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I get asked a lot how I do some of the things that I do. How do I run up to the peaks of the mountains at Lake Tahoe? How could I carry a 60 pound bucket of rocks with no handle for 75 minutes without putting it down? How do I just "go"? The answer I usually provide is in the form of a question.

"Have you ever stood at the foot of a staircase without seeing the top?" Most people answer "yes". The next question I ask is, "Did you take those first steps or did you make for the elevator?" The analogy begins to sink in.

Training hard over a long period of weeks and even months doesn't just happen with most people, certainly not me, you have to begin with the first step."

My name is Philip Levi. I am an Obstacle Course Racer and a fitness professional. I co-host of The Obstacle Order podcast and own a hybridized training studio in Burlingame, California.

My philosophy is that of building upon the skills which you already have while developing new ones adjacent. If it doesn't challenge you then it won't change you.

That being said, programming for competition is something I'm approached about frequently.  How to get yourself in top physical condition for races and events is something I love to help people do. The key for OCR training is so simple it's almost scary.

If you're designing a training regiment to get yourself ready for something like the "Spartan World Championships" or "The World's Toughest Mudder" the best advice I can give you comes in the form of this one word.


Crazy right? Now you can get very detailed and examine the microcycles that are necessary for overcoming specific sequences of terrain and various obstacles but the most valuable advice I can give you is to

Run like an antelope. Run like a cheetah. Hell, run like a penguin if that's your spirit animal. Find your focus and get to work because the competition isn't wasting any time.

The other word I would put up as being just as important as the running component is "recovery". 

The recovery component of any good program is just as important as the work you put in making yourself stronger and faster. From Epsom salt to ice baths, getting familiar with recovery tactics is essential to your success in the world of physical competition.

Here is a sample of what a 7 day training program might look like if you are preparing for an Obstacle Course Race of moderate length.

Every day will have some form of cardiovascular element in a long, medium, short or "beast" format. The "beast" is just what it sounds like- HAM.

Every day has some core element to it. Call it "abs" if you want to just make sure that you hit all angles of your core and not just the front.

The term "accessories" refers to any skill you feel needs working on. This could be grip, traditional strength, SAQ- anything needing more development.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 
Yoga Long Run Medium Distance Cardio Medium Run Short Run
Medium Distance Cardio
Core Work Grip Work Core Work Grip Work Core Work Grip Work

Remember that developing strength takes much less time than developing a solid aerobic base so carpe diem and get out there to get those miles in!

Philip has been a fitness professional since 2007, and his passion for helping people achieve their potential shows in his teaching. A five-year alum of Equinox in San Mateo as a Master Instructor, he helped lead and train the team of trainers to achieve “Best PT Club” in 2012 and “Best Suburban Club” in 2013.

Follow Phillip on Instagram or visit Burlingame Fitness for more details.

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