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The (not so) Laid Back Forest

laidback1This weekend was chock full of activities. From Infinitus to Spartan Race to a #racelocal event Wason Pond Pounder, you had your choice of what to do. If you weren’t up for a race though, I know that’s near sacrilege around here, there was also an opportunity to check out the Laid Back Forest.

Located in Coventry, RI, deep in the woods of a residential neighborhood, was an adult playground you would not believe unless you were there. I had read the buzz about this place since it opened and had not been able to make it until now. I caught wind that they were holding an open house to kick off the beginning of the warm weather season. They were to open the course up for 3 hours to the public, at no charge, though you did need to get a ticket as they expected to have quite a few people show. My two boys (Alex and Colin) and their friend (James) thought it’d be a fun excursion so we hopped in the truck and made the two hour drive.

As we made our way through rural Coventry we finally saw the sign to turn. We slowly rolled on, trying not disturb the residents, and it came into sight…. We finally made it!!! And it was magnificent, it was epic and we were going to play our hearts out for three hours!

laidback10As I said, you did have to pre-register but it was quick and easy. Similar to a race you got a wristband and signed the usual waiver. Quick and super easy. From there it was your choice. There was no structured tour, no workout to follow, just an open field of OCR heaven! There were your typical walls of various sizes, a-frames with ropes to grab on and climb over, cargo nets, etc. You had a really cool spear throwing station, with at least 5 spears on ropes, to practice with. My son Colin and I enjoyed the balance garden which had beams and stumps to balance, jump and climb over. There were monkey bars and even an extremely tall wall similar to the one Robb has at FIT Challenge that you have to climb way up and over.

There were some logs of various heights set up similar to walls that you had to jump and climb yourself over. You had a couple inverted walls, of various heights. They got really innovative on one thing which seems more designed for the kids. They had stacked tons and tons of wooden pallets together and put them all around a small area. The kids could jump up, down over and across. To be honest, I had to get in on it too, it was loads of fun.

laidback3There were also some not so typical obstacles as well that were a lot more ninja warrior oriented. There was an inverted wall, a salmon ladder, a salmon ladder to a wooden plank “monkey bar” jigsaw type of thing. That was extremely intense, I didn’t even attempt that one, it wasn’t happening! There were the 45degree angle jump pads that you usually see at the beginning of a ANW course, unlike the shows usual 4-6 pads there were seven so you really had to keep the momentum going if you planned on conquering this. I really loved the swinging rings, I’ve seen it a ton of times on tv and have always wanted to try it. Yeah, I nailed it!

In the middle of the field though was a gigantic piece of equipment. I’d call is Goliath but that name is taken and honestly, doesn’t come close to the obstacle this thing is. We will just call it the monster, how’s that? It had multiple traverse walls which were extremely difficult. A variety of diameter rope climbs. There were ladder climbs to the top level, including two cargo nets which on was set up like a spiders web. Once up top there was a vertical cargo climb. At its peak it must have been 30-40 feet off the surface of the ground. It was awesome!

I know I’m missing a ton here, but that’s the great thing, you can now go and explore it for yourself! There are already talks of trying to do this a couple more times this summer and I surely am hoping we can put together a Spahten excursion, you will all love this place and not want to leave!


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Savage Games

10258893_607716789328534_6039632274048691163_o Savage Games is a new, monthly competition being held at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville, MA. This two hour event has a ton of obstacles, and a competitive format – that covers everything from walls, to parkour to ninja warrior – and a ton of “in between” stuff too. In it’s last couple of months it’s already become a huge hit with members of the New England Spahtens – so we wanted to gather some reviews and feedback from people who’ve been – and why you should check them out!

