7 Reasons You Shouldn't Be Afraid to Tackle a Spartan Race

Friday, 14 February 2020
Exercise, the one word that many people living in a western country either love or hate. It can be quite a divisive word. People are proud of the fact they do not exercise whilst others find extreme power and pride in the exercise routine. Regardless of whether you're the former or the later, most people shudder at the idea of running a Spartan race.  

But y'all, Spartans really aren't as unattainable as you think! Can you walk/run 5kms? If so, you can probably do a Spartan. Now I know that statement will cause people to absolutely LOSE THEIR SH*T, Spartans are by no stretch easy, BUT they are 100%, absolutely, attainable. Your biggest obstacle is your own mind! So whether you think I'm batsh*t crazy, lying through my teeth, or spot on, here are my reasons why you shouldn't be afraid to give a Spartan race a go. 

1. It's Not Only for Elite Athletes
Whenever I talk to friends and family about Spartan races, their first response is "That's just for elite athletes, I could never". Guys, I don't know if you've seen me, but I am in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM an elite athlete. I am the captain of Slow Turtle USA. Even with training, speed ain't my thing, and I'm ok with that. 

I ran my first Spartan after a few years of minimal physical activity. By minimal, I mean, I only walked when I was at work. I have friends who signed up for their first Spartans at almost 200kilos and freakin killed it! Your initial fitness level SHOULD NOT BE AN OBSTACLE! Get out there and try. I guarantee you'll be shocked at what you're actually able to do. 

Does this look like the body of an athlete?!

2. Your Body is Stronger Than You Think
Unless you're super new to this blog, it's no secret that I have a few chronic health conditions. For the longest time, it was my excuse. I refrained from doing certain activities because I was afraid of my own body. Guess what, I was so wrong. My body is so much more capable than what I ever would have guessed. 

Do I have limitations that other Spartans don't, hell yeah! But I prep for those challenges before the races and listen to my body. I'm looking at you people who think no one needs a hydro pack during a Sprint jerks. For me to have a successful race, I make sure I don't ingest caffeine, I always carry a hydro pack, I always pack my meds, and 90% of the time, I'm walking up hills (no one wants to see a grown adult flare in the middle of the woods). Does this slow me down, yup! But it does ensure my body stays functional so I can cross that finish line. 

Your body won't fail you. Get out of your own head and try! 

3. The Distance Really Isn't That Far
Look, I'm not saying go straight for an Ultra. That's just crazy talk but a Sprint, that's totally doable. Think about it. The average person can walk a kilometre in about 10 minutes. So ask yourself, can you walk for, let's say 2 hours straight? If you can, chances are you can do a Spartan. 

Bright, VIC

Get bored with walking or running? Here's why Spartan could be the perfect race for you. You're never running for long periods at a time. In most races, the max you're running without an obstacle is about 1 km. You've got this! 

4. You'll Always Find Help
We've all been there. It can be impossible to find people to run a race with you. But the Spartan community is absolutely incredible. As long as you're racing in the open heats, you'll always be able to find a race buddy or help at a challenging obstacle. Even the volunteers shout encouraging words to you. 

I have raced in about 20 Spartans to date, and in every race, I meet new encouraging people. I never feel alone during the races. We're all enduring the process together. And there is something even more motivating, and exciting watching random strangers become your friend in the span of a race. You celebrate the successes and you power through the failures together.

5. Even Your Failures Will Help You Improve
We, as a society, are petrified of failure. This often impedes us from giving things an actual go. Our mind psychs us out before we've even tried. During a Spartan, this is where the burpee penalty can be quite motivating. I don't know about you, but I hate burpees. They are the bane of my existence. If I have to choose between flinging my body over an 8-foot wall or 30 burpees, someone best better be ready to catch my flailing body on the other side of that wall. 

But even when you attempt and fail an obstacle, you learn so much. You can highlight areas of improvement, acknowledge fears, and know exactly where you could have tried harder. It's motivation for the next obstacle and possibly your next Spartan. 

6. It's a Great Excuse to Travel
Spartan holds races all over the world. The US, Greece, Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Austria, Dubai, Sweden, the list goes on and on. So why not link a Spartan race to your holiday? It gives you the chance to explore the area a bit more, get a little exercise in, and feel super accomplished. It is still a big goal of mine to do the trifecta weekend in Sparta. How cool would that be? 

7. How Many Other Unknowns Have You Feared?
Think about it, how many other activities have you been nervous about or were afraid to attempt? Once you gave it a go, how did you feel? Your mind is a powerful tool. Overcoming that apprehension will only leave you feeling stronger while boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence. Spartan does exactly that! I cannot tell you how incredible you feel crossing the finish line. The overwhelming sense of accomplishment is probably one of the best feelings on the planet!

