought I had my nutrition needs dialed in, I also learned more about what my body needs.

Watch out Bonk, I’ll be even harder to catch next time! 

Runners World describes the Bonk or "hitting the wall" as, “the dreaded point (and awful feeling similar to what your body would feel like if you ran into a wall) during a race when your muscle glycogen stores become depleted and a feeling of fatigue engulfs you.”

There have been lots of articles about the infamous Bonk, usually with runners hitting this wall during marathon-length or longer events. However, since even five-mile obstacle events can take three hours or more, Obstacle Racers face unique challenges when it comes to avoiding the Bonk. Here’s what I learned along the Utah trails last weekend: 


Obstacle Racers Can Avoid The Bonk by…

• Remembering that when you run an obstacle race, you will likely burn far more calories than in other kinds of athletic events. Eat at least every 15 minutes, whether you “feel” like it or not, and even more often if there are lots of strenuous stretches of terrain or challenges
• Bringing liquid nutrition, even if you prefer solid or gummies, just in case a water station is missing, chewing is difficult or you need to swallow while completing a challenge
• Taking advantage of any obstacle-free sections to hydrate and add calories. 
• Preparing for the Unexpected. I ran the same race in year’s past and had trained with the same number of miles, using the same nutrition with no “bonky” effects, yet this particular race was filled with more obstacles, not to mention I ended up doing two sets of 30 penalty burpees and fought off a stomach bug the day before.  Train with the nutrition you expect to use, then add more just in case.
• Carrying Water to Longer Races. Most gels/chomps/Gus take at least 15 minutes to digest and work best with liquids. The only way to be sure you can maintain the nutrition you need, is by carrying hydration with you. Even though I typically run this distance in training without a pack, I will plan to bring one from now on. 
• Knowing that when you start to feel bonkysymptoms you may be too late. Do what you can to safely hydrate and add calories, but mentally brace yourself for a rough ride or the possibility you might need to stop. 
• Reflecting after an event on your race nutrition. How did you feel? What was working – or not – and why? Each event is different, but a “recipe” for success gets easier the more you know your body and how it reacts to different factors (number of obstacles, difficulty of obstacles, type of obstacles, race length, the weather, body fatigue/sickness, etc).

Worlds Toughest Mudder Equipment 2014

By Team Strength Runner Athlete Leslie St. Louis 

The entire 2014 list of my equipment, with new thoughts for 2016 in blue. Mostly I am keeping the same things, but a few more changeouts, if I can afford it! 

  • Trail Toes -- I used this instead of other body glides and did not regret. Not one single blister -- crazy! 
  • Basic, digital watch - I personally, wouldn’t wear something I would be sad to lose or break. My watch broke off jumping off the cliff, just fyi
  • Running waist belt or hydration pack -- I used a small waist belt but since I already had a Nathan Hydration Pack I brought that too (but didn’t use it). 
  • Swiftwick Pursuit Socks -- I used two but more if you have them or can afford them
  • Cw-x tights -- I used one but bring spares if you have them
  • calf sleeves -- I used one but bring spares if you have them
  • compression tank/shirt --  at least two
  • Cold gear tops -- no cotton, at least two
  • Beanie -- at least two
  • Mad Grip Pro Gloves -- I didn’t really use them, but they are good to have depending on the weather, terrain and obstacles. They can be bought at Home Depot and other similar stores, which is helpful for choosing the right size. 
  • wetsuits --- at least one shortie and one full length. They should be able to be layered, if needed. I used Deep Dee and Xterra Vortex sleeveless and bought both off ebay, for $40 and $60.  I am going to make sure these are not too ripped and just mend them, if there are holes. 
  • neoprene gloves -- I used NeoSport Wetsuits Neoprene 3mm Gloves from amazon.
  • Buff -- at least one
  • Clear goggles for keeping out dust
  • Salomon Speedcross -- two pairs (one new, one used)
  • NeoSport Wetsuits Neoprene 5/3 Vented Bib Hood --  a must-have! This saved me! 
  • EGear Dual Function Signal Light  -- two
  • Zip Ties -- for the strobe light
  • Black Diamond Storm Headlamp -- get a headlamp that can be submerged, not just a waterproof one. Also bring a few spare headlamps. I went cheaper for those, picking up a two pack at Costco. 
  • Pit area items: Tent,  tent stakes, hammer, Multi-Tool, Sleeping Bag, Dry Towels, Basic First Aid ( Advil, Band-Aids, mole skin, ace bandages, chapstick), water jugs
  • Wind layers -- DIDNT HAVE BUT needed! Wind jacket (not sure on pants) to go over the wetsuit. I have heard even cheap ones do the job. Def on the list this year. 


