***NOTICE - My blog has moved. You can continue to find my blog postings over at www.tylerrobbinsfitness.com ***

Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 223 - "How to Lose Weight" Video


Here is a great video I came across detailing some very basic principles behind weight loss/weight gain. Most people don't think of these principles this way, so it is nice to have this organized and broken down in such a great way.

Quote of the day:
"The sky has never been the limit. We are our own limits. It’s then about breaking our personal limits and outgrowing ourselves to live our best lives."
~ Unknown

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com



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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 222 - Weekly Newsletter


Hey Everybody

I trust things are well with everyone. I am hoping all of my American friends had a great Thanksgiving break. We are now heading straight towards Christmas and the holiday season wrapping up the end of the year.

This is a notoriously bad time of year for folks to just 'write off', then start fresh at the beginning of the year. I like to think of myself as a realist, so I understand that this is a tough time of year to get active. That is fine. Do what works for you. I am not going to try and preach to you that you should get active now, with just a month left of the year, and with all of the holiday festivities going on, it can be extremely tough to get on a workout schedule. But, at least do this for me:

1. Limit yourself with your holiday 'junk' eating. There is PLENTY of opportunity to indulge a little without totally ruining your waistline. Limit the damages this time of year usually does to most people.

2. Start making plans to get started training NOW. Don't wait until January to sort of starting to think about what you wish to do to get in shape. Start getting motivated and prepared now, so that when January 1st rolls around, you are ready to hit the ground running!

On a personal note, and with a bit of research, I seem to have picked up a case of chondromalacia, or "runner's knee" from World's Toughest Mudder. Majority of the time my right knee feels just fine, and in fact there were absolutely no problems the other day when I played hockey. Having said that, a lot of walking or going down stairs causes a bit of a 'flare up' where I get some pain. So, I am definitely taking some recovery time, trying to limit the stress on the knee, avoiding stairs with my right leg, etc.

I am hoping to still start Body Beast December 15th, but that will be entirely dependent on the right knee. I will keep everyone updated.

Speaking of Body Beast, since I am planning on starting December 15th, I will be jumping head-first into our Challenge Group at that time. (Link in e-mail signature below). We already have a good group of us aiming to get started at or around the end of this year, so feel free to jump in with us. Challenge Groups are a fantastic way to get and stay motivated/accountable.

That is all for this week, I hope to hear from all of you with any problems/concerns/questions you may have. Talk to you all soon!




Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 221 - World's Toughest Mudder Newspaper Article


Tough Mudder takes on New Jersey

Tough competition. Tyler Robbins recently completed two laps of the World's Toughest Mudder in New Jersey. Todd McEwen
In 24 hours, 1,300 competitors from around the globe were vying to be crowned the World’s Toughest Mudder.
Orangeville’s Tyler Robbins was among that horde.
After qualifying for the event by finishing among the top five per cent at the Toronto-leg of the worldwide tour in August, Robbins and his wife flew to New Jersey, where neither were sure what to expect.
“I was going into this blind,” Robbins said. “It was a great learning experience. I want to do it again next year.”
While he returned to Dufferin soil with only a T-shirt, headband and worn out running shoes, the Orangeville native managed to complete two full laps of the 10-mile course in the allotted 24-hour time frame.
“I did a lap, came back, rested for about half an hour … then went back out for a second lap … then called it quits, because my knees were toast,” he said. “It was the type of the thing where if I had have kept going, I could’ve risked long-term damage.”
When Robbins spoke with The Banner after completing his first Tough Mudder event in August, he said he was surprised by the challenge the hills posed at Mount St. Louis Moonstone. This time around, he pointed to the monkey bars as the most difficult obstacle thrown at him.
“There were a handful of obstacles, where you actually had to do them twice,” he said. “So you’d do the monkey bars … then the course would loop around and you’d end up crawling through mud and you’d go back to do the monkey bars again.
“Now you’re covered in mud, you’re hands are covered in mud, which makes it so much more difficult to try and get across with muddy hands and gloves.”
Like last year, the obstacles and course map weren’t revealed to the competitors until their arrival, which left newcomers like Robbins at a slight disadvantage. 
“I feel they put a lot more design into the course to try and make it more difficult,” he said.
Robbins thanked his sponsor, Kreator, and said once his knees recover, he'll be back in the grind for next year's event.
“I’m going to start preparing for the event in May and look forward to next November."



Quote of the day:
"Motivation will almost always beat mere talent."
~ Norman R. Augustine
Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 220 - World's Toughest Mudder - What I Learned

In this blog, I will detail what I felt worked and didn't work for me personally at the World's Toughest Mudder event. I tried my best to prepare for this event, but there were many things that I simply had no idea how to prepare for, I ended up learning through experience. Below is a list of things that worked and didn't work for me.

What Worked

5mm Wetsuit - I am actually going to split this one. I have also included this in the "didn't work" category below, so I will explain for both. The 5mm full-body wetsuit worked quite well at keeping me warm in the cold water and the cold temperatures of the day. It did exactly what it was supposed to do by letting in enough water to hold the temperature against my body. For the swimming obstacles, I could definitely feel some cold water seeping in at certain points in the suit, but that water would warm quickly enough that I didn't lose too much body heat.

Strength Training - My strength training, in my opinion, was a perfect fit for this competition. I included a lot of upper body dynamic strength training (P90X2). This included a lot of core training and instability training to improve the durability and coordination of my shoulders, etc. Also included in my training, which I personally feel helped tremendously, was my pullup strength. There are a number of obstacles that required strength to pull myself up onto, and I never felt like I was lacking in that department. If my legs had held up a bit better, I personally think that my upper body would've been good for at least another 2 laps!

