Mike Ryan spartan challenge

Let’s admit the obvious: Fitness takes time and it’s not always fun.

It’s ironic when you think about it.   In today’s fast pace lifestyle if there’ one thing we don’t have much of its TIME and if there’s one thing we need more of its FUN.

I’ve been a big fan of fun fitness for 35+ years and I’m always trying to find more interesting ways implement my Personal Missions Statement:  To Enhance the Health of Others.  I’ve found a great fitness tool to do that….in the mud!

Mud runs are one of the fastest growing sports in the country and for good reason.  I’ve always been a huge fan of off-road running and adventure fitness has allowed me to challenge myself, stay in shape, and enjoy getting dirty with my friends.

Here are my top reasons why off-road racing is the best way to build fitness:

1.  Dirty Fun – Instead of worrying about what you look like in those “pretty” races, the focus of a mud run is to have fun and to not look good.  It’s a nice change and that makes “working out” less tedious and more fun.  The emphasis is on more mud and more smiles, which is the perfect combo in my book.

2.  Length Does Matter – The length of time that most mud runs require is usually more than most mature athletes would spend working out.  That additional fitness time will improve your fitness, burn more calories and build more muscle.

3.  Top to Bottom – When you finish a mud run, you know that you’ve used muscles in every part of your body.  Getting through the obstacles, over the hills, through the mud and to the finish line will work your upper body, lower body and everything in between.  The result is total fitness.

4.  Power in Numbers – Let’s be honest with each other:  Having someone to challenge us brings out the best in each of us.  Having fellow mud run teammates and competitors in the race with you to push you, cheer for you, kick you in the butt and relying on you is VERY powerful.  That extra motivation will bring the best out of you and is often the #1 reason why so many mud runners continue to return to off-road races year after year.

5.  Out of Time – Not having an emphasis on your finishing time is a good thing for the non-competitive racers of the group.  Simply taking on the challenge of the race course and finishing is the main goal of many of the racers.   Not being compared to the young speed demons via the clock is important to most of the racers lining up at the starting line.

6.  Win-Win – A wonderful benefit of many of the mud runs is their affiliation with local charities.  Raising both awareness and money for those in need makes any endeavor extra special.

Muddy Finish

I love mud runs and adventure fitness!  I’m excited to get dirty again in 2012 after the conclusion of my 2011-12 NFL season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  If you’re a mudder, come on out and join me for some fun in the mud.

If you’ve never competed in a mud run event, please give it a try.  Get your friends together, find a mud run to sign up for, come up with a crazy team name and simple set a goal to have fun with your friends and to finish the race.  I’ve literally seen friends do just that and it changed their lives by proving to themselves that they can succeed with such a challenge.

Take action today to become a mud runner within the next 6 months.  I want to help you complete a mud run with a smile on your face.  Follow me on www.mikeryansportsmedicine.com and on Twitter @mikeryanfitness for free sports medicine tips to train for a mud run while avoiding sports injuries.