Who Is The Painted Warrior?
You may have seen him at a Spartan Race, or on social media. Half man, half art project, and 100% committed to his fitness goals. Meet Stephen Sinek, a.k.a. The Painted Warrior. His mission is to become a Spartan Champion, while using his body as a canvas for the art of fitness and the art of body paint. We caught up with Stephen to find out how he prepares for the challenges of his next Spartan Race.
Core Power: Hi Stephen. How did you get started in obstacle racing?
Stephen Sinek: After a death-defying four-day hike down the back country trails of the Grand Canyon, my friend challenged me to our next adventure; something new and intimidating: Obstacle Racing.
CP: How Many Spartan Races have you done?
Stephen: Currently, I have done over 60 obstacle races, with more than 50 being a Spartan Race. I average about 1-2 a month, so my tally grows very rapidly.
CP: How did your body paint idea start?
Stephen: My wife Aeni is a professional makeup artist, so it almost seemed destined for the body painting ritual to develop. We originally did it for my first race to try and win the costume contest. At that time, I was not competitive, but as racing became more serious for me, so did our efforts to make the paint a real artistic expression for the unique audience that is drawn to Spartan Races.
CP: How do you decide the body paint design for each race?
Stephen: Lately we try to tie the inspiration for each new body paint design to the race location in some way, whether it be drawing from the state bird, Native American cultures of the region, or anything else we feel deserving. The final product can be designed by either one of us, or sometimes as part of a collaborative effort. In either case, it is always something we both agree upon.
CP: How do you train for Spartan Races?
Stephen: When training for a Spartan Race, do what the Spartans do! There is no better way to get better at something than by doing that “something”. I practice spear throwing, rope climbing, tire flipping and many other Spartan-specific skills in my weekly routine. I try mixing in these activities when my heart rate is up, say during a run or after a set of burpees, rather than when I’m feeling fresh. If you do this, when race day comes, you’ll be more than ready to crush those challenges.
CP: What’s your daily fitness routine/diet?
Stephen: My fitness routine consists of a “CrossFit Endurance” style of workout, through the Spartan Group X training program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This includes strength training with weights. In between those days, I have a programmed run that focuses on interval training to help improve my running efficiency and speed. On the weekend I will switch it up between some type of obstacle race simulation (boot camp) or I’ll go for a long, slow run, or maybe even a sandbag hike. Sunday is usually my only day of rest unless my body feels like it needs another workout. My diet is not super strict, though I do make an effort to eat healthy, so fast food is not on the menu! I do incorporate Core Power high protein shakes into my diet, 2-3 times a day, to aid in muscle adaptation and recovery.
CP: Can you give us a workout that our fans can include in their routine?
Stephen: A good 20 minute workout that can be done anywhere without any equipment is a series of Tabata exercises. A Tabata protocol goes as follows: 5 intervals of 20 seconds all-out intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. I like to create my Tabata interval workouts in a phone app like RunKeeper with an audible cue for interval changes. You can also add a cardio warm up and cool down (jog in place, jumping jacks, or rowing machine if you’re at the gym).