Standard Running Shoes - I debated which category to put this into, so I will explain why. First of all, I purchased a pair of Vibram Five Finger "Flow" for this event in particular. I had heard that they were a great shoe for cold water activities. Unfortunately, due to the wetsuit and the design of my shoes, my ankles were exposed, and the Vibrams were quite thin in material, so I decided last minute to go with my plan 'b', which was my standard running shoes. I had 2 pairs, so I used one pair for each lap that I did. Yes they let in the cold water. Yes, they got extremely wet. Having said that, they gave me more coverage on my feet and I felt as though they drained the water rather quickly. Also, with just a little bit of running, my circulating blood was able to warm my feet back up rather quickly after each water obstacle.

Wool Socks - I actually read this suggestion from someone else on a Facebook group. I decided to give the wool socks a shot. They were able to keep my feet warm, but didn't absorb too much of the water that I was in, not to mention I only ended up with 1 blister by the end of the race.

What Didn't Work

5mm Wetsuit - I got so incredibly overheated during my first lap on the course. It was a fairly warm November day and the sun was shining, so even 15 minutes into the race, I was cooking in this thing. Believe it or not, I was actually looking forward to jumping in the cold water obstacles as it helped cool me down a bit. In hindsight, I believe this may have been a bit of my downfall as I think I ended up being quite dehydrated towards the end of my first lap, and my calves started to cramp up on me...BIG time. I think a better solution (in similar weather conditions), would be to have a thinner wetsuit during the day, and keep a 5 or 6mm wetsuit for later in the day/night when the temperature drops.

Distance Running - Leading up to the event, I feel I ran too often, in too short of distances. The longest I have ever run prior to World's Toughest Mudder was a half marathon (21km). If I was to do this again next year, rather than running 2-3 times per week at varying distances, I will run probably once per week, but double or even triple the distances that my training runs consisted of this time around. These runs can be as slow as humanly possible if necessary, but the main focus will be on getting my body used to covering these types of distances.

Diet/Hydration - I was pretty nervous the morning of the event. I get the nervous gut, which makes my appetite essentially disappear. I need to force myself to eat, and eat properly. I learned at the event from listening to other competitors that not only do you need to eat, but eat certain things. It is a given that bananas help with cramping muscles, but you also need to consume salty foods, especially when competing as long as you are in an event like this. I actually saw a fellow competitor who had his tent near mine with about 5 pizza boxes stacked in his tent!

Quote of the day:
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 219 - World's Toughest Mudder - My Experience: Part 3


In part 3, we pick up right where I left off in Part 2, after just conquering Everest!

Swamp Stomp/Log Bog Jog

After leaving Everest behind, we headed into the forest again for a short run before coming across some pretty serious mud pits. Swamp Stomp wasn't necessarily one giant swamp to traverse through, it was more like a series of mud obstacles. Some mud pits were shallow enough to get through easily, but there were a couple of pits that had you up to your armpits, wading through mud.

I would like to point out that these were not filled with muddy water, but thick, sloppy, mud! As one Mudder in front of me remarked, "You could take a diarrhea in here and nobody would notice..."

Electric Eel

After exiting the forest, now that I was covered in mud, I came to my absolute least favorite obstacle at Tough Mudder; Electric Eel. I had commented after completing Tough Mudder Toronto at how much I hated Electric Eel when compared to Electroshock Therapy. I find that at least with Electroshock Therapy, you can run faster to get out of the "live" field as quick as you can. With Electric Eel, you have to crawl through a field of live wires, so moving through it quickly doesn't exactly work.

Hangin Brain

To be honest, I am not too sure what Tough Mudder was aiming to accomplish with this obstacle. It was essentially Berlin Walls 1, but the walls themselves were tilted on about a 20 degree angle towards you. I guess they figured that if the walls themselves were slanted, then they would be harder to get leverage to get yourself up and over, but I really did not see many people struggling with this one at all. Considering the skill level and athleticism of the field of participants, everyone seemed to be clearing this one with little to no problem at all.

If, for some reason, someone could not clear this obstacle, they had a penalty Arctic Enema on hand as well.

Island Hoppin

After Hangin Brain and a very short run, I came up to Island Hoppin. I remember seeing this obstacle in the 2011 WTM video, so I knew what to expect with this one. There are a series of floating platforms that you must jump from one to the next to make your way across. The water here was shallow, so we were informed that if we fell off any of the platforms, we must get back on and continue from there, there was no option to swim to the end of the obstacle.



Pirate's Booty

After Island Hoppin and then a quick jaunt around the lake, it was time to go swimming. Pirate's Booty had us start out with a swim that was about 200m (in my estimation). At the end of the swim, I then had to scale about a 30 foot high cargo net. The lake was very cold, so by the time I was climbing the cargo net, my hands and feet were pretty much numb. It made for an interesting climb to say the least!


Underwater Tunnels

After I was up and over the cargo net, there was another very short run before getting back in the water. This time the swim across the lake was about half the distance as compared to Pirate's Booty, but it was probably worse due to the fact that we had go completely under 3 separate barrels to reach the other side. If I wasn't cold before, I certainly was now!

Balls to the Wall

After exiting the water, it was time to head on over to Balls to the Wall. This is a new obstacle, or least new to me. You basically have to use a rope and only 2 ledges to climb up and over a wooden wall. The picture below shows the backside of the obstacle.

This is where things started to get interesting for me. I am not sure why or how it started, but trying to jump my feet up to the first ledge on Balls to the Wall caused my calves to both seize up on me like nobody's business. I have a feeling I was dehydrated from being a bit overheated in my wetsuit, so I really started to struggle at this point. I collected myself and was able to get up and over the wall, but was definitely starting to hurt!


Drag King

Right after Balls to the Wall came Drag King. Here, there were pairs of tires tied together. You needed to grab a rope and drag the tires about 200m in one direction, then turn around and drag them all the way back. Due to the heat being generated in my wetsuit, I hated this obstacle far more than I probably should've.

Competitors were trying many different techniques at this point just to get those damn tires down and then back up the track.




