HOME Monthly Archives: February 2012

Monthly Archives: February 2012


26
Feb

Civilian Military Combine; Do you have what it takes?

Posted in Training

by Joe Vennare

You are committed to improving yourself in all forms; physical and mental. The gym, a running track, your local box, a wooded trail; regardless of the precise location, each venue becomes transformed into a battle ground where your mind and body square off in a clash for dominance. Words like quit, back off, and take it easy linger amidst the sting of perspiration in your eyes, and the burn of lactic acid in your muscles. There are moments when you are able to overcome challenges once perceived to be beyond your abilities. Other times, your performance is inadequate and the outcome less than favorable. Regardless of the result this fact remains; you will rise the next day, equipped with the lessons learned during previous struggles, undertaking a mission to progress further today than possible on days past.

With countless hours of training logged and preparedness nearing its peak, your next and possibly most trying proving ground lies ahead in the mountains of Virginia and Pennsylvania. Here, the team at the Civilian Military Combine is assembling the ultimate one-day competition that requires a command of strength, endurance, and agility. Although competition is valued and triumph is rewarded, participation is not undertaken on behalf of a self-serving pursuit. Conversely, those who have created the CMC, along with those who chose to compete, prefer service over vanity. Partnerships with charities like Operation Homefront, Heroes of Tomorrow, and Livestrong are representative of this truth.

Unlike races that erroneously profess to be a measure of fitness or gauge of skill, enlistment in the Civilian Military Combine does not require a keen eye for flamboyant fabrics from which a steady hand may craft an intricate costume. Rest assured that you will not be asked to call upon an enthusiasm for faux fire or artificial smoke. Instead, those who choose to demonstrate their strength in The Pit or perseverance on the mountainside have found that their heart makes its own fire, fueled by a determination reflective of value and integrity that compels them to rise above the pain and go on to greatness in the face of a great challenge.

Do you have what it takes? We have created the measure if you wish to test your resolve.

To excel in this realm it is not enough to just train. As once your mind and body were conflicting adversaries, these former rivals must be united in pursuit of excellence. Your competitive, primal instinct need be unleashed.

The legendary Steve Prefontaine said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” You are determined to prove that your gift is not wasted, but cherished.

Because your training, like your character, defies mediocrity no average test of will can suffice. Alone, an endurance run, obstacle course or demonstrations of muscular strength call upon only a fraction of your true potential. Because you labor in pursuit of optimal performance it is only proper that you insist on evaluating that performance in its totality. To do so, you will match yourself against opponents of equal vigor and intensity in the ultimate one-day competition; the Civilian Military Combine.

Distinguishing itself from other less inclusive events, the CMC is a comprehensive test of fitness. To survive The Pit you will be forced to call upon muscular strength and expert agility. An unadulterated display of brute force and body control are required to execute the burpee, box jump, barbell thruster, and kettlebell swing. After breaking down the body, fatiguing the muscles, and depleting energy stores you will be expected to summon what remains of your cardiovascular endurance and psychological perseverance to summit the mountainside.

Be on alert as you proceed; the daunting seven mile distance is but one element of the endeavor that lies ahead. Again both strength and skill will be essential as you attempt to navigate the impediments along the route. The most well conditioned participants are sure to falter, slowed by ropes, mud, water crossings, hurdles, barrier walls, and other complex obstacles. Strategically designed and placed by elite athletes, strength coaches, endurance athletes, and members of the armed forces, these obstacles are not merely for show. The true magnitude of this challenge will only be realized by those who endure the struggle, overcome the moments of self-doubt, and dominate every hazard in route to the finish line.

Is your best enough or will you forsake the gift? If you compete to honor others, persevere for your team, and finish what you start, you may have what it takes to be CMC.

 

(Author Joe Vennare is a successful entrepreneur and accomplished fitness professional. As the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, www.thehybridathlete.com, Joe develops innovative fitness programming for endurance, multi-sport and obstacle race athletes. Joe is also the co-creator of Race Day Domination,www.racedaydomination.com, a training manual designed to prepare competitors for success in any obstacle course race. In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe is a sponsored endurance athlete competing in triathlon, ultra-marathon, and adventure racing. Joe’s motivation to train and compete in endurance sports is fueled by a desire to test his physical abilities and mental toughness.)

23
Feb

Dominate Every Obstacle: Part 1- Lungs and Legs

Posted in Training

by Joe Vennare, Co-Founder of Hybrid Athlete

In recent years interest and participation in obstacle course racing has grown at an impressive rate, appealing to both recreational and elite athletes.  Weekend warriors, former college athletes, and general fitness seekers have taken to obstacle course racing as a source of competition and camaraderie.  Having entered the race circuit as somewhat of a novelty, obstacle course racing has quickly morphed into a fitness subculture that combines components of CrossFit, endurance sports, and adventure racing.  As individuals from varying fitness backgrounds and ability levels tried their skills at obstacle course racing, one thing has become clear; success in these types of events requires a unique skill set.

part 1While individuals who possess general strength and average cardiovascular capacity are able to complete the race, those seeking to compete need to focus on general fitness as well as race specific skills.  There is no benefit in being the first racer to an obstacle if you lack the upper body strength to complete a rope climb.  Likewise, the ability to press 315 lbs. off your chest will not allow you to traverse a hill 5 mile course any faster.

