'I'm so good, I don’t need it!'

The Benefits of Event-Focused Training 

By Patrick Kaminski, Co-Founder 





Most of us feel strong enough and prepared enough to manage most of the challenges that daily life (or work-outs) and hobbies throw at us. So, when it comes to either new or more intense challenges such as a Spartan Race or Adventure Travel, we allow ourselves to believe that simply intensifying our usual routines will do the trick. Well, that might be true for some lucky ones (although I don’t believe in luck!).


If you really want to enjoy the full scale of your upcoming experience, an Event-Focused Training Programme with dedicated exercises makes a lot of sense. I am not talking about adding a few monkey-bar swings to make the Spartan, but surely doing them with wet/muddy hands after running 5k would be more worthwhile? But seriously, let me share my thoughts and experiences with a concrete example. As a motorbike enthusiast and having ridden bikes for almost 34 years (yes, I am turning 50 very, very soon!), I listened to a dear friend and signed myself up for a 2-week hard-core endurance travel adventure through the deserts & mountains of Morocco.


So let me be honest and immediately confess that I never ever imagined it to be that extreme, intense and challenging! I knew that living in Hong Kong would not offer many training possibilities for off-roading, or for practicising riding in deep sand or dried up river beds. Instead, I decided to focus on preparing my mental and physical fitness. Confident in the years I have spent consistently working out, I thought I could get away with a few more runs and ramping up my current workout intensity. I mentioned it to my Personal Trainer, Doug, and after smiling at my proposition to 'run a bit more' (he smiled for a looong time!), he came up with a specifically designed 50-day “Ready for the Sand” programme.


The programme focused on a balanced and targeted mix of strength, endurance and stabilization. Keep in mind that for 2,700+ kilometers off-road riding, our days would consist of 8+ hours standing on the bike on bumpy (nicely understated!) hostile terrain at uncomfortably high speeds (making your arms and legs the second suspension for the bike!): trying to stay in control and avoiding serious crashes. Preventing fatigue throughout the day was key to staying safe, as every second of weakness or lost alertness could have cost me a bitter end to the adventure (by the way, the fallout rate in my group was significant, and rose the longer the trip continued). Looking back, I am incredibly grateful to the Event-Focused Training programme, and I know now that it was crucial in enabling me to enjoy (and endure!) the entire trip. I was blessed that Doug researched it so diligently and guided me through.


The burn of seemingly endless reps of handstand push-ups or cable-reverse-walkouts in the gym faded to fun compared to the realities I experienced in the desert. I was fortunately able to rely on my physical fitness and strength to not let me down. This was even more important considering my relative riding inexperience and the many surprises of the unforgiving terrain that commanded all my energy and attention.


So, whatever hair-raising challenges or wild adventures you are facing next, make sure you prep accordingly. If you don’t know what to do by yourself, go see a qualified Personal Trainer for the programme and maybe even a Chiro Practitioner or Physiotherapist for input.

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The good:

You will face your challenge with certainty and assurance that your body won’t let you down. You get to focus on the experience, your capabilities, and above all having fun mastering the challenge.

Who is it for?

Event-focused training is just as important for the unfit as it is for fitness junkies and adventure-seekers. The latter ones especially tend to search for extremes (incidentally, this Extreme Enduro Trip is highly recommended if you are looking for your next near-death experience!) and tend to overrate their specific fitness and preparedness. They're the ones likely to face a painful awakening during the challenge (keep in mind that a third of my group didn’t make it until the end). Even the longstanding semi-professionals tend to confuse experience with fitness. And getting older (guilty!) doesn't add benefits to your fitness either. Finally, for those less fit, there is a risk of having to drop out early or get seriously harmed.

Watch out:

Don’t think that intensifying your (potentially already intense) workout programme is enough. It won’t prepare you for the specifics. If you never climb but you're planning a rock-climbing adventure, more pull-ups, running and boxjumps won't do the trick. Grip, leg strength, stability and not least endurance will be key (interesting enough very similar to the challenges I faced on the bike). Screen the specifics of the challenge ahead and speak to professionals to seek help in preparing. For me, the endless bunnies, bears and crabs gave me at least some idea of how to manage the thousands of bumps on the desert tracks standing on the bike for hours. Be careful not to overdo it -  especially as the starting date of your challenge approaches. Rest and recovery are equally important!


The alternative is not to specifically prepare but to trust that you are strong & fit enough already. Generally, the consequences are painful, harmful or frustrating at best. Something that can be of meaningful support is effective athlete supplementation and a thought-out, balanced nutrition plan that you follow before and during the challenge.


My Event-Focused Training Programme was not pain-free, but it was priceless! Without Doug and his carefully crafted programme I would have failed within the first three days of the trip. With it, I set off on my challenge with the confidence that I could and would be able to make it through. While the trip was certainly still demanding, I was able to focus on learning the required skills, controlling the bike, and enjoying this unique and exhilirating experience surrounded by stunning scenery.


The Verdict:

Don’t die stupid! If you go into new challenges, go prepared.



What others say: 

“Always full gas!”

Bernd HOMBRE Bohnenkamp