Mud Mile

Once I got those damn tires back up the track, I headed on a short run over to Mud Mile. A perfect time to get muddy and wet again! Mud Mile at World's Toughest Mudder was definitely taken up a notch compared to what I experienced at Tough Mudder Toronto. There must have been 15 mounds and valleys to climb up, over, and through. Not only that, but each trench had muddy water that came up to chest level.

It was cold, it was muddy, it was difficult to get through...but I have to admit that it was pretty awesome!




Berlin Walls 2

Upon exiting Mud Mile, there was a very short run before coming up to Berlin Walls 2. At the Tough Mudder Toronto event, I struggled to get over the second set of walls simply due to the fact that they were placed so close to the end of the course. I struggled, but made it. Afterwards, I had no doubt in my mind that they were probably the toughest obstacle on the course.

World's Toughest Mudder was no exception. After experiencing some pretty bad calf cramping at Balls to the Wall, I attempted to have a fellow Mudder give me a boost. I managed to get up and grab the top of the wall but just could not muster any jump to get myself up, my calves were toast! I was then forced to take the penalty obstacle - Arctic Enema. Upon exiting the Arctic Enema, I came to the realization that this really was no worse than swimming through a New Jersey lake in November anyways, so ended up opting for this penalty obstacle my second lap as well.


Electroshock Therapy

Last but certainly not least (because Tough Mudder always like to leave this bad-boy for the end) was Electroshock Therapy. Not much else to be said about this one that hasn't already been said before.


Quote of the day:
"If we never felt like a failure, perhaps we have failed to define the meaning of success."
~ Anton Suharyanto

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 218 - 28 Years Old!

Well, today I turn 28 years old. All I can say is, wow, what a year my 28th year has been! My wife and I were thinking back on this past year and how busy it has been, so I figured I would do a quick synopsis of how much has happened, as well as how much I have accomplished in the past year.

November 2011

Last year, I decided to celebrate my birthday with my first ever Birthday Challenge. At that time, I figured it would be too cold to do anything outside, so I made a series of challenges for myself in the house. (Little did I know that a year later I would be competing in the World's Toughest Mudder!)


December 2011

My first-born son Evan arrived more than 3 weeks early on December 6th 2011. To say that our lives have changed since he has arrived would be the understatement of the century. I love the little guy more than anything else! He sure likes to keep things interesting, especially now that he is mobile. What an energetic little boy! I hope him and I can compete in some fitness challenges of our own as he grows.

December also saw me start P90X2. It arrived a few weeks before Christmas so I got started down that road on December 11th, less than a week after the birth of Evan.


January 2012

Still working away on P90X2, I received a video shout-out from Tony himself. I know, I know, it isn't really an accomplishment on my part, but I won this shout out by entering a P90X2 Facebook contest and think it's pretty cool regardless.


February 2012

I finished up with P90X2 in February. At this point, I wasn't necessarily looking for huge visual changes, but instead I wanted to see some physical improvements. After completing P90X2, I definitely had some compliments on how fast I had become on the ice playing hockey, so I would say the program worked!


After completing P90X2, I jumped right into my own Mass Phase at the end of February.

March 2012

My mass phase was progressing nicely. I was eating a ton and moving lots of weight. I also started to look ahead to the summer and what physical competitions I wanted to compete in, so I started designing my Warrior Dash Training.

April 2012

I added Tough Mudder to the list of things I wanted to do in 2012, so that meant that I had to alter my Warrior Training.

I also finished up with my Mass Phase with some pretty decent results.


April also saw the beginning of my pledge to blog every day for 365 days. I am still going by the way!

May 2012

My Warrior Training was fully under way at this point, progressing nicely. It felt good to get back to overall fitness and performance since coming off my Mass Phase.


June 2012

Still plugging away at my Warrior Training...


July 2012

I finished up with my Warrior Training, and then competed in my 2nd Warrior Dash.



August 2012

With a quick turnaround, it was time to bridge my training from Warrior Dash to Tough Mudder.


And then of course compete in my first-ever Tough Mudder...what a blast!


September 2012

A few weeks after finishing Tough Mudder Toronto, I found out that I qualified for the World's Toughest Mudder 2012! With support from my family, I decided to take the plunge and start preparing for it.


October 2012

October saw the official launch (or pre-launch) of the Beachbody Coaching opportunity in Canada. I signed up as soon as I possibly could and have been building my team ever since. In the (less than) 2 months I have been a Coach, I have been loving the opportunity. This shouldn't come as a surprise since I have been waiting for this opportunity for years!

From a training standpoint, the month of October was all about World's Toughest Mudder training and preparing for the big day.



November 2012

Then, of course, November brought the big day. I had a blast at the World's Toughest Mudder, but it certainly wouldn't have happened without the help of my wife, my family, other folks in my hometown, and my sponsor Kreator equipment so a special thanks goes out to all of you!


So what does the future hold? To be honest, I really had no intentions of having such a busy year, especially after the birth of my son, but some things just evolve the way they do.

My short-term goals include starting Beachbody's Body Beast on Saturday December 15th, just 2 days after moving into our new house. I am also registered and set to run Tough Mudder Toronto again in May, this time with my wife, so I will be looking forward to, and training for that. My 28th year has been amazing, here's to hoping for a happy, healthy, and active 29th year!

Quote of the day:
"Obstacles don't keep a champion down; they make them fight harder!"
~ Unknown


Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 217 - Motivation Saturday


I have spent much of 2012 training for events and doing a lot of endurance cardio. I am looking forward to being a 'meathead' and hitting some weights again, starting December 15th!

Quote of the day:
"Strive for progress, not perfection."
~ Unknown

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com


Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 216 - World's Toughest Mudder - My Experience: Part 2


Part 1 looked at obstacles 1-10.

