The Blog

So Ya Wanna Be A Spartan?

The summer of 2016 has been an eventful one for Lindsay Lee Orange. 2 triathlons (placing 3rd in each-yay!), Femsport in July, and on Sept. 3rd I completed my first-ever Spartan Race. Not just any Spartan: the SUPER! Many people usually enter in the 5 km, or ‘sprint’ distance for their first Spartan. I was advised by several others that as a runner I would find the sprint distance ‘too easy’. The Spartan Super-distance is 12+ kms, with 27 obstacles. The farthest I had ever ran in recent years is 10 kms, so I had my work cut out for me. I thought I’d share my personal experience in both training and completing my first Spartan. Some of you can take this blog as a useful tool if you are truly interesting in entering in a race yourself, or simply as good reading material: the choice is yours 😉

 

Set your goal

For the last 4 years I had pondered the idea of doing a Spartan. It wasn’t until I had competed in Femsport (an all-female strength-agility competition) that I truly felt I was primed and ready to take on the challenge. Since I had been training for my triathlon races all summer, I knew my cardiovascular ability was at an all-time high. I was told the 5 km would be a ‘cake walk’ based on my endurance level; so I went ahead and registered for the Super. Coming off my triathlon race on August 7th, I had 4 weeks to try to bring up my strength and agility as much as possible for the Sept. 3rd race.

 

Training

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There are many people that will enter in a Spartan without any type of formal training. While this is entirely possible, it would depend on the individual’s existing physical condition/athletic background upon entering the race. Also, if your goal is to do fairly WELL- I do advise conditioning yourself accordingly:

Running

The most basic, but most necessary training you will need. Whether your race is 5 km, 12+ km, or 20 km (that would be a ‘Beast’ distance): you need to be able to run AT LEAST that distance. The race is not just running: you are faced with obstacle after obstacle, many of which are much more physically demanding than actual running. And for every failed/incomplete obstacle, your penalty is 30 burpees. Yep. 30. It’s no cake walk. And that brings me to my next tip:

Practice Burpees

Nobody likes burpees. They are hard, they are exhausting, and no matter your pace doing them, they are going to kill your Spartan time. For those of you that don’t know what a ‘burpee’ is: Google it. They’re no joke. But let me tell you after 4 weeks of practicing drill after drill involving burpees, I was beginning to get pretty lean- especially in my midsection! Here are a couple of drills I did to help me prepare:

1) Indoor Drill (with treadmill)

*4-5 min warm-up, at 4.0 mph, incline at 1.0%

Sprint 30 sec at 9.0 mph, incline at 7.0%

Walk 30 sec at 4.0 mph, incline at 15.0%

15 burpees

x 8 rounds

2) Outdoor Run Drill

For every mile (1.6 km), stop, drop and complete 30 burpees

*I would complete this drill on my 5 mile runs (8 kms)

As brutal as these drills are, the idea is to bring up your physical conditioning so that if you miss many obstacles you are physically prepared to finish the entire race regardless.

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Strength Training

This is an area that I feel many endurance athletes overlook, in general. Although you most likely won’t know exactly which obstacles you will be faced with, I can tell you you will need to be able to pull your own body weight (several times), climb over walls/fortresses, and be made to lift some challenging weight. Working on my grip strength was a big one for me. I worked on my strength training 2-3 days/week involving exercises like:

  • conventional deadlifts
  • seated rows
  • pull-ups
  • farmer carries up/down stairs
  • planks/core strength
  • wrist curls

It helps having My Champ as the awesome trainer he is, to advise me on all of those. Lift, pull, carry as heavy as possible (while maintaining proper form) to ensure you will be ready for ANYTHING!

