9/11 Hero Tribute Workout

Thank you to the all of the men, women, first-responders, military and kids that came out to support our fifth annual tribute workout in honor of the 3,000 people who lost their lives on 9/11/2001. We gather each year as a community to share our stories and tribute those who were affected by the attacks that day. We will never forget!

Never Forget

Never Forget

The New Place to be on Friday Nights!


Strength in Conditioning for Friday, September 12, 2014

In case you haven’t caught wind around the gym, the SICFIT Scottsdale Gymnastics class has a brand new day and time slot. Beginning today, this specialty class will be offered on Friday nights at 6:30 pm. Why not kick off your weekend learning how to defy gravity?!
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400 Meter row 400m
Line drills
Front squat 10, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
30 Second rest
15 sit ups
90 Second rest
For time:
100 squats
5 push ups
75 squats
10 push ups
50 squats
15 push ups
25 squats
20 push ups
LIFE: All sets = 40 squats, ring rows


Remember 9/11 with SICFIT Scottsdale


Strength in Conditioning for Thursday, September 11, 2014

Today, SICFIT Scottsdale honors the thousands of lives lost and the heroes who fought to save them 13 years ago today on 9/11 with a free workout along side uniformed members of the United State Military.  At the event, we will be collecting donations to the 100 Club, an organization that aids the families of first responders. We thank our first responders for exemplifying the American values of courage, justice, and putting our neighbors before ourselves.

The SICFIT 9/11 Hero Workout will be held at 6:00am, 7:00am, 4:30pm, and 5:30, at SICFIT Scottsdale, SICFIT San DiegoSICFIT El Paso, and CaliforniaFit. RSVP at any location or by calling 480-922-3253.


3-Step Fix for the Butt-Wink: Preventing the Tuck Under


Strength in Conditioning for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The last point of performance for the squat addressed hip-flexor tightness that can prevent an upright torso. Tight hip-flexors can also cause overextension of the low-back. This point of performance requires a neutral lumbar curve during the squat, particularly at the bottom. While over-extension is common, some athletes tend to round their backs at the bottom of the squat – committing what is referred to as a ‘butt-wink’.

What is a Butt-Wink?

A butt-wink refers to a posterior tilt of the pelvis and rounding of the low-back during the bottom position of the squat. During weighted squats this causes excessive compression force to the lumbar spine. All athletes will all have a different amount of lumbar flexion available to them. While some rounding is tolerable, when the lumbar spine reaches full flexion under load, the discs are susceptible to injury.

What Causes the Butt-Wink?

The butt-wink has three primarily causes: poor core stability, poor hip motor control, and lack of hip flexion. Limited hip flexion can be caused by ankle tightness, fascial restrictions in the gluteal complex, and lack of joint capsule flexibility.

3 Step Butt-Wink Fix to Avoid the Tuck Under During Squats

This sequence utilizes hip traction to improve joint capsule range of motion – which is needed for the legs to move independently of the pelvis and low-back during hip flexion and extension. The Kolar Wall Bug trains proximal core stability for distal arm/leg movement. The single-leg box squat trains hip motor control and the slow descent phase of the squat. Athletes who round at the bottom can benefit from both squats with counterweights and box squat which allow them to progress squat depth over time.

The Butt-Wink is Not a Hamstring Flexibility Limitation

Some coaches attribute the butt-wink to tight hamstrings – pulling the hips under into a posterior tilt. The length-tension relationship of the hamstrings does not change enough to warrant the hamstrings being a factor in the butt-wink. Adductor magnus tightness can contribute to a posterior pelvic tilt, but the hamstrings are not a factor (see blogs below).

Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx


Related Resources

Dean Somerset: Butt Wink Is Not About the Hamstrings

Bret Contreras: Squat Biomechanics: Butt Wink – What is it, What Causes it, & How Can it be Improved?