Boa Constrictor (obstacle 10) really was one of the first times on the course where I was essentially fully submerged in water. The weather was pretty cold that day, as was the water, but my wetsuit was working well to keep me warm. My feet would get quite cold/numb after some of the water obstacles, but as long as I kept moving I didn't fare too badly.

Twinkle Toes

Twinkly Toes was the next obstacle on the course. After just coming from Boa Constrictor, my shoes were wet and muddy, so this was not simply an easy walk across a narrow platform. In typical World's Toughest Mudder fashion, the obstacle was also taken up a notch by adding either a narrower board to walk across, or a few narrow steps in the middle of the plank to walk on. I saw lots of folks falling into the water on this one.

Not only that, but the course looped back to this obstacle as well, so you were forced to complete Twinkly Toes twice each lap.

Walk the Plank

Immediately following Twinkle Toes was Walk the Plank, yet another Tough Mudder staple. Climb up to a 15+ foot high platform and jump into the water below. What makes this so interesting at the World's Toughest Mudder, is how cold the water is. Even with a wetsuit on, your breath gets taken away as soon as you hit that water!

After Walk the Plank, the course looped back around and you got a second crack at Twinkle Toes, then on to the next obstacle.



Kiss of Mud 2

A second bout of Kiss of Mud. I mentioned before at how I prefer the mud on this one. With the wetsuit on, the wetter the better, in my opinion, because you can actually slide along the mud quite easily.

This Kiss of Mud, I felt, had far more large rocks in it when compared to Kiss of Mud 1. Not only that, but the length of time you were crawling under barbed wire was probably double as well. You definitely got a pretty good shoulder burn by the end of this obstacle from pulling yourself through the mud.


Peg Legs (3:58-4:02 in above video)

I found this obstacle fairly basic, although I full admit that I probably worked through it at a slower pace than most. What made this obstacle challenging was the fact that your shoes would be wet/muddy by the time you reached Peg Legs, so you couldn't be certain that you were going to get good traction on the logs.

Smoke Chute (4:03-4:10 in above video)

Shortly after Peg Legs came Smoke Chute. From what I remember in last year's WTM video, this obstacle actually lived up to its name. It had flaps at the entrance and exit to prevent light from entering, and I believe they actually had smoke machines filling the obstacle with smoke.

This year it did not seem to live up to its name. It wasn't really much a smoke chute at all, more like a slide into mud. It consisted of about a 6-foot drop to a slide, where you landed right in mud.

Spider's Web

After Smoke Chute, and about a half mile (muddy) run through the woods, I came to Spider's Web. This is another staple obstacle from Tough Mudder. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. For those of you familiar with this obstacle, the trick is to have a bit of team work. A loose cargo net can be difficult to climb, so if you get the help of some other Mudders to pull down on the net and create tension, it makes climbing much easier.

Hangin' Tough (4:11-4:21 in above video)

Hangin' Tough is one of my favorite Tough Mudder obstacles. At the World's Toughest Mudder, if you fell in the water, you had a 1/8th mile penalty loop to run before proceeding on with the next obstacle.

I was able to get through with no penalty on the first lap (as seen in the video), but fell during the second lap. I chalk that up to not only having muddy gloves, but also virtually no grip strength left after attempting Funky Monkey 4 times by that point.

Dong Dangler (4:22-4:41 in above video)

Immediately following Hangin' Tough, was Dong Dangler. There were many different strategies on this obstacle. Some folks chose to try and slide along the top of the cable, while others (including myself) chose to try and hang from beneath the cable. What I ended up noticing was that if I allowed the lower half of my body to drop into the water, then I could simply just 'skim' across the top of the water and pull myself with the cable. It made for a much quicker and more efficient way of completing this obstacle, in my opinion.


Skidmarked

Following Dong Dangler was a short run over to the back side of the quarter-pipe set up for Everest. For skid-marked, you would simply climb up the back side of the quarter pipe using a rope ladder and then slide down the quarter pipe - Skidmarked!


Following Skidmarked, there was a short run over to the Ladder to Hell again, then off to Everest!

Everest (5:10-5:16 in above video)

Everest is arguable one of the most famous Tough Mudder obstacles. So many folks struggle with the timing and coordination for this one, not to mention the strength needed to not only reach the top of Everest, but to also pull yourself up. This obstacle also exemplifies the Mudder camaraderie as you see so much team work going on here.

I don't mean to brag, but I have never really had any problems with this obstacle whatsoever, it is just one of my strong points. I would say the trick to it is momentum. You want to build up a decent amount of speed, run up the incline as far as you can, and don't jump too early. Allow the momentum your body is carrying to get yourself up majority of the way and the leap from there. Once you grab the ledge, you can either pull yourself up using your own strength or there will most certainly be some other Mudders there to help you out if needed. Once I was up (both laps), I turned around to help a fellow Mudder (or two) out.

It should be noted that if you were unable to make it up Everest, you had to partake in the penalty obstacle which was an Arctic Enema...




Quote of the day:
"Failing ninety-nine times doesn't matter at all if you keep your spirits high and succeed the hundredth time."
~ Unknown

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 215 - Weekly Newsletter

Hey Everybody!

I am back from the World's Toughest Mudder. I had a blast, I worked hard, and learned a lot. Considering it was my first time through the event, I feel like I learned a lot on how to prepare. Keep an eye on my blog over the next week or so, as I will be detailing my experiences at the event, as well as what I felt worked/didn't work in my own gear and preparations. My wife thinks I'm already crazy for thinking about doing it again next year…

Also, if you haven't seen my video for the event, you can do so here.

Just a couple reminders this week:

1. Starting today, we should be getting details about Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales coming from Beachbody. This will be a great opportunity for any of you who are looking to score some deals for holiday shopping. I will do my best to keep everyone updated through all my social media outlets. If you haven't already connected with me through Facebook or Twitter, I suggest you do so as those are usually the first places I turn to to get information out to everyone.

