Train Like a Pro: David Magida

David-Magida-at-Elevate-Fitness

You may recognize David Magida as the 2016 host of the Spartan Race U.S. Championship series on NBC Sports or even as the current host of Spartan’s live-streaming coverage. However, before he picked up the microphone, he was lacing up his shoes as one of the top competitors in Obstacle Course Racing. Magida, a former member of the Spartan Pro Team, has over 20 podium finishes to his name.

David-Magida-Awards-Ceremony-Spartan-World-Championships

Despite his larger frame, Magida has been a distance runner for most of his life. In high school, he was a conference champion in cross country and, after being recruited, ran for a brief time in college. After taking some time off from running due to injury, he briefly played DI-AA football at Bucknell University as a wide receiver.

Magida took nearly 5 years off before returning to running during grad school, while training for marathons. After finding success in several Spartan races and completing the first ever Ultra Beast, Magida committed to OCR training. “It was amazing and I loved it. I just fell in love with the sport,” he recalled. “I love that you can be both strong and fast. My size was not a huge disadvantage the way it was with road running.”

David-Magida-on-Savage-Nut-Cracker

One of his fondest memories of racing goes back to a victory at Spartan’s New Jersey Super. Magida had trailed the majority of the race due to lower back issues. The rest of his body wasn’t giving up, though. “I was so frustrated that day because my legs and lungs felt fine, but my back was limiting my ability to climb. I was in agony. I could not get the legs to go, and I could not put it together,” Magida remembers.

After chasing the leader the majority of the race, Magida went all-in on the downhills, clocking around a 4:30/mile average pace on the rugged descents. “It’s this really brutal course with just these big, clunky rocks all over the ground,” he explained. “So, my feet after the race were just ruined. They were blistered and bruised and felt broken. I couldn’t train for a week.”  Magida’s grit paid off in the end, though, as he seized the lead in the final half-mile. Despite getting out-climbed every ascent before that, his mental focus kept him in the lead on the final climb, allowing him to run a downhill sprint to a first place finish. After trailing for essentially the entire race, Magida won by a mere 11 seconds. “I think the thing that made this particular race special was that nothing was going my way,” Magida said. “Physically I didn’t have it. But if you search inside yourself, you’ll be amazed to find what kind of strength you possess. I learned something about myself that day. It’s the beauty of pushing your body to your limits. You learn what you’re made of.”

David-Magida-Stadium-Sprint-CBP-Monkey-Bars

Eventually, he decided to step away from racing to open his own training studios, Elevate Interval Fitness. Currently, Magida operates a location in Washington, D.C. and a second in Fairfax, VA, with a third expected to open in D.C. in 2018. Magida employs many of the methods he learned and relied upon in his OCR training to push his clients to their limits and maximize their performance. Elevate focuses on both strength and endurance training, to help athletes develop mental toughness, stay well-rounded and, as Magida says, “to have zero weaknesses.”

At Elevate, you’ll use equipment like treadmills, water rowers, airbikes, kettlebells, sandbags, TRX and dumbbells during sessions that include circuits, intervals and partner workouts. Plus, the coaches will teach you the correct technique to ensure total effectiveness and avoid risk of injury. For more information and a free intro class, visit www.elevateintervalfitness.com.

David-Magida-Savage-Race-2015

THE WORKOUT

This workout is basically a race-simulation type of workout. Magida recommends doing it only once or twice per season and allowing around two weeks before racing. He suggests only doing some light running the day before and a pretty easy workout the day after.

Pro Tip: Don’t overdo it on the first two miles, or you’ll pay for it later.

