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Read from those who never quit.

How I Keep My Competitive Edge: Training to be a Spartan Athlete

By Faye Stenning

Being a professional Spartan athlete is a full-time job—to say the least. From daily training to recovery, the Spartan races to TV appearances, it’s a busy lifestyle.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve always been into athletics, and I’ve always been competitive by nature. I don’t like losing. I’m motivated to do what I do because I love to push myself to achieve new goals, and because I love to win.

And that’s why I’m a Spartan athlete. I ran track and cross country during my college years, but I discovered that I wanted more variety than just running, running, running. I got started with Spartan gradually, checking out and participating in events in nearby cities with my boyfriend. I began focusing on strength training and continued to hone my skills, all while getting to know this awesome community that I love.

At a certain point, I stopped and said to myself: “Hey, I’m really good at this,” and I started thinking seriously about going pro. But it was getting difficult to juggle my 9-5 office job and the training I needed to continue to get better. I was running to and from work and running on my lunch break to get those extra miles in. I thought, “Is this worth it? Can I really do this?”

In April 2016, I signed with the Reebok Spartan Pro team, and I haven’t looked back. Now, instead of trying to balance my career with my passion, my career is my passion. I have the right environment and the right support to be my best, and I’m taking advantage the best I can.

So, how do I do it? Here’s what the life of a Spartan Athlete looks like:

Starting the day right. They say a good breakfast is key to starting your day right--and it’s true-- especially when there’s a full day of training ahead. But, I don’t always keep it super health-food centric. Many days, I’ll go with a bagel with peanut butter (great for protein). And sometimes I’ll go for a morning run, ending at a coffee shop.

Off-season vs. in-season training. Training is a year-round activity, but the heat really turns up during the summer months when the Spartan season is in full swing.

Right now, it’s almost Spring, so I’m focused on keeping up my endurance with regular running. Part of my routine includes taking The RefreshinQ Co. pre-workout supplements (part of the Workout + Recovery Pack) and then putting on an Energy Support Patch before I begin my run.

The patch is an important part of my day—instead of getting a boost of energy followed by a crash, it’s sustainable. I’m able to carry on with the rest of my day right after training instead of wanting to plop down for a nap.

Once the season approaches, I’ll train three times per day, with morning runs followed by rehab and recovery (yoga, massage, chiropractor) and an afternoon strength training session. When the season kicks off, I add obstacle-specific and skill training in the middle of the day. It’s a jam-packed day… and my friends wonder why I’m always so hard to get a hold of.

Staying motivated. Committing to such a full schedule isn’t easy, but it’s what’s necessary to maintain a real competitive edge. Motivation is big.

People find it surprising when I tell them that I don’t listen to music when I train. I know many find it useful when they need to pump themselves up, but personally, I think it can be counterproductive. You don’t get music during a race—you need to be comfortable with nothing but your own thoughts while still being your best.

But my primary motivation is a drive to be the best. I want to win world championships and I’m never going to quit trying to accomplish this goal.

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Check out Faye’s favorite RefreshinQ products—Workout + RecoverinQ Packs, Energy Support Patches and Vitamin D Support Patches—and follow her on Facebook!

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