Red Rush Athlete Richard Smith: A Dedicated Competitor

Red Rush Athlete

Red Rush: How did you get into Obstacle Course Racing? Did you have any prior athletic experience?

Richard Smith: I have always been pretty active and athletic. I played several sports growing up, and I enjoy competing. I heard about Obstacle Course Racing from my workout buddy Bob. He showed me some YouTube videos of this guy Hobie Call dominating all these Spartan Races. The races looked like a great challenge, and we both wanted to do it. When Spartan Race came to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in the fall of 2012, we were stoked. I did a few Warrior Dashes a month before my first Spartan Sprint in Mississippi. I found doing a race with obstacles to be a great challenge and a ton of fun. After completing the Founders Spartan Sprint I was hooked on the grueling Spartan Race experience.

RR: You train by doing CrossFit, correct? How does that help you with obstacle course racing?

Yes. I am a CrossFit Level One Trainer, and I train and coach at CrossFit WMD in Angleton, TX – the home of Janet Black who just won the title of Fittest Masters Woman (40-44) at the CrossFit Games this year. CrossFit is all about functional movement and keeping things varied in the workouts. It covers every domain of fitness and the high intensity that most workouts require help prepare me for any OCR race day.


RR: What has been the most grueling obstacle course race moment? And why?

RS: It would have to be the Vermont Beast in 2013. About halfway through the race there was the water crossing obstacle which involved two swims. In the middle of the first was a rope ladder climb and in the middle of the second was the Tarzan Swing. I failed the Tarzan Swing and had to do the 30 burpee penalty when I exited the water. Cold wet and tired, I started my burpees. While doing the burpees, my legs started to cramp. It was so bad I thought about just quitting right there. It must have taken me 20 minutes to finish the burpees and get back to racing. I was cold, tired and completely unmotivated to continue.

I was just walking for a while until my friend Bob who made the trip with me from Mississippi caught up to me. His encouragement to keep going helped me get my mind back on the race and I determined to finish. I crossed the finish line in just under 6 hours. That race taught me that I could keep going when I thought I had hit a wall and helped me realize I needed to train harder to avoid a similar situation in the future.

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RR: I recently saw that you proposed to your fiancé at an Obstacle Course Race. How did that come about?

RS: Yes! I proposed to my fiancé at the finish line of the AT&T Stadium Spartan Race in Dallas, TX on June 20th. I have to give a big shout out to my mom for helping me pull it off that day! Love you, mom! I wanted to do something memorable for the proposal and thought ‘hey, you don’t get many opportunities to ask the love of your life to marry you in the end zone of one of the most impressive stadiums in the world.’ My fiancé had no idea it was going to happen and was totally surprised!


RR:  What is your favorite or greatest athletic achievement?

RS: I would have to say winning the Georgia USA kids state championship in wrestling when I was 14. I made it to the state tournament the two previous years but was eliminated quickly. With the help of my dad, I wrote down a list of goals – the top one being to win the state title. I spent all summer training towards the start of the next season. I went and practiced with the high school team during the season and had my butt kicked everyday. It was a lot of hard work and dedication but it all paid off when I had my hand raised as the winner in the state finals match.

RR: What are your future plans in regards to Spartan racing/Obstacle Course racing?

RS: My next race will be the Trifecta weekend in Hawaii! My soon to be bride and I will be spending our honeymoon in Hawaii. What better way to cap a Spartan Race proposal then to have a Spartan Race honeymoon! Right? Haha.

My goal is to finish in the top 50 of the Spartan Race Elite points standings again. It gets more competitive each year. I recently moved to Texas so that will actually put me closer to more obstacle course races. Getting married will change things, but we both want to keep OCRs as part of our future.


RR:  How does Red Rush help you?

RS: As an athlete, I’m always looking to maximize my performance. I started adding beets to my diet and felt an improvement in my endurance. When I found Red Rush, I was excited because now I could get those same benefits but in an even more concentrated dose. The Red Rush shots are convenient to use and save me time. Whether it’s pre-workout or pre-race, I keep it simple. I drink a Red Rush shot a few hours before and push myself to the limit!


Follow Richard Smith here: 

Link to proposal on YouTube.

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More posts on Obstacle Course Racing: 

The Red Rush Mother-Daughter Obstacle Course Racing Team

James Olmos: An Athlete in Tune

Laura Lunardi: A Spartan Elite

High Intensity Training Could Provide Relief to Arthritis Sufferers

IMG_8750Arthritis is a chronic illness that causes inflammation, joint pain and stiffness. The term is actually a blanket description of hundreds of different conditions that affect the joints, the nearby joint tissue and connective tissue. It can be very painful and a significant percentage of the population suffers–more-so women than men–from arthritis.

From a not-having-arthritis-so-far perspective, it’s hard to imagine that doing high intensity exercise and having arthritis would be in any way pleasant, but it may actually provide several key benefits. Among them, people with arthritis tend to move less due to the pain, and this can lead to the numerous health problems associated with inactivity like cardiovascular disease.