2K Run/row easy
Dynamic stretching
12 Minute EMOM
Even: Wall balls | Odd: Dips
LIFE: 7 Wall balls, 7 bench or parallette dips
FITNESS: 10 Wall balls 20/14, 7 bar dips
SPORT: 15 Wall balls 20/14, 10 ring dips
12 Minute EMOM
Even: Toes to bar | Odd: step-back lunges in place
LIFE: 10 Laying knees to elbows, 10 lunges
FITNESS: 10 Knees to elbow, 20 lunges
SPORT: 10 Toes to bar, 20 weighted KB red/yellow
12 Minute EMOM
Odd: Plank | Even: wall sit
LIFE: 30 Seconds each position
FITNESS: 45 Seconds each position
SPORT: 45 Seconds each position with plate 25/10


Mindful Meal Planning


Strength in Conditioning for Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Don’t miss SICFIT Scottsdale’s Food as Fuel sesh tonight to help prepare for the Whole Life Challenge beginning this week! To help kick start the ol’ nutrition noggin here are a few things to consider when planning our weekly meals, courtesy of  of Breakingmuscle.com:

  • Is there enough variety in the protein sources?
  • Do we have green vegetables with every meal?
  • Is there a source of starchy carbohydrates for my fiance?
  • Is there a variety in color and type of vegetables over the week?
  • Will there be enough left over for lunch?
  • What vegetables are in season?
  • What is on sale at the grocery store?
  • Can my personal schedule handle this workload of recipes?

See you tonight at 7pm for Food as Fuel!


Arm circles, planks, bear crawls, push ups, sit ups, squats
Line drills
8 Minute EMOM
Strict Press
LIFE: 3 Reps |  increase weight after every 3 sets
FITNESS: 1 Rep | increase weight after every 2 sets
SPORT: 1 Rep | increase weight every set
6 Minute EMOM
Push Press | Begin at final weight from strict press
LIFE | FITNESS | SPORT: Same as strict press
50 Double Unders + 50 sit ups
40 + 40 | 30 + 30 | 20 + 20 | 10 + 10
Scale for DU is 3x singles
Rest 3 minutes
2 Minutes  max push ups
Rest 2 minutes
2 Minute max effort row

A Warrior spirit by: Paul Deuchar How I survived SEALFIT KOKORO Class 34

In May 2014, I attended a weeklong event at my gym called Hell Week.  This course was modeled after Kokoro and entailed an intense 1 hour workout each morning at 05:00, and then we were also required to complete one additional class each day that week.  During Hell Week, our coach, Luke Kayyem, occasionally mentioned Kokoro.  I began researching Kokoro and my interest was sparked.  Luke had completed Kokoro 16 a few years earlier and, unbeknownst to me at the time, was considering a second run.  In early July, I sat down with Luke to discuss future goals.  The first comment I made was regarding Kokoro, and within 1 minute we were both committed to attending the late August event.  Luke would be critical to my success, and having the opportunity to experience both the preparation and the event alongside him made it that much more memorable.  I’ve done my best to capture this experience along with the emotions.  This is truly an incredible program and I am thankful and honored to have had the chance to experience it.  Thank you, Luke!  Hooyah my friend.

Now that I’m home from a 3 day stay at the hospital, I’m ready to write about this experience.  Immediately following the completion of Kokoro, and even the day after, I actually felt pretty good, but then some abdominal pain set in and progressively became worse.  By Wednesday night I had no choice but to visit the ER as it was becoming apparent that something was wrong.  This turned out to be quite the experience.  Within minutes of seeing the doctor, I was being told I would be rushed into surgery to repair a perforation in my stomach caused by the exertion from the past weekend.  Are you kidding me!?   After this amazing experience, I end up injuring my stomach and need surgery??  I was beside myself and completely numb.  A second doctor soon interjected and slowed things down.  Second round of testing and more experience caused him to simply order I.V. medication for a couple days and they were going to send a scope down my throat to see what was really going on. This sounded much better, but did mean being admitted to the hospital, but after what I had just heard as an alternative, this sounded ok. It turned out to be a bad little ulcer they attributed to the extreme exertion from the weekend before, but there was no rupture and no perforation; simply need to treat it and let it heal.  While in the hospital, they did an MRI on my knee and confirmed there was no damage, just extremely inflamed. So in the end, this 3 day hospital adventure ended up being a really expensive MRI that confirmed my knee would be ok, which after the past weekend, was music to my ears.

Why do I want to do Kokoro? Going into Kokoro, Luke mentioned to me several times that it was important to have a strong “why”.  Why are you doing this?  Why is it important to you? Why are you going to fight through the pain?  This was a main topic of discussion from the coaches throughout the event.  For me, this was the easy part.  I had one main why, and several other smaller ones.  I wasn’t worried about my why, and it never wavered throughout the event.   Whenever someone was questioning themselves during the weekend, the first thing teammates would do was ask you about your why.  We all utilized this throughout the weekend and it did prove to be a powerful medicine for whatever was bringing someone down at the moment.  Everyone had different why’s, but they were all extremely strong or we never would have signed up for this, and certainly never would have finished.  So having my why locked down, it was time to physically prepare.

