I had a great time since I've been looking forward to it for a long time and was fortunate enough not to have any injuries or limitations. It's great to find new challenges and this particular one would challenge my endurance, balance, coordination, problem solving skills and especially: mental toughness.
Some of the obstacles were especially mentally challenging, such as the ice bath (water with 1.5 feet of ice and you had to dive under a wooden board before exiting), and the electroshocks. There were not one, two but three obstacles with live wires this year! The first we had to crawl in water, second on an ice sheet and the third is the well known one running through live wires. Of course, not all wires are charged but that makes it even more nerve wrecking. I was shocked a total of 7 times. During the last obstacle, right before the finish line, I got shocked twice on the head and it dazed me pretty well. However, I was fortunate enough not to drop (we have seen other people go unconscious for a few seconds). Even though the shocks aren't fun, it's part of the game and it added to the experience. Obviously, if you have medical issues you shouldn't go through the electroshocks.
I did all the obstacles of the course and they were all great for different reasons. A few objections I have with the challenge though are:
- Some of the obstacles that require physical skills, such as climbing, ducking etc. were too short. They should have been longer in length.
- The course was reasonably tough and despite the fact that Tough Mudder needs to accommodate the general population of may different levels, I thought it would be harder. The hardest part of the course was absolutely the altitude changes. You had to run uphill, downhill, hike etc. which was GREAT! That makes it a lot harder but I would like to see harder physically challenging obstacles. Perhaps they should do the course as it is and do some extra things for an 'Elite Tough Mudder'?
P.S. A big thank you to the team and the people who came out to support!
By Sander Vanacker, owner, head instructor and personal trainer of Define Defense Martial Arts & Personal Training.
Define Defense in Boulder, CO
- Modern Martial Arts
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA
- Self Defense Classes & Workshops
- Personal Training
- Cross Training / TRX Classes
1805 11th Street Suite B
Boulder, CO 80302
(720) 340 6254
Name: Drew Ash
Profession: Brazilian Jiujitsu instructor
Where do you live: Boulder, CO
Have you participated in Tough Mudder before: No, though I had a dream about it once
Have you participated in any other mud competitions, like Warrior Dash or MuckRuckus: No
What got you interested in participating: Seeing the course
Describe your training regimen for the event: Daily Brazilian jiujitsu with Strength and conditioning classes 4-5 times a week
When did you start training: Year round
Tough Mudder can be an intimidating event. Any fears or concerns: Yes, that my heart will explode when I go through "shock therapy". As well as ankle injuries from the mud.
Are you in it for the die-hard competition or more for the fun? Fun
How have your friends and family reacted to you doing Tough Mudder: Most of them pat me on the back in a very patronizing way.
Besides Tough Mudder, what’s the most extreme thing you’ve ever done: Mixed martial arts
Cross training is one of the best ways to get in shape while working pretty much all of your muscle groups. If done right, you can accomplish different goals by training in different ways. You will get stronger, faster and your cardio will improve. By fine tuning your cross training workout, you can also lose weight or gain muscle (or both).
The way we do cross training at Define Defense in our strength and conditioning classes is by working all muscle groups with short rests between different stations. By working all muscle groups, we end up burning many calories and we challenge all muscles, which makes them adapt and improve. We have different formulas we use in different classes but we always make sure our training methods have clear reasoning behind them and these are backed by our knowledge in physiology, anatomy etc. In our strength and conditioning classes, we also make sure everyone is working at their own level and they are training to reach the goal they want. That is why we like to call it personal training in a small group. After all, the same exercises and training will NEVER work the same for different people.
Our classes are a full hour training session, 6 times/week starting in January 2012 (depending on a membership or punch card, you choose whenever and how many times you want to attend!) As for now, we have 3 classes/week.
Cross training can be done in several ways as mentioned, however there are many brands that do it in a very irresponsible and dangerous manner. Safety always comes first but unfortunately some brands do not make this a priority.