Other Expenses:

Transportation and Lodging -- use the WTM website and WTM facebook community page for ideas. I bought through priceline express for 2016, narrow to Las Vegas Lake.

Entry -- there are periodic deals throughout the year, but unless you win an entry from the year before, there is really no way around this one and it will be about $400. This is the biggie expense, so plan for it. While I balked at this, it is actually comparable to other events in other sports. For instance, here in Colorado, the 100-mile Leadville 100 is the same price. 

Pit Crew -- You don’t have to have one, but it awesome for so many reasons. You only get two people, so choose wisely. It is $40 per person and they will probably have their own list of items to bring. They should plan to dress warmly too! 

Nutrition -- I had a mini crisis in 2014 when I planned to use Tailwind for the majority of my calories, only to realize that I trained by sipping it, but was chugging it during the race -- no bueno! Also, I was excited for poptarts and brought tons but they tasted like gravel to me and I couldn’t even chew them. Also buy WAY more than you think you will need. I weaned myself off of caffeine about a month before the race. 2016 I am planning to use:

  • Micro mac and cheese
  • Cup o noodles
  • Meal bars
  • Chomps
  • Advocare rehydrate gels
  • Gu roctane gels
  • Beet elite
  • Beta Red (another beet product)
  • Advocare slams

Stores and Websites to know, love and use: 

  • TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc
  • -- use their facebook deals
  • (outlet) 
  • craigslist/garage sales/friends, etc
  • -- for wetsuit sizing


Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

By Leslie St. Louis

(Team Strength Runner Athlete)



“Are you ready?”

Got that question a few times leading up to my first-ever World’s Toughest Mudder*  and was never quite how to respond.

I had long responses: 

“Well, yes I think so…but I’ve never raced 24 hours before and I have never tried to run with a wetsuit and I don’t know if it will be cold…. But I have been running a lot, but not sure if I have been working on strength enough. Think I know what I will eat, but not sure if I will carry a pack and planning not to sleep, but unsure how that will pan out…and speaking of which, I have never really run at night….”

I had short:



Define ‘ready?’” 


In the end, I knew I would never quite be a peace with how ready I was for my first time at the World’s Toughest Mudder, but relied on two of favorite quotes:

 “If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives.”


“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”


Leading up to the event, I DID know that unless I was physically maimed, I would keep moving.

From the time I was twelve until college graduation I spent nearly every summer backpacking, camping, climbing, eventually becoming an outdoor guide, and essentially mentally prepping for long events like these. In fact, I was really looking forward to being outside in terrain that reminded me so much of my home state of Colorado. And honestly, as a busy mom of two, I was kind of looking forward to a whole day to myself!


In the end, it was a truly unforgettable 24+ hour race with more than 20,000 feet of elevation change and 65 miles with 260 obstacles.

Was I ready?

Turns out all my short answers were right.

Yes: I completed 65 miles and came in 4th place for women, 33rd overall!

No: I did way more penalties than I would have liked and asked for boosts more than I wanted.

“Ready”: I was prepared for the cold but never expected all the wind or fathomed that I would find myself with my husband (pit crew!) huddled in a port a potty in the wee hours of the night eating cup o noodles and receiving a pep talk.


Also, I was unprepared for how emotional this event would be.

There were frustrations: 

Small frustrations, like seriously being tired of shot blocks and pop tarts, but big ones too. I was intermittently sobbing on the course at night because it was so cold but I didn't want to stop or quit! Later I was growling (yes, growling) the last 10 miles because again I wanted to be done but didn't want all those nighttime running miles to have been wasted. My Pit Crew and fellow racers Tom, DaynaCorinne and Josue were giving me updates. At night, I had some 5- mile laps that nearly took three hours. The last lap took me about an hour and thirty minutes and it came down to eight -- eight! --- minutes between me and the fifth place woman in our overall time.

There were crazy, “what the…?” moments: besides forcing my husband Tom to squeeze into a port o potty with me in the middle of the night (just to get away from the wind) where he fed me noodles and squeezed me into two wetsuits, I also found myself diving out of metal tubes into a pool of water, swimming with lit tiki torches, jumping off of 30-foot cliffs and scaling dozens of walls over and over and over….