The range of emotions over the two weeks after signing up was vast; various combinations of excitement and fear. Was I in over my head?  Am I too old for this? Am I going to hurt myself?  How upset will I be if I don’t complete it? Am I as crazy as some people say I am?  Can I really do this?  Will I be ready?  To start this journey I was probably 60% excited and 40% nervous.  This would gradually shift to nearly 99% excited and 1% nervous by the time we left and drove to San Diego.  The training Luke put together played a huge roll in this shift and it built the confidence I would need to succeed.  The training was intense at times.  Two-a-days were common and would start with running Pinnacle Peak in the AM, and a PM ass-kicker which usually included various combinations of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and squats.  The PM workout was usually performed outside in the afternoon Arizona heat whenever possible, and eventually included boots and pants for all workouts.  Many workouts also included weighted vests.  But the two workouts that really cemented my confidence and provided insight into what was to come were the 60 minute row, and without question, the 12 hour ruck.  During both of these events, moments of wanting to stop would surface, but I was finding it easier to dig deeper and not only make it through, but increase my output.  I will admit to drastically underestimating the ruck.  Figured it would simply be a long walk. How bad could it be considering I was feeling very confident with my overall fitness at the time?  For the first 3 – 4 hours, the ruck was as expected.  It was about then that the blisters started and things would steadily decline from that point forward.  The last hour of the ruck proved to be critical to my entire training process.  The pain was extreme, not just the blisters, but feet, legs, hips, shoulders and neck, not to mention general fatigue related to the heat and humidity we battled that night.  It was intense pain that increased with every step.  The last hour was extremely painful, and yet as the three of us walked in silence, we were all gradually picking up the pace as we sensed the end was near.  There was NEVER discussion of quitting, and this truly was valuable as I mentally prepared for Kokoro.  In the end, it proved to be an extremely fulfilling experienced that played a key role in my mental preparation.

The final week felt strange.  We worked out on Monday, did a little on Tuesday, and then shut it down.  I was feeling very anxious by this time, and generally tired of the preparation, sick of thinking about it, and just wanted to get there and get started.  Taking Wednesday off was rough.  I was so jacked up with energy that not working out at all just didn’t seem right, but I knew it was necessary to be fully prepared for Friday morning.  All I could think about was getting fully dressed out and standing on the grinder for the first time, waiting for the chaos to start.  There was no more fear, only excitement and confidence.  Finally, it was Thursday afternoon and time to depart!  As we loaded the truck and headed out, I was expecting to feel nervous, but truth is I felt calm and confident.  The drive to San Diego actually went by extremely fast as we talked about many things, but didn’t seem to talk much about what was before us.  I think by this point we had discussed everything there was to discuss and neither of us were interested in talking about it anymore, just time to get it started!  One of the last things we did Thursday night was stop at Trader Joe’s.  The plan was to park the truck close to the Sealfit HQ and during breaks we would grab our own nourishment and keep ourselves well fueled.  We stocked up on protein, fruit, and small doses of energy in various forms, all with the intent of maintaining our physical stamina throughout the event.  Sure, they would provide us food, but our assumption was it would be in forms that were less than ideal, especially since we both eat extremely clean and had no idea how our bodies would respond to the sudden introduction of gluten and other MRE type foods.  This certainly seemed like a solid plan, but things would not go according to plan.

If there was ever a time in my life when I needed a good night sleep, Thursday night was it.  I maybe slept for 3 – 4 hours max as I couldn’t seem to calm my thoughts in anticipation of what lay only hours before us.  Finally, it was 6AM and time to stir.  We dressed in our pants, boots, and civilian shirts, and for the first time over the weekend, liberally greased ourselves with Bag Balm.  “Make it squishy when you walk around” was the advice we received.  Basically high quality Vaseline, this stuff proved to be an ABOLUTE lifesaver throughout the weekend.  Even with all the sand and saltwater, I experienced absolutely no chaffing or even any discomfort.

The next most important part of the morning was coffee.  This would be the last coffee, and I think we were both looking forward to enjoying it.  Coffee in hand we headed for Sealfit HQ.  There weren’t many words exchanged between us, I think we were both in our respective zones.  I felt like I was driving to the stadium to play in the Super Bowl; I was extremely amped up.  The fear/nervousness was now at 1% and I was officially ready to get this thing started.  As we exited the freeway, we came over a large hill and for the first time, the ocean came into view.  I figured we were close, and the butterflies started to stir.

