Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A New and Quirky Goal To Help You Lose Weight

By Joni Clasen


Don't make the same mistake that everyone else will as it comes time to make resolutions for the year ahead. Vowing to lose weight or exercise more doesn't work, and people often blame themselves and not the actual goal when they fall short. But the problem with these goals is their design; they are not S.M.A.R.T. The business world uses this acronym to explain how to set successful goals: S=specific, M=measurable, A=Attainable, R=Realistic, T=Timely. So nothing about those resolutions that everybody makes is smart. So I'll give you a better one if that's your vision: prepare for and do a Mud Run within the next year.

Mud Runs, also known as obstacle course races, are all slightly different beasts, but the simple idea is that you go through a course full of obstacles such as tire fields, mud pools, short walls, and maybe even a slip-n-slide. Some of the original races try very hard to be hardcore military style races with barbed wire and cargo nets, but the newer ones have adopted themes that are more warm and fuzzy (i.e.: the Foam Fest or Run Drenched). Most of these events are about 5k, though there a few more advanced ones.

I know that the excuses in your mind are already running, but I hope you are still reading because I want to make 4 points before the excuses start flowing: 1) Race day isn't tomorrow. 2) If any obstacles make you feel nervous, you don't have to do them. Many people skip at least one obstacle, and sometimes many. 3) You don't have to run, plenty of people walk. 4) There will be people of all shapes and sizes at the starting line.

The worst that can happen is you spend a Saturday out walking a three-mile course with lots of crazy, muddy (and supportive) people to entertain you and you decide you'd rather skip most of the obstacles. The best that can happen is you find the motivation to train for your goals and come race day you far surpass what you thought you could do. And yes you will likely lose plenty of weight in the process.

So why exactly is training for a mud run such an awesome tool for losing weight? Well to begin with an obstacle course race is a very glamorous and exciting goal. They have names like "Tough Mudder" and "Spartan", so you can't help but feel hardcore, tell your friends, and want to commit to being ready for it. But even more than the image, mud runs promote endurance and strength. People who are trying to lose weight tend to focus too much on long and monotonous low-intensity workouts on the stationary bike or the treadmill. It's hard to stick with and takes too long to see results.

Mud Run training balances these cardio sessions with strength-building activities to prepare you to conquer the obstacles you will face. You jump start your weight loss when you train both aerobically and anaerobically, because not only do you burn fat during your exercise, you also amp up your metabolism due to the intensity of your strength-building workouts. So even when you are sleeping, you will burn more calories due to the muscle tissue you developed.

Training for a mud run is powerful strategy that has motivated many people to develop functional strength and stamina that not only power them up and over mud run obstacles, but also shed a lot of pounds. Whatever you do, make a SMART resolution that you will stick to.




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