From Stephen Rodericks

Last year spartan race had three free workouts, the second and third ones were held at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville . This is a pretty cool rock climbing gym. they are pretty close, not far off of the pike, and there is a free parking lot around the corner from there (20 dane st) it is about a three minute walk, but get there early so you do not miss a spot, the lot is not that big. pretty recently they have started a new monthly event, taking place the first Saturday of every month. I just did the March one and it was a blast! You register online up to the day before, and it is 25 dollars, at the facility it is 30 dollars, then do the typical wavers and check in. The event goes from 8am to 10am, and they run down what obstacles they have, how to do them, and explaining the point system. they have volunteer counting points, and give out a prize for first place. You compete in teams of four, as best as can be accommodated, and you choose your teams when you get there. Us Spahtens had 10 people so we were the only two groups that had 5 people, so they scaled our points down 20% to make things even with everybody else. There were close to 30 stations (obstacles) and they had different influences, some were parkour, some were ninja warrior, and some were ocr.

some of the obstacles were:

10974350_617759251657621_6781584965592229567_oNinja warrior walls (4 hanging walls with grips near the top and you have to transfer to all 4)
Cargo Net Climb
Short walls (run down and back going over 3 foot walls)
Getting your team up on a small platform without touching the ground
Parkour monkey bars (it had a pipe traverse and monkey bars and such, no touching the ground)
Parkour wall set up (going over various heights of walls)
Balance beam type metal contraption
Tire Hoist
Tire Flips
Handstand (free standing got 1 point, against a wall for 30 seconds equaled a point)
Yoga block pass (lying on your back, gripping with your feet pass end to end each round to the start is a point, and this was for all 4 people)
Rope Climb (knotted and no knots)
Rings (spaced far apart, and kind of high off the ground maybe 6/8 total)
Buddy Carry
2 person Heavy Carry (100 lb dumbbell)
Hop up stairs, bear crawl down
Selfie Station (with funky wigs and costume pieces)
Up a rock climbing wall
Spear throw
Broad jump
ninja warrior short leaping walls (usually seen at the beginning of the first level, but smaller)
Traverse Rope
Salmon Ladder

I am Sure I am missing some of obstacles, but you get the idea, loads of fun! they are still early on in creating this kind of an event, and they are making changes from previous ones from what i heard. But it was so much fun, and for me it is much closer than it would be to go to an ocr, and much cheaper, and you can meet new like minded people there. I forgot to mention that each station you only get 3 rounds to get as many points as you can. They encouraged you to help out your teammates as needed, and explained what you could do and what was against the rules. Overall it was a very fun, and well pit together event, full of a unique mixture of fun and challenging physical activities, one that i have not seen elsewhere. If you ever find that you do not have a race to go to on the first Saturday of the month, as long as this is going on you should give it a shot, i know ill be going back next month. My team came in third, and we had such a blast, laughing the whole time, and still challenging ourselves. That is also a part of the appeal of this event, The woman that was explaining to us all what we were doing was wearing a funky plastic tube wig on her head that lit up. So think Goofy, Challenging, Parkour, Ninja Warrior, OCR, and an A.M.R.A.P. style workout/challenge and you have a fairly accurate summery of Savage Games. And it is worth it to check it out.

From Marc Ford

11026255_627874613979418_4542654292558913222_o* Event Details
savage games is held at Brooklyn Boulders, a rock climbing facility, in Somerville. Parking is limited. The facility is primarily for rock climbing, but has taken on several other avenues, such as parkour, obstacle course and American ninja.

* Race Details
They created an intense competition that incorporates them all. The event starts at 8am with some announcements, warm up and a run through of the stations. You compete in teams of 4 and go in order through the several challenging station non stop for 3 minutes per station accumulating points. The stations include traverse ropes, cargo nets, monkey bars, wall climb, rope climbs, tire flips, carrying weight, tire pulls, bear crawls, balance beams, buddy carries, salmon ladder, over under areas, core and even a selfie component. The pace is intense, the music is booming and the energy is electric. The winning team gets an event tshirt and a prize that can range from an OCR entrance up to a month of free classes at Brooklyn Boulders. The obstacles are challenging and you can typically get assistance.