After a couple laps around the complex, we finally found a parking space fairly close.  Wasn’t ideal, but it would do.  We happened to see Mark Divine, Sealfit founder and Lead Coach, upon arriving and Luke introduced us.  The reception was less than welcoming, it was clear the staff was already in their “mode”.  We were scum and didn’t deserve to be talking to them; all part of the process.  Finally it was time to put on the last piece of our uniforms, the stenciled tee shirts.  Now things were getting serious.  I will admit to feeling a sense of pride as I put on that shirt.  Now we were dressed and ready to rumble.  We had strict instructions to not hang out around the grinder, so a group was assembled just outside the main entrance.  The grinder is a concrete area in the center of 3 buildings where much of the action would take place.  This assembly of fellow teammates had a strange vibe.  There were some nervous introductions, but not much small talk.  Everyone was in a zone, anxious with anticipation, and there was even a little fear visible with some.

Next, it was time to assemble in Suite C.  This was an empty room where we would gather occasionally and also had a single bathroom.  Laid out on the floor was our equipment for the weekend.  A ruck, three canteens, two glow sticks, two zip ties, and two sand bags.  Canteens were filled with water and Gatorade, and all other gear loaded into the ruck.  Now there was some down time that was obviously for us all to get to know each other a little.  Some leadership started to emerge and guide us to the next steps, which included sharing basic do’s and don’ts along with establishing our lineup.  This would allow us to enter the grinder for the first time and look sharp and organized.  From this point forward, EVERYTHING we did was with the intent of not screwing up and getting extra beat downs.  By the end, I think we would all come to realize it didn’t matter, as they would always find some detail we missed, but it never stopped us from doing everything possible to meet expectations.  This is the root of what they used to build teamwork within our group.  The last bit of calm included one of the coaches taking us through a Rhabdo warning; understanding the symptoms and knowing what to look for.  There was part of this that obviously instilled fear, but it was also necessary and very applicable.  Coach then exited and left us with the order to be lined up at 11:00 sharp on the grinder with all gear, which included a 2” PVC pipe filled with sand.  I have no idea how much this thing actually weighed, but in the beginning it wasn’t that heavy, but by the end of the weekend, I could barely carry it.  So finally we were at the point I had been waiting for.  It was time to get this thing started.  No more preparation, no more anticipation, just time to do work.  I had dreamed about this moment for weeks and expected to feel extremely nervous, but I felt calm and confident.  A quick glance down to Luke, we both smiled, it was finally time!

I’ll try to describe the next several hours as best I can, but it was honestly a blur.  Seemed like 30 minutes, but was actually more like 4 hours.  We stood neatly in line with our gear and uniforms looking sharp as the coaches began to circle like vultures.  Silently I felt one of the coaches doing something to my ruck, which I would later find out included tying all the strings together to make getting the contents out very difficult, especially under stress.  But after a few moments he was gone.  At some point, all hell broke loose, but I don’t remember exactly how it went down.  Air horns, megaphones, hoses, 5 gal buckets of ice water being thrown, yelling, screaming, push-up position, planks, burpees, squats, ice bath, sand bag pulled over my head, blind folds, crawling on the pavement, which included asphalt, rolling over each other, and I’m sure there was other torment I can’t remember.  It was absolute chaos!  The time was flying by though and I was feeling more and more confident.  Several times even telling myself, “this isn’t so bad”.  Just show them it doesn’t bother you and they move on to the next guy.  I will even admit to enjoying this first evolution and my confidence was growing by the minute.  Then it was my turn for the ice bath, which was really bothering most.  This was no problem; I’ve done this before thanks to Hell Week at the gym, so I jumped right in.  The initial jolt takes your breath away no matter how prepared you are, but mentally I was embracing it and was determined to show the coaches that I will not be tortured by the ice bath.  I very quickly got my breathing under control and after a few brief moments, probably looked comfortable sitting in there up to my shoulders.  Then he handed me a small Gatorade bottle that had the end cut off; this would be my snorkel.  Now this I wasn’t prepared for, but I decided to approach it with the same cocky confidence.  Plugged my nose and submerged, lasted about 30 seconds before coming up.  Coach asked what the problem was, and all I could think to say was “I panicked”.  Coach asked “why”, and I said “that’s a good question, let me try again, I got this.  How many minutes you want me down there?”  Coach said 5 minutes, so I plugged my nose, submerged again and this time focused on controlling my breathing even more and was actually able to find calm.  As time went on, I felt more and more comfortable being under there, and knew I got this in the bag.  I heard the coach say, “how long are you going to stay down there, are you sleeping?”  So I came up.  Coach actually said “good job”, and I was out.  Took a minute or two to compose myself after getting out, but then I was ready for anything and confidence was at an all-time high for the weekend.  I was really enjoying myself, this was even fun!  The occasional glance at Luke and I think he was in similar shape; we were well prepared and coasting through this first evolution.  And before we knew it, the evolution was over.

