Category Archives: Fitness Buff Show Radio

Jaslyn Ome, Playboy’s Miss April, Talks SUP

By Pete Williams

PMOM: Small CameraJaslyn Ome, Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for April 2013, joined us this morning on The Fitness Buff Show to talk about two of her passions: stand-up jet skiing and stand-up paddleboarding. You can hear that interview on The Fitness Buff Show, the official broadcast partner of Endurance Sports Florida HERE.

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The Amazing Story of Matt Miller

By Pete Williams

Matt Miller had no business surviving a bicycle accident in November 2008. The 20-year-old University of Virginia student and triathlete collided with an oncoming Porsche along the Blue Ridge Parkway, smashing into the vehicle with his face.

He broke every bone in his face, essentially lost all of his teeth, and experienced severe brain trauma. Remarkably, the first person on the scene was an anesthesiologist, who knew how to position his head. That was the first of a series of fortunate circumstances that got him alive to the University of Virginia hospital, where doctors gave him little chance of surviving 72 hours, at least without permanent brain damage.

Instead, Miller walked out of the hospital in 25 days, scored a 95 on a makeup physics exam with a class average of 65, and two years later completed Ironman Cozumel in a top 10 percent time of 10:30 — during his first semester of medical school, no less.

As an undergraduate, he shadowed a doctor at the University of Virginia hospital. His family’s medical background goes back to his maternal great, great grandfather, a Civil War surgeon and Virginia graduate.

If Matt Miller’s story was a work of fiction, it would seem too farfetched. That might explain why Michael Vitez, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who chronicled Miller’s recovery for The Philadelphia Inquirer, was rejected by fifteen New York book publishers who no doubt are waiting for the next Kardashian book proposal.

Thankfully, Vitez decided to self-publish the book via CreateSpace.com and the result, The Road Back: A Journey of Grace and Grit, is an adrenaline-charged book that I read in one sitting after downloading Monday morning. Vitez won a Pulitzer for a series of stories on five people as they dealt with the end of their lives. He also wrote a book called Rocky stories, spending a year interviewing people who ran the “Rocky steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Those themes resonate in The Road Back, where Miller’s family spends three agonizing days wondering if he’s going to make it. Miller even has a shy, pretty girlfriend, Emily, who for weeks spends nights at his hospital bedside even as his face is mangled far beyond anything Rocky endured. (The two are still together, fellow medical students at the University of Pennsylvania, and, well, we won’t spoil the ending.)

Miller, a walk-on swimmer at the University of Virginia who quit the team after one year to focus on triathlon, showed a superhuman tolerance for pain and proving medical experts wrong. He was studying his physics texts in bed within days of emerging from major brain trauma. He found a way to consume nearly 4,000 calories a day with his jaw wired shut and underwent eight root canals in one day with minimal painkillers. While still in the hospital, he got his former swim coach Mark Bernardino’s calves burning as they walked stairwells together.

Vitez, a University of Virginia graduate who in the late 1970s edited a Cavalier Daily student newspaper staff that included classmate Katie Couric, learned of Miller’s story early in 2009 while playing poker with a co-worker of Miller’s father. A gifted storyteller, Vitez soon was in Charlottesville chronicling Miller’s recovery and marveling like everyone else at his upbeat personality.

Perhaps the most poignant moment in the book is when someone finally handed Miller a mirror in the hospital. He just shrugged at the sight of his disfigured face that would require many more surgeries.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” says Vitez, who joined us on The Fitness Buff Show. “I sent a draft of the book to my agent and she sent it back. She didn’t believe it and told me to go back and talk to him some more. She thought there must have been a point where he was devastated and I wasn’t going deep enough. And I went back and asked again and again, but I found that Matt felt that as long as his girlfriend was with him and that there was no hesitation on her part, that he was fine. He said, ‘I’m a vain guy. I used to be upset about a pimple on my face. It’s not that I don’t care how I look, but I’m up thinking and walking, living my life, and Emily was still in love with me and the rest didn’t matter.'”

Three months after the accident, Miller jumped into a pool for the first time, swam a 100 free in 59 seconds, and vowed to do an Ironman triathlon. He started with the Charlottesville Half Marathon, posting a 1:27:28 – 10th among the 436 men entered. In the fall of 2009, he finished 28th among the 2,500 competitors in the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington.