There were moments of strength:

I definitely (well, mostly) conquered my recent fear of heights and found energy I didn't know I had to just keep going. I also never wanted to run in a wetsuit, but ended up running more than 14 hours wearing TWO wetsuits at once, including a wetsuit hood and gloves. On the upside, I felt no rocks and floated like a giant balloon through the water!

There were moments of weakness:

My legs and arms seemed to just stop working at various points throughout the day, and even though it is a race the friendly WTM community helps each other. So, so SO many times, various fellow racers helped pull and shove my two layered wetsuit booty over and up things. I vow to come back stronger next year! 

There was connectedness: 

During such a long event, the connections you make with fellow racers and the volunteers are completely unique, whether it's repeated laps or just a few seconds.

There was joy:

In August 2013 when I broke my leg only a few months of breaking my foot ( also tearing my labrum), the doctors and PTs told me to work up to "long" runs and to not expect big mileage. So running the first few hours of the race yesterday, I was holding back tears of happiness! It was the best feeling ever to do what I love and see how far my body would take me if I didn't set boundries on it. I am positive it is a feeling I will chase more and more.

Finally, there were moments of thankfulness:

It was extra special that my husband Tom, who is usually home watching our daughters so I can run these events, could be there for this and both him and my friend Dayna. were the best pit crew ever. They stayed up the entire 25 hours, enduring the cold and horrible wind and walking the course dozens of times so they could show up at obstacles to cheer me on, then running back to get food and supplies ready. 


The World’s Toughest Mudder Community is completely unique. My husband and I were not only wowed by the organization but friendliness of everyone, including the volunteers, who held up “Free Hugs” signs and braved through all hours of the storm with a smile, the Pit Crews and spectators, including a bagpipe playing dad!, the Tough Mudder Employees, who mailed me a forgotten finisher shirt after the race, and especially the Fellow Racers.

Even though you often feel alone during the WTM, you are never alone. I had so many great conversations and interactions during the race. Not to mention that every athlete is treated the same. There is no ego and in fact, a wacky, fun humor pervades.

The event is about testing yourself physically, but really, it’s even more about the mental and emotional toll. You’ll learn something about yourself and make connections amid challenging, inspiring and sometimes completely absurd situations.

I would recommend this race or a long, ultra obstacle race to anyone willing to take a chance and try it.

There’s no way to be ready, which is both a lesson and the entire point. 


* What was the World’s Toughest Mudder 2014?

The fourth annual 24-hour obstacle race took place for the first time in Las Vegas on November 15th. With a history of being notoriously cold (it took place in New Jersey -- in NOVEMBER -- the last few years), the event tracks how many five mile laps with 20+ obstacles competitors can complete. While the Tough Mudder mantra of teamwork still pervades, this is the company’s one competitive race of the year, so many participants came in hopes of doing personal bests and there are penalties for failing obstacles.







by Brian Lynch (Team Strength Runner Athlete)





As athletes we all understand the need to push ourselves physically to continue to see improvements in our fitness.  Our muscles and bodies learn efficiency of motion over time, and as a result if we perform the same workout that originally resulted in gains (whether that means muscle mass, speed, etc…), we will actually see performance decline as the body learns efficient movements to complete the desired task and relies less on pure muscle strength.




So we push ourselves, and we break through barriers, sometimes painfully, to continue to reach new levels.  The post-workout inflammation and soreness is something we are accustomed to and even appreciate as a sign of progress.  But at what point are we doing more harm than good, how can you recognize when you have gone too far and sidelined yourself by overtraining, or worse developed chronic muscle pain and damage?




Standard Inflammation


Inflammation at the site of a particular muscle exertion is a result of tissue damage.  It's well-understood that muscles grow by tearing small fibers and re-growing them stronger, and inflammation is part of the process of clearing broken down cellular material and repairing the muscles.  Blood flows to the area initially, which you can recognize through feelings of swelling, stiffness, or heat. 


Neutrophils are the white blood cells responsible for clearing the cellular debris while macrophages initiate the re-growth of healthy tissue.  For standard workouts, this process takes up to 48 hours to complete and is why many athletes choose to alternate muscle groups day to day to allow time for the full cycle.  It has been discovered that the neutrophils become more effective after the first cycle of inflammation, which is partly why soreness in a given area will decline the more you work out that muscle group.