We had 10 minutes to change, hydrate, and assemble in Suite C.  Luke and I both immediately sprinted for the truck, and that’s when the weekend took a critical turn.  The coaches immediately noticed our departure and were not pleased.  We were firmly told we had 20 seconds to grab what we needed for the weekend and get back with the rest of the team.  So much for our plan.  I grabbed everything I could carry and sprinted back to the compound.  This was now going to suck, but we will figure it out later.  I was still riding the emotional high of the first evolution so this wasn’t going to bring me down.  Luke would later find an opportunity to sneak away to bring the cooler to the tent so at least we had access to some of our supplies, but truth is there was never enough time to even consume any of them.

We were then briefed for the next mission, which turns out was “the hike”.  Historically the hike occurred the second night, but apparently they were mixing things up.  I wasn’t concerned about the hike being the first night, but my entire mental game plan had the hike occurring the second night.  Now the rough sequence I had mentally prepared for was out the window and I would have to be prepared for anything.  While this was a little unnerving, it was actually a bit of a relief to not know what was coming next.  The mission was a hike to a water tower on top of a mountain.  The team would perform some reconnaissance and then return down the mountain.  About 6 hours up and 6 hours down, with ruck and sandbag filled one third full, for a total of what had to be at least 50 pounds.  I filled my sandbag good and full as to not get yelled at, but in hindsight I paid dearly for this act of integrity.  We loaded up in vans and headed out for what would be about an hour drive.

Spirits were pretty high in the van and the coaches were even joking around with us.  We had trained for this, no worries.  And by morning, one night down, one to go.  So we pull into the parking lot and I was anxious to head out and get it started.  But first, we were hit with one of the most miserable beat downs of the entire weekend.  Upon exiting the van, we were ordered to the drop position and the beat down began.  The worst part was excessive crawling on elbows and knees through the gravel parking lot and eventually through the desert, which included ants, cactus burrs, sticks, rocks, and dry, nasty dirt that was getting everywhere.  It felt so good to enter this hike clean and dry, but now we were only dry and no longer clean.  This must have lasted for 30 minutes at least and was emotionally very draining.  Like all beat downs though, eventually it would end.  We broke up into groups and headed up the mountain with about 10 minutes between groups.  We started out with a very fast pace being set by one of the coaches, and I immediately started to question if we could maintain this for 12 hours.  I was actually doing ok, but members of my team would struggle early on and we would take turns carrying other’s rucks and weapons.  Overall, the hike up was long and steady, but really not that bad.  The whole time I was thinking that it would have been a lot worse if it were the second night, so we were lucky to be getting it out of the way now.  But that also lead to the thoughts of what will be doing the second night??  Oh well, important not to think ahead, and I had to constantly remind myself of this very important advice.  Eventually our team made it to the top.  We actually lead the pack for much of the ascent, but arrived at the top in second place.  We performed our mission and then waited for all the other teams to arrive and finish before heading down.  I was feeling a little fatigued and the ruck was getting very uncomfortable, but I was in good shape and still feeling confident.  It was, however, very dark and there was zero moonlight, which would impact the descent and the entire rest of my weekend.  The walk down proved to be much more difficult than hiking up.  Each step down was a gamble on footing.  Could not see ANYTHING on the ground so I had no idea where I was stepping.  There was constant tripping, falling, ankle twisting, and lots of complaining.  Things started to deteriorate about 2 hours into the descent.  Our team was still out in front for most of the descent, and in fact, we got yelled at for outrunning the logistics at one point.  There was a truck with coaches and water that we stopped at for refills periodically.  By this time the rucks were extremely heavy and digging into our shoulders.  The simple task of carrying the weapon was becoming difficult.  This was when the whole experience started to get real.  At some point, about 2 hours from the end, I took a step and slightly hyperextended my knee.  Wasn’t severe, and didn’t really hurt at the time, but I could feel something had been jolted.  As time went on, and with each downhill step, the pain began to set in; consistently increasing to the point where I was really starting to become concerned.  My group had to slow down to accommodate my slower limp pace, and eventually we went from first to last.  It was extreme pain, but there was no way I was quitting.  I had to finish this evolution and would decide what to do after that.   So at this point it’s probably about 4AM, we are tired, hungry, blisters, shoulders are raw and sore, and my knee was on fire, but off in the distance were taillights!  The vans were waiting for us!  This was enough motivation to kick it into high gear the rest of the way. We even tried to run at one point but my knee wasn’t having any of that.  We finally arrived at the vans and it was over, at least we thought.  I wasn’t going to mentally be done until we were on the highway, in traffic, heading back.  Once that happened, I took off my boots and socks and let my feet dry and started trying to stretch out my knee.  Instead of dwelling on my knee, my team needed me.  Everyone was falling asleep.  The heat was on and classical music was playing, and the sun wasn’t quite up yet.  I was doing ok, so I started asking those who were struggling random questions.  It was important to not get caught sleeping or even taking a long blink because it meant LOTS of burpees.  Questions like Coke or Pepsi, McDonalds or Burger King, they just started coming to me and I was able to keep the energy up just enough and keep everyone awake.  The coaches claimed they saw one of our guys nod off a few times, but I question that as I was in his face the whole time.  This purpose was keeping my mind off my knee, which was good, but it was extremely painful and getting worse by the minute.  It was about this time that the team lost the first person.  One of the guys started dry heaving in an empty sandbag and told the coaches he was done.  He immediately passed out and slept the rest of the way to HQ.   This was a relief because I was afraid if he puked and it smelled, the rest of us would have been screwed.

