Blog posts of '2015' 'September'

OCR Competitor Reveals Why Hammer Strength Apparel is the World's Best Performance Apparel


When it comes to race day, you want to make sure you are feeling and performing your best. Your long training sessions, disciplined nutrition, hydration and apparel comes together on race day so you can have the run of your life.


No other apparel compares to Hammer Strength® Apparel, the world's best moisture management technology. Paul Ten Haken, elite OCR competitor will show you why Hammer Strength® Apparel is his training and race day apparel. 



Want the same shirt as Paul? Click the link Here: HAMMER STRENGTH APPAREL and get 10% off using coupon code: SpartanPaul (case sensitive)

OCR Competitor Antonio Pusateri on Training, Passion, and Performance


Hammer Strength® Apparel had the pleasure of meeting OCR elite competitor Antonio Pusateri at the Wisconsin Rugged Maniac event this past weekend. After watching him compete, we just had to ask him a few questions about training, passion, and performance: 


Antonio, tell me a little bit about what got you started in OCR: 

Well Joe, I have always been a competitive individual and I have always looked for anyway for myself to stay physically active. I was always in sports in high school and I even ended up playing a couple years of semi-pro football about 5 years ago. I saw OCR as that opportunity to push myself, to try something different, and also see how I physically perform. I had been interested in OCR for a few years before I finally pulled the trigger and competed in the Milwaukee Spartan Sprint open heat in November of 2014.

What are your race plans for the rest of the 2015 schedule? 

Currently, I have the Tough Mudder on September 12th. Followed by the Vermont Spartan Beast September 19th. Then I have two championship runs in October. The first one is Warrior Dash World Championship October 10thand then the OCR World Championship October 17th.
Give us a glimpse of your OCR training regimen on a day to day basis:

Considering that I do have a full time job where I am up at 4:30 am and don't get home until 4:30 pm, I mix up my routines often. Typically, I try to get a little extra work in while doing construction by running up stairs or carrying heavy objects around as well. When I get to go to the gym or my Fitness boot camps I host, I typically do a mix of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and weight training. Every other day when I don't lift or do HIIT, I try to run a few miles or do a trail run. Right now I am pushing to consistently run 6 plus miles every other lifting/HIIT day!
At what point did you decide to take your racing to the next level? 

I would say after my second OCR ever which was the Milwaukee Spartan Sprint on May 2015. I was 43rd overall and I only failed a spear throw. 6 months prior, I was 510th! Considering I had only been training hardcore for two months prior to the 2015 Sprint, I saw the potential to compete elites for the following year. However, after my performance at Edge of The Ledge where I took second place, I finally made the decision to compete in as many Elite heats as I could, outside of doing Spartan races. I believed (at the time) signing up for those earlier in the year wouldn't of been worth the extra money. Of course that was before I gained the confidence to take the chance.
What is the hardest event you've competed in to date?
That is a very good question. I personally believe they are all difficult but I would have to say it was doing the Rugged Maniac after running the Badass Dash a few hours earlier. Those hills were brutal on my legs, but I still made a killer time! Even though it was in an open heat and I had to cut in front of people to keep my time from being slowed too much, I would of placed Top 3 had I been able to do it competitive. I signed up too late for competitive Rugged Maniac, being still really new to the sport and I had only recently discovered how many races were out there around May of this year.
What is the best advice you can give to someone just starting in OCR?
I would tell them, do not hesitate to try to push your limits. I didn't realize how much progress I would make in such a short amount of time. Also, getting that first race in will give you an idea on how to prepare for the next ones. That first Spartan Sprint in 2014 was the best gauge of my physical abilities at the time. I came out of that knowing what I needed to work on and had more confidence to face another one right away! I also was sore for a week because I wasn't in the greatest shape for it!
Share your experience training in Hammer Strength® Apparel

I couldn't be happier wearing the Hammer Strength® Apparel. I have worn many different products over the years. Those products are not even in the same league when it comes to comfort and moisture wicking ability as Hammer Strength® Apparel. I leave the gym almost completely bone dry and my shirts are effective at evaporating the moisture. I have been really impressed!
How does Hammer Strength® Apparel improve your training and performance? 

