Road to Spartan Part 2: Athlete or Athletic?
Training for the Spartan Beast in Lake Tahoe with my partner Callie Bundy has brought up some strongly held beliefs about the nature of athletes vs the athletic. What makes an athlete is a question I hope to answer in this post.
Al Bundy scored 4 touchdowns for Polk High in one single game. 20 years later he was selling shoes at a shopping mall dreaming about that game while fitting suburbanites with cheap pumps.
Bruce Springsteen had a friend who could throw that speed ball by you and make you look like a fool but spent his nights at roadside bars pounding drinks and talking bout his Glory Days.
If I had a nickel for every conversation I’ve had with someone talking about how much of an “athlete” they were because of long past accomplishments, well let’s just say I would have a lot of nickels.
Compliments of genetics, I have always been very athletic. And as a former professional athlete, I can also say that I was an athlete. So, what separates the two and why do so many people claim to be athletes when they are, at least in my opinion, not?
Training for Spartan
Today, as of the day I’m writing this, I have one week left before Callie and I strap on our trail running shoes and hydration packs and hit the trail in our quest for dominance over the 12+ miles, 30+ obstacles, the elevation and the Guys from Barbell Shrugged. Today started of with fasted cardio, 60 minutes of running at a moderate pace. I’m big on intermittent fasting so my fist meal won’t be till after noon, but after cardio I jump into my daily supplement regiment. I take a BCAA in pill form, which I wash down with my Omax Max Recovery and Omax Cognitive Boost. Muscle protein synthesis is aided by Polyunsaturated fatty acids like DHA and EPA and since I’m fasting, the combination allows my muscles to repair themselves without any caloric intake immediately after exertion. I also like the Cognitive Boost because of the Alpha-GPC, which helps improve power output and increased levels of BDNF. I wash all of this down with the Neo 40 Beet juice product. As the Spartan is Tahoe and I haven’t had the chance to train at altitude, I’m using the nitrate rich beet juice to help produce nitric oxide and keep my blood vessels pumping adequate amount of oxygen to my system.
After my daughter’s soccer game and our time at the pool, I’ll head back to the gym for weight training and HIIT cardio. Today is back and biceps. Many of the obstacles at Spartan require some upper body chops so I like to do heavy weighted pullups to help build overall upper body strength. The goal is to stimulate myofibril hypertrophy with 5 sets of 1-5 reps and then transition the workout to higher reps at lower weights to stimulate sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This combination helps build lean muscle mass and strength as well as muscular endurance, all things necessary to stay in the game over the 12+ miles at altitude.
After my second round at the gym, it’s off to recover, which in this case has a two-fold benefit. I’m using heat and cold therapy to help recovery from the strain of what I’m putting my system through. 20 minutes in a hot tub followed by the ice bath for as long as I can stand helps support inflammation resolution and proper healing of stressed muscles. It also helps me prepare for the swim at Tahoe which is roughly 200 meters in 45 degree water.
What does all of this have to do with athletes or the athletic? Simple. Athletes get up every morning with a purpose and a goal. In pursuit of that goal, most athletes ask themselves two questions;
- What do I have to do today to reach my goal?
- What am I willing to sacrifice today to reach my goal?
The first question is the easy one to answer right. You create a training program, you hire a coach, you execute, you optimize and you put in the hard diligent work day after day making progress towards that goal. The second is the harder one to answer. Most people think in terms of doing vs sacrificing and this is what separates the athletes from the athletic. Are you willing to give up sugar and alcohol? Are you willing to stay in and train when all your friends are out at the club? Are you willing to give up a couple extra hours of sleep so that you can get in the necessary amount of training time?
Prepping for the Race
Prepping for this race has reminded me of a fact that time has pushed to the back of mind. No sacrifice, no victory. Whether Callie and I finish first or last, the last couple of weeks has reminded that without a goal and without sacrifice, we are just on cruise control headed towards one inevitable conclusion. The last couple of weeks has also reminded me of my goal to help inspire people to embrace the potential of their life and enjoy all this big beautiful world has to offer.
Set a goal, work hard and sacrifice and I promise you that, regardless of the outcome, your journey will not be in vain. Thanks for following Team Omax!