I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost 5 years now (at Full Circle, in case you’re wondering).
I love it.
I love working hard. I love that feeling when a WOD is super painful and I have to push through the pain. I love pushing for that one extra rep before the clock beeps. I love seeing my fellow CrossFitters pushing hard and sharing the pain of the WOD. I love the celebrations and cheering people on to get the best out of each other.
I love CrossFit.
Adventures Outside the Box
A little over two years ago, one of my coaches mentioned GORUCK in passing. I had done some Spartan races and liked taking the strength I was gaining in the gym and applying it outside the box.
After a quick google search to see what the “GORUCK” thing was all about, I was super intrigued. It seemed really difficult. But, it had a lot of things that I love about CrossFit. It was about attacking the unknown and the unknowable. It was about pushing yourself mentally and physically. It was about overcoming difficulty as a team.
I was in. I’d give it a try.
How CrossFit helped me in my GORUCK
My first GORUCK was an eye-opener. Hands down, it was the most physically demanding thing I had ever done. Sure, GRACE and FRAN are brutal. But, this was a 12-hour grind.
We had PT sessions led by a Special Forces Cadre that never seemed to get tired of telling us “do it again.” We logged about 16 miles while carrying 30+ pound on our back plus additional logs, sandbags, and people. We moved all night long with only a few breaks here and there.
It was brutal.
But, much of my CrossFit training prepared me to endure.
For one, I was used to pushing through mental battles. So often in a WOD there is a voice telling me to just quit or to just take a longer break. But, I’ve learned to push past that voice. This came in very handy on the GORUCK. There were times in the middle of the night where all I wanted to do was quit. But, I was able to tell the voice to shut up and keep on going.
Second, CrossFit got me comfortable with moving weights in various positions. So, when the Cadre told us we’d be doing overhead squats while holding our “rucks” overhead, I felt right at home. And, honestly, an OHS with a 35# ruck is way better than what I do in the gym. Not only that, but CrossFit gave me an overall strength base that allowed me to help the team move more weight over distances.
Third, CrossFit taught me about being a team. During a GORUCK, you are part of a team. Everyone that shows up has to work together to accomplish your goals. So, there are people with all sorts of fitness background. It is easy to come into the event and think, “I’m going to crush this.” But, here the thing, if you crush it and the person next to you is hurting so bad that they quit, then you failed. The goal is to put the team above yourself and if you’re killing it, then you need to help those on your team that are being killed by it. It is the same ethos you find in the box that wants every person to finish the WOD and set PRs.
Applying Constantly Varied
I think one of the best things about doing a GORUCK for me was that it was outside my comfort zone. It wasn’t a 20 minute AMRAP. There were no barbells. There wasn’t a winner. It was “varied” training times a million.
For one, the instruments of the event were more varied than I was used to. The ruck, sandbags, logs, other humans… lifting, moving, pressing, carrying, all these items (usually referred to as coupons) took all I did in the box and varied it in a way I would never have done otherwise.
To be pushed into these varieties is a really great experience.
Thinking Outside the Box
I think that getting outside the box and pushing yourself to do something extraordinary pays amazing benefits in the box. After my first GORUCK, it made the next WOD a little easier. I thought, “sheesh, at least this thing won’t last for 12 hours. I can do anything for 12 minutes.”
To this day, my experiences from my GORUCK event(s) translate into lessons and tools I can apply in the box.
So, if you’re a CrossFitter looking to push yourself in a new way, I highly recommend you give GORUCK a try!
A Little More about GORUCK
GORUCK is a team based endurance event lead by current and former special forces operators. GORUCK has three main events, the Light (6 hours), the Tough (12 hours), and the Heavy (24 hours). In addition to these main events, they offer other events like survival training and, for those who think they are a real bad-ass, there is Selection (which only 5% of people have ever finished).
Are you a CrossFitter? Interested in doing a GORUCK? Got any questions? Drop them in the comments below.