A new pilot study comes to us from fjord-filled shores of Norway. Scientists wanted to see if high-intensity exercise was possible and beneficial for arthritis sufferers. In previous studies, moderate exercise had been deemed safe. They monitored eighteen female arthritis sufferers while they did high intensity interval training for ten weeks. No adverse effects were recorded and the participants had less overall inflammation.  They also increased their endurance, gained muscle mass and lost weight. Many of the participants continued the workout program after the study ended. A larger scale study is possibly in the works.

Beet Juice Helps You Exercise

Red Rush beet juice is an all-natural pre-workout that improves blood flow and increases endurance. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure.  It’s a nice, non-synthetic way to get the body moving. It provides nutrition in the form of b-vitamins and potassium and helps reduce lactic acid build-up.

If you’re thinking about starting an exercise routine, Red Rush is the surefire, healthy and natural way to go!

Fitness for a Fatty Liver


If you suffer from fatty liver disease, then you’re not alone. Nearly one third of the population battles the issue.  It’s the most common liver disease this side of the Prime Meridian. The symptoms of fatty liver disease are fatigue, weakness, loss of weight and/or appetite, nausea, confusion, impairment of judgment and trouble concentrating.  It can also make your liver larger, discolor your skin and give you upper-belly pain. The illness can lead to inflammation of the liver, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cirrhosis. Worst of all, there are very few medicines one can take for this condition.

But now there is good news for the unpleasantly plump-livered. A new study out of Tel Aviv, Israel has found that doing three, forty-minute sessions of resistance training a week, reduced liver fat and cholesterol levels. The participants made no other changes to their routines.

From Science Daily

 The study also found that gym training led to a significant fall in blood cholesterol levels. “We assume that the physical exercise improves the resistance to insulin, thereby reducing the production of cholesterol in the liver and its level in the blood,” the researchers commented. This study also shows for the first time that resistance training led to a reduction in ferritin levels in the blood. Ferritin is a protein found in the liver that facilitates the storage of iron. However, elevated levels of ferritin can be indicative of liver damage, including inflammation. Accordingly, a fall in ferritin levels may reflect an improvement in the condition of the liver.

Beet Juice for Exercise and Liver Health

Beet juice helps to improve your endurance. It promotes blood flow to the skeletal muscles and reduces the oxygen cost of exercise, making movement easier. It’s also great for the liver because it contains betaine which is a lipotrope, a catalyst that helps break down fat. In animal studies, betaine has been shown to prevent fatty liver. Betaine has also been shown to improve liver function in humans with diabetes and hepatic steatosis (fatty liver).

So if you have a fatty liver, exercise can help. And beets contain betaine and can help you exercise. It’s the perfect pre-workout for those trying to lighten their livers!

New Study: Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure and Oxygen Demand, Widens Veins, Increases NO Levels and More!

11694761_1634767076770865_7794357140594495946_nThe latest study on beet juice was published in the American Journal of Physiology.  The small study looked at 14 healthy males who were tasked with drinking nitrate-filled beet juice for fifteen days or nitrate-depleted beet juice for fifteen days before alternating between juices. Scientists looked at several factors during this study:  blood pressure, mean arterial pressure and oxygen demand both while resting and during exercise. They also kept an eye on endothelial functioning. The endothelium is the lining of the veins where nitric oxide is produced.

The people who drank the nitrate-infused beet juice had increased levels of nitric oxide in the blood, reduced blood pressure, lower mean arterial pressure and total peripheral resistance (Meaning overall blood flow was better) both at rest and during exercise when compared to those that didn’t. Test subjects who consumed beet juice also had lower oxygen demands while exercising. Their veins were also wider.

From the study abstract:

 We conclude that: 1) chronic supplementation with BRJ (beet root juice) lowers BP (blood pressure) and vascular resistance at rest and during exercise and attenuates RPP (oxygen demand) during exercise and 2) these effects may be due, in part, to enhanced endothelial-induced vasodilation in contracting skeletal muscle. BRJ (beet root juice) can act as a dietary neutracuetical capable of enhancing O2 delivery and reducing work of the heart such that exercise can be performed at a given workload.

Red Rush beet juice: 500 mg of dietary nitrate from beets mixed with cherry juice, and it really, really works.

Why Choose Red Rush?

Red Rush WHy ChooseThis infographic depicts why someone should choose our product over the other leading brands of beet juice. Yeah. There are a few other beet juice makers out there. However, we’re the only one that has 500 mg of dietary nitrate in every shot. Most of our competitors don’t bother to measure the nitrate content, the active ingredient in beet juice and precursor to nitric oxide. Some brands contain caffeine, added sugar and/or other ingredients that aren’t natural or good for you.

Also, I included a list of reasons to choose a beet juice shot over regular vegetables. Our biggest competitor in terms of nitrate content is garden-variety arugula with 480 mg of dietary nitrate per serving. There is nothing wrong with arugula. At AIM, we even use it in other products.  It’s good stuff, but it’s just a little inconvenient especially if you’re beet-juicing for sports performance.

Lew Hollander and a couple other of our athletes who compete in longer races like to quaff Red Rush mid-event. It would be really hard to wolf down a couple handfuls of raw vegetables while running a triathlon. Red Rush beet juice shots are a real time-and-hassle saver.