ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.
Rick Cheek shares a story that many people can relate to. No “real” drastic story caused him to have a yo-yo diet growing up, that’s just life sometimes. One major turning point got him up and moving though; he had kids. Rick’s goal was to lead by example for his family…and that’s exactly what he has done. He has motivated a variety of people from his family to his followers. He encourages others to push themselves and to take it to the edge.
Growing up, Rick was always active. He played several sports, none of which he particularly excelled in. He considered himself to be an average athlete at best. However, Rick was a product of the 80s and thus became a fan of frozen dinners and junk food. As a result, putting on a little extra weight was something that came easy to him.
In fifth or sixth grade, Rick began having issues with his weight. His mom even noticed that he had become “chubby”. By the time he had reached middle school and high school, he had become full on overweight. Being overweight brought on even more stressors, which did not aid in motivating him to make a change.
Unlike most, Rick lost most of his weight going into college. However, he did smoke between the ages of 16-23 and was somehow able to maintain a pretty “healthy” weight. After meeting his wife in his mid 20s, the back-and-forth yo-yo of weight gain and loss started to become part of his life. Rick was a member of local gyms, but really didn’t have any particular goal or direction and never saw any real results. Eventually, one of the trainers asked him if he had ever heard of CrossFit. This was his first step into regaining control of his health and he began to educate himself about his body and nutrition.
No real incident or life event caused Rick to gain weight. Like most, he was just motivated to eat and be lazy. So what really helped push his mindset to change towards a healthier lifestyle? “My father passed away a little over ten years ago from a heart attack. He was in his 60s and died the same way his dad died,” says Rick. The other push was that he and his wife had kids. His goal was to be sure he was around to see their kids. He knew that by doing something now, he had a better chance of being there for them in the future. Most importantly, he knew he had a responsibility to his family to do everything in his power to live healthier for them.
When asked if his first obstacle race impacted his training, Rick said “Actually not very much at all. My first race was a Spartan Sprint and I came out of it hooked on OCR events, it wasn’t until my second race in the mountains of Virginia that I realized I needed to adjust my training and work on training specifically for the races”.
Without a doubt, he was completely unprepared and destroyed at the Virginia Spartan Super in 2013. It was the event that single handedly changed his mindset and started his focus on training for races instead of training AND racing. Rick’s first attempt at Wintergreen took him about eight hours to complete.
“I remember around mile six sitting on top of the mountain and resting and feeling like I wanted to cry, not because I wanted to quit, but because I knew I wasn’t going to, I knew how much hurt I had in front of me to still go through,” said Rick.
DNF- NEVER AGAIN
After receiving a DNF on the Ultra Beast this past year, Rick committed to spend the entire year training specifically for that event. He will not settle for a DNF again!
This year Rick is using a coach (Tony Cowden from CrossFit Wilmington) to help prepare for the Ultra Beast 2015. He has an aggressive weight-training program that is aligned with an equally challenging running program. Rick describes his routine as, “a lot of heavy leg days under the barbell with running immediately following. It can get pretty miserable”.
Rick relies on the support of his family and his CrossFit coach of five years (Brock Wilson: CrossFit Carolina Beach, North Carolina) to pursue his race goals. They help motivate and guide him to continue on his journey to finish his 2015 goals and beyond. Most importantly, Rick hopes he can teach his kids that with persistence and effort they can surpass any obstacle that comes their way.
Originally, the name SpartanEdge had absolutely no meaning, obviously that changed quite a bit over time. When he first created it, it was a way for him to keep the social media dialogue-going back-and-forth about workouts and training and stay somewhat anonymous. He had a good bit of concerns about publishing to the world snapshots of his life that might include his family. With the thousands upon thousands of people that he interacts with online every day, he just wanted to play it safe.
However, pretty quickly his family became a part of what he was doing to train for events and they would be at his events. They work out and exercise quite a bit together and after a while of doing the same training he was doing for races, his kids started wanting to run a Jr. Spartan. “It’s a really cool thing they offer to be able to watch your kids run an obstacle course race that they’ve trained for alongside you. My son ran his first with a cast on his arm, and as odd as it sounds, I was so proud to see him do something that was so out of sync with a kids normal life,” says Rick.
The lifestyle he has made really became a part of his entire family, which has transitioned the SpartanEdge name to truly reflect the family. Rick feels accountable to them to constantly improve and give them goals to work towards. “I can’t go backwards in the eyes of my kids,” says Rick. He has to stay healthy, strong, consistent, and he looks forward to the day that they beat him in a real race.
With his busy schedule, it is tough for Rick to keep it all going. Work requires him to travel out of town a bit, but he knows he has to stay at it no matter what is thrown his way. According to Rick, “The only thing that’s guaranteed is that the time will pass, it’s what you accomplish in that time that’s on you”.
Rick is a big believer in settings goals and then training towards them. To him, one’s goals need to be enough that the training required to achieve them will keep you constantly pushing the edge of your comfort zone.
RICK’S CURRENT WORKOUT SCHEDULE (EXAMPLE)
Rick is 6’4 and his previous weight was 275 pounds. He currently weighs in at 220 pounds.