Rucking: The Best Home Workout For You This Year

Fitness at its most functional…

About a month ago I mentioned my initial interest in rucking. Since then I ventured off in to the google-sphere to find out where the term “ruck” comes from.

The term “rucksack,” first used in the United Kingdom and later adopted by many other countries including the U.S., originated from the German word describing a location on the body —“the back” (der Rücken) — combined with the word for what was being carried — a sack.

As is my habit, I dove down this new rabbit hole headfirst, learning about the rucking community, the health benefits of rucking, and (if broken down) what rucking is.

In very basic terms, rucking is walking with weight on your back.

Digging deeper, the community (and the military) differentiates it from hiking by stating that rucking is more focused on fitness whereas hiking is more camping/journey/destination focused.

In these pandemic times with gyms shut down, social distancing, working from home and feeling like you are stuck indoors…what could be better than a workout that gets you outside, makes you stronger and functionally fit, builds cardio and burns fat, and requires almost no gear or costly gym membership!

Rucking…that’s what!

Speaking of the health benefits of rucking:

As opposed to jogging, swimming, biking, or rowing, rucking is easy on the joints, places you in a strong and correct posture, and doesn’t compel the user to “go glycolytic” (using primarily glucose metabolism by training too intensely), as you are already moving at the top speed of your walking gait. You could, of course, load too heavy, find an uphill route, etc., to increase the intensity but you won’t get that feeling of needing to move faster for more conditioning once underway, as the “high” of the exercise-induced endorphins washes over you.

I can’t overemphasize the postural benefits from rucking. If you constantly correct your posture as described, you might just remove some of your constant low-back pain, lack of hip flexibility, and thoracic spine issues. You will most certainly tighten your “X” and build resilience into your trunk. This resilience will reduce your potential for non-collision injury, and increase your performances in other activities.

Done properly of course:

Stand up tall, take short but frequent strides, and drive your arms hard. The description from top to bottom: keep your head up with your eyes looking out ten to fifteen feet in front of you, using your peripheral vision to navigate the ground directly below your feet. Do not walk with your head down. You may need to drop your head periodically to negotiate obstacles (don’t step on smaller items in your path – step around them), but always seek good cervical spine alignment.

StrongFirst.com

A quick google search will show some big movers in the “online fitness world” have covered it at one point in time:

Here are a couple great podcasts on the health benefits of rucking if you prefer that medium:

What it comes down to for me, is that I like the idea of a simple activity that builds fitness. Similar to the story of Milo and the Bull, this is a fitness regiment that is functional and you can increase over time:

He decided to carry a newborn calf on his shoulders. Day by day, for more than four years, he carried an animal on his shoulders. While people were laughing at him, the small calf slowly grew into an adult ox and Milo got stronger and stronger along the way. What an awesome idea. Every day, when Milo woke up, he lifted the calf, put it on his shoulders and carried it around all day. After four years, Milo was lifting and carrying around an impressively big ox. By then, people stopped laughing a long time ago, when they saw Milo’s muscles and strength grow.

Now don’t get me wrong…rucking is for the more advanced athlete as well. I was a collegiate gymnast, turned rock climber extraordinaire, turned cross-fitter (with my CFL-1 training certificate), I’ve coached people in all of the above mentioned areas as well. Yet as I get closer to 40 I find myself continuing to look for areas of fitness to explore the will solidify my “functional fitness foundation”. Rucking is not just a “beginner” workout regime; it is for all levels of athletes and I truly believe that it can make your health foundation more solid than you realize.

Shoot me a comment if you are interested in this journey as I venture in to a new corner of fitness, community, and healthy living.

The aforementioned famous Greek wrestler and strength legend Milo of Croton got stronger by improving a little bit every day. Carrying the calf as it grew in to a bull. While the rucking experts don’t recommend going above 1/3 your body weight while rucking…the concept of small, continual improvements is the same.

To quote myself when I wrote about the 1% rule:

There is so much that goes in to this concept [the 1% rule], but the basics of it are…well…basic. 

Tomorrow, you probably won’t notice a difference. But what’s the result when 1% happens every day? Let’s ask James Altucher…

“Improve a little each day. It compounds. When 1% compounds every day, it doubles every 72 days, not every 100 days. Compounding tiny excellence is what creates big excellence.”

72 days later you might be twice the person you are today. Think you can’t manage that? Let’s do some math.

If you want to up your fitness regiment…or just want to change it up every now and then like me…then this may be for you.

Want a place to start learning about rucking? I highly recommend the below article as a good foundation on understanding why rucking might be for you.

Rucking: What It Is and How to Do It

Applying the 1% Rule to Patagonia, GoRuck, and You

I have a bad habit…

When I find a company that knows what it stands for and it aligns with my own beliefs…I am all in.

