Issue 23
October 2019

By Kim Collings


1. Beast Profiles

2. Seven Pillars

3. Nutrition

4. Looking Ahead

1. Beast Profiles

Articles and interviews dedicated to reporting on the amazing people and stories of Your Beast Team!

Our very own “Blue Steel” Beast sets out to have fun on the course while crushing any obstacle that gets in his way! Meet Jonathan Butler!

What was your first OCR race and what made you decide to try it?

My first race was only in 2018 – The Seattle Sprint. I was looking for something to give my gym training some meaning or focus. It was a toss up between training for Mr. Universe or a Spartan race – I chose wisely 🙂 I had seen something about Spartan in the Interweb and went to a Spartan work out at Green Lake, where I met the wonderful Eric Reevesman whose enthusiasm and friendliness won me over. I went to watch a friend run the Seattle Super that year and stood in the freezing rain and howling wind. I thought to myself, these people are bloody nuts… but also magnificent! Everyone was so pumped up when they came off the course I couldn’t wait to try it. 

How has OCR helped you overcome challenges?

I was always a painfully shy child and managed to grew up into a painfully shy adult, social anxiety anyone? Being a part of this community has helped me be a little less awkward and pushed me out of that cocoon. Talking randomly to strangers is now a regular thing, and lets not forget the hugging, being English and shy is not the recipe for a natural hugger, but that is some thing I’ve improved on, still need more practice , so if you see me out there  ……:) 

What do you love most about the OCR Community?

This is hard to separate from the next question (spoiler alert!)  but first it’s the people and especially the Beasts OCR Team. I’ve met so many great people, so many.  I’m probably older than a lot of people reading this (both of you 🙂  but I still get excited before an event; who’s going? who am I going to see?  what injuries do you have? What dress will Ted be wearing? Next, I love going to different places to race. I’ve been to so many new places this year, Arizona, Vegazona, Austin, Montana, Arizona again for a Stadion race, stayed in some great and not so great places, run in all kind of conditions and had so much fun. Lastly I like the competition, with myself, I like to see how far this decrepit old body can go. I’m not so worried about podiums, only improving and pushing myself. Last year I was happy to do a Spartan Sprint, this year I have run 3 races in one weekend (twice) and still got out of bed the next day – I fell onto the floor but that still counts?

Who inspires you?

My 4 boys inspire me to be a better person every day, and seriously ‘everyday’ people in the Beasts and OCR community inspire me not only in OCR but in life as well. They are such a giving group with each other and in the communities. This may sound like an Oscars speech and you can cut it off at any point. Anyone who has done an Obstacle course race. Anyone who has done an Ultra or Trifecta weekend. The Para Spartans – I was there at Laughlin for the first Para Spartan – never complain again how your leg hurts! People Like Eric Reevesman, Adam Birgenheier, Nic Thompson, Virginia Nickleson and yes you Mike James – you are all so invested in the Spirit of OCRAnyone over 50 who is still doing OCR’s – you know we are the elite guard Corne Clark, Jeannie Neiman, Kelly Cole, Michael Lee all for various reasons. Anyone who goes out of their way to help a person in need.

What is your favorite OCR memory?

Completing the Seattle Super this year in age group because it was so freaking hard! The teamwork and cooperation from total strangers on my First Tough Mudder. Running the First Spartan Terrain Race with Corne Clark. Seeing my son do a back flip/belly flop on the last Tough Mudder Obstacle.

Tell us something about yourself that few people know, whether OCR related or not.

I’m British but have a son in the US Army.

Image may contain: Jonathan Butler, smiling

What are your goals for 2019?

OCR wise –  Finish the Tahoe Beast. Do 2 Beasts at Dallas. Get 5 Trifectas. 

Photo credit: Spartan Race, Jonathan Butler

2. Seven Pillars

Endurance Strength   Athleticism   Recovery Nutrition   Mind  Code

We work hard to improve our physical selves which is important in racing and a healthy life. I wanted to also focus on other aspects that can help us be well rounded in our racing and personal lives. Each month I’d like to choose a topic from the Spartan Seven Pillars above and then offer a challenge to you. You have an entire month to work on it. Research shows that lasting changes often occur when you take things slow and do one step at a time.

This month we are going to look at muscular Endurance. Livestrong wrote an article that covers this topic very well, so I wanted to share it here:

What Is the Definition of Muscular Endurance?

Eric BrownUpdated  July 16, 2019. Reviewed by Aubrey Bailey

Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to repeatedly exert force against resistance. Performing multiple repetitions of an exercise is a form of muscular endurance, as are running and swimming.