Next was a very timely classroom evolution with Coach Mark Divine.   We all sat on the floor and grabbed a monster breakfast burrito to eat while listening.  This burrito might have been the greatest thing I have ever tasted.  It was the first real food we’d had in almost 24 hours.  I was careful to only eat about half to avoid feeling sick to my stomach as we entered whatever hell was next.  The topic was the personal choice we all had to make to either feed our fear or feed our courage.  Quite honestly, I was only partially listening – I needed this time to compose my own thoughts and take a physical inventory.  My feet were blistered, but not horrible, not nearly as bad as others.  The rest of my body felt good with the exception of my knee.  While sitting on the floor, it began to get worse.  Nothing was comfortable and I actually wanted to get up and get moving again.  The pain had reached a point that I don’t honestly think I have ever experienced before.  So it was time for me to decide what to do.  Do I tell the coaches how bad it is and get their opinion on what I should do? Do I ask for ice and risk being labeled as wounded? Do I quit and protect my knee from any potential further damage, or do I feed my courage, turn the pain off and just do whatever I have to do to get through the next 30ish hours?  While the pain was extreme, I did however feel confident that my knee wasn’t dangerously damaged.  I never heard or felt a pop, and it was still strong once I was moving.  As I listened to Coach Divine, I was now soaking in everything he was saying.  He was absolutely right:  Time to feed my courage, ignore my fear, and turn off the pain.  I can do this, and when I do get through it, it will be even that much more of an accomplishment.  So from that point forward, I never looked back.  Anything and everything I had to do, regardless of the pain, I was finishing this thing.  This new found courage would be tested, literally, almost immediately after the classroom session was over.

Before I move on, I think it’s worth detailing the actual “rest” or “break” time we received over what would total approximately 52 hours.  I’ve been asked this question many times since returning so here is the actual breakdown:  Technically, we started at 10:00 on Friday and ended about 14:00 on Sunday, for a total of 52 hours.  We actually entered the grinder for the first time at 11:00 on Friday.  About 1 hour van ride to the first night hike, 1 hour back, 1 hour classroom, 30 min van ride the second night, about 30 min for breakfast on Sunday, and probably another 30 min total to change clothes and assemble for the next evolutions.  So that’s 52 hours, minus 5.5 hours of “rest” or better described as non-physical activity, for a total of 46.5 hours of CONTINUOUS work.  Most at max output, nearly all of it wet, hungry, and much of it while wearing the ruck with sandbag. The mental aspect did last the whole 52 hours and was at times worse than the physical.

