Last week we were honored to host a workout with local athlete and trainer, Taylor Overmiller.
Taylor Overmiller is a certified Spartan Obstacle Course Trainer, member of the Beasts OCR pro-team, a multiple Obstacle Course Racing Champion, and, the owner and operator of Portland Outdoor Athletics (http://www.portlandoutdoorathletics.com/)
At Couch Potato Strong we strive to provide applicable health advice directly from people living the healthy lifestyle. During our workout we discussed training philosophy, goals, and practical tools for fitness improvement. Instead of transcribing the entire 20 minute interview, the following is a summary of the best advice from the segment. The entire interview is available for viewing at (Click Here).
When asked what motivates him to compete, Taylor explained that competition is his way of testing himself. Training is a form of regimented progression, and, competition allows Taylor to determine the effectiveness of his training program. Specifically, “competing is really just a way that you test your progress, and, it’s also a way to keep training honest and consistent” (Overmiller, 2020). A regularly scheduled test on the calendar keeps Taylor from procrastinating. It also ensures he trains with passion, and, the intensity required to continue improving.
At Couch Potato Strong we realize that not everyone is going to seek out athletic competitions; however, you don’t need to compete in order to put yourself on a track of positive progression. It is important to keep a workout log. Keep track of the weights you lift, or, times you run a distance. When the weight starts to feel light, add a bit more and keep progressing. It seems simple, but, having a workout log is key to fitness success.
Additionally, setting goals in exercise is very important. Goals allow you to have something to work towards. It works much like competition does for an athlete. If you have a goal to squat your bodyweight 10 times by September 1st, you can’t procrastinate; and, you will need to workout with passion and intensity to continue improving and reach your goal.
When asked what advice he had for the average person trying to get fit and healthy, Taylor said “the number one most important thing is accountability” (Overmiller, 2020). Taylor explained that if you are stuck in a rut in your training, and, you are wondering what to do differently to keep improving, the vast majority of the time, it’s just because you are not reporting to someone. If you have a friend who is more experienced in working out, you can report to that person, get ideas, and keep improving. Most people who live the healthy lifestyle are open and willing to help others looking to get fit.
Even better than having someone to report to, is having a training partner. This can be a spouse, a relative, or even just a good friend. Having a training partner ensures that on days when you are not really motivated, you have the extra motivation of working out for your partner. It is typically a lot easier to let yourself down, than it is let down someone you care for (Overmiller, 2020).
There is a reason why it is unheard of for Olympic medalists to train alone. Nobody does it! They have a group and they have coaches (Overmiller, 2020).
When asked what his greatest athletic blunder and/or injury was, Taylor described a season ending hamstring tear. During his first season as a dedicated track athlete in high-school, Taylor subscribed to the belief that weakness was simply pain leaving his body. Taylor soon found out that was not the case. As a young spry 16 year old, Taylor pushed through pain in his training for the 800m run. The result was not only a season ending hamstring tear, but, an injury that if not careful still flares up today.
All the real hardcore athletes that I know, have an injury story. It’s almost like this process that everyone has to learn the hard way (Overmiller, 2020)
If you compete you have to push yourself to your personal limits. In doing so, it is likely you will get injured; however, the process of recovery from athletic injury (and physical injury in general), is one that teaches resilience, patience, steady endurance, and a never quit attitude. So, pay attention to your body. If you are dreading your upcoming workout because of pain, or too much stiffness, stretch out, take it easy, and see how you feel. It is better to rest an extra day than to risk injury, especially if you are not a competitive athlete.
When asked what motivates him to compete, Taylor mentioned that he felt like he was called to live a healthy lifestyle, and, to help others do the same. He explained that he intends to continue to compete and train until he receives an indication that he should change. This is a sentiment shared by many athletes.
At Couch Potato Strong, we believe that to become strong in a positive manner, you must believe that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. This could be religious, or spiritual; however, it could be as simple as believing that you are a role model for the next generation. When times become tough, having faith in a greater purpose helps with overcoming adversity.
It is impossible to provide health advice at this time without discussing the impact of Covid-19. When asked what his current athletic goal was, Taylor stated he simply wants to get back to competing. This statement represents the feelings of nearly every athlete during this crisis.
Normally at this time of the year I would be feeling pretty good, have a few races under my belt, and, already be planning for how I want the season to end this fall (Overmiller, 2020).
Reach out to friends and family, stay in contact. Plan for fun activities to enjoy after the crisis is over. We will all get through this together. If you are not a competitive athlete, workout at home. You are safer doing bodyweight exercises at home than venturing to the gym. Equipment is not required to get a good workout.
As stone carry is a part of the Spartan Race, we were not surprised to see Taylor head directly to the natural stones. In a typical Spartan Race a round 100lb atlas stone is carried 33ft. During our workout Taylor carried our 198lb natural stone 181ft. This resulted in Taylor claiming that particular stone in his name.
After playing around with the stones we moved to bag over bar. This was new to Taylor; however, he was game to try. Taylor and the Couch Potato Strong Spuds (myself, my younger brother Addam, and, my Nephew Evan), all managed to clear 10’ with the 32lb bag. Then we all cleared 11’, the Spuds cleared 12’, and, Addam cleared 12.5’. Most importantly everyone had a great time during this event; it is largely one of the favorites at the Couch Potato Garage.
We saved the heaviest event for last. After warming up with a few flips on the 460lb tire, we pulled out our massive 621lb tire. After we demonstrated the technique, Taylor managed to flip this monster. An impressive feat that requires a deadlift of over double his bodyweight. Videos of workouts from this visit are on our YouTube channel.
During the workout we asked Taylor to attempt some pinch lifts and pull ups on a Couch Potato Strong exclusive grip handle. Not only was Taylor willing to try out the grip handle, but, he managed two pull ups (at the time nobody had managed any pull ups with this handle). Surprisingly, after Taylor tried out our grip handle, he presented us with his own unique training tool.
The tool was a slam bag; however, not your typical sand filled nylon sand bag. This bag was designed with a curve that rested perfectly across the shoulders, and, was filled with lead, making the entire device significantly more compact than a sand bag. After performing a few weighted lunges, I could tell a lot of thought was put into designing and creating this training tool.
At the end of the workout, the four of us were exhausted, but, none of us wanted to quit. Everyone had a great time and learned from each other. Taylor invited the Spuds to visit his training grounds and try out some exercises. Look out for that in a future segment Spuds on the Road.
After working with Taylor, we at Couch Potato Strong highly recommend Portland Outdoor Athletics (http://www.portlandoutdoorathletics.com/). During this workout Taylor was encouraging, organized, enthusiastic, and, demonstrated intelligent intensity. Anyone looking for a fitness coach will find an excellent one with Taylor Overmiller.
Take care, and, keep moving.
Couch Potato Strong.
Overmiller, T. (2020). Among the stones. Couch Potato Strong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9vDNoxfSU0