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Today, I would like to talk to begin our discussion about physical preparation for carnival.

Now I'm not trying to lessen the advice that you may get from others, but I will just tell you this - I am a strength and conditioning professional, NOT a personal trainer. That's not a knock on personal trainers, I started there.  But please be aware that I do Health and Wellness coaching and I coach and have coached professional athletes that have competed at the Olympic Games, in Ironman competitions, at several and different world championships in different disciplines and have taught Introduction to Sports Science at the University level -- so, I'm cool if you don't want to heed my advice because I no longer squat 600lbs, have 2 kids, a wife and look more normal than herculean.

I no longer eat, sleep and drink my life away in a weight room. I've done that already and have traveled the world enough times to make your head spin.  In 2004 I lined up and competed at the Olympic Games, I was a 3-sport athlete in college at Howard University, I was recently inducted into my school's athletic Hall of Fame and I served at the Head Judo Coach for the Bahamas Federation. I have enough medals, ribbons, pins, certificates and diplomas tucked away in the chest of drawers to provide you with validation if you need it.

I'm not telling you all of this to brag or to boast. I'm telling you this because the level of advice that you are getting here extends beyond the norm. 

So here we go.

First and foremost,  how you look during carnival is relevant but irrelevant for this particular piece of advice. 

I think that all bodies look great. And at carnival people are concerned with your soul, your vibe and your spirit -- not with how you look. If you want to have a six pack, great. If you don't, that's great too. 

This article is not at address one's aesthetics or physical display at carnival. That is actually secondary. Telling people that they need to diet and run and lift weights for carnival, is professionally irresponsible. I can tell you what I do and I can give some advice if you desire to look a certain way, but that is NOT an imperative for carnival. Not at all.

Getting through carnival is primary.

And no matter what you look like being fit means that you are "fit for" the thing that you are preparing for.  That means that your fitness and preparation program for carnival should primarily focus on the primary objective(s) per the needs assessment of the activity or activities.

When looking at carnival as a sporting event, it is actually an endurance event. A multi-disciplined endurance event.  And the one golden thread throughout all of the fetes and road experiences is this -- you have to be able to stand and be on your feet for long periods of time.  Therefore the NUMBER ONE activity that you should invoke in your training for carnival is that of locomotion.

Locomotion from the biped position actually occurs in two forms — walking and running..

Now please explain to me which one is done with the greatest amount of frequency at carnival.  Walking or running?

The answer is Walking.

Not running -- WALKING.

If you want to run to prepare for carnival, cool, but running will not prepare you for walking. Running will prepare you for running. If you were a bodybuilder would you run 5 to 10 miles per day?  No.

If you were a tennis player, would you spend hours on end playing table tennis or ping pong?  No.

If you were a swimmer, would you prepare for swimming by boxing? No. You would not. 

Well, at carnival when you look at the event, in and of itself, you are spending an enormous amount of time on your feet and walking.  There is no running.  Which means, you need to train yourself to be on your feet for that long and to be comfortable with it. 

See, the road will chew you up and spit you out. Therefore, when training, it is actually better for you to spend 60 minutes walking 3 miles than 30 minutes running 3 miles when preparing for carnival.  


Because you not only have to train yourself cardiovascular-wise, you also have to train yourself to be on your feet for HOURS.  Rolling from a breakfast party into a day fete could easily mean that you are on your feet for 12 to 14 hours if you look at preparation time to get to the fete and the transportation time to and from.

Am I in shape?

Yes, kinda..... I mean, I walk. I DO NOT RUN! I have run marathons and half marathons. My best half marathon time is 2:09 and I've done a full marathon in 5:46 (which is NOT fast at all).  But I did it. I'm also telling you that, not to brag but to let you know - I DO NOT RUN AT ALL ANYMORE LOL!!!! 

I've used up all of my running tickets in life and if my children are not in any imminent danger or there's nothing on fire.... I am not running.  And you can if you want to, but you don't need to run not one step in order to get ready for carnival.  The carnival veteran that taught me is an Ironman. Which means, he's swam 2.4 miles, rode 112 miles on the bike and did 26.2 miles on the road -- all in one day.  And to prepare for Carnival, he ALSO walks. 

If you want to make sure that you are prepared for carnival. And by prepared, I mean prepared to withstand the time that you will be on the road, the first thing that you need to do is to follow a simple and easy walking program. 

I actually sign up for a 1/2 Marathon before carnival in January in Miami and do it every year before going to carnival. I walk the whole thing. I put on my headphones and DJ Private Ryan’s Soca Brainwash mix for that year and I just walk and chip until I finish the 13 miles. 

Here’s the EXACT walking program what I use.

Half Marathon Walking Program

Now remember.... You can run. You can bike. You can go to spin class. You can do all of that. But make sure you walk and chip.  Because, for this event -- for carnival, that is the sports specific training that needs to be done.

I said it before and I will say it again..... "Just Because You Are A Carnival Veteran, That Does Not Make You A Carnival Expert!  We All Have Things We Can Learn!"

(If you've enjoyed this, you will most certainly enjoy The Ultimate Road Ready Guide)

Blessings From Here To There,

Rhadi Ferguson, PhD
"The Carnival Doctor"

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P.P.S. For more information on how to properly prepare for carnival like a true veteran, please visit www.CarnivalPrep.com