I’m not just referring to the couple soft goods companies in this blog post title. E-commerce company Next Jump has a culture I got to experience that changed my life. Simon Sinek has written books and given TED talks that I write about often and that I will buy immediately in the future – no questions asked.

These aren’t just companies or individuals that have social assistance programs to check a box or “mission statements” that sound good. Rather, these are organizations that make moves that stand by their beliefs but often seen as counterintuitive to traditional success…like Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign.

I’ve been a Patagonia fan since I first started reading about how the founder started the company and my affinity grew as I saw how committed it is to sustainability, quality, and family. Living in Ventura, where the company was started and is headquartered, I met people who worked there and loved it. The stories you hear about employees taking surf breaks, child care at work, and the overall quality work environment are not exaggerated.

Are you surprised that my social media accounts are some version of @PatagoniaDad?

The 1% Rule

I came across the below video by YouTube’s very own Captain Sinbad. I encourage you to take the couple minutes to watch it. He’s very good and I can see why he has over 300K subscribers.

If you don’t want to watch the video…

The 1% rule is simple: improve just 1% each day. The idea is that if you do this, the good habits you develop stack over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t be either.

Stop focusing on the end result and start paying attention to the process.

—via theMonkLife.net

There is so much that goes in to this concept, but the basics of it are…well…basic.

Tomorrow, you probably won’t notice a difference. But what’s the result when 1% happens every day? Let’s ask James Altucher…

“Improve a little each day. It compounds. When 1% compounds every day, it doubles every 72 days, not every 100 days. Compounding tiny excellence is what creates big excellence.”

72 days later you might be twice the person you are today. Think you can’t manage that? Let’s do some math.

(continue reading here)

GoRuck

When I said I have a bad habit, that tends to mean that I fall down rabbit holes of learning about these amazing companies…and then buying a ton of their stuff! Fortunately for me, this means that I am buying quality items…usually over a long period of time. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I’ll be writing about a bunch of GoRuck stuff that I might have after Christmas) 😏

I’ve been reading up on GoRuck…the company best known for the GR1 and GR2…bombproof backpacks for every day carry up to one bag travel. They even support a foundation started for a former classmate of mine who was killed in combat. The owner and founder of the company is VERY straightforward and honest when he talks about his company. I am excited to read his new book.

GoRuck events are growing in popularity
GoRuck events are growing in popularity

In 2019 GoRuck made the decision to move their large scale manufacturing to Vietnam…and the owner wrote a long and very honest blog post about why.

One of the many things that struck me in his post was the below chart.

GORUCK’s growth 2008-2018

Crazy growth aside…what struck me was those first couple years with $0 revenue. And while the chart displays no data for ‘growth’ for those years…I would argue that they were growing a little bit every day.

1% perhaps?

Consistency and The “Why”

Simon Sinek is most famous for his talk about the Golden Circle and pointing out that successful companies plant their flag in their “Why” first and their product second.

I believe that the companies I’ve mentioned naturally follow the 1% rule because they are founded on a belief, a purpose, or a mission that speaks them, their employees, and ultimately their customers. As Captain Sinbad pointed out when talking about the movie ‘Money Ball’, Billy Bean shifted his focus to metrics that actually matter.

These companies are focusing on what matters…they know their why. They consistently stay centered on their why and communicate about their products through that rather than vice versa.

People don’t buy what you sell. They buy why you sell it.

Simon Sinek

When you frame your work life around something foundational to who you are or what you believe…it almost becomes easy to improve by 1% every day. As long as that why is genuine and (in my opinion) not self centered.

“Our findings suggest that the psychological reward experienced from helping others may be deeply ingrained in human nature, emerging in diverse cultural and economic contexts,” said lead author Lara Aknin, of Simon Fraser University in Canada, in a news release.

article on American Psychological Association study

What This Means to Me (and should mean to you)

From Simon Sinek’s “Why” to GoRuck’s slow take-off.

GORUCK founder with WWI vet at Omaha Beach for 75th anniversary
GORUCK founder with WWI vet at Omaha Beach for 75th anniversary

From Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This” campaign to Next Jump’s deliberately developmental company culture.

These companies inspire me!

They inspire me to continue to refine my own why, to improve 1% every day, and to do so selflessly.

If they don’t inspire you, I hope that I can.

I hope you have a fantastic day. 😁

Service Over Self

I love anecdotes like this.

In the First World War, a young man had been wounded. The medic who came to treat him said, ‘I am sorry but you have lost your arm.’ The young solider replied, ‘Doctor, I didn’t lose it. I gave it.’

unknown

There is so much packed in to that short story that hits home that you find yourself wanting more.