Most cyclists and triathletes can recall every detail of bicycle accidents and struggle not to think of them while riding. Miller, who remembers nothing of his crash, scared his family and girlfriend by getting back in the saddle – of his repaired bike no less – agreeing to wear a motorcycle-like helmet and ride on roads without automobile traffic.

Miller completed Ironman Cozumel among the top 10 percent of the field and vowed to do another – after medical school. He still competes in shorter triathlons and other races. Over the weekend he completed the 10-mile Broad Street Run in Philadelphia in 59:26, a pace just under a 6-minute mile.

Not bad for a guy wrapping up his second year of medical school.

Vitez says he still struggles to explain how Miller got through the ordeal with such an upbeat personality.

“I think he put his family through such a horror that he was determined not to complain or let anything slow down his recovery out of respect and love for Emily and his family since he had caused them such pain,” he said. “There are such great qualities in this kid and it was a thrill to share it.”

(To hear an interview with Michael Vitez, author of The Road Back, click HERE)

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The New Rules of Lifting – for Life

By Pete Williams

Since the publication of the original New Rules of Lifting book in 2005, Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove have showed how to strength train more efficiently, effectively, and with less chance of injury.

In The New Rules of Lifting for Life, the just-released fourth book in the series, Schuler and Cosgrove show why it’s important to train differently once you hit middle age.

It’s the Catch-22 of fitness demographics. Those who take training seriously and work out aggressively end up with chronic aches and pains in midlife because they don’t know how to adjust their programs as they get older. And those who take it easy end up with overfed, underdeveloped bodies that don’t respond well when they decide to get serious about exercise.

So the authors set out to create a new template for exercise, one that delivers serious results but is also flexible enough to accommodate individual limitations. NROL for Life offers a six-month plan that balances total-body strength, endurance, mobility, balance, coordination, and athleticism. The workouts are challenging and, in conjunction with the suggested diet modifications, will help readers change the way their bodies look, feel, and perform.

We’re big fans of Cosgrove and Schuler, who served as the editor for the original Core Performance book I had the honor of writing with Mark Verstegen. Schuler also has been a frequent guest on The Fitness Buff Show, and he joined us again today to discuss his new book. You can listen to that interview HERE.

 

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Tackling the Goruck Challenge

By Pete Williams

At 1 o’clock Saturday morning in downtown Tampa, a group of 80 to 100 people will begin a grueling, all-night physical challenge consisting of Burpees, push-ups, hauling logs, and non-stop running while wearing heavy-duty, military-grade backpacks containing four or six bricks apiece.

They will spend the next 8 to 10 hours covering 15 to 20 miles and the trip could take them virtually anywhere from Ybor City to MacDill Air Force Base. Watches and cell phones are not allowed. Headlamps and layers of clothing are required, though the latter is less of an issue in the Florida heat.

These people have nothing to do with the military, though the cadre accompanying them have Special Operations backgrounds, most as Green Berets. The participants have paid between $120 and $160 apiece to get a taste of Special Ops training, pushing their mental and physical limits, and serving as walking billboards for the backpacks they wear.

It’s all part of the Goruck Challenge, which began as a way for Jason McCarthy to market his $295 Goruck ruck sacks, high-end, indestructible backpacks modeled after the rucks he used as a Green Beret fighting in the Middle East.

The Goruck Challenge typically includes famous landmarks.

McCarthy, who graduated from The Bolles School in Jacksonville and recently earned an MBA at Georgetown, figured his U.S.-manufactured rucks would be difficult to market at that price point. He and some fellow Green Berets competed in one of the first Tough Mudder races in the weighted Gorucks. The gang had fun, but McCarthy figured he could create his own challenge that more closely mimicked Special Forces training.

Obstacle races give competitors the option of working together but there’s no choice in Goruck, where one cadre works with teams of up to 30 people. Each has a weighted backpack and teams must collectively haul additional weight. A typical challenge is carrying a 1,000-pound tree trunk for up to a half mile. Another staple is running Indian style, where the last person in line must sprint ahead and become the leader. If a team member can’t go on at any point, s/he must be carried.

“The rule that matters the most is that they work together,” McCarthy told us this week on The Fitness Buff Show. “For the individual it’s a rollercoaster. You give 1,000 percent for an hour, but maybe for the next hour you don’t have that stamina and that’s when your buddy has to pick you up and vice versa. It’s every bit a team event and showing their failures as an individual so they can see the power of working together. The challenge is a metaphor for life.”

