“Because when I’m at my lactic threshold, my muscles are screaming and my body is beaten; that is where I’m truly alive.”

          Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is currently the fastest growing sport in America, with growing popularity in both Europe and Asia. Joe De Sena, founder of Spartan Race, made it his goal to get people off their couches and become physically active. OCR has changed people’s lives. 

          Four years ago I signed up for my first OCR event, “Tough Mudder”, and I was instantly hooked. Since then I have competed in numerous OCR events, including traveling to Hawaii to compete in my very first 26+ mile race. How has OCR changed me (CJ) a former powerlifter, who saw cardio as more of a punishment into a runner?  It’s all about the CHALLENGE! Who doesn’t love a good challenge.

          At Gym Jones, we stress the “The Mind is Primary”-nothing is done without first believing in yourself and visualizing reaching your goals. All challenge is in the obstacles. Anyone can go out and run 4 miles. What if we take those 4 miles and add some mud, a few walls to climb over, weights to hoist and carry, monkey bars, and a spear throw (yes, a spear throw)? We can still run those 4 miles but now we made things more interesting. 

          There is a wide range of OCR intensity for people who want to challenge themselves, so any athlete at any level can join. For those who are beginners or looking for a shorter race, there are 3-5 miles races, and intermediate races range between 8-10 miles. For those who are up for more of a challenge there are 12+ mile races, and for the truly insane, there are 30 mile races. To conquer the challenges faced in these races, training is a must to combine cardio endurance, strength, and mind. 

These programs were written to challenge yourself to let your body show you how far it can really go. Physical training must also be combined with mental training, without which your mind will want to give up before you body can. Even if you don’t want to do an OCR event, these programs will challenge your and get you to a better version of yourself-pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could do. They are about transferring energy systems making your body work as whole unit, protecting joints from injury, and allowing your mind to see where your body can lead to.

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