  • Who was this young man?
  • Where was he from?
  • What about the medic…what is his story?
  • What made the young soldier respond that way?

My dad was a pastor as I was growing up and I always remember that the messages that were the most impactful were the ones with the best stories. (at least that’s how 10 year old Scott felt) There is something to be said about that.

The stories we tell about our ourselves create the canvas of our life story; while the stories that others tell of us are the brush strokes that fill that canvas in.

Ask yourself…Can I be like that young solider?

In the tough times…have others taken from you….or have you given to others?

One Year In…Choosing Fulfillment over Victory

If you want to lead better, work better, live better…and help others do the same, then join me on this journey.

One year ago I pushed publish on my very first blog post here.

For some odd reason, that is still my highest viewed post ever. That may be because of the way my site was first set up (requiring a click to view each post) vice how it is now (endless scrolling with full posts). It really doesn’t matter as that is not the whole reason I started yet another blog.

I was quite up front about trying to see if I could make any money from my “side-hustle” site this go around. I’ve tried affiliate links to amazon, signing up for various affiliate services, creating merchandise to sell, and a couple other things. I’ve posted almost every day over the past year and worked towards better SEO…although I wouldn’t say I did so aggressively. (I do have a family and a full-time job)

All of that has resulted in zero money but, more importantly, a few realizations on my part.

excerpt from The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
excerpt from The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

1. Creation is One of My Favorite Parts of Starting a Blog/Site

I really enjoy the act of creating a site.

I love pouring through templates, seeing what is new that people like and what is old/classic that I still prefer.

Selecting and testing out fonts and color schemes scratches some sort of artistic itch that I’m not sure I could identify or satisfy otherwise. Serif versus Sans Serif, complimentary color schemes, underlining links that change color on hovering over it (via customized CSS), viewing spacing and sizing of headers and paragraph text. I love it all.

Is that weird?

I don’t know. Maybe.

I enjoy it nonetheless.

2. Volume is Not What I Want to Do Right Now

Coming up with 6 posts a week is not a lot in terms of a normal website volume. Yet, if you’re running your site solo, then it can add up over time.

Don’t get me wrong, I was able to get a pretty good routine that allowed me to come up with 3 weeks worth of material over the course of a Sunday, but that normally excluded my Wednesday posts. I tried to make those Wednesday posts a little more of an “actual post” that required me to sit, think, write, edit, and smooth for publishing.

And shocker…those Wednesday posts tended to be my more popular posts…those and the Saturday affiliate link posts. (according to my google analytics stats)

Remember though…I was attempting to make money this time around and I thought a consistent post a day would translate to something over the course of a year. Which it didn’t. At least not for what I was posting about.

That’s ok.

I’ve experimented, learned, and will adjust.

3. I Want “Fulfillment over Victory”

Those Wednesday posts I mentioned I actually enjoyed a lot more. The critical thinking aspect of writing them is often what I look for when I get that urge to share a revelation, thought, or growing concept that I want to process.

That is probably why I enjoy making my Vlog so much…it takes planning, knowledge, experience, experimentation…technical curiosity, creativity, and effort.

The thoughtful pieces are so much more fulfilling that working towards that Google SEO to try and bring in more clicks.

I don’t really want to “win” in blogging…I want fulfillment in what I do and share with others.

Basically the payoff is in the journey vice the destination.


What is Next?

I have quoted Simon Sinek a few times here and read his first two books, Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last.

I just started reading his newest book, The Infinite Game, and I realized that I have been expending all this effort on my blog for purely selfish reasons…reasons that I don’t really believe will succeed.

I don’t really think that I will succeed on this blog if I am only doing it to try and make money. That has never really been a driving factor for what I do in life and I’m not sure why I put that as my foremost reason here.

I Am Sorry

I should have known better than to stray from what really drives me in life and work. People who know me, know that I want to lead people be better versions of themselves and to teach them how to help others the do same.

I can’t do that when money is my focus.

In life, at work, or via this website.

Adjusting Course

My focus should be, as Simon Sinek says, on the “infinite game”.

So should yours.

Ask yourself:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Do I have an “infinite mindset”? (a just cause that will outlive me)
  • What drives me to make others better?

This blog will change from here forward.

The name will stay the same for now, and I will occasionally post some of the same things I did before (interesting links, inspiring quotes, vlogs) but my focus here will be to make you better and to teach you how to do the same for others.

Quality over quantity I suppose.

I do not know how this process will play out going forward…but I do know that I am more driven by that purpose and will thus be more likely to stick with it.

If you want to lead better, work better, live better…and help others do the same, then join me on this journey.

God bless.

Scott