2. There just over a week left in my November Contest. If you missed you chance to win the copy of Asylum 2 in October, now is your chance to win, as I will be giving away another copy at the end of this month. The potential to save here is pretty remarkable, considering the amount of money you can save on products (ordering a Challenge Pack) and having your Coach fees waived, not to mention the chance to win the FREE copy of Asylum Volume 2!

3. Now that World's Toughest Mudder is over, I have my sights locked on our Challenge Group starting in just a few weeks. I will be starting Body Beast on Saturday December 15th, just 2 days after moving into my new house. I have a good group of others who are jumping in to stay accountable and motivated as well! I hope to see you come on out. Choose a program, choose a start date, and get to it, stop waiting for opportunity to knock, NOW is the time to make the change!

That is all for now. Things are crazy around here at the Robbins' household. This is such a busy time of year with my birthday being this Sunday, my son's first birthday in a week, my wife's birthday a week after that. Then throw in Christmas shopping, and, oh yeah, us moving, and you have a recipe for craziness!

E-mail me back and let me know how you are doing with your current health and fitness journey. Also let me know what your future goals are. I look forward to hearing from all of you soon!

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 214 - World's Toughest Mudder - My Experience: Part 1


This blog will be about my experience at the World's Toughest Mudder event. As my very first experience at an event like this, I definitely learned a lot! In future blogs I will detail about things that worked, along with things that didn't work, but today will mainly be a description of what I experienced at the event and how the World's Toughest Mudder stacked up against your regular Tough Mudder events.

I ended up completing 2 laps of the course in just under 7 hours (about 30 minute rest between laps). I will give my insight into each obstacle and lap below.



The Start (0:35-3:19 in video above)

It was pretty humbling at the start of the race being surrounded by so many fit individuals. It was pretty remarkable to think that after all of the Tough Mudder events held in 2012 (over 450,000 participants), that I was standing in a crowd of just over 1300 of the best Mudders!

 
There was a great atmosphere and mood in the crowd, especially when there was gratitude given to the military personal in attendance. The speech given before the race was definitely moving. Reminding us all of the sacrifices folks make every day, not only in the military, but also those fighting illness or disease, and that we have this opportunity to test our mental and physical strength. It was quite inspiring!

Once the race began, there was a good mile or so of running through some mud and water before hitting the first obstacle.

Cliffhanger (3:20-3:29 in video above)

This obstacle was not much of a challenge on the first lap. I tried to get out of the starting gate somewhere in the front half of the pack, so not too many Mudders had traversed this hill at that point. By the time I reached this obstacle on the second lap, things were a bit more interesting, as the hill was a little worse for wear, but still not too much of a challenge to get up.

Berlin Walls 1

For those of you who have completed regular Tough Mudder events, you will be familiar with the Berlin Walls obstacle. There are 2 walls that you must get up and over, both being around 7 feet I believe. We are talking about the top echelon of competitors in this competition so people were flying over these walls like they were hardly there. Certainly not one of the most difficult obstacles on the course.

This obstacle was the first to have a "penalty", where if you could not get yourself over the walls, then you had to make your way through an "Arctic Enema" instead. I don't believe I saw anyone doing the Arctic Enema as I believe everyone was able to make it over the walls.

Kiss of Mud 1

Again, not the most physically demanding obstacle. You army crawl, or barrel roll, through mud, underneath barbed wire. I actually reached this obstacle and had an entire lane to myself so I tried the barrel roll technique. I wouldn't necessarily say that I made it through the obstacle any quicker, and ended up being dizzy by the time I reached the end, so I switched back to your standard army crawl for subsequent attempts at this obstacle.

One thing to note. I felt that this obstacle seemed considerably easier with the wetsuit and with lots of mud. I was able to slide on top of the mud much easier in the wetsuit, making the second time through this obstacle quite easy.

Rock Out with Your Block Out (new obstacle)

The next obstacle on the course involved carrying a standard cinder block along a hairpin loop. You would walk about 100m in one direction and then turn around and come back. Pretty basic stuff. If you have even a decent amount of strength this obstacle was a breeze.

Funky Monkey

Ah yes, good ol' Funky Monkey. The course was set up so that you actually did this obstacle twice. First time through in one direction, then the course looped back on itself and you ended up having to do it again a second time.

First time through this obstacle I made it with no problems at all. Second time through on the first lap was a totally different story. They had the second bout of Funky Monkey follow almost immediately after "Trench Warfare" so everyone was covered in mud, making for very slippery monkey bars. I fell in the water and had to take a short 1/8th mile penalty lap.

I would say that this was one of my most challenging obstacles (mentally) on the course because of how muddy the rungs became. It was very challenging to make it from one side to the other!


Trench Warfare

Underground tunnels that have a few sharp turns. The main difference I noticed here is how muddy these tunnels were. At the Toronto event that I competed in earlier this year, the tunnels were essentially bone-dry when crawled through.

These tunnels, on the other hand, had to have at least a foot of sloppy mud in them. As I said above, it made for a very interesting second bout of Funky Monkey.


Ladder to Hell (new obstacle) (3:30-3:53 in video above)

A relatively basic obstacle, but still requiring some coordination and strength to complete. I am not a huge fan of heights, so this one was interesting for me, but it wasn't too high that I felt unsafe at the top. Pretty basic really, climb up one side and then down the other!

Devil's Beard

I believe they had this obstacle at the side of a hill last year's WTM basically combining it with "Cliffhanger". This obstacle was pretty weak in my opinion. The design of it is a tight cargo net, about 50 feet long (approximately) securely fastened to the ground. You must crawl/walk/roll underneath the net. The idea here is that it forces you to stay low to the ground, potentially burning out your legs or other body parts depending on how you complete it.

This obstacle can be completed rather easily be bending over and walking under the net either sideways or backwards. The net should then slide right over top of your body.

