In the OCR community, there are a handful of people that truly stand out, and Yancy Culp is one of them. I have been learning more about him through podcasts and other media and was excited when he said he was willing to work with me on this interview. Everyone has a story to tell about why they do what they do within our OCR world, and Yancy is no exception. From athlete to coach, Yancy has helped many athletes think outside of the box and achieve some truly amazing things on course.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I started competing in Middle School and haven’t stopped since. I’m 45 now, so appx 32 years of participating and competing in many different sports: Football, Basketball, Powerlifting, Cross Country, Track & Field, Mountain Running, Road Racing, Cycling, and Obstacle Course Racing. In the past 32 years, other than my 8-month cancer journey in 2016 & 2017, I haven’t gone more than 3-4 months without competing in something.
Who inspires you on a daily basis and why?
My OCR clients who have full-time jobs, a family, and many responsibilities while also managing their training schedule. Athletes who find time to get their training in. It’s a daily balancing act as they try and get in enough work to meet their goals of running their first clean race, conquering the rig or making it up the rope for the first time, earning their trifecta, getting a 25 or 50 mile bid, finishing with their band at OCRWC or any other mandatory obstacle completion race. The sport of OCR and everyone involved inspires me. I commonly say, “This is possibly the greatest fitness movement the world as ever seen!”
Please explain what Yancy camp is and how someone can sign up to train?
Yancy Camp is an online fitness training experience. With the OCR portion of the program, clients can team with myself and a high-level OCR athlete. They receive 3 of the same workouts I program for the athlete each week plus 1-2 bonus workouts each week. They have access to our fitness test and challenge tracking system, our exercise video library, and private Facebook Group called – Yancy Camp OCR Athletes & Coaches. The workouts are all written in a way that allows them to be easily scaled down if needed. You can train with one of our Superheroes. These are seven individuals who at some point in time in their life have struggled with consistently working fitness into their lifestyle.
I program 3 workouts plus 1-2 bonus workouts for the Superhero each week and clients are able to team up with myself and the Superhero which provides an accountability system for the client. Superheroes clients also have access to our fitness test tracking system, exercise video library, and private Facebook Group called – Yancy Camp Superheroes. We’re having great success with both the OCR & Superheroes Program. Clients can also team and train with Phoebe Wright’s Stronger – Fitter – Faster 800m Middle Endurance Running Program. Phoebe is a two time World Record Holder and exceptional American middle endurance runner. She’s also a great coach! For anyone looking to shore up their Yancy Camp OCR Training Program, they can add Richard Diaz’s Endurance Training Program to their plan. Richard provides two endurance workouts each week and this program is also a great addition to road and trail runners, triathletes, ultra-athletes, any anyone else looking to improve their endurance running game.
To sign up, simply go to YancyCamp.com, select your athlete and/or coach and subscribe.
What inspired you to start Yancy Camp?
My full-time OCR training roster was full and I had a bunch of people asking me to train them. I didn’t want to tell anyone no so I created Yancy Camp. This allowed me to start saying yes to everyone. So many of us have full-time jobs and a family. Our time is very precious and knowing that you are maximizing the little training time you have in a way that will translate out on the course at your next race is very important. Yancy Camp provides this!
Is there one of your athletes that have a tougher “work out” on Yancy camp than any of the others? if yes you don't have to name names but please share a snippet of that workout.
Currently we have 15 high-level OCR athletes on the roster. There are two basic groups. Group 1: athletes who compete in races around the half marathon distance and below (Matt Novakovich, Kate Cramer, Ryan Kent, Rose Wetzel, Glenn Racz, Michael Mark, Ben Greenfield, Laura Messner, Becca Clifford, Beni Gifford, and Greg Avierinos). Group 2: athletes who compete in Toughest Mudder, Ultra Beasts, World Tough Mudder, and other long duration OCR events (April Dee Hartwig, Miguel Medina, Morgan Mckay, & Allison Tai). The last four athletes I named are training for longer races so some of their workouts are going to be longer in duration.