OCR (Obstacle Course Race) Training

At Femsport I was fortunate to learn there is an outdoor-fitness club called ‘River City Fitness’ that offers training specifically for individuals entering in obstacle course races (Spartans, Tough Mudders, Rugged Maniacs, etc.). I was only able to go once in my 4 weeks of prep, but I found it super helpful!! It was a good way to train for the ‘unexpected’, I found. The group was super friendly, very positive- much like the people you will meet at your race! I had a great time. Check out their website: www.rivercityfitness.ca if you are in the Edmonton, AB area.

Nutrition

image-91If you have been following me for a while, you already know that I’m a pretty huge advocate for eating well. I found with training for triathlons it was important for me to keep my carbohydrate intake fairly high to sustain my energy for the long distances. For Spartan training, I made adjustments to cater to the strength demands, high-intensity and endurance training, as well as efficient recovery. While everyone is different, I found that my body works best with a 40/30/30 ratio (carbs/protein/fat). I stuck to whole foods during the week, while allowing myself a couple of ‘free’ meals on the weekend- like pizza with My Champ or apple pie with my family. During the week my diet consists of foods such as:

  • oats
  • egg whites/whole eggs
  • sweet potato
  • whole-wheat wraps
  • avocados
  • nut butters
  • yogurt (plain, either 0% or 2%)
  • reduced-fat cheese
  • chicken
  • fish
  • bananas
  • apples
  • berries
  • salads/veggies
  • protein powder
  • almond milk
  • protein powder

As you can see, tons of variety! I keep track of all my food intake on an app such as MyFitnessPal.

What to wear

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This I had to resort to the Internet myself for info- I was completely lost. So I am here to help! First off: invest in a GOOD pair of trail shoes. It is worth the money. It is so important for your overall run and joint health to consider this. Yes, your shoes will get crazy-muddy during the race- but good quality shoes can be put through the wash! Good as new. I went online and bought myself a pair of Reebok ‘All Terrain Thrill’ shoes, and they were great. There are many other good brands out there, but do go out and get a pair. Make sure you have ample time to break them in before your race as well. In addition to good quality shoes, I do strongly advise you to either tape your ankles/wear ankle braces for your race. The terrain is extremely uneven and slippery: the LAST thing you want is a blown ankle. My Champ taped me up using Pro Wrap and stick tape and my ankles were injury-free.

image-97Every site I visited stated ‘less is more’ for clothing. This is totally sound advice as you will be trudging through several mud bogs as well as walking/swimming through bodies of water (rivers, maybe a lake) so you don’t want to be wearing anything that will weigh you down when wet. I ended up wearing a thin tank and 3/4 length lululemon pants (to cover my knees) in 13C weather, and it was perfect. I wore gloves, but I did have to take them off for most things about halfway through as they became far too muddy to help me any. I still say they are worth bringing if you like using them.Because my race was going to be quite long, I invested in a hydration backpack from MEC to get me through. I say it was money well spent. Those packs are super lightweight, and it also held my energy gels for ‘just in case’ I felt my blood sugar crash.

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Pack: a towel, crappy clothes to change into (even that pressure hose at the end doesn’t get all that mud off), face/baby wipes, garbage bags, snacks, your ID, and money for the beer gardens!! And your smile- the whole thing is seriously so much damn fun. You get oh so muddy, but you’ll love it. You will amaze yourself when you reach that finish line, and find out what you are truly made of 😉

 

 

Spartan Race

Be All In: Key Points for Success

Some time has passed since my last blog entry, and much has happened in the land of ‘Orangezilla’. The loss of my maternal grandmother and coping with that consumed much of my heart and mind; then simultaneously handling affairs while My Champ was away in Sweden for the IFMA World Muay Thai Championships. I was both busy and preoccupied. My number one way to deal with adversity: I get to  WORK!!

