By: Freelance Writer & Tone House Athlete Kaitlin McCabe

Turf Wars 2019 may have just wrapped up, but for our most committed athletes, disciplined training and nutrition plans for 2020 have already begun. We sat down with our 2019 Man and Woman of the House, Scott Grossnickle and Courtney Levering, as well as our 40+ Division Champs, Paul Hutchen and Sonja Lilljeberg, to get a detailed look at their journey to Turf Wars victory.

2019 Turf Wars Champions
2019 Man & Woman of the House: Scott Grossnickle & Courtney Levering


What did your weekly training schedule look like?

SG: Each week consisted of a variety of styles of workouts: four Tone House classes, two lifting sessions, 1-2 speed-oriented workouts, and 1-2 endurance runs. I think my regiment will be the same next year, with the addition of an occasional [solidcore] class to help work the little muscles I often neglect.

CL: I typically did Tone House 3-4 times a week, Barry’s twice a week and a track-style workout once a week. I sometimes threw in a Soul or Y7 class to switch things up. 

PH: I worked with a personal trainer or by myself three times a week. I took three Tone House classes each week and used Sunday as a rest day. 

SL: I took Tone House three times a week (upper body, core, total body). I rowed one day as well. There were times where I added in a run, but I typically held a schedule of four training days. 


Did you develop your routines around your strengths and weaknesses? 

40+ Man & Woman of the House
The 40+ Man & Woman of the House, Paul Hutchen & Sonja Lilljeberg

SG: I relied heavily upon my experience playing football at Lehigh, where I learned an extensive amount about sprint mechanics, explosive power and maximizing performance without completely overtraining. I balanced my workouts to jack up my strength and get faster while not gaining a ton of weight. 

CL: I needed to be comfortable sprinting for a full minute, so I incorporated running and track workouts. I think this also helped for the general cardio events because you had to be mentally prepared to go all-out for several minutes. I know runners aren’t my strong suit given my hip and lower back issues, so I didn’t concentrate on those besides ensuring I could complete the required distance without resting. 

PH: Whatever your routine, it’s all about consistency.  Boring as it seems, you have to approach your workouts the same way each time. You’ll learn where you are weak and then solve backwards.    

SL: I knew that I needed to focus on having some set sled training. In my off time leading up to Turf Wars, I did some 45 min sessions on a soccer pitch near me just doing long sprints, backwards drop downs and long gallops. 

What aspect(s) of your training do you feel best prepared you for Turf Wars?

SG: I think the combination of everything helped cross train me and get my body prepared. Without variability, the body gets acclimated and often stagnates, so doing a variety of activities to balance each other seemed to work best for me. 

CL: For me, it was more about approaching the competition with a positive mindset and gearing myself up for a very long day interspersed with surges of effort.

PH: Working out with the 5am regulars crews. 

SL: I think mixing in 101’s with regulars helped me to focus not only on conditioning but also on my form and mechanics. 


How did you fuel leading up to Turf Wars and day-of?

SG: I can’t really say my diet varies all that much, nor am I the strictest about it. I typically eat relatively clean and roughly 4-6 times a day. I am definitely a serial snacker. The night before Turf Wars, I typically eat a massive meal consisting of half a box of pasta, four meatballs, a large salad with avocado and various veggies and 2-3 32oz bottles of water (plus 1-2 more with Nuun tablets). Day-of, I ate a large breakfast consisting of four eggs, two sausages, an avocado and two slices of whole wheat toast. During the competition, I didn’t eat anything unless I absolutely need to.

CL: I hydrated thoroughly the day before! I packed Clif Bloks with caffeine, two bananas, coconut water and, of course, tons of Fiji. I ate oatmeal and yogurt that morning, but I typically don’t eat before Tone House, so I tried to avoid anything too heavy. 

PH: I focused on hydration and getting enough potassium. 

SL: Three days prior, I added more complex carbs to my diet and made sure to keep protein levels. I had lots of pasta, sweet potatoes and lean proteins. I was up early day-of to have overnight oats with dark chocolate and oat milk. I loaded up on water that morning. During the event all I had was water, Maple Water and, towards the end, tart cherry juice. 


How did you structure your recovery during Turf Wars training, compared to just normal recovery pre- and post-workout?

SG: I rolled out every night, stretched twice a day, went for occasional physical therapy and cupping sessions and consistently used my Theragun.

CL: I actually took the time to recover after class in the weeks leading up to Turf Wars by rolling out and stretching. I saw Dr. Kam for the first time about two weeks before the competition.

PH: I took five days off and went to Racked Stretch. 

SL: I was way more focused on doing stretching, rolling and functional movements before and after workouts. I also did some Normatec Recovery boots the week of. I was also able to get some massages and professional stretching in, along with a quick chiropractic adjustment.


Finally, the answer other athletes’ are dying to know: Will you be defending the Turf next year?

SG: Yes

CL: No (I will be competing in the D10)

PH: Yes

SL: Yes

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