The cadre are not drill sergeants but rather assign missions, appoint group leaders, and dole out penalties. McCarthy himself is among the eight cadre in the mix, though he won’t be in Tampa this weekend. With 62 events scheduled the rest of the year, some with multiple “classes” over the course of a weekend, McCarthy can’t make all of them, which include Florida stops in Orlando (May 19-20), Fort Lauderdale (Nov. 17-18), and Jacksonville (Nov. 24-25).

Getting wet is expected in Goruck.

The events typically stick around urban areas, but given their overnight scheduling don’t tend to disrupt traffic and only attract a few curious onlookers. The event has a 98 percent completion rate, but McCarthy says the non-finishers include a man who had completed six Ironman triathlons. A number of people return for multiple Gorucks, to the point where McCarthy has created Goruck Selection, a 48-hour-plus version of the Challenge designed to mimic the Special Forces Qualification Course.

“There’s a feeling  at the end of the challenge that you’ve accomplished something,” McCarthy says. “Camaraderie is so high in the military because you spend time being miserable with people and there’s no substitue for that. People want to see how they respond under mental and physical stress.”

Listen to our interview with Goruck Challenge creator Jason McCarthy

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An Interview with Joe DeSena, Spartan Race Founder

By Pete Williams

Death Race competitor Joe Decker

We spoke this morning with Joe DeSena, founder of the infamous Spartan Death Race and the Spartan Race series, which quickly have become recognized as the toughest races in endurance sports – perhaps even more so than Tough Mudder.

You can listen to that Fitness Buff Show interview HERE. Some highlights:

— DeSena does not like the term mud runs, preferring “obstacle racing,” believing the competition is more about overcoming obstacles than dealing with mud.

— Though his company plans to attract more than 350,000 competitors to 41 events this year, including several overseas, he bristles at the idea of people entering huge teams of athletes, some of which are not prepared for the rigors of the race.

— More than 10,000 people applied to be on “Unbreakable,” the upcoming reality show that will pit 100 athletes in seven days of Death Race-like competition in Vermont this spring.

 

 

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Savage Race Gets “Tougher”

By Pete Williams

Tackling the Savage Race

Sam Abbitt received plenty of positive feeback from his initial Savage Race, the 4.2-mile obstacle mud run he staged in Clermont last August. But he says he believes in borrowing some of the more popular elements of other races to improve his own.

That’s why the second edition of the Savage Race, which takes place at the same Clermont facility on March 10, will include an ice plunge very similar to Tough Mudder’s “Chernobyl Jacuzzi,” where athletes must wade through a dumpster of ice water, immersing themselves completely at one point.

The Savage Race is one of the few mud runs to have a significant swimming obstacle. The 150-yard challenge is back. Non-swimmers and those who don’t wish to swim can take a pass, but must do 30 Burpees and add 10 minutes to their time. The Savage Race will have a total of 20 obstacles, up from about 14 last year. There will be a “super waterslide,” along with a few surprise challenges.

Abbitt, who is expecting more than 3,000 for the event, spoke to us today on The Fitness Buff Show. You can listen to that broadcast HERE.

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FitLife Foods Founder David Osterweil on Fitness Buff

By Pete Williams

Opening in Countryside Jan. 26

Since The Fitness Buff radio show debuted in 2005, we’ve provided some of the earliest media exposure to a number of businesses that now are household names: Perfect Pushup, TRX Suspension Training, the BlendTec Home Total Blender.

Here’s another one likely headed to prominence: FitLife Foods, the Tampa-based company that provides healthy, tasty, meals to go in three sizes. CEO David Osterweil, a former Outback Steakhouse executive, figured there was a market for busy professionals on the go, especially those involved in fitness and endurance sports. Osterweil, a married father of two young children and a marathoner himself, knows his demographic.

FitLife Foods chef Andrew Ruga, who previously worked at the world-famous Canyon Ranch resort in Arizona, prides himself on using alternative ingredients to make dishes healthier. That’s why FitLife’s barbecued beef with macaroni and cheese not only is among the store’s most popular dishes, it’s also one of its healthiest.

We’ll be covering FitLife more this month as it opens its third location and first in Pinellas County (on the southwest corner of McMullen-Booth and Enterprise Road in Safety Harbor/Countryside).

You can listen to our interview with David Osterweil HERE:

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