The comfort alone is the best. I can effectively move, jump, press, turn and not have my clothing sticking to me, especially if it is warm outside! Being able to focus on what I am working on instead of how my clothes are bothering me is a big plus. They keep me cooler than anything I have worn before. I work in the heating and air conditioning field, evaporation is what removes heat. So the shirts wicking and evaporating quickly, does keep you cooler and dryer! I actually had someone ask me today at the gym, "How are those shirts?". I told him what I am telling you, and he was like "Yeah I need something better than this cotton shirt that I am wearing. Gets uncomfortable after awhile."
Be sure to keep an eye out for Antonio in September and October as he competes in some of OCR's most intense courses including the Vermont Spartan Ultra Beast, the Warrior Dash World Championships, and the OCR World Championship in Ohio.
Be sure to use coupon code ocrantonio to get 10% off any Hammer Strength Apparel products. CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW


OCR Nutrition Blueprint: Eat to Dominate


The fall months are here and some of obstacle course racing's biggest events are just around the corner, including the Spartan Beast, Ultra Beast as well as the OCR World Championships. You've trained all year for these events. Carefully periodizing your training for the big race day, competing in event after event to become more skilled in your craft, body composition is in a solid place and finally, tomorrow is race day, and you ask yourself, "what do I need to eat tonight and tomorrow to dominate my event?"


I have here, the OCR Nutrition Blueprint. Literally, every single nutrient you put in your body from this blueprint will be used to fuel you on race day and assist you in your most epic performance yet. 


Follow along with me.


The Night Before the Big Race:


Complex carbs and protein. These are necessities the night before the big race. Complex carbohydrates are going to fill up your liver's glycogen storehouse to be released on the sound of the starting gun. The best complex carbohydrate sources include, sweet potato, vegetables, brown rice, and whole grain pasta. These carbohydrates are slower digesting and will take a longer time to burn compared to fruit, white breads, or sugary treats. Save those foods for after the race. Be sure to eat carbohydrates that do not upset your stomach. For example, if pasta is too heavy the night before your race, then you may consider a bowl of brown rice filled with fresh vegetables, and grilled shrimp.


The choice is yours. You will want your stomach to be as comfortable (other than maybe a few nerves) the night before and morning of your competition as possible.


Be sure to have a moderate portion of protein as well. Protein slows down the digestion process of carbohydrates and will be vital for repair of any broken down muscle tissue from previous training sessions leading up to the pre-race evening. Be sure to stick to lean protein sources such as shrimp, egg whites, bonless, skinless, chicken breast, or even a protein shake supplement.


And please, don't skip out on the water. We have plenty of blog posts written on the importance of hydration for competitive performance. Drink at least a gallon of water before race day... DO NOT consume it all within one hour before bed time. Continually drink throughout the day.


Race Day Nutrition


2-3 hours before competition:


You know how the timing of your meals affect your training on a daily basis. Don't mix anythin up here. If you perform better with your training eating two hours before a race, then eat two hours before a race. Don't mix it up on race day. However, be sure to eat more carbohydrates and protein for breakfast. Nothing fried in oil. Keep the food selections as basic, but filling as possible to avoid gastrointestinal distress. Some great examples of meal selections include:


  • Bowl of mixed berries, 3/4 cup of oatmeal, handful of pecans, and a protein shake
  • Greek yogurt with mixed pineapple and a 1/2 cup of granolla
  • Whole grain bagel, natural peanut butter, banana chunks


These meals are light on the stomach but provide long lasting energy come race time. 


Be sure to start consuming water upon waking to keep yourself hydrated and well prepared for the race. If you find yourelf needing another snack before the race begins, look into a fruit yogurt, protein bar, or gatorade.