Run to be completed at a 5k race pace on a treadmill. If you want to use this as a race simulation, complete as fast as possible. Warm up with a 10-15 minute jog

  • Run 1 mile with the treadmill at 2% incline. Once finished, complete either 30 pull ups or TRX Inverted rows.
  • Run another 1 mile with treadmill at 2% incline. Once finished, complete 30 burpees.
  • Increase the incline to 4% and run 0.50 miles. Once finished, complete 50 switch/jump lunges. That is 50 total, or 25 per leg.
  • Run another 0.50 miles with treadmill at 4% incline. Once done, complete a 100-meter bear crawl.
  • Increase the incline to 6% and run 0.25 miles. Once finished, complete another 25 pull ups or TRX inverted rows.
  • Run another 0.25 miles at 6%. Once done, complete 30 burpees.
  • Run another 0.25 miles at 6%. Once finished, complete another 50 switch/jump lunges.
  • Run one more 0.25 miles at 6%. Once done, complete another 100-meter bear crawl.
  • Finally, run 1 mile with the incline back at 2%. Once done, complete the workout with another 20 pull ups or TRX inverted rows.

Workout Totals:

  • 5 Miles of Intervals
  • 75 Pullups
  • 60 Burpees
  • 100 Switch Lunges
  • 200m Bear Crawl

Writer’s Note: Thank you to David for sharing this workout. You can follow him on Instagram.

Check out past Train Like a Pro articles:

Photo Credit: David Magida, Elevate Fitness, Spartan Race, Savage Race

Ryan Atkins – Back In The Saddle Again

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Ryan Atkins - America's Toughest Mudder West

Last weekend, Ryan Atkins came from behind to win the first ever “Toughest Mudder”. On today’s show, Ryan talks to Matt about how he did it, and covers some other random stuff you may find interesting.
Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

Orange Mud – Check out their “no bounce, ultra light hydration packs”.

Health IQ – If you do at least 2 OCR’s this year, you can save money on life insurance.

Show Notes:

Toughest Mudder West 2017 Results

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

Train Like A Pro: Ryan Atkins

Podium-At-Palmerton-2016

Few athletes dominate their sports the way Ryan Atkins has dominated OCR in recent years. He has emerged victorious at World’s Toughest Mudder four years running, most recently completing 105 miles with partner Jon Albon, and Atkins also finished on top in the first ever Spartan U.S. Championship Series.

At the Spartan World Championships, he has finished in second place three years in a row, missing first place by just 00:27 in 2016. The fourth main event in the sport, OCR World Championships, hasn’t slowed him down either. He won the 3k short course this year and finished second in the 15k Classic.

Ryan-Atkins-and-Suunto-in-the-snow

If you follow him on social media, you may not be surprised at all of the accolades. Atkins is an avid climber, runner, mountain biker and skier, not to mention proud Alaskan Malamute owner. A typical winter day for him includes a morning ski, fatbike ride and even a snowshoe hike or run for up to three hours. That’s usually followed by an afternoon climb or workout.

Below is one of those afternoon workouts, with climbing included. Atkins will generally warm up with four or five easy bouldering routes. 

Ryan-Atkins-in-Yosemite

Do part one followed by part two and repeat four times.

PART ONE

BOULDERING 

Boulder near your limit for approximately 20 minutes. If you are unable to find a place to climb, perform the following six exercises as a circuit, doing 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat four times:

Dead hang – Plank – Pinch-plate carries – Kettlebell swings – Pull-ups – Wall sit

Pro Tip: Try to avoid using chalk to make previously easy routes seem harder, or to simulate wet hands in a race. After you have warmed up, go hard for the bouldering session. You’ll want to rest about one minute between difficult routes.

Writer’s Note: I don’t normally have easy access to a rock wall or mountain, so I opted to do the 30/30 circuit. I also used my homemade hang board, at times, to feel a little more like I was actually climbing. To mimic bouldering, I placed a chair a bit behind the board so that my toes were the only part of my feet touching. I then worked back and forth on the board, sometimes moving my feet from the left side to right side of the chair. Because I added this in, I did the circuit three times as not to over-exhaust my muscles and increase injury risk. 