With that in mind, throughout a series of articles, I will outline an inclusive approach to training for an obstacle course race.  I will discuss the specific training methods your will need to incorporate into your training program in order to increase strength relative to bodyweight, cardiovascular and muscular stamina, durability, and mental toughness.  To kick off the series let’s take a look at cardiovascular fitness.

It is important to have or build a solid base of cardiovascular fitness.  While you do not have to be a runner, you should be able to cover the distance of your race with little effort.  To obtain this level of fitness try to incorporate 2-3 days of run specific workouts into your training program. Look to include one long run, high intensity intervals, hills sprints, and

Tabata workouts.

Long Runs: This effort should be, at minimum, equal to the distance of your event.  If you are capable of running further distances keep pounding the pavement, but don’t overdo it.  You do not need to log 20 mile runs for a 5K event.  Try to increase this distance 1-2 miles every other week until you are able to complete the race distance at a conversational pace.

High Intensity Intervals: Train at or near maximum effort to fatigue the lungs and legs. Alternate between periods of all out effort and shorter periods of rest. For example, head to the track and complete a 400 meter all out sprint, followed by a rest period that is half the amount of time it took your to complete the 400 meter sprint. Repeat 8-10 times

Hill Sprints: Train at an intense effort while allowing your body to recover during a period of low or reduced output. Find a hill sprint that takes 60-90 seconds to climb and run to the top at maximum effort.  After reaching the top walk or jog to start line. Repeat 8-12 times.

Tabata: Use high intensity working sets for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest.  Set the treadmill to a 10 percent to 12 percent incline and ramp up the speed to a sprint.  Sprint for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for 8 to 12 sets.  Training using the Tabata technique increases stride frequency and encourages forefoot running.

Advanced Cardio Techniques:  After you have developed a foundation of cardiovascular endurance begin to add more advanced training methods into your program.  Adding weight or resistance to cardiovascular efforts will improve the body’s ability to transport a load, while training multiple energy systems at one time.  Wear a weighted vest or incorporate a push/pull sled into an interval workout for an added challenge.  Better yet, load a backpack down with weight and climb stadium stairs or set out on a hike.

If done properly, the cardiovascular component or your obstacle race training program will build leg strength, train the lungs, and prepare the mind to sustain a maximum effort over a prolonged distance or time interval.

(Author Joe Vennare is a successful entrepreneur and accomplished fitness professional. As the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, www.thehybridathlete.com, Joe develops innovative fitness programming for endurance, multi-sport and obstacle race athletes. Joe is also the co-creator of Race Day Domination,www.racedaydomination.com, a training manual designed to prepare competitors for success in any obstacle course race. In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe is a sponsored endurance athlete competing in triathlon, ultra-marathon, and adventure racing. Joe’s motivation to train and compete in endurance sports is fueled by a desire to test his physical abilities and mental toughness.)

20
Feb

Quick CMC Workouts

Posted in Training

by Joe Vennare, Co-Founder of Hybrid Athlete

 

Every now and then, while training for the CMC or just exercising for general fitness, you might have to skip a workout because you are short on time and can’t get to the gym.

Well, lucky for you, I have a solution.  You do not need a treadmill, thousands of dollars of equipment, or stacks of weights to get a great workout.

Applying a minimalist approach, you can transform a spare bedroom, basement, or garage into a space that helps make sure you will never miss a workout.

IMG_0401Here are the basics:

Kettlebells:  This versatile training tool can be used to build strength and cardiovascular fitness.  They do not require a huge space and store away easily.

Dumbbells: A few sets of dumbbells at varied weights or a set of adjustable dumbbells are a great starting point.  Shop around and check online for used dumbbells to save some cash.

If you have the space and extra money to spend, a 300 pound Olympic weight set is the next step up, followed by Olympic bumper plates.

Pull- up bar: The quick fix would be a bar or system that mounts or hangs on a door frame.  After a few minutes of install, you will be ready to work.

If space, and specifically ceiling height, is not an obstacle consider purchasing a set of gymnastic rings or the TRX suspension trainer.  Either of these upgrades will allow for pull-ups, but also provide an opportunity to perform a number of more challenging exercises in various movement planes and patterns.

Jump rope: This inexpensive piece of equipment is available in every sporting goods store.  Pick one up for $10 to infuse some cardio intervals into your training.  Training with a jump rope will also improve balance, coordination, and foot speed.

DO THIS WORKOUT:

Repeat this circuit 3-5 times.