* Rating

From Nele Schulze

10982147_627875430646003_7281540324491052715_o* Event Details
Parking is a slight hassle because you have to park about a 1-2 min walk from the venue. Not a huge deal, just unexpected. The facilities were GREAT. They have a coffee shop, lots of climbing facilities, loads of water fountains etc. No schwag unless you win (or purchase)

* Race Details
2 hours broken down into 3 mins on each obstacle with 1 min to transition to each area. The obstacles were very good ranging from rock climbing, body weight exercises, obstacles, ninja warrior style obstacles, and parkour obstacles. Some obstacles were easy (eg selfie station) and others were pretty darn tough (eg salmon ladder). There was about 25 different obstacles to move through during the 2 hours.

* Rating

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Stop Hiding Behind Your Comfort Zone

where-magic-happensWe have all heard the saying “Life beings at the end of your comfort zone.” by Neale Donald Walsh.

We all have places we feel comfortable and confident.  We know that we will succeed, even if it takes effort and all that we have, we know we will not fail.  That is our comfort zone.

It’s important to know where your comfort zone is.  To know what your boundaries are.  It is within those boundaries you can relax and reflect.  It should be where you can recharge and reevaluate.

Now comes the hard part.  Step outside of it.  It doesn’t have to be big.  It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing mentality.  Find something to push you.  That is where you grow and learn about yourself.  That is where you find yourself.   Don’t like meeting new people?  Introduce yourself to one new person, not a whole group.  Don’t think you can run a 10k?  Sign up and finish, however that happens.

Comfort zones are wonderful.  Reach for growth, step outside of it!


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What it takes to be an inspiration.

inspire2Just what does it take to inspire someone?

Not necessarily as much as you might think.  It will differ for each person.  You might not even realize that you are being an inspiration.Everything that you do can be inspiring to the right person.

Did you share a recipe that was healthy?  Someone might have seen it and decide that looks good and takes a step to cook a meal at home instead of going out.  Guess what! You just inspired someone.

Did you post a photo of yourself at the gym?  Someone might have seen it and decided they were going to do something active.  Guess what! You just inspired someone.
Did you do something that pushed you outside of your comfort zone?  Did you shout it to the roof tops when you finished?  Someone probably saw it and probably decided to do something else to step outside of their comfort zone.  Guess what! You just inspired someone.
I know that running a marathon or an ultra marathon is inspiring.  So is running a 5k when you couldn’t run 30 seconds a year ago.   You know what else is inspiring?  Walking a 5k even when you are worried people might be looking at you.
Anything you do that pushes you is inspiring.  Remember that what you are doing could be inspiring someone, just as you are being inspired by others.
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Introducing The Loft – OCR training in Tilton, NH

10351601_1531947257050158_6885141024263860539_nThe Loft has just landed on the scene, and they look like they’re worth investigating if you’re in that region.

What are they?

Part of a much larger fitness facility, The Loft is their dedicated OCR center – located in Tilton, NH at the Tilton Sports Center

New England Spahten community member, Jessica attended and sent us the following feedback –

Spacious parking, friendly staff, very clean facility

This is just what this area needs!!! The loft has done a great job of accommodating the OCR world by having a great indoor training space with a lot of variety.
The loft would be great for a beginner just trying out OCR’s for the first time or would be great for a seasoned pro who wants to perfect their technique.
It has obstacles that range from The American Ninja Warrior-like warp wall and Salmon Ladder to standard cargo nets, walls and monkey bars.
The loft has staff that are involved in OCR’s so it’s nice to have real world experience on site to help you work on obstacle technique and efficiency.
Overall the Loft is a great asset to anyone looking to improve their fitness and raise their OCR training up a few notches.
If you are looking for a great place to train this winter, The loft is your answer!!!

Check them out –

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WOW 7/7/2014

Hello Spahtens!  Today’s WOW is ready, are you?