Ryan-Atkins-Palmerton-Crawl

PART TWO

WEIGHT ROOM CIRCUIT

  • Wall Balls (20 reps): Stand in front of a wall and assume a squat position. When you come up, throw a medicine ball up in the air towards a target above you on the wall. As you catch the ball, return to the squat position. Atkins uses a 35-lb medicine ball.
  • Mountain Climbers (40 reps): Get into a pushup position. Bring one knee towards your chest and tap your toe on the ground. As that foot returns to its original position, bring the opposite foot up and tap that toe. That is one rep. Be sure your butt does not stick up. Your body should form a straight line from head to toe.
  • Side Planks (2 minutes per side): Lay on the ground facing sideways, with your hand, forearm and elbow on the ground. Your elbow should be under your shoulder. The only other part of your body touching the ground will be your bottom foot. Raise your body up so that you form a straight line and hold that position. Your free hand can either be on your hip or in the air. Focus on not allowing your hip to dip down toward the ground. 
    • Writer’s Tip: Use a yoga mat to make it more comfortable for your supporting arm.
  • Toes To Bar (8 reps): Grab a bar with an overhand grip, your hands shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and bring your toes to the bar. Be sure to perform each rep slow and controlled. Your body shouldn’t swing at all when you come into the lower position.
  • Weighted BOSU Ball Lunge Squat (20 reps per leg): With a BOSU ball under each leg, stand in a lunge position. Hold weights at each side or at your shoulders. Lower until your back knee almost touches the ground, making sure your front knee doesn’t pass over the toes. Return to the starting position. Atkins uses 20 lbs. 
    • Writer’s Tip: If you struggle too much to have a BOSU under each foot, start off with one and work your way up. 
  • Weighted Goblet Squat (20 reps): Hold a kettlebell or one end of a dumbbell at your chest, with your palms facing in. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Squat down, retaining a straight back, and return up to the start position. Atkins uses 30 lbs.
  • Calf Raises (30 reps per leg): Stand on one leg, either flat on the ground or on a step with only the toes and ball of the foot touching. Raise your heel up, then lower it back into the starting position. 

Pro Purpose: Part two is a great way to allow your arms to recover from climbing. It also gives you some good leg and core strength training.

Pro Tip: Pace yourself during the strength section. The main purpose is to rest your arms and build functional, injury-free fitness.

Ryan-Atkins-Log-Hop

Writer’s Note: Thank you to Ryan for sharing this workout. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram. For more workouts from Ryan, check out his Obstacle Course Training (a joint venture with Jon Albon and Matt Murphy): they are offering 20% off for the holidays.

Photo Credit: Ryan Atkins, Spartan Race, the author

Check out past Train Like A Pro articles:

Tough Mudder Colorado: Uphill, All Stars, Dogs, and Da Goat

Tough Mudder returned to Colorado this past weekend, and for the third year in a row, the beautiful community of Snowmass was the host. With a base elevation of 8,100 feet and a course that seemed to go uphill the entire time, the only things burning brighter than the sun were your lungs and calves.  This was my first trip ever to the Centennial State, and it certainly did not disappoint. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights from the event.

THE COURSE:
The base altitude alone was enough to slow you down, but this course had a handful of brutal climbs and some fun single track trekking through forested areas. Depending on whose GPS you believe, the course distance was right around 12 miles, with an elevation gain of about 3,000 feet. The first mile or so brought you through the Snowmass Village and downhill along the parking area. After that, it was pretty much all uphill…or at least it certainly seemed like it.

TM Colorado Map  

ALL STAR ATTENDEES:
Runners in the first wave on Saturday morning shared the start corral with some of the biggest names in OCR. Three-time World’s Toughest Mudder champion Ryan Atkins (and his dog Suunto) was there, accompanied by his new bride (and 2016 Spartan U.S. Championship Series winner) Lindsay Webster. Alongside them was Broken Skull Champion (and self-proclaimed Macho Man) Hunter McIntyre, and current American Ninja Warrior and former Spartan Race Pro Rose Wetzel (watch for our interview with the woman who loves to challenge herself).  They all shared the start with Jim “Da Goat” Campbell, who was in CO to run his 100th Tough Mudder (but this story is coming soon).

