7 Tips for Running Your First Spartan Race

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

FroBunni | 7 Tips for running your first spartan race

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love yoga. I post a lot of my poses and thoughts on the practice, but that's not the only type of physical activity I do. I'm also quite fond of high intensity cardio workouts, such as tabata, and I even go to a boutique gym in DC called Elevate Interval Fitness that specializes in athletic-style interval training.

I've been going to Elevate since January; while the workouts are exhausting, they've made me faster and stronger, and in July, I had an opportunity to test this improved athleticism at a Spartan Race.

Spartan Races are obstacle races that vary in difficulty and distance. This particular race was at National's Stadium, and was only 3 miles, but a large chunk of the running was up and down stairs. When it was first mentioned at Elevate, I was almost sure I wouldn't do it, but the more people talked about it, the more interested I became.

After a lot of pep talks with myself, I decided to sign-up and just go for it. After all, what did I have to lose? And on July 15th at 9am, I stood at the beginning of the race course ready to test my strength and endurance. I ran up stairs, jumped rope, climbed walls, lifted water jugs, and after an hour and 15 minutes, I crossed the finish line sweaty and exhausted, but also proud and accomplished. Not to mention, I had fun! Yeah, running an obstacle course can actually be fun! I even decided that I will run again next year!

If you're trying to get healthy, want to get out of your comfort zone, or even if you're scared of the unknown, like me, I totally recommend running a Spartan Race. But since it's not as straight forward as running a 5K, you may not even know how to start training for it. Well, that's why David Magida, founder and owner of Elevate and a professional Spartan Racer, is here to explain how to prepare for your first Spartan Race.

First and foremost, how did you get into Spartan Races?

I used to be a runner but had not run for a number of years, opting instead to focus exclusively on strength training. I was living in Miami when one of the first Spartan Races came to town. It advertised itself as a unique combination of strength and endurance. I crushed myself to win my heat that day, finishing completely depleted and knew I had found my calling. The next year I registered for a number of events, including the Spartan Ultra Beast, at the time a 31 mile Spartan Race on the ski slopes of Killington, Vermont. By the next year, I was winning the Elite wave of races around the country and was quickly offered a contract by Spartan Race to travel the country, represent their brand and win as many races as possible.

Now, a few years removed from having the time to train and race at the level I was before, I currently host Spartan Live, a 4 hour LIVE broadcast of actual races, including the U.S. Championship Series and World Championships on new media (Facebook, YouTube and directly on the website, Spartan.com). Previously I hosted Spartan Race on NBC Sports and I also authored the book, The Essentials of Obstacle Race Training.

There's a lot of different kinds of obstacle course races like Tough Mudder and Rugged Maniac. What makes the Spartan Race stand out from the crowd?

The biggest difference between Spartan Race and the other races is their goal of making it the most physically challenging event you can compete in. They really use the terrain against you, typically maximizing hills, mountains and rough terrain like off trail running, rocky downhills and riverbeds. Additionally, Spartan Race is the only major obstacle race that uses strength and power obstacles such as heavy sandbag and rock bucket carries, tire flips, and pulley hoists. It challenges every single element of your fitness from strength to endurance to flexibility and mobility. Spartan Race was also the first event that introduced a pro racing circuit, bringing the best racers from around the country together to compete for cash and prizes on nationally televised and online broadcast events.

When people want to get healthy, they often will sign up for a 5K, and training for a 5K is basically just running. But Spartan Races are so different compared to a 5K. So how should someone prepare for a Spartan Race?

The most important thing is build your endurance first. It’s still a running race so be prepared to run the distance (and then some). The reality is, the combination of strength and terrain means each mile of the race is equivalent to 1.5 or 2 miles on the road. Work on your muscular endurance, particularly your pull strength by doing plenty of pullups and TRX row work.

Two days prior to the race, I went to a workout, and I remember you saying I shouldn't be here because it was too close to race day. So, along with that mistake, what other common mistakes do first time racers make?

The worst thing you can do is change what you eat. Your body is used to what you traditionally feed it. Changing your food intake on the day of a race can have a disastrous impact on your digestive system. Other mistakes revolve around attire, where people select the wrong type of shoes and apparel for the terrain. Make sure you train in your gear before racing in it to be sure you’re comfortable with it.

What kind of obstacles can first time racers expect and how should they prepare for them to avoid the dreaded 30 burpees per failed obstacle?

The obstacles that give people trouble are typically the ones that involve hanging from something. Monkey bars, traverses and rope climbs for example. Go to your local playgrounds and practice your climbing, hanging and swinging skills and you will avoid most of the major burpee penalties.

Besides getting a good night sleep, what are some things people can do the night before and morning of the race?

Hydrate heavily for a few days leading up to the race, but be sure to increase your sodium intake as well so you don’t flush your system. The morning of the race, be sure to eat at least 2 hours before the race to provide yourself with ample fuel.

Even for reasonably active people like myself, that first race can be pretty hard on the body? What are ways that people can recover?

