Spartan Training Benefits the Body and Mind; Free Class Featuring Elite Racer Andi Hardy Coming Saturday to Bridgeport

By Julie Perine on April 02, 2015 via

Nearly a couple dozen area women made a tough New Year’s resolution which they’ve been able to keep. From different fitness backgrounds – but of same accord in determination – these women have been taking Spartan training at Raw Grit Cross Fit Gym in Bridgeport. Sixteen of them will soon put their newfound skills to the test.
“We will see it all come together on Saturday, April 11 when we compete in our first Spartan race as a team,” said Amy Hinkle, class member. “Everyone should get the opportunity to improve themselves and become better in all aspects of life.”
But this weekend, others will have the chance to sample Spartan training in a free class led by Andi Hardy of Spartan Race.
Considered an elite racer in the industry, Hardy will conduct the community class Saturday, April 4 at Bridgeport City Park. The event is open to people of all ages and stages of fitness. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with the class following from 10-11:30 a.m.
As explained by Hinkle, Spartan training is quite unique.
“Training for a Spartan race is different than other forms of physical training because it encompasses you as an entire person,” she said. “There is physical training, as well as training in mental toughness, the ability to overcome obstacles, education, nutrition, attitude, athleticism, tenacity and grit - all modeled and learned through the training.”
Conducting the Spartan training at RawGrit CrossFit is Jen Brazier, who became interested in Spartan training about three years ago.
“I started going to the races as a spectator and volunteer. It was kind of intimidating,” she said. “Nobody here was really training like that at the time.”
Brazier went on to learn all about Spartan training and became adequately trained, developing a passion for what it stood for physically and emotionally.
“A Spartan race is an obstacle course – or mud race, but it’s more than that,” she said. “It’s being able to challenge yourself physically and mentally as the obstacles are a metaphor of what people are going through in their own lives.”
Classes are run in three distinct phases, focusing first on attitude and nutrition and working with one’s own body. External equipment – from weights and fitness equipment to random objects like tires and rocks – are added. Ultimately it all comes together, serving to bring body and mind together.

“It’s training you to basically get over your own brain. Basically, that’s what Spartan training is,” Brazier said.
SPARTAN is an acronym, utilizing the seven pillars of stamina, persistence, athleticism, tenacity, attitude and nutrition.
“Each pillar is empowering,” Brazier said. “By the time we go through the class and it’s time to race, they’ve been prepared for anything.”
Class members have been preparing for the surprises which the races entail.
“We progressed from running laps around a building that we train in to running challenges in the rain, in the dark, up a hill and for distance,” Brazier said. “We know the race is five miles and it will probably cake us two and a half hours to finish so we practice running for two and a half hours someplace.”
The class has made day trips to Coopers Rock State Park and Steel City Parkour in Pennsylvania, thereby incorporating different environments and elements of weather and external objects into training.
“We use tires and sledge hammers,” Brazier said. “We also use things found in the environment, like if we’re hiking up a hill in a muddy, wooded trail and someone grabs a rock or log and starts passing it.”  
Brazier invites area individuals to come see what it’s all about at this weekend’s free community class featuring Andi Hardy of “Wired4Life.” Read more about Hardy here:
Coming soon is the SGXKids program based on the Spartan pillars. Read more about it this weekend on Connect-Bridgeport.
Sixteen members of the current Spartan class are registered for the April 11 Charlotte Sprint in Charlotte, NC. New adult Spartan classes are forming at RawGrit April 15 in preparation of the July 11-12 Spartan Sprint/Super in Palmerton, Pa. 
Editor's Note: Pictured are current Spartan trainees of RawGrit CrossFit. Also pictured is Andi Hardy. 

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