How I won my first Spartan Race (training only 5 hours a week)

By phildrolet

Jun 14

Audio version:Reading time: 6 minutes

We all know working out is good for us.

We know the benefits, and understand we should be exercising regularly.

But if I ask you: “How often do you work out?”

What’s your answer? Once, twice, five times a week?

If you’re like most, you don’t feel great about your answer.

That’s why today I want to share how I won my first Spartan Race by training only 5 hours/week…

And how you too can get in great shape, even if you’re really busy.

By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need- the clarity, the system and the commitment- to upgrade your fitness game, and drastically improve every part of your life.

But first, I must start with a confession…


Enlightened but out of shape?

Last year, I came back from 4 months of intensive spiritual training in Bali.

I was the most spiritually fit I’d ever been but physically, I’d let myself go.

Nothing dramatic… but I felt out of integrity.

As soon as I got back to Colorado, I knew I had to get back on my game.

From past experience, I knew that when I’m in peak physical shape, I’m happier, less stressed, perform better in all aspects of my life.

The problem was, I was launching a new company, starting a new relationship, and facing numerous challenges.

With so much on my plate, how was I supposed to balance fitness with everything else?

Within days, I signed up for a Spartan race, designed a highly-efficient training program, and went all-in.

Little did know how much this decision would rock my world over the coming weeks… 

So, is exercise really that important?

You’ve heard it before. Exercise is important…

…but why?

Why do we believe here at NewKings that exercise is the single most important habit you can build?

Let’s look at it from three perspectives:

1. Historical perspective

If we study the last 200,000 years, our ancestors were always physically active.

If they wanted food they had to hunt, gather or harvest their field.

If they wanted entertainment, they would go explore, dance and play.

By staying inside/sedentary (and living a “modern” lifestyle), you are disconnecting from the primal power that comes from movement and exercise.

2. Scientific perspective

The amount of science supporting exercise is staggering. If you exercise regularly, you will experience:

Take a moment to take that in- can you imagine if there was a magic pill that offered all these benefits?

That’s not the case but making exercise a keystone habit is nothing short of miraculous.

3. Exercise is the ultimate force multiplier 

Being in great shape turns up your enthusiasm, intelligence and passion for life.

As a result, it makes you better at everything you do. It will help you be…

  • A better lover/husband
  • A more caring father
  • A better performer at work
  • A more compassionate friend

I’ve noticed that working out five or six days/week allows me to succeed more effortlessly on all fronts- personally and professionally.

Why? Because my life-force, energy, and zest for life are at their peak.

I believe it’s the same for you, and that you have experienced this at some point.

So the question we must consider is:

If working out makes us better at work, in our relationships and helps us enjoy life more…  

Why is it not a priority?

Here’s what I’ve noticed in most successful men I work with:

We tend to put our career as our number one priority.

We think “this is my biggest responsibility, I have to make more money, I have to make a difference in the world…”

Whatever time is left goes to relationships, and any leftovers after that gets squeezed into fitness.

I want to invite you to flip this model upside down.

Let’s break this down:

If we focus on our career, it does not help us with our health or relationships.


If we focus on our health and fitness, we see immediate benefits in our career and relationships.

In practical terms, if you exercise…

You will be happier, more creative and more productive which will allow you to generate more income, show up better in your relationships, and experience more satisfaction in your life.

My invitation for you today is simple:

You have to move exercise from an “If I have time” to a non-negotiable.

If you’re not exercising, you’re missing out on hundreds of benefits…. and failing to reach your full potential.

This must now be considered unacceptable.


How do we make this a reality?

So, how do we shift our focus and reach peak physical shape even if we are busy?

Here are five tips you can apply right now:

1.Physical activation every morning

I highly suggest starting your morning with a few minutes of movement to get the blood flowing. This is not a workout, just a brief activation(2-15 mins). It could be 20 jumping jacks/20 air squats/20 pushups or an 8-minute yoga routine followed by a cold shower. Find something simple, and make it a part of your morning ritual.

2.Do more of what you love

I always find it strange that so many people drag themselves on the cardio machines at the gym. Why would you do something you don’t enjoy? Find something you love! Whether it’s CrossFit, swimming, ultimate frisbee, jiu-jitsu or something else. Your workouts should feel like a treat rather than a chore. What could it be for you?

3. Sign up for a competition/race

When I got back from Bali and decided to get in better shape, I signed up for a Spartan race. This created a powerful mindset shift and helped me see working out as “training to kick ass” rather than just another thing on my to-do list. Which begs the question: what competition can you sign up for?

4. Focus on Intensity

Most men can’t invest 15 hours/week into their workouts while balancing a family and prosperous career. The solution is to make sure you ramp up the intensity every time you work out. It will save you time, and help you develop mental toughness, and be more comfort with discomfort (a necessity to succeed in life).

5. Power of Commitment

Make it non-negotiable. Commit 100%, go all in. With this sacred commitment, all excuses and “I don’t feel like it’s” will evaporate. Either do it or don’t. There is no middle ground.

Spartan race here I come!

When I returned to Boulder, I applied this five-step framework. The results were immediate.

Whether it was doing yoga every morning, exploring new trails, or challenging myself with hill sprints (at 7000′ altitude)… I was having a blast and feeling strong.

Fast forward to my Spartan Race in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Not knowing what to expect (I had done all my training alone), I ended up winning the competitive division by two minutes.

It’s crazy to think what training at high-intensity for five hours a week can do.

Now it’s your turn:

Find something you love. Make it a priority. Go have fun with it.

Of course, you knew all this already…

This is just your wake-up call.

Much love,

Life is short. Don’t settle.

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