Thursday, December 24, 2009

Death Race 2010

I turn 40 next year and have found myself pondering what I can to do bring this decade in properly and torture myself at the same time. Oh, I'm going to attempt the Barkley 100 Miler and the Running of the Bulls in Spaiin but needed something a little more sadistic. Enter the Death Race - I just signed up 5 minutes ago officially to head to Vermont in June with 99 other wackos and try to survive. Why you might ask? Well, I could go get completely piss ass drunk like many of us have in the past to wake up 40yrs old and not remember what the hell happened. I figure this event will leave a big enough emotional, psychological and physical scar that I will never ever forget where I was my 40th year alive!

"Get Busy Livin' or Get Busy Dyin'!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

North American Wife Carrying 2009

Hey Gang!

Just got back from the 2009 North American Wife Carrying Championship. Here's a link for some quick coverage to give you an idea of what it is.

I will tell ya, it's definitely harder than I thought it would be. Running 300 meters with a 128lb person slung up on ya gets friggin' hard! Plus going through mud, over logs and through a water pit just wears your ass out. We did well but I fell to my knees once on the sand hill and was penalized time which dropped us to 11 place. I'm perfectly fine with that. We went there to jsut have fun. I gotta tell ya they kept announcing the World's Fittest Man is here. Which I hate! Everyone wanted to kick my butt of course. It makes ya nervous. Nik and I lined up against a 29yr old x-country stud and his little wife. He even had on running spikes. I was like "oh shit!" We were neck and neck until the sand hill where I tripped to my knees. He wanted to beat me so bad he launched over the hill and drove her into the ground!haha...Luckily it was soft. I got back up and passed to win by 3 seconds. Made me work. Just a good time. I would do it again. I love events like this that are fun, goofy but challenging. Isn't that we're after in the long run anyway? You gotta have the fun factor! Getting settled back in. I'll start putting up daily workouts tomorrow. Time for me tos start training for the Barkley 100 Miler so will keep ya posted. Got that then Texas Water Safari and hopefully La Ruta de los Conquistadores. Remember, don't take yourself to seriously. Enjoy life and have one helluva good time while doing it!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Top 10 Fitness Gear From the World's Fittest Man

I've been involved in competitive fitness of some sort for about 25 years. I started out as a powerlifter and football player while also running track for a little farming community in the Midwest where I grew up. Then I joined the military only to find Uncle Sam's one-of-a-kind intense fitness program.
After my time in the military, I decided to combine a couple newfound passions of Strongman with ultrarunning to eventually go on and break a World Record for fitness. Having a love of such diverse outdoor disciplines has called for a unique array of gear. Here's my top 10 list of favorite gear that has helped me run long and fast, stay strong and be continually fit.

1. Real Food

I eat an array of fruits, vegetables & lean meats plus drink plenty of water daily. I take no supplements, no shakes and no shortcuts. My mantra is and always has been, "eat right, work hard and play harder." You'll find quite a bit of helpful eating information at

2. Body Glide

I do not leave home without it. As a big strong guy who likes to run, cycle and lift, I've found my frame more prone to chaffing in all the wrong areas. This stuff is a life saver, especially on long runs and rides.

3. Under Armour Compression Gear

Listen, if you're going to be on the ground doing push-ups, on your back doing sit-ups or just running around in shorts and shirts all day, these babies keep the pieces and parts in place. Again, not glamorous but this is for real people and not prima donnas.

4. Injinji Socks

I swear by the toe socks. I've worn them across Death Valley, through the Himalayas and during numerous 100 mile trail races without getting one blister. They're like Isotoner gloves for your feet.

5. Running Shoes

I have two favorite running shoes. My longtime love that has been with me since before the Guinness Book in 2000 is the New Balance 1220. There have been many styles since, but none can compare. They are inexpensive, fit great and still hold up well.
My next pair is for down and dirty, in your face billy-goat-style trail running. They are the Salomon Speedcross 2. Not quite the ride of the New Balance, but I call them the "Monster Truck of Off-Road Running." They are going to the Barkley 100 miler with me in 2010.

6. Watch

I'm not a big gizmo guy and actually still wear my old school Casio G Shock watch. It doesn't have a compass or GPS but it is affordable, durable and still looks tough. I don't like to sweat my pace or the mileage, but just enjoy my time on the trail.

