Ahhh…there’s nothing like a fresh batch of peer pressure to make us do something completely uninformed and irrational. Gotta love it.
Everybody loves a challenge—especially us. We love them more than the average person does, to be honest with you. We can seriously get a little sick with it by setting crazy goals like 5 marathons in 5 weeks and of course, at the time it sounds completely rational. It even sounds doable. However, about halfway through the goal we know we are in trouble but we keep on going for pride sake. How about we avoid this calamity by giving you some things to take into account as we head into another year of the obstacle course races?
Let me remind you of who you are. If you are reading this blog, then you are someone who may or may not realize that you are an athlete but you definitely realize that your physique is part of your overall health and fitness goal. So it’s not ‘by any means necessary’ to reach the finish line because none of us here would be willing to go up 10 pounds to make the goal happen. Instead, we will rethink it when we realize that it could take weeks to get the 10 pounds off again and we’ll most likely move on to another goal. It is what it is. This gives you an idea of what this series is about because it is not about getting you ready for the Tough Mudder or any other killer race. No, it is about getting you ready for them safely while taking into account that you will need to be smart about how you fuel for the training, actively recover from the training and psychologically deal with the training. This is not the same as just plain old running or bodybuilding type lifting and if you are not aware of that you may either blow your diet, go crazy or the worst of them all: get injured.
Over the next three days I want to tackle 4 things:
- Tough Guy syndrome
- Nutritional challenges (how to work the STarch thing)
- Active recovery
- Injuries and their ramifications
In less than a month I turn 42 years old. WOW. I don’t feel a day over 41 30 yo when I do things, but the next day I feel like I am 75. I honestly remember the time when I could wake up, decide to run a 10K that day (even though I was not training for one and never ran more than the 10 feet it takes me to get into the shower) and then get up the next morning and do it all over again. Crazy. If I did that today someone would be peeling me off the asphalt—and that would be at registration! Shame. I need to warm up for my warm up and I know that’s from years of abuse brought on by Tough Guy syndrome. This malady affects almost all trainers, some group fitness instructors, avid runners and nearly every single physique athlete out there.
Tough Guy syndrome (TGS) is a peculiar syndrome because it crosses the blood brain barrier and renders us dumb as dirt as to the workings of the body and metabolism even though we could school a client on it in a heartbeat. Somehow, we’re impervious to this information. We can dispense it, but we can’t use it and because of this, we tend to do some of the dumbest things known to mankind. It’s unbelievable.
TGS’s power is exacted by finding the weak spot in our immune systems: our egos. Once it finds that chink in the armor, it quickly spreads throughout the Central Nervous System causing awful symptoms like signing up for and completing the Tough Mudder without any training for it and then systematically bragging about it like you’re a hero or something. Frightening. Fevers and chills can result if it goes undetected as people are hot with jealously or cold with disdain around you because you decided to just “pop into” the race. And because TGS is a syndrome, there is no “one-size-fits-all” cure and normally diagnosis comes only with the egregious symptoms coming to light such as injury or accidents.
But there is hope. You can take preventative measures to keep from developing this syndrome by realizing a few things:
1) If you are under 18% bodyfat, you are of the lean community. You cannot, and should not, put your body to the ultimate test without properly preparing it and fueling it. Do not eat the same diet you are used to now and then just “jump into” an obstacle course type race.
2) If you are allergic to starchy carbohydrates because you think they make you gain weight and want to just eat starch the week of the event, you’re in for a big surprise. We’ll talk about this tomorrow. Just know that you need to eat them long before the week of the event if you want to use them to fuel your race.
3) You do not recover the same when you are lean. You have fewer reserves in the tank and you must keep that in mind. If you deplete them now, they will not be available to you when go back to working on your physique or just even maintaining it.
4) You run the risk of injury—major injury—when you are leaner. This truth comes in handy when you feel the urge to bounce out of bed and conquer the world. One day of heroism could cost you 10 weeks of working out. There’s a sobering thought.
This will be a short series. I am only going to yell at you a little bit (I’m really yelling at myself but I’m using you as the punching bag. Sorry.) so meet me here for the next 2 days as we get ready for an obstacle race. Cool? Woop woop!