Jump Rope 60 seconds 

Rest 30 seconds

Dumbbell Clean and Press 60 seconds

Rest 30 seconds

Burpee 60 seconds

Rest 30 seconds

Max Rep Pull-ups 60 seconds

Rest 30 seconds

Jump Squats 60 seconds

Rest 30 seconds

Man Maker (Push up-to-Dumbbell Row) 60 seconds

Rest 30 seconds

Jump Lunge 60 seconds

Rest 30 seconds

Kettlebell Swing 60 seconds

Rest 30 seconds

Repeat as needed!

 

(Author Joe Vennare is a successful entrepreneur and accomplished fitness professional. As the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, www.thehybridathlete.com, Joe develops innovative fitness programming for endurance, multi-sport and obstacle race athletes. Joe is also the co-creator of Race Day Domination,www.racedaydomination.com, a training manual designed to prepare competitors for success in any obstacle course race. In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe is a sponsored endurance athlete competing in triathlon, ultra-marathon, and adventure racing. Joe’s motivation to train and compete in endurance sports is fueled by a desire to test his physical abilities and mental toughness.)

20
Feb

Are you Insane?

Posted in News

by Joe Vennare, Co-Founder Hybrid Athlete 

Brian 2It was Albert Einstein who said; Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.  With this statement in mind, spend some time today studying your training schedule, daily workouts, and nutritional intake.  Then ask, are you satisfied with your results? What are you doing about it?  If you are not continually reviewing, assessing, and tweaking your training and fueling habits your efforts, there is no way to tell if you are improving, regressing, or at a complete standstill. 

 

Maintaining a training journal and recording your workout, performance, and state of mind is one tool that will enable you to evaluate your efforts versus your results.  Whether you are a professional athlete with years of exercise experience or a professional channel surfer enthralled by late night infomercial touting the next best fitness gadget, you have likely been exposed to the concept of training “plateaus”.

 

The concept is simple, but gets transformed into a scientific study comparable to quantum physics so that personal trainers have a justification for taking your money.  Here is what you need to know; because our bodies adapt to the loads and stressors placed upon it during training, it is necessary to vary the amount of weight lifted, distance covered, or intensity at which you train in order to continually progress.  What does that mean for you?  Change up your routine so that it is not routine.  Use different exercises, rep schemes, and weights during workouts that vary in terms of frequency, intensity, and duration.  Don’t over complicate things.  There is no magic routine or specific formula that dictates how often a regimen needs altering.  Keep your workouts fresh, fun, and challenging to ensure that they are constantly evolving and your results will follow suit. 

 

Now, I have a bit of a confession to make.   I told you all of that, so that I could tell you this: there are other factors that cause training plateaus and affect physical performance.  There are millions of articles available on the interwebs that will tell you how to “break through a fitness plateau”.  However, they fall short of addressing the entirety of the subject.  An inclusive approach to assessing performance during a workout and the results that ensue require an analysis of the training environment and external stimuli.   

For starters, consider the following:

When and where do you train?

Do you listen to music?

What do you eat before/after your workout?

What do you wear?

Do you train alone or with a partner/trainer?brian 

 

Are you walking into the gym at the same time every day, having eaten the same snack, rocking out to the same “workout” playlist?  Or, are you meeting your buddy at the bench press for pseudo-workout before you head to your local pub for happy hour?  Better yet, have you been working with the same trainer for months or years hoping to lose those final ten pounds?  Now, how did we define the outcome of doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?  Oh yeah…INSAINITY! 

Instead of adhering to a predictable routine, get more from your workouts by altering your training environment and outside influences.  Train in the morning on an empty stomach, see how you feel.  Find a new gym, preferably one without mirrors, televisions, or exercise machines, where members are moving heavy objects.  Ask a friend who is fit if you can train with them.  Even if you struggle to keep up, you will benefit from trying.  Make a new playlist or train without music to see what happens.  Finally, take your workouts outside from time to time.  Running on a treadmill is not the same as running on a track, the road, over rolling hills.  If having a predictable workout regimen, with respect to exercise and weight selection, is detrimental the same is true of a daily training routine that is routine.

 

(Author Joe Vennare is a successful entrepreneur and accomplished fitness professional. As the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, www.thehybridathlete.com, Joe develops innovative fitness programming for endurance, multi-sport and obstacle race athletes. Joe is also the co-creator of Race Day Domination, www.racedaydomination.com, a training manual designed to prepare competitors for success in any obstacle course race. In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe is a sponsored endurance athlete competing in triathlon, ultra-marathon, and adventure racing. Joe’s motivation to train and compete in endurance sports is fueled by a desire to test his physical abilities and mental toughness.)

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Driving home after an incredible event in Virginia. Thank you, Combiners. #cmc #cmcvirginia #bluestarhighway #patriotism #athletes #crossfit

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Cross the finish line like James Bond. Regram via @devinmaier. #cmcvirginia #cmc #finishline #jamesbond #keepitclassy #bryceresort

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The cargo net is just for show...these Virginia combiners are BEASTS. #cmcvirginia #cmc #beastmode #bryceresort

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