What's Your "Y" is an interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible athletes that we meet and their stories. Where did they come from? What challenges have they overcome? How did they get to be a part of Team YOLKED? These individuals may range from college athletes to extreme athletes but they all have unique and engaging stories to tell.
What's Your "Y"
Interview with Doug Snyder, Professional Obstacle Course Racing and Ninja Athlete with Mudgear-Battle of the Lions Pro Team
Give us a brief background of how your sport journey has evolved?
I didn’t do team sports in school. I always had basic fitness routines to be healthy, but then I got big into kiteboarding and started running more to be trained for that.
I didn’t care how fast, I just ran for specific amounts of time. Then a friend told me I was a fast runner and I should try a race. So, I did a 5k and was nervous among all the buff regular racers.
But, I placed in my age group and was suddenly addicted to improving myself for competition.
That led to obstacle course racing (OCR) over the last 10 years, which evolved to the pro level (Conquer the Gauntlet pro team and Mudgear/Battle of the Lions pro team), and now into ninja warrior competitions. I even got into race directing.
Who has been your main source of motivation over the years?
There’s a variety. But primarily my kids, and a few friend’s kids. It’s super motivating to be a hero to them, and help them aspire to make themselves better.
As they grow older, it makes me happy to see them being active in healthy lifestyles.
Where do you find more motivation: doubters or supporters?
Early on in my career I fueled on doubters and loved putting them in their places.
More recently, my supporters motivate me the most, especially when I feel really beat down in the pain cave.
I absolutely thrive on positive energy. I think of all the things they say about my abilities and achievements, and I tell myself, “I want to make these people proud. I want to reinforce the qualities they see in me. I want to be the person they think I am.”
What is the biggest mental challenge you've had to face in your sport and how have you conquered that?
The fear of getting hurt is a common challenge, and I have dealt with it a few times such as with a dislocated shoulder while snowboarding, and a bad ankle sprain falling when a rope broke.
During these times I get caught in the thought pattern of “what ifs.” I conquered my fear by reminding myself that I’ve been knocked down before and came back just as good afterwards.
I test myself in training and know my boundaries. I push my boundaries. I practice falling right. I am fine-tuned so my subconscious runs the show. These things are boosted reading some good books on mental toughness.
What do you do to make sure you're physically and mentally prepared for competition?
To be physically ready, I put in my regular time at the gym and out on the trails and roads. I add training the specialty moves that the particular race or competition requires (like practicing spear throw for Spartan Race.)
To be mentally ready, I have a couple sayings I recite. I listen to a couple songs. I rely on my faith. I read over a mental strategy sheet I wrote from a little book on developing a winning mentality, written by an Olympian.
Describe your recovery strategies. How do you know if those recovery strategies are working?
My recovery varies based on the size of the event.
Generally, I stretch some, drink a lot of water, and stay on my feet quite a while to keep my muscles moving and flush out my bloodstream.
For bigger events I drink a recovery that has a lot of aminos and vitamins, and eat a pack of YOLKED to replenish protein. I know my strategies work because I have very minimal stress injuries, and I feel good the next day even for multi-day events.
What's Your "Y"?
I keep feeding my inner animal and he wants to come out!
Where do you see yourself as an athlete in 5 years?
I’ll be doing what I am now, plus there are challenges that haven’t been created yet that I want to conquer!
My energy and drive comes from spontaneity. I want to do the new Savage Race point series in a year or two. I want to compete in some harder international events. I have a brand-new granddaughter, Sophia, whom I will be teaching to race and climb within 5 years.
Favorite motivational quote and/or song?
I recite the whole Rocky quote during races, especially “It’s not about how hard you can hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward…that’s how winning is done…”
My favorite song (with intro) is by Worth Dying For: Destroy & Savior
I minimize meat intake, so protein from eggs is important. I have been an egg eater all of my life, even regularly eating them raw. I was excited to find YOLKED because it contains the unique protein fortetropin which enhances muscle recovery. It’s also been great because its lightweight, non-spoiling, and easy to carry.