Train for an event to help stay motivated in fitness

Who in their right mind would want to get dirty, full of mud, have to swim through freezing water, jump through fire and actually pay good, hard earned money to do it? Well, you might be surprised that a lot of people want to actually (myself included) and that number is growing every day!

You might have heard about the Tough Mudder™, Spartan Race™ or Mud Hero™ before or this might be the first time but trust me it will not be the last. These outdoor, obstacle races are picking up in popularity around the globe and close to home. The increase in popularity is with good reason though – they are fun, challenging, they are completely different than anything else you have tried and are a great way to get in shape or stay in shape.

These obstacle races have several lengths and difficulty scales so there are options for everyone. For example, the Mud Hero™ is about a 6km run through mud, trails and water with about 10 obstacles, then the Spartan™ event averages about 16km all the way up to the Tough Mudder™ which is over 20km+ long that has over 25 obstacles. And if you are really crazy, there are ultra-competitive 24-hour obstacles races where racers try to do as many ‘laps’ as possible in one day.

These races are hardcore 5-20km+ obstacle courses that were either once designed for elite military divisions or simply designed to give the weekend warrior a challenge like none other. One thing is certain though, each of these races test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, composure and give you a sense of camaraderie that is different from running a traditional road race. There is the adrenaline rush from tackling challenging obstacles, which can range from mud pits to fire walls and dodging electric shocks, the feeling of success after completing the event, and the camaraderie from fellow teammates supporting each other on course.

Every year, 360 Fitness (our Red Deer personal training studio) sends a team to many of these events and the groups are getting bigger and bigger! Starting in 2012, we sent over 25 eager people to Tough Mudder™ and over 30 people to local Mud Hero™ and Spartan Races™! In 2013 the numbers grew and in 2014 we are expecting about 50 soon-to-be muddy people for the Tough Mudder™ and dozens more for the Spartan™ and Mud Hero™ races!

You can find a race near you on toughmudder.com, spartanrace.com or mudhero.com but here are some regional races that you might want to look into: Tough Mudder in Drumheller on Sept. 6 and 7, Spartan Race in Red Deer on Sept. 6 and Mud Hero in Red Deer on Aug. 8, 9 and 10.

Here are four ways that training for an obstacle race with a team will help people improve their health and fitness.

Training for an event is a great way to stay motivated to complete your workouts; keeps you accountable. You’ll have a natural incentive to live up to both you, your coaches’ and your teams ‘expectations. It is also a great way to track your progress. You’ll be inspired and motivated as you feel your body transform and your fitness level improve. It can also turn some-what boring must-do tasks into an exciting, enjoyable and highly beneficial adventure.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.