The actual sequence of events on Saturday is a little foggy.  I even remember thinking to myself throughout the weekend that I would never be able to recall everything we did to write about it.   I believe the PST “performance standards test” was next.  I was really hoping that an actual test was not going to occur.  While I was in the best shape of my life coming into this event, my nemesis was still pull-ups, and we were required to be able to do 10 dead-hang, non-kipping pull-ups.  The other standards were no problem with the exception of squats, which would normally be my strongest event, but with my knee I wasn’t sure what to expect or how intense the pain would be.  There was also uncertainty of what happens if someone doesn’t pass an event, or worse, what if I don’t pass one?  So we started with a one mile run, and while I don’t recall exactly what my time was, it was under 8 minutes and felt like a PR.  My knee had held up and breezed through that one.  Pull-ups were next.  There were limited stations, so we went in groups.  I happened to go last, and because of the numbers went by myself.  This was a blessing because with everyone watching, the adrenaline was pumping even harder and I breezed through the first 7.  The next two were a struggle, but not terrible.  The last one took everything I had, and I inched up slowly, but the entire team was cheering me on and there was no way I would fail.  Got my chin just barely above the bar, and it was over!  Now I was pumped!  I did it!  Bring on the rest!  Second wind kicked in, the breakfast burrito was kicking in, and I was feeling great!  I did a practice squat and the pain was intense, but when I heard go, I turned off the pain and started flying through the reps. Breezed through the squats and also the push-ups, but the sit-ups were surprisingly challenging.  Normally, I’m strong with sit-ups, but all the flutter kicks and 6” off the ground holds had my abs burning.  Still coasted through the test, but it was rough.  At one point I look over and Luke has his right hand behind his head like we are supposed to, but with his left hand he’s massaging out a visible calf muscle cramp in his right leg, all while not slowing down or stopping his reps. It was painful to watch, but I guess there was a sense of comfort in knowing that everyone was suffering.  So for nearly each of the standards that were tested, one or more of our teammates would not pass.  After each event, Coach would call a vote.  We put our thumbs out horizontal and when instructed, thumbs down to send the person home, or thumbs up to keep them.  Thumbs up meant extra suffering for the entire team.  Without hesitation, every team member voted thumbs up every time.  So after each event, there was some extra misery in the form of runs down to the ocean, burpees, and I can’t remember what else.  At this point, I was feeling top of the world and didn’t care what they threw at us.  I had passed, and even excelled to the top of the list in some events, and my knee was holding up.  For the second time during the event, I was actually enjoying myself.

At some point we transitioned to competition type events.  The coaches picked sides and team members faced off in various activities with the losing team receiving lots of burpees.  After my output during the PST, I was still riding an emotional high and was ready to kickass.  There would end up being 3 total events, with my team losing the first two.  The third and final event was one on one, me against my competitor (don’t remember who it was).  Goblet squats with sandbag, max reps in 2 minutes, GO!  Had to be squats.  My knee hurt, but it was strong and I dug deep to pull off a wide margin victory.  Take that coach!  That’ll show you to pick me last!  I was totally jacked up.

Saturday afternoon we also did log work.  The log was extremely intimidating at first, but as the coaches would say, if you work together as a team it wasn’t really that bad.  It did take some time to get the hang of it, but slowly our boat crew started to gel.  I was in the middle with two shorter people in front of me and two slightly taller people behind me.  This made finding our extended overhead position very difficult as a team.  I found if I spread my legs, I was able to lock my arms and be at the same height as everyone else.  Looking back at the pictures, it looked fairly foolish, but it sure worked to limit the misery.  Right shoulder, overhead, throw it overhead (literally throw it 1-2 inches up in the air), left shoulder, to the ground, back up, sit-ups with the log, laying on our backs and doing push-ups with the log, you name it.  None of it was too horrible except for lying on our backs with this massive log over our faces while pushing it up and down.  This was a little nerve-racking.  Should one person panic and duck out, the rest of us were screwed.  Out of the corner of my eye, I did notice a coach on each end of the log, just in case.  That offers minimal security though when the log is dropping down within inches of your face.  Oh, and as usual, doing all this with hoses in our faces and buckets of ice water being dumped down our backs.

Saturday afternoon, we were also fortunate enough to experience Sugar Cookie!  This entailed running down to the beach, about ¼ mile each way, getting wet head to toe, and then covering every square inch of ourselves and our teammates, in sand.  Head, face, neck, clothes, arms, EVERYTHING, and then run back.  The beach was also about 8 -10 flights of stairs down from the street, which added some extra cardio.  The looks we received from beachgoers and passing people on the stairs were pretty amusing.  Some people thought we were completely crazy, while others were encouraging us and seemed to be inspired by us.  Throughout the afternoon, my knee was painful, but manageable.  I was still feeling confident and for the most part enjoying myself.

