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Over the past few years a trend has been building in the area of obstacle-based fitness events.  Designed and marketed to meet the need of those who want to face a critical fitness challenge, but who find the idea of running long distances unappealing or monotonous, the age of the fun-run, mud run or other creative challenge is upon us.  There are a number of large-scale challenges to choose from like the Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Muddy Buddy, etc.  I think all of these are great challenges, and they can all help motivate you for a supercharged workout, but my personal favorite is the Tough Mudder.

A Tough Mudder event is said to be “The Toughest Event On The Planet” and “Where The Iron Man and the Burning Man Meet.”  In reality, they aren’t the toughest event on the planet from a physical perspective, as things like a true Olympic level Iron Man are far more challenging.  However, the folks at Tough Mudder have done an excellent job of combining a real “cross-training” physical challenge (e.g. 20-30 military style obstacles), along with some real mental roadblocks that test your courage (e.g. ice baths, running/crawling through electric wires, etc.) and all in a supportive team environment.  The events are well done, the sense of teamwork and camaraderie is amazing and powerful.

I have participated in three Tough Mudders to date and am signed up for two more in 2013.

Whether this type of event is appealing to you or not, the training required to prepare (and finish) a Tough Mudder is great.  There are a number of different exercises and circuits available which will help you become or sustain a body that is “functionally fit”.  There’s a great video on the Tough Mudder website that covers some training elements (click image below):

In addition, there are a number of circuits that you can use to prepare for a Tough Mudder, that will also provide some excellent new elements to your workout.  Click the image below to access the Tough Mudder Circuit Training content.

Small steps add up!