Out Running on A Cool Windy Day

(Image: anilakkus/iStock/GettyImages)

If your muscles have to contract in a similar pattern more than one time, you are using muscular endurance. Many factors contribute to muscular endurance, including genetics. If you’re not genetically predisposed to muscular endurance, though, you can train to improve it.


Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to exert force against resistance over time.

Muscle Fiber Types

Your muscles are made up of different types of muscle fibers. The two main types are fast-twitch and slow-twitch, according to ACE Fitness. Slow-twitch fibers play the greatest role in muscular endurance. They do not generate much force, but they are far more resistant to fatigue than fast-twitch muscles. Fast twitch muscles go to work when the force is too great to handle for the slow-twitch muscles. They activate to perform short-duration powerful movements.

People are naturally slow- or fast-twitch dominant. If you’re slow-twitch dominant, you’re likely better at endurance sports. If you’re fast-twitch dominant, you’re probably better at Olympic weightlifting or football. Genetics aside, you can tweak your training program to increase your proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibers.

Read more: List of Muscular Endurance Exercises

The Role of Strength

It used to be thought that endurance athletes should stay out of the gym to prevent putting on bulk. Endurance runners just ran more in the hopes of improving performance. We know now that strength training is important for muscular endurance.

The stronger a muscle is, the easier it is to complete a given task, says Harvard Health — for example, propelling a runner forward. The less work the muscle has to do, the more energy it has to go the distance. Strong, efficient muscles also don’t require as much blood and oxygen, so they put less strain on the heart, which results in greater endurance.

Training for Endurance

Any training program should be periodized, meaning it has different phases. Because you need strength for endurance, you should include a strength phase in your program. For building strength, use a heavier weight for lower reps — six maximum — and lift at a higher intensity. Take longer rest breaks of two to four minutes between sets to allow for muscle recovery.

To train your slow-twitch muscles, lift lighter weight for a higher number of reps — eight or more. Also use a slower tempo, such as two seconds up, two seconds down. Take shorter rest breaks of 30 seconds or less in between sets to accustom your muscles to work in a state of fatigue.

Endurance-Optimizing Diet

The fibers in your muscles that fatigue can fail because of a lack of energy. Glycogen, or sugar, is required for both peak and sustained muscular effort. A diet low in carbohydrates can make it difficult to sustain muscular endurance.

If your goal is optimal muscular endurance, you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and complex carbs from whole grains, says the Academy of Nutrition and Diet. You also need lean protein and healthy fats. Additional carbohydrates and protein following a workout can help you recover faster and promote muscular endurance.

Proper hydration is also key to optimal muscular endurance. Make sure you are drinking enough water based on your body size, activity level, sweat output and the climate where you live.

Read more: Muscular Endurance Training


3. Beast Nutrition


whole and sliced pumpkins

It’s that time of year and pumpkin is everywhere! Here are some fun facts that may just surprise you:


A pumpkin is really a squash?
It is! It’s  a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squash and cucumbers.

That pumpkins are grown all over the world?
Six of the seven continents can grow pumpkins including Alaska! Antarctica is the only continent that they won’t grow in.

That the “pumpkin capital” of the world is Morton, Illinois?
This self proclaimed  pumpkin capital is where you’ll find the home of the Libby corporation’s pumpkin industry.

That the  Irish brought this tradition of pumpkin carving to America?
The tradition originally started with the carving of turnips. When the Irish immigrated to the U.S., they found pumpkins a plenty and they were much easier to carve for their ancient holiday.

Fun Facts About The Pumpkin!

Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.

Pumpkin flowers are edible.

The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.

In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.

Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.

The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.

The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.

Pumpkins are 90 percent water.

Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.

Native Americans flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.

Native Americans called pumpkins “isqoutm squash.”

Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.1

Photo Credit:


Pumpkin, Kale, Chicken Salad

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Kale-Roasted-Pumpkin-Chicken-and-Avocado-Salad-with-Smoky-Pumpkin-Dressing-from-HeatherChristo.com_.jpg

This recipe is a great way to use left over chicken and makes a wonderful, healthy salad

2 cups kale
1.5 cups diced pumpkin
1/2 cup diced chicken, cooked
1/2 – 1 avocado, depending on size
1/8 cup sunflower seeds or pepitas
1/4 cup pecans

1 T olive oil
1 tsp citrus vinegar (or use your favorite kind)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp grainy mustard
Dash nutmeg (optional)

Cook pumpkin your preferred way by microwaving, steaming, or roasting (400 deg for approximately 20 minutes). Massage kale to soften and assemble in bowl with the rest of the non-dressing ingredients.

Mix dressing ingredients and drizzle over salad. You can double the recipe if you like more dressing or skip the dressing and use spices if you prefer. Enjoy!

Photo credit:

4. Looking Ahead

The Beast Report: October 2019
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