7. Hydration Pack

I've been using CamelBak products for hiking, trail running and cycling since they first appeared on the market. I still love and use their products today. I have a 100 oz. old school HAWG hydration pack that goes everywhere with me. I wouldn't leave home without it.

8. Torque Pull-Up System

One of the most difficult to master but effective exercises you can find is the pull-up. If you want a strong back, biceps and grip--do pull-ups. I have a traveling pull-up bar that I got from the guys at Torque Athletic. It travels in the back of the truck to the beach or to the park with me. Add some rings and presto! Instant gym. Plus, their stuff is still 100 percent made in the USA.

9. Strongman Gear

My two favorite Strongman implements are the tractor tires and atlas stones. You can get large tractor tires from many implement dealers that are looking to get rid of them. I have about a dozen in my garage that range from 200 to 500 lbs. Who doesn't love throwing around a big tire? And it's an incredible workout. My next favorite piece is the atlas stone. Atlas stones range in size from 75 lbs all the way up to 500 lbs. This is another old school strength exercise that is lots of fun. It's very effective and can be done outdoors. I got my stone molds from Slater's Hardware.

10. The most important piece of gear is a healthy body, a strong mind and a fire inside of you.
You cannot buy this in a store. You have to be born with some of it and build the rest. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, only to fail miserably and then learn from your mistakes and come back stronger than ever. As the saying goes, "Where the mind is willing, the body will follow."

These are just a few of the things I have continued to use over the years. They have helped me along the way and will hopefully do the same for you. But remember, gear can only help. You have to do the rest. Hope this helps you on your journey!

Active Expert, Joe Decker is an ultra-endurance power athlete and renowned fitness trainer who has helped thousands of people get into shape. He has completed many of the world's toughest endurance events, including the Badwater 135, and the Grand Slam of UltraRunning. In 2000, Joe broke the Guinness World Records® Twenty-four-hour Physical Fitness Challenge to help inspire and motivate people to get fit. He is recognized as "The World's Fittest Man." Visit his website at .

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Speed training - 200m repeats

Had a great group this morning, about 20 people. I'm telling ya gang this stuff can be hard to do alone so try to find another twisted sicko to join ya! Also, if you have some about as fast or faster training with you, you will both get stronger and faster through competitive competition. It does work!

As I've told ya before, there's about 50 of us getting ready for the Boot Camp Challenge next month and then the big Gut Check Challenge, Nov 14th. So we're training our arses off! Upper body stuff, Mon & Wed, lower body Tues & Thurs, a mix on Friday. Today we got after some short but strenuous 200 meter repeats then some lower strength. Here's how it went;

  • 1 Mile warm-up

  • 8 x 200m - *note, you can run them on a track or whereever you choose. 8 on a track can be boring but you can watch your times better. I like to mix them up and screw with peoples heads so we did 5 on the flat through the neighborhood, then 3 repeats up a long ramp, that sucked! But kick butt training.
    1min box jumps

  • 2 x 30 sec side step ups - left & right for 30 each

  • 2 x 30 sec single leg squats with a hop

  • 5 burpees w/pu

  • 10 walking lunges

  • 5 burpees

  • 10 reverse lunges

  • 5 burpees

  • 5 single leg long jumps - each leg

  • 5 burpees

  • 10 more walking lunges

  • 5 burpees

  • 30 sec decline sit-ups - spin it around to;

  • 30 sec decline leg lifts

  • 5-10 min stretch

This is a great little lower body smoke session. Listen, fat & speed are bitter enemies! Run faster, wathc what you shove in your pie hole and you will get leaner. Get after it!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Become a Certified Gut Check Trainer

The CERTIFIED GUT CHECK™ TRAINER program is a rigorous professional certification course that will prove to your picky personal training clients, your bootcamp classes, cross-training athletes, and more importantly, yourself that YOU have what it takes to take them to the next level and beyond...

Are you:
  • The Reluctant Trainer? - You Are In Good Shape But You Don't Know Where To Start With Program Design, Marketing, and Motivating Others...
  • A Burned-Out Trainer? - You've Been In The Business For Years But Your Lost Your Passion and You're Tired of Programs That Over-Promise and Under-Deliver.
  • An Already Successful Trainer? - You Are Doing Well But Always Looking for the BEST system, Plus You Prefer A Non-Rubber-stamped Cert That Actually Protects Your Territory!!

