You may recognize David Magida as the 2016 host of the Spartan Race U.S. Championship series on NBC Sports or even as the current host of Spartan’s live-streaming coverage. However, before he picked up the microphone, he was lacing up his shoes as one of the top competitors in Obstacle Course Racing. Magida, a former member of the Spartan Pro Team, has over 20 podium finishes to his name.
Despite his larger frame, Magida has been a distance runner for most of his life. In high school, he was a conference champion in cross country and, after being recruited, ran for a brief time in college. After taking some time off from running due to injury, he briefly played DI-AA football at Bucknell University as a wide receiver.
Magida took nearly 5 years off before returning to running during grad school, while training for marathons. After finding success in several Spartan races and completing the first ever Ultra Beast, Magida committed to OCR training. “It was amazing and I loved it. I just fell in love with the sport,” he recalled. “I love that you can be both strong and fast. My size was not a huge disadvantage the way it was with road running.”
One of his fondest memories of racing goes back to a victory at Spartan’s New Jersey Super. Magida had trailed the majority of the race due to lower back issues. The rest of his body wasn’t giving up, though. “I was so frustrated that day because my legs and lungs felt fine, but my back was limiting my ability to climb. I was in agony. I could not get the legs to go, and I could not put it together,” Magida remembers.
After chasing the leader the majority of the race, Magida went all-in on the downhills, clocking around a 4:30/mile average pace on the rugged descents. “It’s this really brutal course with just these big, clunky rocks all over the ground,” he explained. “So, my feet after the race were just ruined. They were blistered and bruised and felt broken. I couldn’t train for a week.” Magida’s grit paid off in the end, though, as he seized the lead in the final half-mile. Despite getting out-climbed every ascent before that, his mental focus kept him in the lead on the final climb, allowing him to run a downhill sprint to a first place finish. After trailing for essentially the entire race, Magida won by a mere 11 seconds. “I think the thing that made this particular race special was that nothing was going my way,” Magida said. “Physically I didn’t have it. But if you search inside yourself, you’ll be amazed to find what kind of strength you possess. I learned something about myself that day. It’s the beauty of pushing your body to your limits. You learn what you’re made of.”
Eventually, he decided to step away from racing to open his own training studios, Elevate Interval Fitness. Currently, Magida operates a location in Washington, D.C. and a second in Fairfax, VA, with a third expected to open in D.C. in 2018. Magida employs many of the methods he learned and relied upon in his OCR training to push his clients to their limits and maximize their performance. Elevate focuses on both strength and endurance training, to help athletes develop mental toughness, stay well-rounded and, as Magida says, “to have zero weaknesses.”
At Elevate, you’ll use equipment like treadmills, water rowers, airbikes, kettlebells, sandbags, TRX and dumbbells during sessions that include circuits, intervals and partner workouts. Plus, the coaches will teach you the correct technique to ensure total effectiveness and avoid risk of injury. For more information and a free intro class, visit www.elevateintervalfitness.com.
This workout is basically a race-simulation type of workout. Magida recommends doing it only once or twice per season and allowing around two weeks before racing. He suggests only doing some light running the day before and a pretty easy workout the day after.
Pro Tip: Don’t overdo it on the first two miles, or you’ll pay for it later.
Run to be completed at a 5k race pace on a treadmill. If you want to use this as a race simulation, complete as fast as possible. Warm up with a 10-15 minute jog
- Run 1 mile with the treadmill at 2% incline. Once finished, complete either 30 pull ups or TRX Inverted rows.
- Run another 1 mile with treadmill at 2% incline. Once finished, complete 30 burpees.
- Increase the incline to 4% and run 0.50 miles. Once finished, complete 50 switch/jump lunges. That is 50 total, or 25 per leg.
- Run another 0.50 miles with treadmill at 4% incline. Once done, complete a 100-meter bear crawl.
- Increase the incline to 6% and run 0.25 miles. Once finished, complete another 25 pull ups or TRX inverted rows.
- Run another 0.25 miles at 6%. Once done, complete 30 burpees.
- Run another 0.25 miles at 6%. Once finished, complete another 50 switch/jump lunges.
- Run one more 0.25 miles at 6%. Once done, complete another 100-meter bear crawl.
- Finally, run 1 mile with the incline back at 2%. Once done, complete the workout with another 20 pull ups or TRX inverted rows.
- 5 Miles of Intervals
- 75 Pullups
- 60 Burpees
- 100 Switch Lunges
- 200m Bear Crawl
Writer’s Note: Thank you to David for sharing this workout. You can follow him on Instagram.
Check out past Train Like a Pro articles:
Photo Credit: David Magida, Elevate Fitness, Spartan Race, Savage Race
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