NEW (TO ME AT LEAST) OBSTACLES:
Paying homage to the gold rush history of Colorado was an entertaining obstacle called Mine Shafted. The obstacle required participants to crawl down a sewage tube, which would drop them into  and 8-foot deep pit that had knee-deep muddy water. The pit itself is covered with dark screen, which blocked out a good portion of the sunlight. After trudging across the pit, there was an 8-foot wall that needed to be scaled in order to get out. The wall got muddy and slippery in a hurry and required a good amount of teamwork to get out.

TM Colorado Mine Shafted

FOUR LEGGED ATTENDEES:
Of all the venues that I’ve been to, Snowmass is easily the most dog-friendly Mudder that I’ve ever attended. Whether it was in the hotel, or in the village, or on the course…there were dogs of all shapes and sizes everywhere. As if I needed a reason to run slower, it was very difficult to resist running off course for the opportunity to give a healthy ear rubbing to these warm and fuzzy spectators.

Suunto

MOTHER NATURE:
Colorado is right up there with Lake Tahoe and Whistler as the most visually spectacular venues that I’ve ever attended. At almost any point along the course, you could look up and your eyes would be treated to absolutely wonderful views. Mountains, streams, Aspen trees, annoying thistle things that get stuck in your socks, there’s just so much scenery to feast upon up there. There was also plenty of deer and fox sightings. It’s truly an amazingly beautiful place to hold an event.

Dude, where’s my shirt?
On a slightly negative note, not that merchandise is considered a major part of an event…but if you’re going to have it, please make sure that you have an ample supply. The first wave on Saturday launched at 8am. According to the merchandise employees, the Tough Mudder Colorado specific t-shirts were sold out by 9am.  There were even instances in the afternoon where people were offering cash to buy the shirts off the backs of people who had purchased them earlier. I’m not sure how you gauge merch demand so poorly, but Tough Mudder has been doing this for a while now, and this kind of a thing just shouldn’t happen. At least not on the first day of your event.

Despite my lack of event shirt, I’m happy to report that Tough Mudder Colorado was still a wonderful experience. A demanding course with fun and creative obstacles, spectacular views, and lively festival area. Throw in a few OCR All-Stars (and dogs….don’t forget the dogs!), and you’ve got one of the best events that TMHQ has put on this year.

TM Colorado Dogs

 

Photo Credits: Matty Gregg (Suunto) and GameFace Media for Tough Mudder

Spartan Race U.S. Championship Series: Ryan Atkins Takes The Crown

Atkins Breckenridge

This weekend was the final race in the inaugural Spartan Race U.S. Championship Series. The USCS is a five race series to determine which male and female Spartan Race athletes will hold the title of U.S. Champion. The series is televised on the NBCSN network.

Each athletes final score is determined by the cumulative number of points they earned across each of the five races. The lowest individual point score is dropped leaving each racer with their four best races counting toward their final score. A first place finish is worth 300 points, a second place finish is worth 299 points and so on down the line. A perfect score with 4 (or 5) wins in the series is worth 1,200 points.

As the series began, Ryan Atkins looked unstoppable. He rattled off three quick wins in the first three races. In the fourth race at Asheville, North Carolina, Atkins finally came up against an opponent he couldn’t beat: The Spartan Race officials.  Atkins was disqualified for failing the rope climb and not completing the required penalty of 30 burpees. In an interview afterward with ORM’s Matt B. Davis, Atkins told how the first rope he grabbed was coated in clay and unclimbable. Atkins described what happened next.

I guess I’m used to racing mandatory obstacle completion races where if you screw something up you just find a lane that works as fast as you can and get it done. I had never failed an obstacle at Spartan. So I went and I climbed a different rope.

The controversy of Atkin’s disqualification was magnified by a similar situation with Robert Killian on the Multi-Rig obstacle. As Killian neared the end of the obstacle he appeared to touch the ground with his foot, causing him to fail the obstacle. The Spartan official at the obstacle did not penalize him and Killian continued. After viewing video of the incident Killian offered to “self-DQ”, but Spartan declined and said the decision of the official would stand.