This fitness business program was made by a World-Class athlete and coach ONLY for those seeking to become World Class trainers.

Benefit from Gut Check Fitneess' coaching, our unparalled fitness programming, our outstanding marketing support, and our fierce protection of your GUT CHECK territory (that's right, we absolutely will NOT allow other GUT CHECK Trainers to cannibalize your clients by actually assigning you your geographic area) you can relax knowing your name and profits will continue to grow with GUT CHECK FITNESS!

We Currently Offer Two Distinct Levels of Gut Check Certification:

  • Trainer (Level 1 - Gut Check Certified to train others, one-on-one)
  • Coach (Level 2, Gut Check Certified to train others as a group/team)
    NOTE: You must complete the Gut Check Challenge as part of the Certification. Entry into the Challenge is included as part of your Certification ($49.95 value). You also must first pass Level 1 before moving to Level 2.

As a Certified Gut Check Trainer you will receive:

  • Full 2-days of grueling hands-on Gut Check Training overseen by Joe Decker himself and his staff of Gut Check Trainers.
  • Complete access to (including areas of the site not available to those who have not attended certification.
  • Education in performance programming, nutrition, rest, and mental toughness.
  • Knowledge of how to properly train others in the Gut Check Fitness methods, from beginners to advanced.
  • An introdution to the business of training others, marketing yourself locally and on-line.
    License to train others, one-on-one, in the Gut Check method.

As a Certified Gut Check Coach you will additionally receive:

  • Premium placement on the front page of to promote your business.
  • The exclusive license to train others in a group/class setting in your territory in the Gut Check method.
  • Start your gym with the World-Class Gut Check Fitness education and certification program and little-to-no equipment and no need to rent a gym space.
  • IMPORTANT: Space is extremely limited due to the level of personal attention given to each attendee. Affliate yourself and your business with the very best, get Gut Check Certified (before your competition does)!


  • WHEN: November 14-15, 2009
  • WHERE: San Diego, California
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: Two days of fun and sun, learning and burning! Bring good running shoes, comfortable work out gear, water bottles, and a towel. Number of participants will be strictly limited.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

VOTE for Gut Check Fitness now!

Hey Gang!
Voting is currently underway for the "Best Boot Camp" in San Diego. Many of you have never taken one of my classes but I can tell ya it's the same workout format that I created to break the Guinness World Record. The workouts are military style without the yelling, very well rounded and lotsa fun. I believe in working hard and playing harder!;-) Please take a moment and go to the attached link to VOTE for Gut Check Fitness.
Thank you! I appreciate the support. Have a great day!
Joe Decker

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Strength training at any level

