Looking to get in shape for this summer and need some motivation? Or tired of the usual running events and want something more fun? Have a look at the number of obstacle type events popping up around the country.
But first see why obstacle races are where it’s at for fun and fitness.
Why Obstacle Events are Better
When people often set that “I’m going to get in shape goal” they often use running a marathon as their ultimate goal. Maybe why so many of those people also fail.
- Long distance running is very hard on the body and not everyone is built for it.
- It is really easy to hurt yourself if you try to jump into long distance running too quickly, compared to other training.
- Running by itself is not a full body workout and creates imbalances. You are looking for total body fitness.
The best part about obstacle races is the events are fun, and the training can be fun too. Marathon runners run to train. Cyclists ride their bikes to train. Power lifters lift weights to train. But for obstacle events the more variety you put in your workout the better, because you use your whole body. Neglecting any one area hurts you overall. This means you get in better overall shape and training doesn’t become as monotonous.
Total Body Fitness
Everyones fitness goal should be total body fitness. Hardcore marathon runners, cyclists and power lifters or body builders are a few examples of the opposite. They’ve specialized their bodies to perform one task extremely well at the detriment to other areas. Which is why they don’t make the best models to follow.
To be fit for obstacle events you need solid core strength first and foremost, the upper body strength to get over obstacles on your own, the wind to run up steep hills and climbs, and excellent balance to maneuver through unbalanced terrain and tricky obstacles. There isn’t any one part of your body that gets neglected, you work everything: arms, legs, back, shoulders, chest, heart and lungs.
How Obstacle Events are Different
Yes obviously there is running involved in these events but the distance, pace, and grade vary so much throughout the events. Besides just requiring more balanced fitness, obstacle events are also created for many different fitness levels and challenge you in different ways.
If your fitness goals are to look like a twig, than go for marathon running or cycling but if you want to both look and feel good, obstacle races is the way to go.
Measure fitness and health with the ass kicking test:
Put the top marathon runners and the top obstacle event competitors in a steel cage, death match and see who comes out alive.
I can pretty much guarantee the obstacle event runners would all survive. A lot of runners sacrifice muscle mass to get lighter, not a requirement for obstacle races, in fact you will perform more poorly if you do so.
Obstacle events require total body fitness which means competitors must train their entire bodies for better overall strength, balance, stamina and health. Many people stop their workout routines because they become boring or monotonous.
With obstacle training the more variety you have in your workout the better. You can do power yoga on Monday, a kettle bell workout on Tuesday, swim on Wednesday, a spin class on Thursday, run hills on Friday, and something completely different the following week.
Training videos like p90x and Insanity have been popular lately. These types of workouts are also great for obstacle events. So are classes you might take like fitness bootcamps, TRX, HIIT, and CrossFix. For a lot of people they see results but eventually lose motivation to continue with them. Having a goal of running an obstacle event is one thing that can keep you going.
Fear = Fun
There is also a little bit of a fear factor to obstacle races, especially for people with problems with heights or confined spaces. You have to push yourself to do something there is no way you would be doing in your normal everyday activity, which adds fun, excitement and a little bit of adrenaline to the mix.
Throw in some fire, electric shock, freezing water, jumping from heights and zombies??? (yup one event is zombie themed) and you have an action packed day ahead of you.
Obstacle Events Are For Everyone & All Fitness Levels
You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to participate in most of these events. The top finishers are usually in excellent shape but people who aren’t quite as fit can participate. The whole point is to get out and have fun while exercising.
A lot of the events are group or team oriented so you can do them with a group of friends, family or coworkers.
Motivation and Accomplishment
Having these events to train for can be very motivating and can be one more thing to add and then check off your bucket list.
A lot of people can workout for a couple of months but then lose interest. If you have an event to train for that you are actually looking forward to, your likelihood of continuing to workout goes up a lot.
Plenty of Events to Choose From
There are all kinds of events popping up all over the world. Everything from short, mud runs to 48 hour events for the absolute toughest individuals on the planet, and a variety of events in between.
Check out some of the obstacle events here.