CROSSFIT SUFFOLK  **  Forging Elite Fitness

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The Oxford Desk Dictionary defines (1) “Spartan” as, of Sparta in ancient Greece. (2) Rigorous,frugal, austere and (3) strict, severe, harsh, rigid, ascetic.

The same dictionary defines “Performance” as, act, process, carrying out or manner of performing. (2) executing.

The name “Spartan Performance” was NOT inspired by the movie 300.  The name Spartan Performance was inspired by the book, Gates Of Fire, Steven Pressfield.  Mr. Pressfield did a massive amount of work and research to present the story of how 300 Spartans, along with Greeks from other City-States, held off two million Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC.

Pressfield researched the works of ancient historians such as Herodotus, Homer, and Thucydides as well as modern professors of Greek history such as Victor Davis Hansen and Mark Keegan, to bring realism to his novel.

Pressfield not only describes the 7 day battle in great detail, but he does an excellent job of describing the culture and the training of the Spartans.  The Spartans are known for their strict, disciplined life-style and their warrior culture.  The Spartans placed emphasis on realistic training, being in top physical shape  and being defiant in the face of the enemy.  They were so fierce on the battlefield because of their conditioning and way of life.  Weakness, mental or physical was not tolerated in any way, shape or form.  The enemies of the Spartans learned this fact the hard way.

Pressfield describes one part of training, the “Eight Nighter”:
“Conditions were deliberately contrived to make the exercise as close as possible to the rigor of actual campaign, simulating everything except casualties.  There were mock night assaults up twenty degree slopes, each man bearing full kit and panoplia, sixt-five to eighty pounds of shield and armor.  Then assaults down the hill.  Then more across.  The terrain was chosen for its boulder-strewn aspect and the numerous gnarled and low branched oaks which dotted the slopes.  The skill was to flow around everything, like water over rocks, without breaking the line.

No amenities whatever were brought.  Wine was a half rations the first four days, none the second two, then no liquid at all, including water, for the final two.  …..”

Pressfield describes the final battle so well that readers will feel pain and exhaustion.  A very brief synopsis of the battle in the introduction states, “Three hundred Spartans and their allies held off invaders for seven days, until, their weapons smashed and broken from the slaughter, they fought “with bare hands and teeth” (as recorded by Herodotus) before being at last overwhelmed.”

Spartans were known to enter the ancient Pan-Hellenic Olympics, they practiced the first known version of mixed martial arts, Pankration, they did all manner of running drills and they practiced gymnastics.  Spartans may have been the first known CrossFitters!

It is with the Spartan spirit in mind that the name Spartan Performance was born.  Spartan can be viewed as in the spirit of a Spartan warrior and it can also be viewed as the adjective to describe training that is “harsh” and does not require much equipment.  Performance refers to the fact that the training is all about action, recording how well one does and tracking the action to follow improvement as well as constantly seeking improvement, not in how one looks, but how one executes.  Performance refers to the fact that there is a mental toughness component to the training as well. 

Spartan Performance, for training and for life.

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