Log Jammin'

Sometimes called by a different name, this obstacle requires climbing over and crawling under a series of logs. Nothing too exciting or different here when compared to your traditional Tough Mudder course.

Boa Constrictor

Another 'staple' obstacle from regular Tough Mudder events, here you slide down a tube (head first) into some mudder water, and then crawl back out the other side, also heading up through a tube.

I felt as though the water on this obstacle was higher than usual. I actually had to fully submerge my head in order to get out of the 'down' tunnel. The toughest part about this obstacle is trying to get out of an inclined tube, while muddy and wet. Wearing a wet wetsuit certainly doesn't help the situation either...

Quote of the day:
"Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future."
- Denis Waitley

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 213 - World's Toughest Mudder 2012 Video



Quote of the day:
"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."
- Jesse Owens

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com


Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 212 - 10 Great Health and Fitness Tips

It seems as though people try and over analyze health and fitness. This unfortunately leads to some folks getting discouraged and giving up on a healthy lifestyle. They seem to think that they need to exercise for this much time at this time of day and eat only these things at these times, etc.

Fad diets and fad exercise regimens come and go, but at the end of the day, there are a set group of "rules" I feel everyone should live by, which are listed below.

1. Be As Active as Possible - Those of you out there that are currently living a sedentary lifestyle will like this one. Rule number 1 is not about working out, but being active (don't worry, #10 is all about working out!). There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of tips people can do every day to help them stay more active. Here are just a few examples; park at the back of the lot when going to the store, you are then forced to walk a further distance. If you have grocery bags or something to carry on the way back, even better as it will be like a mini workout. If you work on the 3rd or 4th floor of a building, take the stairs. Obviously if you work on the 98th floor you will take the elevator, but maybe only until the 94th floor and then take the stairs the rest of the way. Little things like this should be permanently embedded in your brain to make you think of "how can I stay active today?"

2. Eat More Plants - No, I do not mean buying one of those "ready to cook" dishes and popping it in the microwave. The amount of processing those veggies have gone through to get to your freezer has sucked so many nutrients out of them. I mean fresh, whole, good old fruits and vegetables. I would say 70% of the stuff in your fridge should be fresh products that will not last more than a week. That way, you will be forced to eat them before they go bad, and two, by eating all of those fruits and veggies, you will be too full to fill your belly with other junk. Also, when possible, eat your fruits and veggies as naturally as possible (raw) because cooking can remove some of the vital nutrients!

3. Resistance Training - Most women (and some men) are afraid of getting "bulky". I am going to let you in on a little secret...it is extremely hard (if not impossible) for women and also men to ever become "bulky". You see, our bodies are designed to be lean and fast. Our ancestors had to chase down food and run from predators, etc. so your body does not want to be lugging around all of that extra muscle weight (or fat for that matter). Unfortunately, your body has no other choice but to store extra calories from overeating as fat, but I am getting away from the topic here. Yes, men have a higher affinity to build muscle because they have more testosterone, which makes it virtually impossible for women to ever become "bulky". Weight training (using resistance against your muscles) has a whole slew of benefits ranging from increasing your strength in muscles and ligaments, helping prevent osteoporosis, increasing your resting metabolic rate, etc. Weight training is vital for everyone to do; male, female, young and old!

4. Circuit Train - This is resistance training...done as a circuit. Many of you may have tried this type of training. The most wonderful thing occurs when you circuit train. Even though resistance training is considered "anaerobic training" or working your body without oxygen (basically), a well-designed circuit routine also works your "aerobic" systems of your body similar to running on a treadmill. This is due to the fact that when you burn your muscles, you are causing what is known as "microtrauma" to your muscle cells, where you body has to come in a repair to make you stronger for next time. How does your body repair your muscles? Well it increases your heart rate and improves your circulation. If done correctly, circuit training that works your muscles and your circulatory system at once should be the only type of training anyone should ever need (unless you are training for an endurance event such as a marathon, etc.). Not only that, but well-designed circuit routines have been proven to burn more calories than standalone cardio ever can, plus your metabolism is kicked into high gear for hours after the workout is over (including while you sleep!).

5. Change Things Up - Also known as "periodization", this is the idea that you should not be doing the same things all the time. Even you runners out there that want to train for a race should not just run, but do other full body exercises. When you do something, your body wants to do that particular thing as efficiently and effectively as possible so it strengthens you in those areas, also known as adaptation. Once you adapt to a program, your body stops changing and you hit a plateau. This is very common for people who want to get fit so they decide to take up running. Well, they get out there and run 5km, 3 days a week and see great results the first few weeks, losing weight, etc. Then, all of a sudden as if someone hit a switch, they stop losing weight. Its because their body is used to running and is no longer changing. This is why full-body circuit routines are great, you can constantly swap out different moves and literally have an infinite number of exercise combinations to keep your body constantly guessing...and constantly changing!

6. Train With a Purpose - If you are a soccer player, you would train your legs and core and heart to be a better runner and kick the ball harder, etc. If you are a gymnast, you train your flexibility and core strength, etc. Well for average people who do not have a specific sport to train for, you should be training your body to become more functionally fit for everyday life. This includes core strength to improve posture, leg strength to climb stairs into your old age, arm strength to lift your kids and play with them. Don't just do something just because it looks cool or is the new fad, do it because it is going to improve your overall health. For example, if you are a dad who coaches your sons soccer team and wishes to be more fit and active, going to the gym three days a week and spending 45mins of every hour doing ridiculous weight on the bench press and bicep curls may make your muscles grow a bit, but you are still going to be huffing and puffing trying to keep up with the kids. Take that for example right there, kids do a little bit of everything, they run, they jump, they swing from trees, adults should take a hint...

