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How I tackled Tough Mudder: Part 1

Alexandra Davies | posted Tuesday, Jul 22nd, 2014


I wouldn’t consider myself to be a superstar athlete. Though I competed eight years competitively in synchronized swimming (and no, synchro is not anything like what you saw in Austin Powers), I was a strong swimmer, but pretty much a weakling in everything else. I was able to eat all the bread/pasta/pastries I wanted without gaining any weight—in fact, I didn’t even know what refined carbs were, or that they don’t do any favours for your waistline. My practice would burn it all off anyways, so I was set. But then the worst thing that can happen to an aspiring Olympic athlete happened: I was forced out of my hopeful synchro career thanks to a wonky lunge-twist that resulted in a herniated disc. Major buzzkill.

With being pretty well immobile for a couple weeks, and forbidden from practising with my team, the carbs moved in and decided to stay. With university just around the corner, I did what I could to keep myself in decent shape (and mainly to avoid gaining 300 pounds). I got a GoodLife membership, bought all the Jillian Michaels’ fitness videos, and even took up running. I was determined as ever, and there was no way I was gaining any more weight.

But alas, I did exactly that once I hit university. First year proved to be where my fitness regime died a slow painful death. From the alcohol to the copious amounts of tater tots conveniently placed inside my residence’s cafeteria, I was on a one-way trip to Fatville with the dreaded freshman 15 (okay, 30…) to keep me company.


Something had to be done. In what physically and mentally felt like a slump, I started jotting down things I knew would make me happy. This resulted in the creation of my very own bucket list. The first thing on the list was to compete in aTough Mudder race. I figured that a healthy body and Tough Mudder went hand in hand, so it would be a two-bird-one-stone type of deal. On November 12, 2013 I took the plunge and signed myself up to compete in the Toronto Tough Mudder on August 16, 2014.

Now, if you do not know what Tough Mudder is, I’ll sum it up in a few words: omg, mud, dirt, fire, pain, ice cold water. Sounds dreamy, right? You’re probably questioning my sanity at this point, but there was something about this specific race that lured me in—I needed that rush, I needed that Tough Mudder headband, and I needed to feel the accomplishment of fulfilling my dream.

Before I began training, I knew two things had to change: my eating habits and my workouts. A Tough Mudder course incorporates more than just running for countless kilometres on end. All together, the course runs for 18-20 km with various types of obstacles you and your team must conquer. And I’m not talking ‘run through these tires’ type of obstacles—I’m talking trudging through trenches caged by barbed-wire, jumping through flames, and crawling through muddy water dodging electric wires that feel as though you are getting a jump start. CLEARLY I had to up my exercise game so my body could endure all of this madness, but first I needed to clear up my diet.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Cityline.ca where I cover my training and diet plan!


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