Problem Inflammation


Everyone knows the feeling of soreness a day or two after an especially tough workout, which is aptly named "Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness" or DOMS.  It is particularly problematic to athletes as it can lead to higher rates of injury as your body adjusts the way it moves in order to fight through the soreness, putting strain on ligaments, tendons, and joints.  Even if you avoid an injury, training through an incomplete Inflammation cycle, before the macrophages have completed tissue re-generation, can compromise the muscle growth by re-damaging tissue and muscle fibers before they have healed properly.






There is a repetition phenomenon in which your body will always produce enough neutrophils to offset tissue damage as was needed in your last workout.  Drastically spiking the intensity of your workouts is what leaves your body lacking in neutrophils and elongates the process, which either forces you to take multiple days off, or if you "power through" you run the risk of joint injury from unfamiliar motions or chronic tissue damage before the macrophages have time to repair muscle tissue.  It runs counter to a lot of our intensity and motivation, but if you are dealing with prolonged inflammation and soreness you should focus on modest increases in your workouts rather than going "all in" at once.



The Choice is Ours Stop Being Foolish

The Choice is Ours…?!
by Dave Gluhareff - Fitness Expert, Trainer, & Strength Runner founder
People we have a choice! We have a choice to make the necessary positive healthy changes in our lives to treat or cure 90% if not more of our illnesses and bad health issues. Exercise, Nutrition, and Rest absolutely does improve our quality of life. Make the right Choice to get better, healthier, happier, stronger, and on the right path to good living and freedom. Stop living in a prison of unhealthy decision making where you are just Surviving and not really Living life to its fullest! 
Stop being foolish!
If you think just going for a walk every day will improve your quality of life it barely will. If you think counting points will cure 90% of most illnesses and bad health issues and make you stronger well you are sadly mistaken. If you think ordering your food from a diet meals company and having it mailed to you each month will cure or treat 90% of illnesses and bad health issues and make you stronger and healthier … well you are flat Wrong. If you believe eliminating all carbohydrates from your day is right, you are Wrong. If you believe that eliminating any food group is your key to healthy weight loss you are Absolutely Wrong. If you believe a new multi-level marketing company has the miracle protein shake or weight loss pill or diet juice miracle drink that cost $20-$30 a month and is the fountain of youth…well then you are seriously off your rocker!  There are no quick fixes that will consistently lead you in a healthy life of longevity for proper health and wellness.  Those quick fixes and gimmicks are short-lived and CANNOT be implemented into a healthy lifestyle for the long term. You cannot shortcut a Healthy Lifestyle.

Dying a Slow Death

Dying a Slow Death…?!
by Dave Gluhareff (Fitness Expert/Strength Runner Founder)
America we are dying a slow death! Our healthcare system in the public and private sector will decline every second of every day because we are becoming unhealthier every second of every day. Just obesity alone troubles our healthcare system economically by increasing medical costs to deal with obese patients in ways such as larger wheelchairs, reinforced stretchers and ambulances, larger and stronger chairs and beds in hospitals, heavier duty cat scan and MRI machines, more surgical tools to hold back body fat during surgeries, more medications and stronger medications to deal with fatter people, and the list can go on and on. Many people need seatbelt extenders on an airplanes now, we order the extra-large sugary fountain drinks, we are too lazy to go in restaurants so we drive-thru and get our orders by accepting junk from an arm Reaching through a brick wall, we have 3X 4X and 5X shirts and Xextra Xextra Xextra large clothing to enable bad behaviors and poor nutrition. America we have a lot of cleaning up to do!
Most of America has no structure anymore when it comes to healthy lifestyle. Most of America does not make time for healthy activities and exercise. Most of America makes the wrong food choices. Most of America eats junk. Most of America has sleeping problems. Most of America finds time for television, Internet surfing, and mundane worthless activities for hours and hours every day but claims to have no time for exercise, nutrition, and rest.
We can look around our workplace, our schools, an airport, the mall, in any public place in and see with our own eyes that America is in real trouble. Our government tells us thru the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control but you know what we don't need them to tell us we have a problem... We already know it! It's obvious the health of our nation decaying. We are on a downward spiral of bad health.

Wake Up America

Wake-Up America!
- Dave Gluhareff 
Wake up America! If you keep making excuses you will be dead wrong and I mean it Dead Wrong. We are not talking about just surviving longer on medications, we have become a nation that pickles ourselves with medicines that enable bad behaviors and lower our quality of life to merely survive not actually live a better life. Most medications that we do not need to be on have so many side effects which rip apart our bodies, our minds, and our emotions to where we do not function properly day to day. The biggest problem with this is that we allow this to happen, we enable this bad behavior, and we approve of this absurd approach to living.