7. Stretch - Now that you are following rule #3 and doing some resistance training, remember to stretch as well. Nothing makes someone old faster than their muscles experiencing atrophy (decay) and shortening up as they get older. You see it in your older relatives, their posture is terrible, they hunch over, etc. This is due to a lack of strength training as well as a lack of stretching. It literally is the fountain of youth. Stretching not only opens up our muscles but also helps with joint mobility, circulation and injury prevention.

8. Core Strength - I touched on this a bit in #6, but core strength is something everyone should be focused on. Your core allows you to do the things you do in every day life. I don't just mean those "six-pack abs" here either, but your entire trunk. Everything from you "nipples to knees" is your core and all the way around your body. Not only will your arms and legs function more efficiently due to a strong core (healthy trunk makes for a healthy tree) but you will also be less susceptible to injuries, especially with your back.

9. Drink Your Water - Most of us are underhydrated, probably caused by our obsession with caffeine (diuretic). A properly hydrated body just runs more efficiently including digestions, our immune system, our thinking, etc. Not only that, but if you are underhyrated, your body thinks as if you are living in a dessert so it starts to retain water which can add inches here and there. Drink your water and eat raw fruits and vegetables as they are mostly water to stay hydrated!

10. Exercise - I told you I would get back to this one. As much as we all like to think, "Oh, I did the gardening today, that is enough exercise" or "I walked the dog, that is enough exercise" you are fooling yourself into thinking you are speaking the truth. Stop lying to yourself and get some exercise. Exercise is where your heart rate gets up high (much higher than walking pace) and stays there for a decent amount of time. For those of you starting out, 20 mins of exercise will be plenty, then as you get more fit and more comfortable with your changing body, you can increase the amount of time you work out. Keep in mind though that more does not necessarily mean better. Some people go from couch potato to 2 hours at the gym their first time out and can barely walk the next day. Unless you are training for the Olympics, most people will benefit from 45-60mins a day, 5-6 days a week. Yes, I had to sneak that part in...everyone should get at least 20mins of exercise 5-6 days a week...no questions asked.


Quote of the day:
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
~ Aristotle


Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com



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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 211 - Muscles


Today's blog is all about muscle. Everybody has loads of muscles in their bodies. They do everything from protect your organs, aid in involuntary bodily functions (heart, digestion), create heat, and of course movement of our limbs and body parts.

Your body is made up of 3 different types of muscles. Cardiac muscle is only found in your heart. It is an involuntary muscle that pumps in rhythm to transport blood and nutrients throughout your body. It is involuntary because no matter how hard your concentrate, your brain cannot directly control your heart, it just runs on autopilot.

Smooth muscle is found around your organs and is also involuntary. These muscles do such things as move your food throughout your digestive tract.

Thirdly, you have skeletal muscle. This is the (mostly) voluntary muscle that allows us to speak, move our hands, walk, etc. 

You genetically have a set number of muscle fibers in your body that is set during puberty. You may gain more muscle fibers in childhood, but once you reach your teenage puberty years, the number of muscle fibers you have is set. Now that does not mean that your muscles will stay that size forever, as it is possible to grow the fibers you already have.

The number of muscle cells you are given mostly determines the way you look, but exercising your muscles and staying fit can lower body fat percentage, make your muscles more defined looking, and of course grow them a bit to look lean and toned, or even big and muscular if that is your thing!

Our bodies are constantly under construction. Work crews are transported around our circulatory system all day, every day, breaking down and disposing of broken or unneeded tissues. This includes muscles and ligaments. Unfortunately, our bodies take the "use it or lose it" approach, so as we age, if our muscles are not being used, we dispose of them over time. That is why it is of vital importance that everyone includes some sort of resistance training to their exercise programs a few times a week.

You see, when you cut your skin, your body creates a scab and then repairs the damage. It is the same for when you are lifting or pushing something heavy. Using your muscles causes tiny tears and rips in the muscle fibers. Your construction crews then swoop in and repair the damage, and leave your muscles stronger for the future.

Not only does resistance training help improve your tensile strength of your muscles and ligaments, but doing dynamic movements help coordinate your body better. Human beings are creatures of habit. We get good at the things we do often, so throwing a punch at a punching bag, or doing a jump squat, etc. is created by a wave of coordinated chemical releases from your brain to your muscles that allow your muscles to act in a synchronized manner. Athletes are perfect examples of this. If you shoot a basketball into a basket a few hundred thousand times, your brain is going to become really good at remembering how to do it and even becoming better at it. This is also known as "muscle memory".

This is important as we age, because like deteriorating muscles, our nervous system and balance also become less and less efficient as we age which can lead to injuries caused by muscles imbalances or uncoordinated movements. The more and more we train our muscles to be active, the more coordinated, balanced, and healthier we stay.

Having said all of that regarding "muscle memory", it is important to constantly be changing the way we exercise our muscles. If we were to do bicep curls 3 days a week for the rest of our lives, only a specific portion of that muscle would adapt and stay "good" for that time, while the rest of the muscles in your arm and shoulder, etc. essentially melt away. Your muscles need dynamic, coordinated, multi-planar movements to stay fresh, youthful and healthy.

For the women out that that want to stay away from weights because they don't want to look like "she-hulk", remember that testosterone is what causes men to have bigger looking muscles. Men on average have about 20-30% more testosterone than women do, which allows them to be about 50% stronger and build bigger muscles. Having said that, muscles are muscles, so if you took a 130lb man and a 130lb woman with relatively similar muscle size, they should have the same strength. Pound for pound, women can be just as strong as men!

One final thing, just remember to push through the burn. We used to think that that burning sensation you get in your muscles during exercise (caused by lactic acid buildup) was your body telling you to stop exercising. But in fact, researchers have discovered that it is actually your body trying to eek out that last little bit of effort by supplying your muscles with a shot of (painful, burning) fuel. The thing is, the more you cause your muscles to burn like that, the more efficient they become at dealing with that pain. You may notice that the more you exercise, the less and less burn you get in your muscles, allowing you to push yourself further and further!


