In this Spartan Training franchise, we sit down with our Spartan Master Coaches to get their best fitness advice and discover what makes them tick. Next up: Poppy Livers. For him, it’s all about the hard work, drive, and grit to be great — no matter what.
Do you ever think that you can’t do something? Poppy Livers is the guy that will train you to know that you can. Poppy grew up at the Boys & Girls Club playing every sport imaginable. He was very talented, but was disadvantaged by his size. When it came to pursuing his football dream, he was constantly told, “You’re too small, you’re too weak,” but that didn’t stop Poppy.
“I got told ‘No’ a lot, but I always showed up,” he says. “Hard work speaks louder than your size.”
And that hard work paid off. Poppy went on to be a walk-on for Villanova's football team, earned himself a scholarship, became the captain, made SportCenter’s Top 10, tried out for the 49ers, and played for the Philadelphia Soul.
Post-football career, Poppy is fully committed to transforming athletes and everyday people into tough, hard-working winners.
“I don’t care about having all the abs, I don’t care how buff you are, how big you are, how fast you are, or how strong you are — it’s about whether you’ve got the heart,” Poppy says. “There are only two ways that you can go. You can get better or you can get beat, and I always choose to get better everyday, even if it's 1%.”
Poppy will get you better, we guarantee it.
See what it’s like to train with Poppy for yourself. His new 30-day program, EXPLODE, is now live on the Spartan FIT app. But first, get to know him more.
What's the Best Training, Performance, and Fitness Philosophy for a Coach?
Spartan Race: How would you describe your training philosophy?
Poppy Livers: My motto is that there are two ways you can go: You can get better or you can get beat. I believe in training like an athlete, so that means full-body, functional movements to be quick and powerful. I love plyometrics. I want to build that motor.
SR: What about when it comes to nutrition?
PL: Diets don’t last forever. People could argue with me — and this is just my opinion — but eventually you’ll get tired of stuff like the keto diet. What works for me is macro counting. I can eat Oreos (or whatever I want) because I know my macros and where and when I can have certain things.
SR: What inspires you?
PL: Seeing people want to be better and want to win is what inspires me. I love being able to see things that others don’t think are possible. That’s what inspires me to work harder for myself and for others. I remember at one point, I didn’t believe in myself. But once I did, I was unstoppable.
SR: What’s one of the most underrated things in fitness right now?
PL: Rest and recovery. I tend to not know when to relax. I feel like I could do three workouts in a day, but people have to realize that, in order to see change, you need to recover. You can’t grind all the time. Getting sleep is just as important as crushing a tough workout.
The Mental Game and Recovery
SR: How do you work on your mental fitness?
PL: I enjoy listening to people talk that have a lot more experience than me. If I have a hard time falling asleep, I watch a lot of motivational videos and listen to podcasts. I even have a whole note on my phone that's just quotes that relate to my life, and I share them on my social media channel. They keep me motivated and help me know that whatever I'm going through is not the worst.
SR: What does a day off look like for you?
PL: An active recovery day and an off day. If I don't do anything in a day, I feel worse. So I do this thing called 5FOR5. I do five exercises for five rounds, and it's at my own pace. If I'm feeling great that day I'll go through it fast, or I'll take my time. So that's my active recovery day. Then an actual recovery day will be me trying to stretch, do yoga, or I’ll try to get a massage if I can.
SR: What’s your primary message to people as a coach?
PL: If you’re going through shit, it’s not going to last forever if you don’t let it. I want people to know that it’s OK to feel like shit, just don’t stay there.Inspired enough? Take on the 30-day EXPLODE program with Poppy Livers on the Spartan FIT app.