July 31

How I Almost Died at my First Deka Fit


It’s in the books!  This weekend we finished our first ever DekaFit competition. (Shoutout to Fortitude Fitness for hosting this Deka event!)

It was my first DekaStrong and DekaMile,and, well….some things took me by surprise…(I almost died out there!)

Here’s the thing. I DO work out and I AM in shape. I’m no slouch and it’s not as if I sit on the couch every day. But still, the competition was very demanding, very challenging, but most importantly very rewarding.

So I want to give you some things to look out for to prepare for if you’re doing your first Deka event, whether it be the Strong the Mile or the DekaFit.

(there are several different events through Deka…I won’t get into all of them but you can read more here: https://deka.fit/about/)

My first event of the weekend was the DekaStrong, which essentially is made up of 10 functional fitness zones where you perform a specific exercise for a specific set of reps/distance. Now, I felt like I was prepared. I definitely thought I was prepared. There wasn’t an exercise in the event that I haven’t seen or done before, by itself or in a workout. I own a gym with this equipment! I’ve done reverse lunges,  the assault bike, the skier…so there’s really nothing new to me.

So while I’ve done a combination of these exercises…I’ve actually never done all 10.

Now, even though I trained for this event, I didn’t actually run through the whole set of exercises in the order they would be in. That was my first mistake as a coach and my first surprise!

Completing all 10 zones in a competition environment  took me aback just a bit.

As a coach, I know that as part of your training, your lactic threshold needs to be tested, so you should know exactly what that looks like for whatever event that is. (Lactic threshold just means at some point, that lactic acid is going to build up in your body, and you’re not going to be able to process that quick enough to continue.)

So as I was doing this event, I didn’t expect to hit threshold in any particular zone. However, I was fully surprised after I got off the assault bike and my legs were trashed! Now mind you, I’m a big fan of the assault bike. I have it here at the Psyko Fit Club and we use it regularly.

Nonetheless, during the actual Deka event, the culmination of all the exercises before the assault bike, and then hopping on the assault bike and really pushing myself left me breathless and my heart was trying to come out of my chest

Not to mention the familiar,burning feeling in my quads. When I got off their assault bike, I had hell to pay.

So that was my first surprise. That’s where I almost died – on that damn assault bike. It wasn’t JUST the assault bike though. It was the combination of all the events before, the assault bike just tipped me over.

The second thing I wasn’t fully prepared for was the intensity of the event.

Now normally I don’t really get too hyped up for an event because I train for it! I prepare for it by making my training more demanding than the event itself so that when the event rolls around, it’s like a celebration.

But because I didn’t take this event that seriously (in terms of intensity), I didn’t train as much as I should have, and especially for all 10 zones together.

So when I arrived I was a little amped up, a little nervous, and my anxiety was probably a little bit too high. And that’s the thing that will cause you to go out too fast, probably too hard.

There’s a rule when it comes to events: don’t go in the hole. Which means: don’t go out so fast that you need to stop to recover. Well, guess what I did? I went out pretty fast.

I started strong and thought I was doing well….then my coaching brain started to kick in and say “Hey, buddy, you gotta slow down, you go too fast, you won’t be able to finish this thing.”

I definitely didn’t want to stop, so I had to adjust my pace to where I could keep pushing, but without needing to stop and catch my breath.

Now, speaking of intensity and stopping, this is the last thing I want to leave you with.

I was able to get through the whole event without stopping until I ran into the last zone which had the ram burpees.

At the end of the day it was those damn burpees that broke me!

I had to stop a little bit, get my breath and then finish those burpees. Whew!

My first ever Deka Strong completion time was 16 minutes. I think that was good for maybe fifth or sixth place, and not bad for an old man with a little gray in his beard and a little extra around the belly.

I gave it my best and I’ll train a lot harder for the next one to improve upon that time.

The following day I did do the DekaMile. Now although I enjoy running at a leisurely pace, I know that running as a part of a competition is always going to be a struggle for me.

I need to train really hard to be competitive when it comes to running, but I didn’t do that for the DekaMile so I just went out and I tried to enjoy it.

My DEKA mile time was 26 minutes  (for those of you who don’t know the Deka Mile is the Deka Strong event you just have to run 160 meters after each zone). So that was essentially a 10 minute mile.

Not bad.

After doing the assault bike and burpees and all that…I’ll take it!

I’m already getting some training plans together to be ready to hit the next Deka event even harder. So if you’re interested in doing your first Deka Strong or Deka Mile, hit me up on Instagram, Facebook, or come to the gym if you’re in the Sacramento area!

If you’re not local, send me a message and we can get you a plan through our online app.


Assaultbike, Burpees, Deka, DEKAFIT, DEKASTRONG, Fitness, OCR, Spartan Race

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