Quote of the day:
"Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future."
~ Denis Waitley

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com



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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 210 - Motivation Saturday


Well folks, here it is. By the time you reading this, I will either be about to start, have started, or have completed World's Toughest Mudder. Today (Saturday November 17th) is the day that I have been anticipating for quite some time now. Time to put my hard work to good use! HOO-RAH!

Quote of the day:
"Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t."
~ Jerry Rice
Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com



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Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 209 - Why World's Toughest Mudder?

There have been numerous instances in the past few months where people have asked me the same question, "Why is it that you are competing in the World's Toughest Mudder?"

Really, it is not a bad question to ask. Why would anyone in their right mind willingly sign up for a 24-hour endurance event, held in New Jersey, in November? An event that is sure to have plenty of cold water obstacles. Plenty of electrocution. Plenty of mud. Plenty of climbing, running, crawling, and just downright miserable things?

Why would anyone want to do these things?

Short answer: Because I can!

I will get into a number of reasons below, but for those of you who do not wish to read the entire blog, then just remember this. As long as I have this body that can run, climb, swim, and experience an event like this, I am going to do it...because I can.

Why else do you have the body that you do? To sit on a couch and watch TV? To stuff your face full of garbage? To obsess over material items that ultimately at the end of your life have no real meaning?

The rush and feeling of achievement I get when I complete something that I have been working hard towards, trumps anything else I have ever experienced. I enjoy testing myself mentally and physically. We have been given these wonderfully complex and amazing pieces of machinery (our bodies), so why not use them to their full potential?

If someone was to let you borrow the keys to a high-end sports car, would you take it to do your grocery shopping and then park it in your garage to collect dust? No, you would more than likely want to go drive that sucker around testing its performance and capabilities. So why would you allow your body to go essentially unused, sitting around being lazy?

Sure there are plenty of other ways to get active and experience life. I get it. There are many other ways for folks to enjoy life and be active. For me, I don't feel truly alive unless I am pushing myself to my absolute limits. I almost get this out-of-body experience, where I stand back and look at what I have accomplished, what I have worked hard towards. When my lungs and muscles are burning, and my heart feels like it is going to pound right out of my chest. Add-in some mud covering my body, scrapes and cuts, bruises and sores. I can look at myself and know that I have given everything I've got. That rush of excitement is unlike anything else...

My Family

My family has been amazingly inspirational to me. My wife just spent over 5 years of her life working towards, and achieving her PhD in Molecular Genetics! The ups and downs I watched her go through were unlike anything I have seen before. The amount of hard work and dedication she put into her studies have been tremendously inspirational to me.

My son who is just 11 months old works his butt off every day. I know, I know, this seems so trivial to many. He is a baby, that is what babies do right, they learn to crawl, they learn to walk, they learn to grow and mature. But have you ever stopped to think and wonder why the rest of us should be any different? Why do we stop working hard to improve ourselves both mentally and physically? Is it because we have reached perfection? No. There is always something you could be doing to improve yourself in one way or another. Stop wasting your time and do it now.

On top of the inspirational side of things, my wife, son, parents, brother, sister, father and mother in law, have all helped me with words of encouragement and through monetary means to get to this event. I work hard and will be doing this event for them!

A Challenge

I truly feel the most alive when I am doing something that pushes me to my limits, both mentally and physically. Like the sports car analogy above, so few of us have truly pushed our bodies to the limits that we are capable of.

Since I come from a scientific background, not to mention an overall passion and interest for the human body and the science that surrounds it, I am constantly amazed at what the human body can do. The symphony of processes that are carried out within our minds and bodies on a daily basis is absolutely astounding, yet nearly all of us have never, or will never use our minds and our bodies to their true capabilities.

This event may not even bring me to that point either. I may have to bow out of the competition early due to extreme exhaustion, or being ill-prepared equipment-wise, but I can safely say right now that I am willing to do whatever it takes to have zero regrets when I leave New Jersey at the end of this weekend. I want to experience this event for all that it's worth and see what my body and my mind can do!

Support

I made mention to my wife in the past at how much support I have received for this event, both financially and morally. It is one thing to receive family support, it is something completely different when you receive the kind of support that I have from either folks I hardly know, or even complete strangers!

I have a tremendous family, and I never want to take that away from them, and I know they will always be there for me. Having said that, I am forever grateful for the support I have received from folks that, as I said, I hardly know or are a complete stranger to me. The overwhelming amount of support that I have received from my community and folks around the world has truly touched my heart. I compete for all of you as well! (you know who you are)

Another Year Older

Let's face it, none of us are getting older. Time keeps ticking away. I don't want to make this all doom and gloom, but just keep that ticking clock in the back of your head!

My upcoming birthday (November 25th), I will be turning 28 years old. Although this is not a 'milestone' birthday by any means, it is yet another year tacked on. In my opinion, there is no better way to celebrate a birthday, than to put your body through the rigors that I will experience at the WTM. Sure, some people may think drinking their face off, or eating a bunch of cake sounds like a raucous time, but not me. I will have a few beers on my birthday, don't get me wrong, but this is also a tremendous way for me to celebrate getting another year older.

When I am old and wrinkly, and aches and pains are setting in, I really do not want to regret the time I wasted by not using my body when it was young and energetic. What's that saying again? Oh yeah, "Youth is wasted on the young!" I look to prove that quote wrong.

I don't know where this fascination will take me next. I ran into my doctor a little while ago, after she had heard about my plans to compete in the World's Toughest Mudder. Jokingly she said to me, "What's next after this? You are just going to keep going, moving on to other things to top this event!" She is probably right. But the way I look at it, if my biggest concern, as I age, is trying to figure out the next thing to challenge me, then I am a pretty lucky guy.

Quote of the day:
"Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had."
~ Unknown


Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com



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