A few experiences I have had (outside of Define Defense):
- 15 minute workouts that make you breathe hard, sweat and make you feel like passing out. These workouts may feel hard (and they are), but they will NOT do anything for you, except to deteriorate your body. You do not get any rest, you do too many exercises in a small time frame, something that occasionally can be beneficial for a trained athlete but not for the average person wanting to improve or live healthier. Since there is no rest, your muscles will not grow, ever... For cardio purposes it is not long enough either and pushing yourself that hard every workout is unhealthy, period. If a 15 minute workout would do what they claim it does, everybody would be a professional athlete. But it doesn't! Any trainer can push you that hard for 15 minutes but it's not a good thing.
- Making the clients do compound exercises without warmup and for too many reps. Compound exercises are fantastic for anabolic growth, burning calories and general strength and health. However, if you become fatigued, your form and technique will deteriorate, especially with technically challenging exercises. These need perfect form as they can be hazardous for your body. I have seen studios that made their clients do tens of these compound exercises at a time (with horrible form).
- Dirty, dirty and dirty to a point my lungs burned and my hands were black. OK this one is place determined but it's a big no-no!
- Having to sign a waiver that states they are not liable if you get hospitalized with Rhabdo. Really??? Sounds shady to me and with responsible training (even pushing limits), you should never experience this!
- Unqualified trainers: some brands are franchised which means that if you do a one day workshop, you are allowed to open a branch. Great isn't it? Not really... It takes years to master training others and being certified after one day is simply dangerous.
You would be surprised how much these kinds of situations happen or how many cross training studios build their businesses on these irresponsible strategies.
At Define Defense, we strive towards quality and responsible training for optimal results and the safety of our clients. That is why we are expanding our strength & conditioning program to 6 classes/week starting January, 2012!
All our martial arts clients have free access. Non members can also enjoy these great cross training classes by purchasing a punch card or getting a strength & conditioning membership. Our classes are 60 minute workouts with a lot of personal attention and cutting edge gym equipment (see our facility). We utilize back to basic exercises as well as the latest proven methods in the fitness world. We will push you and make you better, that's a promise. Besides your training, we also educate you about the reasons behind the training.
Our pricing structure:
- A 10 class punch card for $200
- A 12 month membership for $85/month (unlimited classes)
- A 6 month membership for $95/month (unlimited classes)
- A 3 month membership for $110/month (unlimited classes)
Stay tuned for our new schedule (starting January 2nd, 2012) and take advantage of the strength & conditioning classes!
By Sander Vanacker, owner of Define Defense Martial Arts & Training in Boulder, Colorado
I have met many individuals that practice martial arts and hire a personal trainer or strength & conditioning coach on the side. Or they practice yoga outside of martial arts classes to improve their flexibility, feel in sync with their body etc. At Define Defense, we approach martial arts training through a modern way and want to redefine martial arts and self defense (Define Defense, get it?).
What we do is offer different programs for different purposes:
- Modern Martial Arts for people wanting to learn and practice all the best of different martial arts in a modern and realistic way while getting a great workout (everything from standup, takedowns, throws etc.)
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for all levels and offering a highly effective mix of BJJ and other forms of submission wrestling for a superior ground game
- Mixed Martial Arts: combining Modern Martial Arts and BJJ for individuals who want to learn MMA or compete
- Women's Self Defense without the intimidation of having men around, all the best and most effective ways to defend yourself as a woman
These programs offer different things for different people and are specific to the goal that wants to be reached. Now, as a client you will learn a lot of techniques, tactics, submissions, strikes and much more but what if you want to get stronger, in better shape, more flexible etc? That is why all our clients get complimentary Circuit Training and Yoga classes. These are included in your membership and are taught by certified instructors. There is no more need for separate memberships, gyms, trainers and costs. You get a full training package as a member in our studio. This way, you get a better and more complete training experience without any additional cost. You will actually save money because you don't have to go elsewhere anymore. Our membership fees are highly competitive (the best in the Boulder area) and there are no setup fees or cancellation fees. Our philosophy is to treat others as you want to be treated and we love the community we have at Define Defense.