Strength training at any level
When most people think of strength training they tend to primarily think of huge muscled shaven men all oiled up in their underwear standing on a stage. This of course is incorrect. The above mentioned, bodybuilding, does utilize strength training but itself is a sport not a form of the exercise. Some other popular sports that incorporate primarily strength training are weightlifting, power lifting & strongman competitions but all sports can benefit from it for instance, football, swimming to even running.
Well, then what exactly is strength training and can I benefit from it? Strength training by definition is the use of contraction to muscular resistance to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles. There are many different methods of strength training, the most common being the use of gravity (through weight stacks, plates or dumbbells) or elastic/hydraulic resistance respectively to oppose muscle contraction. Some of the benefits of strength training include increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength, bone density, flexibility, tone, metabolic rate and postural support. Can you benefit? Of course, anyone can benefit from positive of effects of strength training if performed properly in a safe environment.
I have been strength training since the age of 14 and continue to today at 39. It’s like an old friend to me. It was there at age 14 to give me self confidence, to help my football performance and to become one of the strongest teenage power lifters in the state of IL at that time. It’s still with me today to help keep me healthy while running 100 mile ultras and to compete in national Strongman competitions. Trust me, it is just as important as eating right, doing cardio and will help you maintain great health. Here are just a few suggestions for beginners, intermediates or even the advanced that I’ve learned over the past 25 years.
Beginners - I strongly recommend that if you’ve never lifted weights that you get professional help to get you on your way safely and correctly. I do not mean just some big guy in the gym, but an actual fitness professional that holds a degree in the field or has a reputable certification. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the various forms of strength training. For instance, I still switch it up from using my own bodyweight, to dumbbells, machines, free weights and to even atlas stones and tires. Don’t be intimidated by anyone or anything. This is your chance to get to know your body and have fun with it.
Intermediates- You’ve been lifting for awhile, possibly hit a plateau or just looking for a change. You’ve got the base now really experiment. You may currently incorporate machines and free weights into your workout so now start playing with sets and reps. For instance, some workouts I’ll do the old school workout of 3 sets x 10 reps, the next might be 2 sets x 15 reps and then to really add some flavor, I’ll do my Millennium Workout which utilizes 1 set of 25 – 50 reps to equal 1000 total reps. Also, look into the sports of weightlifting, power lifting or strongman. They can be a lot of fun and help keep you motivated and driven.
Advanced – Ok, you are the guys and girls that have been hitting it for years. Probably played a sport in high school or college and still like to get after it. Hey, I’m right there with ya. I love it too, but even we get bored or hit plateaus. Try really mixing it up with db’s, free weights, machines and especially try some strongman toys, like atlas stones, tires and even sandbags. Its loads of fun and a great workout. Also, if you’ve never put your strength to the test, give it a try; you have nothing to lose and only a good time to gain. You can find Strongman competitions at and Power lifting events at I still compete in both and love it. Oh, and my 135lb wife even joins me. It’s great family fun.
Strength training should be an important part of your fitness program. Anyone of just about any age can benefit from the positive effects of lifting weights. It’s also important to help keep our bodies, joints and bones strong as we age. The most important thing to remember is to have fun with it. Don’t’ be afraid to experiment with during modes of strength training or to attempt the various sports that utilize it. Like Arnold said, “I’m here to pump – you up!”

Monday, April 06, 2009

Barkley 100 Miler - "the race that eats it's young!"

The Barkley 100 Mile trail run, this is the toughest race I've ever run in my life. Having completed the the Badwater 135 (twice), the Marathon des Sables, the Grandslam of Ultrarunning and countless other endurance events, I thought I'd have no problem at Barkley, was I seriously mistaken! Last year I completed 2 loops of the 5 loop race before pulling myself at the end of loop 2 due to injury. Here's a link to my last year's Barkley farewell -
It's in progress right now with one runner left. Go Andrew! I had every intention of going back this year and was even invited again. Unfortunately this year I injured myself 2 months before the race during a 50k training run. As you can imagine I was and still am pretty disappointed. I would give anything to be out there with the other 35 runners slugging it out with the Barkley. Oh well, there's always next year. I broke the Guinness World Record when I turned 30 and plan on taking Barkley out next year when I turn 40! Oh, and Running with the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain too.
I truly feel that we were all put here on this big ole wonderful planet to do incredible things, not to let life pass us by. Find your Barkley whatever it may be and go for it! "We're not here for a long time, but for a good time!"

Thursday, April 02, 2009

People ask me all the time, "How were you able to do 1100 push-ups or 3000 crunches for Guinness Book?" Many times these numbers are almost too much for the mind to comprehend. Heck, they were for me at first. I remember when I first joined the US Army, 12 push-ups on my first PT test. That was it. You needed 60 to pass. That seemed virtually unattainable. But with the help of my 'friendly' Drill Sergeant I was able to do around 100 at the end of Bootcamp. How did that happen?