The best thing you can do the day after a race is go for a light jog. It could be painful because you might be really sore. But it will loosen you up. Do not just do nothing the day after a race. Also, a good ice bath after the race and a hot bath the next morning can be a game changer. And foam roll like crazy.

Awesome! These tips will really help someone get ready for their first Spartan Race. Do you have any more advice for a first time racer?

Go into it with an open mind and know that the race is going to test your physical and mental limits. Have a mantra and repeat it to yourself when you consider quitting. Do your first race with a friend of similar athleticism. You’ll keep each other engages and you’ll focus more on the fun of the event. And just go into it committed to the task at hand. You’ll get more from that experience.

Thanks so much David! I really appreciate this and I know my readers do too. If you live in DC, or you're visiting and just need a good workout, come to Elevate on 14th street. The first class is free and a 1-month unlimited trial is just $99. There's also a location in Fairfax, VA at the Mosaic District, and shortly a 3rd location in the Southwest Waterfront. Visit www.TrainAtElevate.com to book your Free Introductory Class.

Review: Giovanni's new 2chic Frizz Be Gone Collection

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

FroBunni | Giovanni Cosmetics 2chic Frizz Be Gone Collection review

I'm always reluctant to try anti-frizz products. My hair just gets frizzy and that's how it will always be. So, when Giovanni sent me their new line, 2chic Frizz Be Gone, I was a little skeptical. I  wasn't sure if it would work, or conversely, if it would weigh my hair down making it feel greasy and oily. But, I was left pleasantly surprised, and one product really stood out.

I was sent four products: Frizz Be Gone shampoo and conditioner, Frizz Be Gone Anti-Frizz Hair Balm, and the Frizz Be Gone Anti-Frizz Polishing Serum. I'll just come out and say that the balm really didn't work the way I thought. I was expecting it to help keep my hair from frizzing during the day. It didn't. Whether I used it at night to set my hair, or in the morning for a sleek bun. It really didn't seem to help much. It doesn't have PVP, so for me, that's good, but it might be why it just didn't have much hold. It also doesn't really play well with other products...even water. It just flaked up on my hair making it feel tacky and dry.

The shampoo and conditioner worked really well, and I did notice that it made my hair feel smoother and very moisturized. This makes sense; good anti-frizz products contain more moisturizing ingredients that help reduce and prevent damage, which can cause frizz. The Frizz Be Gone collection contains shea butter and almond oil, two ingredients that are great for moisture retention and smoothing the cuticle of the hair. The conditioner is super creamy and has slip, making it easy to detangle. I normally detangle before washing my hair, but for the sake of the review, I detangled during the conditioning process and my denman brush went through my hair like butter with no breakage.

So, let's talk about the star in this line: the Frizz Be Gone Anti-Frizz Polishing Serum. I expected the least out of this product, so I actually tested it weeks after testing the other products. Yeah, that was a mistake. If you've used other Giovanni serums, this one feels similar to the Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Hair & Body Super Potion; it's very light and silky. But despite its light feel, it's really great at helping the hair retain moisture. The first time I used this product, I wet my hair with water, applied the serum, and twisted my hair. I was so busy that week that I didn't have time to take down my hair until wash day, five days later. I expected the worst; breakage and dry, brittle hair, which is what usually happens when I go that long without moisturizing my hair. But when I took my hair down, it was still moisturized, soft, smooth, and absolutely no breakage. The serum helped keep my hair moisturized longer than usual. So, if you have difficulty retaining moisture or your hair is high porosity, get the serum. Seriously, it's amazing and works like promised.


So, would I buy the products from this line? Outside of the balm, most definitely! I'll be restocking the serum when it runs out; that will be a permanent staple in my regimen. I would also buy the shampoo and conditioner again, but I haven't seen this line in stores yet, and with the ultra-Moist more readily available, you probably won't see it return in my regimen any time soon.

Also, it's important to note that this line currently has a total of eight products, and I've only used four. I have plans to purchase and review the Frizz Be Gone Smoothing Hair Mask and Frizz Be Gone Taming Cream. So look for those reviews in future!

Have you tried the new Frizz Be Gone Collection? What are you thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a sample for my review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

Don't Shave Your Edges in Hopes it Will Regrow Hair

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

FroBunnni | Regrowing edges, natural hair

You may have seen the video about the vlogger shaving her edges to regrow them...don't do this. Well, I can't tell you what to do, but let me explain why this won't work.

First, let's discuss why edges can disappear. For black women, the two most common reasons are chemically, like chemical burns from relaxers or perms, or manually, like braids being installed too tight and pulling the hair from the follicle. In both cases, consistent and regular use, especially regular damage, is going to thin out the hair, eventually causing baldness, and in some cases, depending on the duration and severity of damage, it may be permanent.

If you happen to have thin or nonexistent edges because of this, and you want to regrow them, it can take a long time, like months to upwards of a year or more. Why? Because the amount of damage done to the scalp is such that it will take awhile for it to get back to where it was before the damage. And even if visually it looks like it has healed, the layers of skin under the surface may still need time to fully heal.