When you break it down, a Spartan race really isn't that intimidating. It's simply another obstacle you are sure to overcome. Even if you're racing solo, you're never actually alone on the course. The comradery you face on the course will flow into your everyday life. Who knows, maybe you'll even join the Trifecta Tribe!

Have you ever raced a Spartan before? What were your thoughts before, during, and after the race? Share your Spartan story in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious!


All-Inclusive Resorts: Are They Worth It?

Friday, 7 February 2020
Let's be honest, I'm very much a budget traveller. But as I've started getting older, I've found, on occasion, I much prefer convenience over saving a little bit of money. However, for some reason, I was never drawn to all-inclusive resorts. 

All-inclusive resorts typically include all your meals and beverages within the rate. Occasionally, these rates will also include activities around the resort. This can take the hassle out of trying to find the perfect restaurant within budget. But are they really worth it?

Recently, I had my first all-inclusive resort experience. Here are some of the pro's and con's I found about staying in the resort. Now, a small caveat: I have only ever stayed in one all-inclusive resort. My opinions are solely based on this. I'm sure not all resorts are the same. 

Pro: You Don't Have to Worry About Carrying Around Money
Are you worried about carrying around money? I'm sure we've all misplaced valuables whilst on holiday at one point in time. Me personally, I HATE carrying around any significant amount of cash when I travel, I just feel too vulnerable. When staying in a resort, you don't need to worry about this. You can even tip restaurants and bars by billing it to the room. The only time you'll really need to carry cash is if you leave the resorts or if you want to tip resort drivers. 

Con: It's Easy to Lose Track of Your Budget
Did you book all-inclusive because you were hoping it would keep you on a budget? Be very careful! Since you're typically not carrying cash, billing all the tips to your room can add up. It can be quite easy to overtip or forget that you did tip. You also have to be cautious as not all restaurants, drinks, or activities may be included in your all-inclusive package. From my experience, the staff is not always upfront about what is or is not included in the package. It isn't until you've eaten or done an activity that you see the bill. 

Pro: You Can Relax and Stay In One Spot
One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of travelling is navigating a new location. It can be scary worrying about which cab companies are reputable, where the safe areas of the town are, or where to find some good eats. When you stay in a resort, you don't need to worry about any of this. Most resorts are gated, so you don't need to worry about anyone other than guests being present. Depending on the size of the resort, there may be golf carts to shuttle you around from place to place. And, unless you're me, it is tough to get lost in a resort. All of this makes it very easy to rest and relax on your holiday. 

Con: You Miss Out on Local Culture
I'm not sure about you, but I don't like travelling to a different culture and merely living in my own. To me, that defeats the point of travelling. Whilst you can still get a touristy version of the local culture in your resort, it is nothing like getting out and exploring. Most resorts cater to US and European guests, so there is a high probability that there will be menus that reflect this. You may miss out on some incredible local dishes. 

Pro: There Are Lots of Activities for Families and Children
Are you travelling with kids and worried about how to keep them entertained for the entire trip? Many resorts have kids clubs with tons of activities to keep the little ones entertained. Within this, there may even be child care options to give the adults a much needed break. Many of these activities are included in the package, so you don't have to worry about spending extra money. This is especially helpful when your little ones think they want to do an activity and quickly learn it's just not for them. 

Resort in Borneo

Con: You're Confined to the Resort
If you really want to get your money out of an all-inclusive resort, it's best you keep your holiday confined to that resort. Leaving and going anywhere local is just added costs. If you're budgeting, this is a sure-fire way to blow your budget. Depending on where the resort is located, you may also be quite far from the local town. Taxis to and from the resort are often more expensive so keep this in mind. 

Other Things to Keep in Mind
Make sure you check the fine print before booking. Some resorts will charge more for certain amenities. Whilst one would think shuttle service to and from the airport would be included, this is not always the case. 

When researching, it appeared that in most cases, you would be paying almost double to stay in an all-inclusive resort. I'm not really sure that would be worth it to me. I would much prefer to spend my money on more experiences. However, if I am travelling solely for a relaxing holiday, all-inclusive is precisely what I would be looking for. 

When my partner and I stayed in an all-inclusive resort, we found that we would EACH need to eat and/or drink roughly $275 per day to break even. Y'all that's a lot of freaking food! We made sure to get good use of the pools and gym. Unfortunately, other activities were not included, so that made it hard to reach the $275 per day goal. By the end of the trip, we were NOWHERE near that target. It definitely was quite ambitious.

So is an all-inclusive resort the right choice for you? Well, it really depends on what you're looking for in a holiday. For some, this is absolutely the right choice. The security and activity options for families might be perfect! For the traveller looking for a more cultural experience, this may not be the right fit for you.

Now I'd like to know, what are your thoughts on all-inclusive resorts? Are they worth it or not? If you've ever stayed in one, please share your experience in the comments below. 

And until next time...
Stay curious