Sponsored by our partner and official charity of the 2020 Virtual Trifecta World Championship, Target ALS
Sure, this pandemic has thrown us all for a loop. (Think: postponed races, social distancing and unnerving public health issues, sigh). Not to mention, there are election pressures (not even going there right now), a hot-cold economy (ugh) and winter is fast approaching (prime yourself for cold-weather workouts!). Bottom line: Staying fit and well has become more challenging than ever before. And living the Spartan lifestyle, one that is founded on community, grit and perseverance, is no longer a luxury—it’s necessity.
Overcoming obstacles has become the theme of 2020, but we Spartans view them as opportunities. Even though our “new normal” is mega tough right now, it will not stop us from marching on. In fact, add more barriers to the mix—from chilly, snowy trail conditions to stock-market madness—and it will only drive us to train harder and succeed stronger.
Here are our top three ways to crush your fitness goals, build community and connection (even at a distance), and stay sane as we move into 2020’s bizarre winter season. Get your game face on. We got this.
Top 3 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy this Winter
1. Give Back to a Good Cause — Donations & Sweat Equity Count!
We at Spartan value community as #1, and there’s no better way to regain your strength than to help others. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Target ALS to launch the “Toughest Challenge for the Hardest Fight,” a global campaign to raise funds for breakthrough Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research. All donations (yes, 100%) go toward accelerating the search for the first truly effective treatments to battle this disease. Patients with ALS, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease, suffer from a terminal, degenerative, aggressive condition which progressively paralyzes them and strips them of their independence. It’s a brutal disease, and we’re honored to join Target ALS in this fight.
Want to pitch in to help? Commit to taking on the Toughest Challenge for the Hardest Fight. The ways to contribute are simple. Just raise $300 by spreading the message to your family, friends and co workers by Nov. 8. You can even go one step further and sign up on the “Toughest Challenge” website for the ultimate, 2020 Virtual Spartan Trifecta World Championships, held Nov. 6-8. If you don’t bag the trifecta for yourself, do it for those battling ALS—because we stand in solidarity. Community, however we can band together right now, is what matters most.
2. Build Your Own At-Home OCR
If staying at home feels like an unbearable GD haul right now, we've got your back with a sweet DIY project to keep you busy. Put your mind, body and spirit to the test to create the ultimate backyard obstacle course. With just a few household items, you can quickly pull together OCR training grounds right in your own space. (Remember when you were a kid and built forts? This is like that, but better.)
All you need is some rope, an eye bolt, weights, a sled and something to hang from, like a pull-up bar or climbing holds. No, you don’t have to be a construction worker to make it happen. Simply follow these videos from our Spartan course-building pro Steve Hammond and flip your creative switch on. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to modified Barbed Wire Crawls and Herc Hoists with no problem. You’ll thank us come January, because crushing living-room HIIT workouts to dodge winter temps is guaranteed to get old, fast.
3. Master Your Mental Game with Meditation
Peak performance (and maintaining sanity) involves more than just training your body. You have to work your mind, too. Meditation and breathwork boast a variety of health benefits that contribute to the mind-body connection, which will come in handy on dark winter days.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation can decrease your risk for anxiety, depression, insomnia and even more serious conditions like heart attacks and strokes. It also helps you build grit, according to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. People who practice transcendental meditation techniques have brain function similar to world-class athletes. Building that mental stamina ultimately helps you power through life’s challenges, supporting you to become physically and mentally stronger in ways you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
The Bottom Line: Be Unbreakable—Eat, Sleep, Train and Race Like a Spartan
You might be feeling antsy, nervous, frustrated and even scared right now. We get it. We understand. But what you have to remember is that we're Spartans, and we've been preparing for this moment for more than 10 years. We’re built to withstand, to defeat, to overcome, to survive, to thrive. And living the Spartan Way starts with a few main staples. You must:
- Workout daily
- Eat clean and hydrate
- Practice self-care
- Connect with and help others
Reach Your Fitness Goals with a Self-Care Routine
To that end, we challenge you this winter to keep it simple. Stick to these four things, and you’ll power through. Set a big fitness goal and train for it (sign up for the Toughest Challenge for the Hardest Fight virtual 2020 Spartan Trifecta World Championship). Busting your butt to sweat outside each day will become a lifesaving practice. Too tired? Bad weather? No excuses.
Get creative in the kitchen with a hearty and healthy meal you can whip together using one of our protein soup recipes, avoiding takeout and unhealthy holiday food like the plague.
And for goodness’ sake, find time for yourself. Whether that’s a hot shower or a power nap or a 5-minute HIIT workout, make sure you come first. Because by caring for yourself, you can care for the world.
By doing these four things every day, you’ll feel healthier, stronger, serene and able to show up for your community. It needs you right now.