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The 2016 Coronation Triathlon took place this past Sunday, May 29th here in Edmonton, AB. I could not have asked for a better day! The weather conditions were perfect, and I was decently rested and fuelled to go. I had followed some carb loading guidelines My Champ had advised before he left, and I will say it totally worked! I had tons of energy to last the entire race, and zero crash. A family friend (an experienced triathlete) who was also taking part in the race had asked me if I had a goal in mind. I had told him based on my best training times, and estimating my transitions (from swimming, to biking, to running) I was hoping to finish around the 2 hour mark. He replied: “This is a tough course. And this being your first triathlon, if you finish in 2 hours, you won’t be making many friends!” He wasn’t trying to doubt me or be rude: he was simply preparing me for possibly falling short of my goal. I simply smiled and shrugged it off. He had never seen me train or race. He is also unaware of my competitive spirit. Instead of feeling discouraged by the comment, I thought to myself “just watch me.”

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My sprint to the finish

As mentioned, I had loads of energy throughout the race. The discipline I feared most, the bike, turned out to be the easiest. I realized just how effective my training was as I passed other cyclists, uphill. For the run I had enough gas in the tank to sprint to the finish line, welcomed by the cheers of my family and friends as well as total strangers. I handed in my time chip, and instantly looked up my time (results were posted immediately). I finished the race at 1 hour, 51 minutes!!! Not only that, but I place 3rd in my age category! As I type this I smile because not only did I beat my goal, but I shocked other seasoned athletes- including my family friend. That particular ‘shock value’ is priceless 🙂

Now that I’ve had several days to reflect on the success of the past weekend, I’ve thought about how I go about approaching each and every challenge. When I put my mind to something I definitely have an ‘all in’ approach. These are the five key points (I have found) to achieving success, in any challenge/goal:

  1. Be VisualImage (78)

    A goal needs to have a timeline: write that date down. You can choose to keep this goal/date/event private in a journal or in your phone; or you can make it public by posting it on social media. Either way, once it’s out there you’re accountable. Week by week write down your training schedule, your meals, your measurements, etc. to keep track of your progress.

  2. Check your ego at the door

    Image (81)Realize that when encountering a new challenge, you won’t be highly skilled right off the bat. Believe me, this one is HARD for me! As long as you allow yourself sufficient time for improvement, you WILL get there. Everyone has to start somewhere. As cliche as that sounds, take it from the girl that could barely ride her road bike 2 months before her race!

  3. Surround yourself with those that are better than you

    This ties in with the point above: accept that you are a student of your craft, and prepare yourself to LEARN. Join training groups, enlist a coach, allow yourself to be a sponge from those who are more skilled or have more experience. I independently joined both swim and bike groups that both respectively had some very skilled athletes. It was scary, it was intimidating: but I learned so much from both. It was all the more rewarding watching myself improve in the midst of such talented company.

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    My friend and seasoned triathlete Carlene, post-race

  4. Don’t cut corners

    You know the saying ‘hard work pays off’? Well just like how all your hard work will be evident on race/event day, so will it if you half-assed your preparation. Leave nothing to chance. Train hard, practice perfect, take in the proper nutrition, and you will NOT be disappointed with the results.

  5. Know your ‘why’

    Image (79)Last but not least, I feel this is the most important point of all. Many of us will have moments where we stop and think ‘why am I doing this?’ And we’re right to do so. But the ‘why’ has to be good enough in order to keep going. My ‘why’ is almost always to prove something to myself. It never has to do with anyone else. Your why can be anything at all: just keep in mind that it should be something related to your self-love and respect in the end.

    Why be all in? Why be so intense? Why do anything at all, if you can’t give your best… That’s my question 😉

Quattro Smoothie Bowls

I thought about sharing this meal idea of mine over the past week; as I curled up on my couch to enjoy my post-run meal the television talk-show The Social was featuring what I was eating: SMOOTHIE BOWLS!! Coincidence? I think not!

