Get Fit with 6: Taking your workout up a notch, training for a Spartan race

The Spartan Race is a series of obstacle races of varying lengths and difficulties ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 4:23 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Spartan Race is a series of obstacle races of varying lengths and difficulties ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances. It’s a great way to challenge yourself so you don’t get stuck in the same routine.

Amy Stewart, owner/personal trainer of Back to Basics Personal Training, has competed in and won medals in several Spartan races and continues to take teams of men and women from the Wilmington area to compete.

“Spartan races are obstacle course races that people challenge themselves to do. You climb walls, climb ropes, carry buckets different feats that Spartan actually offers people. There are different levels of Spartan races so I would always start out with a sprint,” said Stewart.

The sprint is a 5k with twenty obstacles. I’m part of a group from Wilmington training to compete in an upcoming race. Stewart has a course set up outside her gym that offers some of the specific obstacles. One of the Saturday classes I attended started like this.

“We’re going to do some rope climbing, we’re going to be climbing the walls, Olympus wall and we’re going to throw the spear. We’re also going to carry sandbags and an atlas ball,” said Stewart.

A couple of women with the Wilmington team are Monica Wilson and Haley Tolitsky. Both have competed in a Spartan race before. The first time each wanted something more.

“At the gym I felt really weak and I was trying to get stronger. Fear of doing a Spartan is unbelievable but I thought, ‘I’m gonna push myself and do this,’” said Wilson.

“I wanted to challenge myself in the gym. So, I work out five to six times a week but having a competition to train for really gave me that push to work out harder day to day,” said Haley Tolitsky.

Now both are training for their second Spartan race and have a been able to focus their training based on what they learned from their first experience.

“Upper body strength and core so I’ve been doing a lot of upper body strength training with Amy, doing hangs and a lot of sit ups to build up my core,” said Wilson.

“A lot more grip and forearm training because a lot of it is upper body strength that’s what I struggled with the most the last time so really working on that for this race,” said Tolitsky.

Besides being extremely physically challenging, a lot of the training is mental.

“It can be intimidating, it’s a little bit scary, but it’s really, really fun and if you put the training in and the work in it’s a blast and it’s so worth it when you’re done,” Tolitsky added.

“First you need endurance, you need strength and the mental capacity to complete it. Get the courage to step out of your comfort zone and show up every day,” said Wilson.

Amy, Monica, Haley and myself will compete in the Carolinas Spartan race on November 20.