The Marathon Monks

Gather round peeps, its story time again.

Sitting comfortably? Good. I want to tell you about a certain group of chaps that know a thing or two about commitment and dedication.

The Japanese “marathon monks” are a set of crazy individuals seeking enlightenment in a quest to serve Buddha. These monks are from the Tendai school of Buddhism in Mt. Hiei and they perform a set of ascetic physical endurance trainings called the Kaihōgyō. 

What has this got to do with Ultimate City Fitness and getting in shape?

Well keep reading and all will become clear.

Buddhism suggests that enlightenment can be attained in the current life and its through this process of self-denial that this can be achieved. The Kaihōgyō is the ultimate expression of this desire.

The selection process is tough.

The trainee monk will run for 100 days straight in a white robe and rice slippers for up to 40km per day as well as performing his other duties in the temple. The best monks will go on to run for a further 900 days over 7 years.

They can drop out before the first 100 days but after that, if they decide to quit the process they must take their own life or carry on until the end.


But it gets worse….much worse. (worse than death?)

In year 5, wannabee enlightened souls must sit and pray in silence, without food, water or rest for 216 hours straight or 9 days if you prefer as two senior monks sit with him to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep. At 2am every morning they must get up to fetch sacrificial water from the well.

In year 7, they run 84km per day for 100 days then drop back to a paltry 40km for 100 days.

Can you believe this?

The total dedication and mindset to achieve a task like this and for what?


With this in mind, do you not think it could be possible to follow a diet set for you for a 2 week period?

Could you not give up the cereal and toast and instead, eat some good quality protein and good fats in the morning? I think you can. If you really put your mind to it you can pretty much do what you want in life. I mean, really focus on your goals and the outcome.

If you want to burn fat, lose weight, drop a dress or trouser size and feel great with a load of energy every day then ditch the processed junk in the cardboard box and eat the way we were designed to eat.

I dare you to try a protein and good fat breakfast for 14 days. You will never look back I promise.

The monks go for 9 days without food, water or sleep and sit praying in silence.

That’s a tough gig.

Think of the marathon monks next time temptation raises its ugly head and focus on strength rather than weakness and be grateful you don’t have to take your own life if YOU do fail like our enlightened friends, the Marathon Monks.

Gav 🙂

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