Grab a towel, some water and print this sheet.    Next, set your interval timer for 30 rounds of 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest.  Now fill in your sheet with the following movements:

  1. Jump Tuck
  2. Mason Twist
  3. 1 Leg Glut Bridge
  4. Alternating Bicycle Press
  5. Mountain Climber
  6. Tricep Dips

After completing this WOW, get outside and hit the trails for 20-30 minutes of medium effort running!  Aroo~!!!

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Elevated Training – OCR Course

1623483_665825763485866_4813351622934354662_nElevated Training is opening tomorrow, and we’re excited to have some New England Spahtens run the course and report back – before they launch, I reached out to talk to John and Jeff, the owners and get some more information about who they are, what they’ve done, and what the plans for Elevated Training are.

Who are the owners of Elevated Training? What are your backgrounds?

John: I have an extensive fitness background with a BS in Kinesiology from the University of Kentucky, and two years in as a graduate candidate in the MS Exercise Science Program at Umass amherst. Professionally, I’ve spent  time as a Strength and Conditioning Coach on the High School, College (Assistant at the University of Kentucky and Head Coach at Providence College), and Professional levels – I spent a couple of months working for Shaun Brown and the Boston Celtics prior to the NBA lockout in ’98, and had operated a Personal Training Business from 1992-2010. I’ve also authored a few fitness articles, and co-authored a book titled Training the Female Athlete.

Jeff has spent time as the Operations and Programs Manager for the Worcester YMCA, served as the President and Executive Officer of the Worcester Rugby club, and holds a Masters in Sports Administration from Georgia Southern University.  We have both spent time in a variety of athletic endeavors; I’ve competed in bodybuilding and weightlifting competitions at various points of my life, whereas Jeff has become interested in running and Obstacle Course Races, and has participated in the Spartan Challenge, and we’ve both competed in collegiate and club Rugby.

Tell us more about the location and plans for the venue?

The concept for the course should be primarily credited to Jeff, as we’ve discussed a variety of business ventures over the years, but his idea coupled with his relationship to the staff at Ski Ward in Shrewsbury – the location of our training site propelled us to begin this particular venture.

Our training venue will be located along the slopes at Ski Ward in Shrewsbury , MA, and encompass about 1.8 mi of rugged terrain filled with a variety of challenging obstacles. Moreover, the property boasts some inclines that are not for the weak of heart.

The obstacles will hopefully vary every couple of weeks, and include such challenges as: balance beams, hay walls, sandbag drags, concrete block drags, tire agility run, the wall, the twine crawl, a mud pit, bucket carry’s, and a few more we don’t want to give away 🙂

How do people register and sign up? When are you open?

Click for pricing
Click for pricing

Right now, our business model is that of an open course. Participants have a few different pricing choices – I’ve attached our pricing sheet, and will be able to come and run the course at their leisure and pace as many times they like during our open hours – think of it as an outside obstacle course gym.
we don’t have a discount code for you guys yet, but I’m working on integrating paypal into our website, so hopefully soon; I’m a rookie at this web design gig, so bear with me 🙂

We’re opening one night a week – Wednesdays from 5:30 to dusk, to start for public training with the option to add more nights as demand dictates, and Tuesdays/Thursdays set aside for group or corporate training/events.

Which brings us to our deal for a Season Pass only $99, which would still be honored when we expand our hours, and currently available at Brown Paper Tickets:

One last note, our course is geared to runners 14+, with anyone under 18 required to have a signed parental consent form available soon on our web site.

Elevated Fitness has an open day tomorrow, Jun 25th from 5:30pm till dusk, and many NES members will be attending – here’s hoping we have a fantastic training facility in a central location!

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WOW 6-12-14

Spahtens!  Time to motivate with today’s WOW!  Grab some water, a towel and get ready to sweat!   Set your interval timer on your phone for 30 rounds of 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest.

Print todays sheet and fill it in with the following movements:

  1. Mason Twist
  2. Air Squat
  3. Inch Worm
  4. 1 leg glute bridge
  5. Staggered leg push up
  6. Burpee

Great job!  Now finish this off with a nice walk, bike ride, or jog for 30-60 minutes!  Aroo!