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  • Coach Rob

Q&A Get To Know Me

1. How many Spartan races have you completed and plan to complete in the future?


4 Spartan Races: 2 Sprints (3-5 miles with 20-25 Obstacles) 1 Super (8-10 Miles and 30 Obstacles) 1 Beast (13-15 miles and 35 plus Obstacles) My planned racing schedule for 2019 has me completing another Trifecta (Sprint, Super and Beast in same Calendar Year) along with 2 Stadium Sprints. I plan to run my Beast in Vermont (home of the first Spartan Race) Traveling is one aspect I love about the racing experience, it gives me a chance to visit places in the United States that I’ve never been before.


2. What's the training regimen like to prep for a Spartan race?


Training varies for each race. I like to determine what I'm going to have to ask of my body in terms of time under stress on race day. So I work backwards. For the Beast I knew I was going to have to ask my body to "work" for 4-6 hours to complete the 15 mile race. So my 8 week programming for that race consisted of some form of training 7 days a week with 2 days being endurance days where I would do long workouts for 2-3 hours. One of those days I'd be at The Resort running around from exercise to exercise slamming Medicine Balls, swinging Kettle Bells, running up the stairs and bouncing from the StairMaster to the Rower. The main goal was to increase my muscular endurance. The other long day I'd go for a "Ruck" usually with a 30lb weight Vest on and I'd do hill training up at LMU. Two days a week would be “Two a days(morning weights and evening cardio) Then usually a day of active recovery on the elliptical or Spin bike.


3. What is the Spartan athlete "diet" consist of?


 "At Spartan Race, we encourage you to eat a balanced, natural diet that will help build defined, lean muscle and provide high-quality workout fuel.”-Spartan Website Nutrition Statement. I totally agree with this and try to do so on a daily basis. I basically follow a Paleo/Whole 30 meal plan. Lots of fruit and veggies, Oats, rice, lean meats. I love to make a giant nightly salad which is full of arugula and spinach, both of which are excellent nitric oxide boosters for endurance performance. I try to meal prep weekly and also use a meal delivery service(Territory) which I love and have recommended to clients. I’ve found that my calorie and fuel needs vary greatly depending on what I’m asking of my body on any given day. Leading up to my Beast I was consuming anywhere from 3800-4200 calories a day. For my most recent Sprint I found I only needed about 2500-2800.


4. What supplements do you use for training and on race day? 


For endurance during the race I use Clif Energy Shots. Each packet has about 25 grams of carbs which I've found necessary to be consume every 45 minutes. I also like to sip on Kaged Muscle Hydra Charge during the race and training. It's an electrolyte mix that I think tastes great and helps keep my muscles hydrated. I would stack this with 5g of Kion Essential Amino Acid Tablets for every 2 hours of work, they really help to keep my body going. I also experimented with beet root Juice Powder pre workout/race. Which I found to be another great nitric oxide booster, stacking beet root with 2-4g of l-citrulline gave an excellent boost. I'm true believer that If I haven't tried it on myself I can't recommend it to anyone else. I really turned myself into a lab rat this past race season trying clinical doses from studies of various endurance supplements that I had read about on PubMed and the Journal of Athletic Training.


5. What's a typical weekly workout plan for you?


Most days I'm up at 3AM and I'm in the gym by 3:45AM. It's usually a 45-60 minute session of either Resistance Training or Cardiac Output. While working out that early sounds insane to most, I've found it works for me and my schedule. I like to get it out of the way early so I can focus on my clients the rest of my day, I use the early workouts to motivate and inspire myself to attack the day. I find it cathartic to be sweating all over the gym floor at 4AM. I think it gives me some credibility when I'm asking clients to pick to pick up the energy during a session. How can I ask them to push themselves if I haven't asked the same of myself?


6. What's 1-2 things that have surprised you about your experience with Spartan racing?


How much I've improved as a trainer by improving myself in training for races. I've learned so many new exercises and learned a great deal about nutrition and supplementation through trial and error on myself. I feel I'm a better trainer because of it. I also surprised myself in terms of Finisher placement. For my first Beast I had only a best guess on the pacing I wanted to hit and had geared my training towards. When the 15 miles were over, my pace gave me a finishing placement of the top 6% of all runners out of 5000 participants. I was shocked. But then I wasn’t…as I always say to clients, “The body is an amazing thing. It will do what you tell it to do, both good and bad.” My body did exactly what I asked it to do on race day, because I had done the work getting myself ready.


7. Any fun, funny, or memorable experiences to share?


The night before my Nashville Super it began pouring down rain and rained all night long like it only can in the south. It was raining in the morning as I was getting ready and was still coming down as I drove to the race site which was on this giant farm in the Hills of Tennessee. As I was driving into the parking lot I was thinking to myself, ”You are crazy, why are you doing this? Are you seriously about to run 10 miles in the rain and mud? You don’t have to do this.” And then as soon as I had parked the car it stoped raining. The course was still a mess but not nearly as bad as it could have been. Somebody was smiling down on me.


8. Why do you think that residents should participate in a Spartan race? Where do they go for more info?


I think Spartan races offer people of all ages and fitness levels a chance to push themselves and to test their breaking point. Something special happens after we have been tested both mentally and physically. I say to my clients after a particularly challenging workout that all the things that happen to them the rest of the day that would normally seem hard or frustrating will not seem quite as bad.


Anybody interested in learning more about Spartan Races can go to www.spartan.com for all things Spartan Racing.


9. Why do you run Spartan Races?


Why is so important. I think in life it’s imperative that we figure out our “Why” for doing something. What’s your “Why” that gets you up in the morning? For me, my “Why” is my clients. They range from 16-96 in age. Each and everyone of them inspires me on a daily basis. They are my “why” for running races. I think of them when it gets tough out on the course or during training. I think of my 86 year old client Bella, if she can “sit to stand” from the chair 20 times then I can suck it up and do another 30 Burpees!

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