You Can Be Successful At A Healthy Lifestyle

You Can Be Successful at a Healthy Lifestyle?
by Dave Gluhareff (Fitness Expert/Founder Strength Runner)
Why is it so hard to become or stay a healthy person? We have the brains and all the necessary human equipment to achieve great health so why is it so hard? Why are so many of us dying because of obesity, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.? I believe we are missing three important steps or if we have these they are out of order: Desire, Knowledge, and Persistence! If you have these three essentials in your life, in this order, the excuses are out the window. 
Desire (WEBSTER: To wish or long for: Crave.) - We all need the desire to want to be a healthy person spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, mentally and physically. We need a burning desire inside of us to want to be a whole person.
Knowledge (WEBSTER: Familiarity, awareness, or comprehension acquired by experience or study.) - Attaining knowledge is key! We need to become as familiar and aware as possible of what is healthy. Also we need to know how to effectively implement healthy habits into our lives to make us successful.
Persistence (WEBSTER: The act of persisting: To hold steadfastly and firmly to a purpose, state, or undertaking, despite obstacles, warnings, or setbacks.) - With desire and knowledge comes the task of persistence. We have to hold on with a strong grip to our purpose which is to develop and keep our healthy lifestyle. Great health needs to be our way of life!
We need to eat, sleep, think, and breathe healthy. Now is the time to stop eating processed foods with trans-fatty fats, drinking colas, having excessive alcohol, late nights partying with little sleep, thinking and speaking negative, smoking cigarettes and/or doing drugs. Also we need to stop griping and blaming other people and things for causing us to be unhealthy. We are in control of our lives. We are our own managers. We need to have the Desire, Knowledge and Persistence to be successful at healthy living!
Take Action Now and Get Healthy!

Training Women Different than Men

Training Women different than Men?
by Dave Gluhareff founder of Strength Runner
                Okay a while back I was told by a long-time client that she wanted to do more ab workouts to see more abdominal definition.  She is looking great and has been kicking-butt with her workouts but we are trying to lean-out the last little bit of tummy (very little bit of tummy)!  
I get hit with this all the time and people really think that doing a hundred ab routines and more of them more often will get them 6-pack abs, well it WILL NOT!  
We can do all the ab work we want to but if we do not expose the abs by losing the Fat covering the abdominals up then we ain’t gonna see nuthin!  
She then followed this ab recommendation with the comment that “women and men have to be trained differently and that we Men have it easier to lose bodyfat around the tummy than women”.  Well that isn’t true either!  
Look I am not picking on this client at all, I really have enjoyed working with her and she brings high energy and persistence to each and every workout!  She is not lazy!  
I am just referring to these few comments and using them as examples because it’s part of my work each week helping people get in better shape.  We all have trouble areas where we store body fat more than other areas.  Some of us it’s the chest, some of us the tummy, some of us the arms, some the hips and buns.  We all have trouble areas but we all need to workout the Total Body each week with Resistance Training (3xper week), then do Cardiovascular Training (3xper week), Stretch, Eat Healthy, and Get Plenty of Rest for general fitness planning.  Can we put a little more emphasis on one trouble area?  Sure, but you have to train the body as a whole because each part plays off of the other.  You cannot effectively work the chest muscles if your shoulders are weak, you cannot effectively work the abs if your low-back is weak, and you cannot effectively walk, bike, or jog if your legs are weak.  
As far as the Women training differently that Men idea – a dumbbell curl works the biceps of a man the same as a woman, a pushup will firm the upper body the same for a man and woman, a squat will work the low-body the same for a man or woman.  Now hormonally YES we are different and maybe our diets should be adjusted accordingly, but when it comes to exercise we really are similar.  Come to think of it, I don’t think the Military trains the women and men differently?  I will have to look into this idea and let you know in another article!

A True Strength Runner Preparing for the Death Race

This article was guest written by VPX Team Xtreme athlete and true Strength Runner, Brandon Seale. Brandon is currently training for the Summer Death Race held in Pittsfield Vermont.

Spartan Death Race

Making the decision to sign up for the Spartan Death Race has been on my mind for a few years, ever since I started the Spartan race series in 2011. People frequently ask what motivates me to participate in events like the Death Race, often questioning my sanity in the process. Personally, I am aware that many do not understand why the Death Race is something I want to do, but my hope is that by telling my story, others will begin to understand the Death Race is more than just an event, it is the next step in a lifelong passion to challenge myself to the furthest extreme. .