Some might consider these workouts harder but there’s also a great argument to be made about the shorter and faster-paced races being the hardest. Some of the most grueling workouts are the periodic 4-5 hour sessions where I have the group 2 athletes doing long bricks of cycling, OCR specific strength training, and running. I’ll have them continue repeating their brick sessions for a long duration. Good times! On the other hands, the lactate threshold pounding work I have some of the other athletes doing is arguably tougher than the longer sessions. I always find a way to keep in fun though. For example, we’re currently on workout #355 and of those 355 workouts, they are all a little different. I’ve never posted the exact same workout twice.
What is the one thing that you have learned from your athletes that are something you can share to help inspire/motivate people in their daily lives?
There are wonderful caring people. During my cancer journey, I have waves of people reaching out to me on a daily basis. It lifted me up during times when I thought nothing could lift me up. The entire OCR community is full of amazing people. I have gotten to know many of my OCR clients very well and they are just wonderful caring people. They serve me way more than I could ever serve them. When the vast majority of people in a group are focused on serving others vs serving themselves, you have an epic culture. We have this within the Yancy Camp ranks.
Looking back on what you refer to as your “backwards” OCR career, do you feel that doing it this way made you stronger or was it just the way you signed up for things? Would you go back and do it the same way again?
It definitely made me stronger mentally and I wouldn’t change a thing. I knew I wanted to coach in this sport so my goal was to do the longest, the shortest, and everything in between. I just happened to start with all the crazy long stuff.
In the world of OCR, what do you feel as an athlete and now a coach, is the most important physical or mental attribute you need to have to succeed?
98% of your athletic career is outside the spotlight, no fans cheering, no race venue, no medals/podiums, just you and your tough workouts. 2% is race day/show time. You must fall in love with the 98%.
Do you find it harder to participate in an event (OCR, road race ect), or to be there to support your athletes as they go for their personal bests?
I’ve found that I enjoy being on site in coach mode WAY more than trying to be an athlete and coach mode at the same time. I’ve definitely shifted to a point where I find myself at most of the big races 100% in coach mode. I love coaching more than words can describe and being onsite during the 2% I explain above is such a great experience. Now I prefer to be at all the big A races 100% in coach mode. I’ll still race some of the big races but more times than not, I’ll be riding high on life while in coach mode.
Is there any one bucket list race that you would do today if given the chance?
I would love to compete in the entire Toughest Series for a full season. I also love what Warrior Race is doing in South Africa. On the longer side of the racing circuit, my 72 hour Death Race finish was the greatest race experience of my life. I would love to have one more opportunity to compete in an original Death Race again. 2nd behind that would be Joe Decker’s 36 Ultimate Suck. I won his 12-hour The Suck race twice but haven’t ever been able to work his36-hourr event in to my schedule.
Is there any race or challenge that you would never do, if so which one is it and why?
Everest! I love doing wild crazy events/races but I want to be in control of getting home safe to my family.
Do you feel in your personal and professional opinion, that someone is too old to break a bad habit or to take control of their health?
Absolutely not. A large majority of my clients are in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s and many aren’t coming from a consistent background. This amazing OCR movement has provided an epic opportunity for many to get out and enjoy fitness in a way like no other we’ve ever seen before. Yes, OCR has helped motivate many but that desire was in them all before OCR was around. Good coaching and fun opportunities just help kick start the new found love for fitness and kicking old sedentary habits to the curb.
Please share one little known fact about you.
My nickname is Yank. I’m 4th generation Yancy and all our nicknames were Yank. My uncle was “Big Yank” and I was “Little Yank”. I was super shy and I stuttered when I was younger. Now I love nothing more than talking, motivating large groups, public speaking, etc. It took 3 years of acting school to get me out of my shell.
If someone wants to reach out to you on social media with a question or to get information about Yancy Camp, what is the best way to do it?
Private message me through my Yancy Camp Facebook Page.