During Race Nutrition


Be sure to have a pack filled with fluids if your race will take longer than 60 minutes. This way you can hydrate throughout the race.  You can also pack a sports drink and have bananas or gel yogurts for a quick dose of fuel to keep you going. Make sure these snacks are easily accessable and do not slow you down in the least. Having these nutrients on hand will keep you from cramping up and will continue to fuel your muscles throughout your performance. 


This blueprint will guide you to race day success with your nutrition and ultimately tie all of your training together for an exceptional outing and personal best. DO NOT overlook the importance of nutrition on race day. Be sure to test this nutrition blueprint out before some of your longer, more intense training sessions so you can know for sure what works best for you come race day. We understand all competitors are unique in their own way, so some trail may be necessary. 


With that said, good luck on race day! You've put in your training, you're equipped with the best apparel (or have you? click here to find out), you ate to fuel the machine you are... now go out and CRUSH IT!


Are You Prepared For Your First Obstacle Course Racing Event?


OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) is becoming more and more popular among the masses. Not only are these events challenging and competitive, but they are also done in a fun environment with passionate racers and workout nuts. These people are the real deal when it comes to fitness!

Because of the rising popularity of obstacle course racing, it is important to understand exactly what you need to do to have a great race day debut which will keep you coming back for more. Although learing from experience is the best way to prepare for your next race, we thought we would save you some trouble and give you a few pointers leading into your first race.


Take a look at these three tips for a successful OCR debut:


1) Don't neglect long distance training


Remember, this is obstacle course racing  it is not an obstacle course workout or WAD that will be done in half an hour. Most newbies focus their training on the obstacle part of the race and not the long distance running required to complete the race. Training for the obstacles, yes, is important. However, if your cardiovascular system is taxed well before some of the obstacles presented to you in your competition then you will have an even greater challenge completing them. 


Some obstacle course races stretch to be as long as half a marathon (that is 13.1 miles)! 13.1 miles is a challenge in itself. Be sure to progress your long distance training strategically throughout your training. Select a race that is far enough out where you can build your endurance and be ready for race day.


Finally, be sure to pace yourself. Remember, this is a long distance race. Run with long strides, take deep breathes, pace yourself, and you will be able to tackle each obstacle with maximum energy at each station. Don't let a poor long distance training and racing strategy keep you from having a fun and successful race day.


2) Be Ready to Carry a Few Things...



If you think you'll be racing with your own body weight, think again. Obstacle course races are known to have plenty obstacles throughout the race peppered with sandbag carries, buckets filled with rice, and even deadballs weighing all the way up into the hundreds. Key here is to add resistance training into your regimen leading up to the race. Throw on a weighted vest or add in farmers walks with some heavy dumbbells. If you have a couple of buckets, fill them up with rice or sand and take off running!


These are all good strategies to get you ready for race day. The more you train with added resistance leading up to your first obstacle course race, the better prepared you will be to dominate.


3) Don't Forget the Grip


One of the smallest muscles throughout your body comes from your forearms. This means your forearm muscles will fill with lactic acid and become plenty more fatigued before the rest of your body does. Forearms are key players in controlling grip strength and endurance, which come in huge on race day.


Think about it... You are carrying, pulling, swinging, and throwing... all of these movements require some serious grip strength and if you haven't trained your forearm muscles to become stronger then they will be burning on race day. You fingers will feel like they can't wrap around and hold even a monkey bar. Keep this training strategy in mind moving forward with your training. Grip training is one of those essentials that are often overlooked for the first race. But if you can improve your grip endurance, then look out! You are one step ahead of many of your competitors.


Be sure to add these three key components to your obstacle course race training to put yourself one step ahead of your competition and have the best racing debut you can have. Prepare with your training. Pace yourself come race time. And have fun competing alongside hundreds of fun and passionate individuals.


Good Luck!