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HOTSHOT and Spartan Racing — A Match Made in Muddy Paradise

By: Nichole Pool, Colorado Spartan Racer

Training for and participating in a Spartan is an experience filled with challenges and obstacles, but cramping does not have to be one. This is where HOTSHOT comes in. Although Spartan racing and training are catalysts for some intense cramping, HOTSHOT is the perfect solution. HOTSHOT can prevent muscle cramping if taken pre-workout. If taken at the onset of a cramp, it will work to alleviate the problem in minutes. It can also be taken post-workout to lessen muscle fatigue after an intense session.

THE TRAINING

Getting in better shape for a Spartan requires dedication to a fitness regimen, being aware of nutritional intake, and maximizing your workouts for the highest yield on the course. Some of the best training for Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is the integration of multiple types of exercise programs and methods. Obstacle Course Racing is a full-body sport. It’s a physical as well as a mental challenge and this requires a multi-faceted training approach. Our fitness approach for OCR training is incorporating CrossFit, running, biking, swimming, Parkour, boot-camp style workouts, utilizing natural elements such as grabbing a heavy log, a rock, or even your kids and carrying them around the neighborhood, flipping tires up and down the street, cardio work, hiking, and circuit workouts for strength and conditioning. Along with that, it is important to also incorporate yoga, stretching sessions for flexibility, and practicing controlling your breathing. These components are important to a full-body approach in your fitness routines.

OCR has very specific and unique aspects unlike other endurance events that traditional training methods do not address. Take the Bucket Brigade for example: what do you do if you live somewhere that is flat and you are prepping for a Spartan? Get a bucket, fill it up with gravel or something heavy, and find some stairs. Carry it up and down your apartment stairs, or find a curb and do step-ups for as long as you can while holding the bucket.

How do you train for all the hills or even mountains that Spartan incorporates into their courses? Set your treadmill to the steepest incline and try to walk for 20 minutes. Work your way up to an hour and eventually to jogging or running. Ultimately, you can even bring your bucket with you on the treadmill.

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MUSCLE CRAMPING + SPARTAN RACING
When doing this type of training or competing in obstacle racing, cramping seems inevitable. It is a very common occurrence, and can happen to anyone, even world-class athletes. We have seen pro-racers lose their spot on the podium in championship races due to cramping. You can look up hundreds of GoPro videos on YouTube and see people suffering from cramps during OCRs. Obstacles induce cramping often due to various strenuous movements and exertion in rapid succession — such as the transition from a steep hill climb in hot weather to ice-cold water followed by an 8-foot wall climb. This type of exertion that the body goes through is not easily replicated by traditional training methods and other endurance events and is often a shock to the body’s system. HOTSHOT gives your body a chance to stop that cramping and recover to tackle the course.

It is not uncommon to hear throughout the course screams of agony as people fall off walls because of calf cramps. You also see people littered on the side of obstacles, on the sides of the trails, or writhing around on a low crawl under barbed wire in the mud. Cramping is one of the most common things that people list as “the real obstacle” or the toughest obstacle on a course.

Prior to using HOTSHOT, during every OCR event I participated in, I had the type of calf cramps that drop you to the ground. These would happen when trying to scale walls, traverse ropes, and during steep hill climbs. I have actually fallen 8 feet off the top of an inverted wall and off the Tyrolean traverse due to an instant onset severe calf cramp. I was hit with an intense pain and lost complete control of that muscle. After this happened during a race, it stuck with me and became aggravated during other obstacles, as well. Also during longer runs (usually after the 5-6 mile mark), or sometimes during long stretches between obstacles, I would get a gradually increasing calf cramp.

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GRAB YOUR HOTSHOT
After undergoing a few  HOTSHOT trials in regular road races, biking, OCR’s, and multiple other avenues, I can say without a doubt that HOTSHOT is a legitimate way to stop muscle cramping. The product is fantastic at preventing muscle cramps and allows me to run farther, faster, and recover much quicker, as well. My muscles feel less fatigued after running or completing a heavy workout, and total recovery time is much shorter.

During Obstacle Races, HOTSHOT has become a necessity to allow me to keep a good pace, react to the next obstacle, and recover quickly. HOTSHOT seems to also be a positive factor in other areas, such as postural control. I am able to maintain a proper running stance instead of having my posture affected while trying to relieve the muscle cramp due to the tendency to “buckle” when a cramp sets in. HOTSHOT benefits muscle strength, because it allows for a longer workout, higher intensity, more reps, and in turn building more muscle instead of having to stop or modify a workout or run due to cramping. HOTSHOT also helps reduce recovery time needed after a race as it allows the body to prevent muscles from tensing up as much.

FUELING A SPARTAN
Not only is it important to train right, you have to fuel your body right. Nutrition and hydration are major components to a successful day on an obstacle course and during training. Preparing nutritionally for your race begins well before the night prior to your race day. It starts at least a month out. Usually, the best way to do this is to break down your month into week sections so you can build the best foundation for your body. Here is an example:

HOTSHOT Spartan Nutrition

Race day nutrition varies from person to person based upon caloric needs and preferences. Be sure to maintain adequate hydration, energy gels, beans, tablets, or other forms of nutrition. However, even with all of these components, regardless of your fitness level or athleticism, hydration levels, fuel intake or training, cramps can debilitate anyone on the course making HOTSHOT one of the most important aspects of your race day nutrition. You will need HOTSHOT to crush your cramp and get back on track for a strong finish.

It is time for cramping to stop killing the momentum of OCR racers and the enjoyment of the course. HOTSHOT is the answer to cramping and integrating it into the OCR world is leveling the playing field against cramps.

If you are looking to enhance your Spartan Race performance by ridding yourself of cramps- HOTSHOT is the product for you. It will change the way you engage yourself on the course, in your training, and your recovery. The source of cramping has been found, and HOTSHOT is redefining athletic performance. Look for HOTSHOT at Breckenridge Beast and Sprint Weekend on August 26th!

 

MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG 

Some Nerve! What Causes a Muscle to Cramp? Read more here. 

From the track to the marathon: Shalane Flanagan talks about her running career with HOTSHOT. 

The Nerve is the Boss of the Muscle: Take control with HOTSHOT.  Learn more