Here's the trick or atleast what has worked for me over the years. Also, this can be applied to running a marathon, a 100 miler, bench pressing 400lbs or pulling car. Take your ultimate goal and break it down into manageable & realistic sets over a realistic time frame. For instance, when I first started running, couldn't run a full mile. Well, kept with it then ran a 5k, 10k, half marathon and eventually a marathon. Did it hurt, yes, but was it worth it, of yeah! Then decided, hmm, can do a marathon, now let's try a 50k. How about a 50 miler. Ok, what about 100 miles. From 1 mile to finish 100 miles took me 10 years but I do feel that it can be achieved much faster. I've worked with clients that have started at 10k's to the marathon and done the 100 miler in less than a couple years. You can do it. Just gotta be smart and want it bad enough. Back to 1000 reps. Ok, could do 100 push-ups without much trouble, now add 10 more at the end of each set. 2 months later, 250 push-ups with quick breaks at every 25 or so. 2 months later 500 push-ups with quick 10 sec. breaks at the end of 10 reps. Within 1 year hit 1100 push-ups for Guinness Book in 45 minutes. Applied this same methodology, which is actually called "Progressive Overload" to 1100 jumping jacks, leg lifts and 3000 crunches. After Guinness in December 2000 I wanted to attempt the World Record for Push-ups in 1 hour, which was 3,500 at the time. My goal was 57 push-ups a minute for that hour. So again, I broke it down into manageable sets. 30 push-ups, 10 sec break, 27 push-ups, 10 sec break which came to about a minute. I came somewhat close. My max for 1 hour was 3,000 push-ups. Yes, it hurt and I left a puddle of sweat the size of lake. Believe it or not, it wasn't muscle fatigue that got me but my darn blood pressure went through the roof being in the push-up position for an hour. Got a massive pounding migrane and blurry vision, had to call it quits. So the bottom line, no matter what the goal, break it up into manageable blocks over a releastic timeline. Periodically check your progress along the way and the sky is truly the limit. Believe me, if a an out of shape guy like me can go from 12 push-ups to 3000 and 1 mile to 100 miles in 10 years, you can too! The sky is the limit! Never, ever quit or lose site of your dreams and your goals. You'll look back some day and regret. To me, living and eventually dying is being able to look back on judgement day and have the fewest regrets. "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'!"

Joe Decker W.F.M

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Exercise for your mind

Accordomg to the Scientific American, a great publication by the way, thousands of new cells are generated in the adult brain every day. Within a couple of weeks, most of those newborn neurons will die, unless the animal or human is challenged to learn something new. Learning--especially that involving a great deal of effort--can keep these new neurons alive. So what does that mean for you? You better start exercising your mind unless you want to end up with big muscles but dumber than a box of rocks. And NO, watching Idol or Dancing with the has-been Stars does not count. Get your brain off the couch and let's get started!

Here are couple options that I use. In 2006 my New Year's resolution was to read every Novel that has won a Pulitzer Prize - I'm about 60 books into it now and look forward to it as much as I do the Caveman workout! Also, when we do watch movies, we've been picking them from the AFI's list of the top 100 movies of all time - Pretty much guaranteed to be interesting. In addition to this, I decided to start taking classes at the local Community College at lunch time or after work. In an Astronomy class now that I don't miss. Absolutley love it! Going to take Literature over the summer. Why not?! We're never to old! What are some way you exercise your mind?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gut CheckFitness website

Hey Gang!

Sorry it's been so long. I'm still blogging but have moved it primarily to my new high-speed
Come join us. It's packed full of motivation, information and a great community. I hope to see you there!

Joe Decker W.F.M.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My 2009 Challenges!

People ask me all the time, "Where do you go after breaking a Guinness World Record? What's next?" Let me tell ya, in this day an age someone is always coming up something a little more extreme or even crazier. So even I don't have a problem finding challenging and even fun events to keep myself motivated and in shape. Here's my wish list for 2009. What's yours?

-First, get back to Guinness weight & shape - How? - I'm currently following my own eating & exercise program from my book "The World's Fittest You." Already lost 6lbs, feel better and running faster. It's all about taking baby steps, being realistic and not expecting it to happen overnight.

-Second, I got invited back to the World's Toughest Trail Race, The Barkley 100 Miler Only 7 people have ever completed it. I'm training my butt off and expect to be number 8 this year!

-Third, I'd like to try to qualify for the National Strongman competition in the under 200lb class. I may try it in Indiana. It's going to happen. Just not sure when. Strongman and Ultrarunning make for odd bed fellows. Which I find that much more appealing! The crazier and more insane, the better!-

-Fourth, and craziest event, The North American Wife Carrying Championship, This one looks to be a blast! I've found it's fun to compete in a broad spectrum of fitness events, from the serious to the just plain fun.

Whatever your goals or resolutions are, stick with them. Don't quit on yourself. Odds are you'll be sorry and look back some day and go, "What if?!" Now is the time. Have fun and never stop playing like a kid!

Joe Decker W.F.M.