In 2011, I completed my first Spartan race; winning a free entry into another race in Texas for placing top ten in my age group amongst competitors.  At that point in my life, I was conditioned from doing Jiu Jitsu, but I was unsure about where my future fitness goals were going to take me. I no longer had an interest in Jiu Jitsu, mainly because of I felt the sport had become too commercialized in my area, and the values I had once admired.  I noticed I was drawn to the outdoors which I was not getting while in the Jiu Jitsu gym, so I ran on days that I did not grapple. This led me to various road races and eventually to Spartan Race. When I ran my first Spartan race, I knew right away that obstacle course racing was about to take off; I began training for more.

 In 2012 I went after the Spartan trifecta (in one year, completing one of each race in the Spartan Series; 5+ miles, 8-10 miles, and 13+ miles). I successfully completed the Trifecta with ease. I had ramped up my training and felt as if I was in shape for more; after hearing about the Spartan race’s Ultra Beast I began to think about what direction I wanted to go with my training. I needed to decide at this point if I wanted to focus on placing high at the Spartan Sprint race or   focus on the longer endurance beasts and ultra-beast as well as what else I could get my hands on. It was at this point I knew I was going to keep going with the endurance event; the next step I took was looking up the Death Race. The Death Race was the ultimate endurance challenge; a 48 hour+ event without having the advantage of knowing what would be coming next. I knew the dedication that was needed for an event like this; it would be no easy task, and training meant 7days a week not leaving room for much else in my life. Training also meant potential injuries, changing my diet and nutrition, and pushing myself to extremes I had never pushed to before. I decided to focus and train for endurance event, keeping my eyes on the Death Race as the ultimate challenge. The aim was to complete the Death Race in the year I turned 30, which would be in 2015.

During 2013, Spartan race had exploded and I found myself in the middle of a sport that was becoming much bigger than I ever thought; OCR was taking off, only it was gaining popularity to levels I had not envisioned. I started my training for the Ultra Beast for 2013 which included signing up for literally any event I could, even doubling up Spartan races in the same weekend at almost every race I attended. I started to become known amongst my competitors and OCR fans, and greatly enjoyed the camaraderie that formed amongst the elite racers. In 2013, I received  an athletic sponsorship with VPX Team Extreme, and knew I was headed in the right direction. I completed many events to stay primed and diversify my training such as 50ks, The Suck (24 hour overnight endurance challenge), Marathons and various OCRS; I felt ready for The Ultra Beast.  It was at this point, during the summer of 2013, I felt confident and signed up for the Death Race 2014. I registered ahead of schedule because I knew my progress had far exceeded where I felt I needed to be; I would be ready at age 29.

I enjoy running; you probably wouldn’t guess that by initially looking at my build. I’m about 6 feet tall, 185 pounds, with a primarily muscular frame produced from years of strength training and conditioning. I take pride in my ability to master various Olympic lifts with increased weight over last few years. Recognizing my size and strength coupled with my passion for running, endurance events seemed like a natural fit. I have competed in several endurance events including the SUCK, a 14 hour challenge consisting of rucking over 200 pounds. Although if you ask me, what gives me the edge over my competition during endurance events, I would have to say it’s my effort to remain diligent in both strength training and long distance running.

Preparing for the unknown is what has attributed to a lot of my success in endurance events. Not knowing exactly what to prepare for in an endurance event, means you must prepare for anything and everything; in that aspect training variation is a necessity. I typically implement various running workouts along with my strength training. I use speed work outs, mixed with moderate to heavy carrying (such as a sand bag carry or rucking) and body weight calisthenics/exercises. It is also important not to forget the long distance running days for fortitude. I often find the long run days attribute to mental determination during events, and often allows me to push through difficult or painful situations.

This year will bring many new challenges for me. In 2014, I am doing several events including a 50 miler, Lost Tribe Expedition, The Suck and The Spartan Death Race. With the countless hours I have worked to train by body to endure extreme races, I have no fear entering into these challenges ready to compete and finish. So to answer the question why would someone sign up for something like this? Well my answer is simple; I questioned my sanity and called me crazy for signing up for the Death Race, the only thing crazy to me would have been if I had given up on myself all those years ago when I started my journey in endurance events. I am not crazy, I just never gave up; nor will I when I get there.