As stated on the program, the popularity of the ‘smoothie bowl’ is likely the combination of 2 great things: a delicious smoothie, and scrumptious cereal. What I love most about making these tasty, nutrient-dense concoctions is that you really don’t need a recipe at all. I often tend to use what I have on hand, and whichever flavours tickle my fancy for the moment. 2 mainstay ingredients in my bowls: 1/2 a ripe avocado, and a scoop of Magnum Nutraceuticals Quattro Protein!! Rich in healthy fats and essential vitamins, avocados have a mild flavour that blend well with pretty much everything. They add a wonderful creamy texture to the smoothie, and makes for a much more satisfying meal. Magnum’s Quattro protein contains 4 types of isolated protein, one of them being micellar casein. This also aids in the creamy texture, as well as satisfying that hunger. I adore all the flavours Quattro comes in 🙂

Listed below are the 3 different smoothie-bases I use for my ‘bowls’. Because I will use a different cereal depending on what’s on hand, I did not include cereal in the nutrition info. And you can top as your heart desires! These are great to have as a quick breakfast, or as a pre or post workout meal. Have fun and get creative and make them your own!

*Note: each recipe yields one serving.

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Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl, topped with country berry granola

Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl

1 scoop Magnum Quattro Protein in Vanilla Ice Cream/Half Baked Cookies and Cream

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your preferred choice)

1/2-1 cup ice cubes (more ice=thicker smoothie)

1/2 ripe avocado

1/2 medium ripe banana

1/2 cup frozen blueberries/dark berries

1 scoop Magnum Performance Greens (optional)

1/2 cup your cereal of choice

*Blend until smooth and creamy. Top as desired.

Macros: 381 calories, 37 g C; 13 g F; 34 g P

 

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Bananas n Cream Smoothie Bowl, topped with Minion’s Cereal, of course 😉

Banana’s and Cream Smoothie Bowl

1 scoop Magnum Quattro Protein in Vanilla Ice Cream/Half Baked Cookies n Cream

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2-1 cup ice cubes

1/2 ripe avocado

1/2 ripe banana

1/2 cup cereal of choice (optional)

Macros: 302 calories; 22 g C; 11 g F; 33 g P
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Decadent tasting with none of the guilt: Double Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

Double Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

1 scoop Magnum Quattro Protein in Chocolate Love/Chocolate Peanut Butter Addiction

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2-1 cup ice cubes

1/2 ripe avocado

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1-2 packets Splenda/stevia (optional)

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

*Blend and top with chocolate chips.

Macros (incl. chocolate chips): 298 calories; 15 g C; 14 g F; 33 g P

Protein Pumpkin Pancakes

Hi, my name is Lindsay, and I’m a ‘basic’ white girl that loves all things pumpkin 😉

Although we are well into February, I love to eat pumpkin everything year-round: it’s not just for fall! Even though Starbucks disagrees… but that’s another topic. I say since you can buy pumpkin puree year-round, then it shall be served year round!

Besides the wonderful flavour and color, pumpkin can add many nutrients to recipes. Rich in fibre and betacarotene and relatively low in calories, there are many reasons to add pumpkin into your nutrition plan. I especially love the moist-density it gives to baked goods 🙂

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I came up with this clean-eating (protein powder-free) pumpkin pancake recipe on my own a couple years back- mainly by trial and error. These are hearty and full of flavour (and fibre!), and sure to keep you humming all morning. They are also great as waffles!! I like to top mine with either almond butter or Greek yogurt, depending on my caloric requirements that day. Enjoy… I know you will 😉

Recipe

175 ml liquid egg whites

1/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1/4 cup quick oats (dry measure)

2 tbsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

2 tbsp almond milk (for consistency)

Splenda/stevia- to taste (optional)

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Ready to flip

Directions

  1. Preheat stovetop griddle/saucepan on medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray if necessary.
  2. Place all measured ingredients into blender/food processor. Add almond milk last to help the batter along. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour batter on to griddle. Since the batter is so dense, it won’t ‘bubble’ when ready: check the underside of pancake at approx 4-5 mins. Flip when browned.
  4. Once pancakes are firm in the centre, serve and enjoy!

Macros: 349 calories; 8.5 g F; 36.1 g C; 28.3 g P; 15.4 g fibre

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Ready to serve

 

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Waffle mode