Going into the final race this weekend, Atkins could secure the series win with a third place finish or better. A fourth place finish for Atkins combined with a first place for Hunter McIntyre would allow McIntyre to tie Atkins for first place in the series. A fifth place finish at Breckenridge for Atkins combined with a win by defending Spartan Race World Champion Robert Killian would mean a tie for first between Atkins and Killian.

Atkins made it interesting by finishing in fifth place at Breckenridge. McIntyre could have claimed the title with a win but ultimately finished in fourth place. McIntyre was 24 seconds in front of Atkins and six minutes and 42 seconds behind the winner.

Atkins’ surprising finish also gave Robert Killian a chance to claim first place in the series. With a win at Breckenridge and Atkins finishing in fifth place, Killian and Atkins would have been tied in series points and Killian would have won the tiebreaker by virtue of a better finish at Breckenridge.

Killian fell just short with a second-place finish that was three minutes and 33 seconds behind the winner – Cody Moat.

Stop for a minute. Imagine the controversy that would have resulted from Killian winning the championship on a tiebreaker after the disqualification incidents at Asheville. Spartan is extremely lucky that did not happen. Joe DeSena should thank Cody Moat and take him out for a nice lunch at Zaxby’s.

“The Summit” Results – Breckenridge Beast Elite Men’s Results

2016 Breckenridge Men's Elite Top 10

Ryan Atkins finished the 2016 U.S. Championship Series in first place with 1196 points. Robert Killian finished in second with 1195 points and Hunter McIntyre finished in third with 1194 points. Congratulations to everyone who raced in the Spartan USCS, but especially to these men.

2016 Spartan U.S.C.S. Men's Final Point Totals

In a few weeks,  Spartan will crown their “World Champion” with it’s annual Spartan World Championship Race in Squaw Valley (Tahoe), California.

2016 Spartan Race U.S. Championship Series: Atkins, McIntyre, and Killian fight for first

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.48.41 PM
This weekend is the fifth and final race in the Spartan Race U.S. Championship Series. “The Summit” is a Beast-length course with 13+ miles and 30+ obstacles and the course is on the mountains in Breckenridge, Colorado.

There are three men with a legitimate chance to claim the series win, but Ryan Atkins controls his own destiny. Hunter McIntyre and Robert Killian both have a shot, but they need a little help to get there.

At the end of the five-race series, each runner’s lowest individual race score is dropped. By removing each runner’s lowest current score we can see where they stand against each other. A first place finish is worth 300 points, a second place is worth 299 and so on. Atkins has three 1st place finishes for 900 points. McIntyre has one 1st, one 2nd, and one 3rd, for 897 points. Killian has two 2nds and one 3rd for 896 points.

  • If Atkins finishes in 3rd place or better he will be the 2016 Spartan U.S. Champion.
  • If McIntyre finishes in 1st, AND Atkins finishes in 5th place or worse, McIntyre will win the championship.
  • If Killian finishes in 1st, AND Atkins finishes in 6th place or worse, AND McIntyre finishes in 3rd or worse, Killian will win the title.

There are also several ways Spartan could end up with a tie for first place. Here are a few:

  • Atkins and McIntyre tied for first place overall: McIntyre wins, Atkins finishes in 4th.
  • Atkins and Killian tied for first place overall: Killian wins, Atkins finishes in 5th.
  • McIntyre and Killian tied for first place overall: Killian wins, McIntyre finishes in 2nd, Atkins finishes 6th or worse.
  • Three Way Tie for first place overall: Killian wins, McIntyre finishes in 2nd, Atkins finishes in 5th.

Any one of those scenarios could easily happen. Ryan Atkins could save Spartan from doing a lot of math (although honestly, we already did it for them. We’re happy to show our work Joe) by winning his fourth series race in five outings.

For our analysis of the Women’s U.S. Championship Series, read here.

For all the results as they happen this Saturday, follow ORM on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

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Photo Credits: Spartan Race and Screengrab NBCSN