As a health and fitness expert, there’s nothing I love more than a reason to train and a goal to work towards, which is why I’m a big fan of Tough Mudder. It’s not just your typical running race, but rather an adventure filled with obstacles that challenge you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Plus, let’s not forget that Tough Mudders are also incredibly fun!
You can’t complete any race without proper training and nutrition, and I wouldn’t recommend going in unprepared for a Tough Mudder. I am a big believer in tweaking your routine and finding new ways to work muscle groups you may not work on regularly, and training for a Mudder is the perfect time to do that.
Mudder training also tends to be tribal, and training with a partner or group of people is a great way to get and keep everyone motivated and boost each other up. Having a common goal will bring you closer together, build friendships, and help you get across the finish line!
Here are some key nutrition and training tips to incorporate approximately one month out from the race – no matter your existing fitness level. Get ready to increase your strength and stamina, and discover how much endurance you really have.
Get the Nutrition You Need
As the race gets closer, I focus more and more on what I’m eating. It’s all about making a plan. I prioritize eating the right foods before and after my workout. While you may be tempted to eat a strictly protein-based diet while training, it isn't a wise idea.
Having a snack that has good carbs about 30 minutes prior to your workout is key. My favorite snack is a banana. Why bananas? They’re filled with potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps (a real issue for anyone training hard) and they have natural sugar, which gives you energy. They’re also convenient, inexpensive, and available everywhere.
I typically drink a CELSIUS Fitness Drink with my banana to give me an extra kick of energy and seven vitamins essential to keep my energy levels up throughout my workouts. The combination gives me what I need to push myself and train harder. If you’re going to train, why wouldn’t you give it everything you can?
It’s also important to eat protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Eating protein helps decrease muscle protein breakdown, encourages growth, and aids recovery. Try almonds (keep some in your gym bag) or an apple with your favorite nut butter. Protein satiates you after working out in a way carbs do not, so you’ll be less tempted to eat the wrong things later in the day or feel as if you are starving in a few hours and binge.
This should go without saying, but it’s important to prioritize nutrition on the day of the race. You might be tempted to sleep in, but you need to wake up early so you can eat breakfast, and allow your body to digest for ninety minutes to three hours before the event starts.
Importance of Interval Training
I incorporate 30 minutes of interval training per day in the month leading up to the race. The best way to do this is to go from walking to running, increasing cardio as you go. Aim for 30 minutes the first week and keep building up your strength and endurance as you go. Try to work up to an hour.
Training Tips: To prep properly for a Tough Mudder, you need to work on three key muscle groups. All exercises should have three rounds with fifteen reps, unless otherwise noted.
Working Your Back
Bent Over Single Arm Rows: This is an ideal exercise for beginners. Hold a free weight or dumbbell in your right hand, keep your palm faced in, pull your abs in and bend forward from the hips. Extend your right arm up until your hand comes outside the rib cage.
Pull-Up Negatives: If you can’t do a pull-up, this popular progression exercise will help you build up to being able to do one. Put your hands up to the bar and then lift your chin over the bar. Hold for four seconds and let it go slowly for a count of four.
Assisted Pull-Ups With Band: Loop a large resistance band around a pull-up bar. Step your knees into the band and then do a regular pull up. The resistance will help push you up. The more difficult the band is to stretch, the more assistance it gives you.
Building Core Strength
Classic Plank with Alternating Leg Raises: Put your hands directly under your shoulders with your abs pulled in towards the spine. Alternate leg lifts while squeezing the glutes as you lift. Do this move for thirty seconds and then increase to a minute as your strength improves.
Stirring The Pot With A Ball: Plank your body, placing the forearms on a large exercise ball. Then engage your glutes while keeping your abs tight. Stir in each direction for three counts. Do this for 30 seconds and then work your way up to a minute.
Ab Pull-Ins With Ball: This is a more of an intermediate or advanced move that some people may need to work their way up to. Take a large exercise ball and place your feet on top of the ball, holding the body in a plank position with your hands right underneath your shoulders and abs engaged underneath your spine. Bring the ball in, hold, bring the ball back and repeat.
Going For The Glutes
Goblet Squats: Stand holding a dumbbell (or kettlebell) in front of you, put your weight in your heels, then squat just past your knees. Hold and squeeze the glutes on your way up.
Bulgarian Lunges: Hold a weight to your chest and then place one leg behind you on a weight bench. Dip down, hold and squeeze up, engaging your muscles.
Elevated Shoulder Hip Thrusts: Lie with your upper back on a bench with your feet in front of you, flat on the floor. Then raise your hips, so your body is in a triangle shape. Hold and lower slowly.
Jennifer Cohen is leading fitness and wellness authority, best-selling author, and brand advocate for CELSIUS.