Okay, so let's discuss this video. I watched it from beginning to end, and the biggest thing that stuck out was that she admitted she wasn't consistent and expected results rather quickly.

First, if you have thin and nonexistent edges, whatever you're doing, you need to be consistent with it. And the most important thing you should be doing is stopping whatever caused your edges to thin. So, if it's braids, relaxers, really tight buns, weaves, etc. Just stop doing them. Your scalp needs time to heal, and if you're just going to keep damaging hair, you're not going to see any progress. Second, while stopping whatever you were doing, you need to start implementing a good hair care regimen. Making sure to moisturize your edges is going to be huge. The hairline tends to be finer and weaker than the rest of the hair, so keeping it moisturized is key.

The second thing she said in the video was that she was expecting results quickly. Remember when I said it can take over a year to regrow your edges...yeah. Depending on the duration and severity of the damage, it may take over a year for your scalp to heal and for your hair to grow again. Be patient, very patient. It's also important to note that if the damage is really bad, you may never grow hair there again, without medical intervention (i.e. hair implants).

In regards to applying castor oil or using onion juice, they're not necessary. They may help speed up the healing process, but if the hair can grow, it will grow eventually.

Also, just really quickly, cutting your hair doesn't make it grow faster. This is a myth. When you compare no hair to, even marginally, more hair, it's going to seem like a lot and it's growing fast. When really, it's a normal amount that would be missed if your hair was longer. This is why I only do length checks, at the soonest, every three months, preferably every six months. 1/4 inch of hair when you're waist length isn't going to be noticeable, but 1/4 inch of hair when you're bald is shocking.

To close, if you want to regrow your edges, you don't need to shave your head. You can if you want; it will give you a fresh start, but it's not necessary. Just, like with everything I say, focus on good hair care.

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

Back to School Lunch: 3 Easy, Vegetarian Stuffed Pita Recipes

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

FroBunni | 3 Easy, Back-to-School Vegetarian Lunches
This is a sponsored post that contains an affiliate link.

Sometimes I look back and wonder if I could be a vegetarian while growing up. Obviously, my mom bought all the food, and while she bought healthy food, I still had meat at almost every meal. I envision that she wouldn't have even let me try, assuming vegetarianism to be too expensive. And she definitely wasn't going to make two different meals for dinner. It's fun to look back and wonder, but I'm glad I made the decision at 29, as opposed to 16.

But if your child has made the decision to be a vegetarian, don't fret. Being vegetarian doesn't have to be expensive, in fact, it's quite the opposite. Many people think buying fresh fruits and vegetables aren't worth the price tag, but you can get fresh produce on a budget. Places like Hungry Harvest sell ugly fruits and vegetables, or fruits and vegetables that have aesthetic imperfections, and don't meet the standards of sale for retailers. Because they can't be sold in stores, they're often sold at a reduced price, meaning savings for your wallet.

Whether you use ugly or perfect fruits and vegetables, you and your child can use them to make these three easy, plant-based pita-stuffed lunches that can be eaten at your desk, in the cafeteria, or on the go.

Mediterranean Pita
Easy and simple, this pita sandwich takes a total of 5 minutes to put together, and the ingredients can be found virtually anywhere. It's packed with fiber and can keep you or your child full for hours.
1/4 cup of chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup of cucumbers
1/4 cup of bean sprouts
2 tablespoons of hummus
3 tablespoons of feta cheese

Vegan Asian-Inspires Pita
3 tablespoons of peanut sauce
1/4 cup of edamame
1/4 cup of cabbage
1/4 shredded carrots
If you think vegan means boring and flavorless, think again! This vegan pita is flavorful and hits a home run when it comes to healthfulness with its blend of protein, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. Mix all the ingredients together before stuffing the pita, and have some extra peanut sauce on hand to dip.

Buffalo Bean Pita
3 tablespoons of buffalo sauce
1/4 cup of canned white beans
1/4 cup of chopped celery
1/4 cup of shredded carrots
3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
Craving buffalo wings? Try buffalo beans instead! Beans are just as filling as chicken, but if you use canned, so much easier to cook (I have a history of poorly cooking chicken). I like to use white beans, but you can use black or pinto.

Disclosure: I've become so passionate about ugly fruits and vegetables and reducing food waste that I've become a Hungry Harvest Ambassador. Hooray, I'm a #hungryharvesthero! Use the code HERO5 to get $5 off your Hungry Harvest order. While I did not receive any compensation for this post, it does contain an affiliate link, and I may receive free or discounted products. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

Tabata-Style Workouts

Monday, September 25, 2017

Don't have a lot of time? Or maybe you don't want to buy gym equipment? Well familiarize yourself with tabata! Tabata-style workouts are a type of high intensity interval training where you do an exercise for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. These workouts are easy to do at home, without equipment, and/or while traveling. Even better, they're very effective and can help with weight loss.

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!