The end of 2020 was a bit of a struggle for me. It wasn’t really one thing in particular, more like a bunch of shit that had been adding up that was starting to wear me down and causing me to lose motivation. Anyone who knows me knows this is NOT ME! Although I wasn’t training for anything specific I was still doing a fair amount of Olympic Weightlifting, but it was becoming more obvious that I was losing interest in the sport. GORUCK releasing their new program last January was exactly what I needed to give me a change in direction, a new purpose and self-discipline, a whole lot of self-discipline!

GORUCK Tribe is such a cool concept. The theme for all of 2021 was Seek Pain and then each month had it’s own theme and unique patch to go along with it. Ahh, the patches…:) Each design was more amazing than the last! (you could purchase shirts each month with them too!) If you put in the work, you receive the patch. Yes, this program is totally based on the honor system, which I’ve come to learn is difficult for some people! I struggle to understand why personally. True, you’re the only one who knows if you put in the work, however you are also only hurting yourself if you don’t?! So just commit and get it done! Your body, mind & spirit will thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

The following are the monthly requirements:

1. Rucking Miles

Some months were 100% more challenging than others. January started with 1 mile per day with a 5 mile penalty ruck per day missed. How many days do you think I missed…exactly! April was challenging for me. It was a 12 miler + 10 days of consecutive rucking 2+ miles per day. The month that really got me though was June. Honestly, if it wasn’t for a few of my weirdo friends I was going to throw in the towel when I read that it was a 77 mile requirement! One friend said, “piece of cake, roughly 2.5 miles a day”. Sometimes I wonder if I need new friends?! Seriously though, I’m so glad I didn’t quit because reaching that goal the end of the month was sweet! Whenever I would get frustrated thinking why in the hell do we have to ruck so many miles, I would remind myself of the significance behind it. June 6, 2021 marked 77 years since D-Day, hence the 77 miles. I also didn’t have to do the mileage, I GOT to do it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. The Workout

There was one HERO WOD each month. Just like the mileage can look overwhelming at first, so can some (most ha) of the workouts, but you’re only doing ONE! You can train all month to prepare for it if need be and/or modify movements and weights if necessary. These WODs related to the month’s themes and events that occurred in those particular months. They were workouts like the Pearl Harbor WOD, a memorial WOD to pay respects to the 2,403 service members and civilians who paid the ultimate sacrifice on December 7. 1941 and The Fall of Baghdad WOD that marked the symbolic success of the Battle of Baghdad when on April 9, 2003 the Saddam Hussein statue was destroyed by Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers. Were they hard, hell yeah! That’s the point! Whenever I do these Hero WODs I dig deep and I think about the brave people we are honoring and remembering.

3. The Book

I don’t know about you, but I don’t read as much as I would like. I have great intentions, have a handful of books sitting on my desk that I “plan” on reading, some I’ve actually started, ugh… LOL Tribe was perfect for me because there was an assigned book you were required to read each month, and yes, they all had significance and tied into the months’ themes. I was kind of skeptical thinking that most of these were not books I would have chosen for myself, that they’d all be about war (not that there’s anything wrong with that, just typically not my choice of genre). Only a few were though and they were incredible! One of those that I especially liked is Ashley’s War by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. I was equally surprised at how much I enjoyed Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Tribe by Sebastian Junger and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl were definitely in my top three however,ย  my favorite for sure was…drum roll…The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter. This is a book everyone should read as itย will make you realize truly how important it is to have challenges and adversity in life and how our overly comfortable lives are hurting us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s spot on and SO darn good! Props to the reading picks!

4. Additional Tasking

This is exactly as it sounds.:) One month was volunteerism, finding a good cause and donating a block of your time. I chose Path to Freedom, an organization helping child survivors of human trafficking. Another month was writing four handwritten letters, definitely (and sadly) a lost art. September was pretty cool too, a functions check. It was a 7 day challenge that consisted of 10,000 steps/day, 3 workouts, no social media, eat well & prioritize sleep, and then had the option of no alcohol, caffeine or tobacco. I survived, and actually enjoyed, a week without social media, but decided not to give up the caffeine and just limited the “clean” cocktails. (I thought my family should live ha) The best one by far though was the one I did with my friend Tina! The tasking was to do one miserable thing with someone else, something that scares you (that you haven’t done in at least a year). Skydiving sounded like a super scary choice, but then we realized it wasn’t miserable?! LOL SOMEONE said, “Let’s do the CHAD 1000x WOD (1000 weighted step ups for time) in the parking lot of the dive center before we jump!!!” Wahoo! #GOODLIVIN It wasn’t until afterwards that Tina told me the last time she jumped out of a plane was in the army when she was doing a static line jump at 4am with like 80#s of gear on, that unfortunately didn’t end well. During the landing she broke her leg in three places and after several complications from the injury it ultimately led to the end of her military career. Talk about conquering fear!!! SOOOO impressive, but then so is she! We finished celebrating the day drinking beer out of a paper bag & eating pizza right out of the box at a little dive place in the middle of nowhere! Again, good livin’!

So literally that’s it, your four tasks that you’ll receive in an email the first of each month! In each of those Jason McCarthy, founder of GORUCK, includes a message that really sets the tone for the upcoming month. He has such a way with words and would sometimes even share his personal experiences from his days as a Green Beret. The month’s message that resonated most with me was October’s, Chaos. Jason talks about what chaos is and how it comes in all different forms. He concluded it with this, “The opposite of CHAOS is not order, it’s LOVE. Love of God, family, country, love of those we share a life with, the gift of time here and now. Love of something greater than ourselves. The sooner we embrace that, and all the magic it entails, the brighter all the stars in the universe will shine, including our own.” 100%!!!

Whether Tribe is your main focus/fitness regime or you incorporate with your other training as I did, it’s such a worthwhile, challenging program that really is good for your mental, physical, and spiritual health! Like everything else about GORUCK, it’s hard, but isn’t that what makes life worth living?! Find your tribe! #ChooseTheHarderPath

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