Next was clean the gym.  Everything from inside the gym would be walked up to the top of a hill, about ¼ mile away, and then walked back.  Once empty, the gym would be swept and mopped, and everything put back.  While somewhat mindless, this seemed like a good way to kill a couple hours.  There was a lot of stuff when you think about each kettle bell, barbell, plate, med ball, etc.  There was nothing fancy about this evolution, just hard work.  For one trip, I put 15lb plates on a bar and carried it up on my shoulders.  The next trip I decided to do the same thing since it was fairly easy.  So I grabbed two plates that said 15 on them and got the bar up onto my shoulders and headed out.  Shortly after clearing the grinder, I had to drop the bar and catch my breath.  What the hell?  I had just done this and it was nothing, how did I get this tired so fast?  Then I looked at the plates and noticed they were 15kg, not 15lb…  Guess I was starting to mentally tire along with the physical fatigue, but there was no turning around.  I rolled the bar up the hill and once to the top, was getting nervous about how to get it back down.  If this much weight got away from me, it would take off down the hill.  About this time, Luke appeared at the top carrying a bar with two 15lb plates.  He offered to switch and carried it down the hill like a machine.  I couldn’t believe he had that much still in the tank, but I was grateful he was there to bail me out of my mental lapse.  Throughout this evolution, I was feeling strong, but towards the end started to fear that I had overexerted myself a little throughout the course of the day.  Between the PST, the competitions, log work, and now clean the gym, I had kicked ass all day, but at what price?  We still have an entire night and half day Sunday to go.  And to top things off, since “the hike” was the first night, what could possibly be in store for us tonight?

As usual we had about 5 minutes to change and be back on the grinder.  We were back in pants and had no idea what was coming.  We filled our canteens and selected MRE’s for our rucks; it was time to load up in the vans again.  Except this time we had no idea where we were headed.  The drive took about 30 min and we headed south down along the coast.  During the van ride, I was forced to make emergency enhancements to my ruck.  I had tied knots in the straps the night before to keep them from coming loose, but they were way too tight now.  If I had to go all night again with the straps this tight, I wasn’t sure how I would survive.  These knots were tight and required every ounce of finger strength and teeth power to get them loose so I could adjust them correctly.  Thank god I got it, and right as we pulled into a parking lot near a beach.  We exited the van and got in line along a sidewalk.  Once assembled, Coach called out “two lines, follow me, and keep up”.  And then he bolted out into the soft dry sand and headed north along the ocean.  And by bolted I mean near sprint.  Within the first 10 feet, I knew I was in serious trouble!  The pain in my knee that came with running on the soft sand was much worse than anything I had felt to this point.  Along with the pain, I had zero energy.  This was probably about 17:00 or 18:00, so the sun was still out and the night had not even started yet, and I was in the worst shape I would experience all weekend.  I could only run or trot for about 10-15 feet at a time before I would have to resume walking.  Fortunately speed walking wasn’t nearly as painful, but energy was extremely low and there were moments of feeling like I was going to pass out.  One of my teammates took my weapon so at least I didn’t have to carry that added weight, but I was really struggling.  There was never a thought of quitting, but serious doubt was starting to set in if I would be able to complete the mission.  At times I wasn’t sure how I would advance another 10 feet, let alone the many miles we had before us.  There were the occasional short breaks to hydrate, but stopping almost hurt as bad as walking.  This soft sand was killing me.  Selfishly I will admit that I had no idea what was going on around me.  I had no idea how my teammates were doing.  I know they were all trying to learn the Invictus poem, but I couldn’t mentally participate.  I was using every ounce of will I had to get one foot in front of the other.  This was the most trying and most difficult thing I had EVER done.  Periodically, I would make this involuntary sound that I can only describe as audible misery.  It was sort of a whine/sigh, and I couldn’t control it.  Thinking back now, I must have been a pathetic sight.  Luke’s words of encouragement were helping, but I was becoming more afraid that I was going to collapse and not be able to get back up.  And then the coach called a 5 min break!  I dropped to my knees, immediately devoured a protein bar, and chugged an entire canteen of Gatorade.  By the time the 5 min was over, I was feeling a little better.  Within 5 min of resuming our march, I grabbed my weapon back.  Holy shit!  Did I just survive that?  The difference between that moment and 10 min prior was night and day.  Maybe that would be enough to get me through.  I thought I was finished!  This little victory had totally re-energized me.  Don’t get me wrong, this would still be the most miserable night of my entire life, but now I had at least a little confidence, and that was all I needed.  So, at some point we passed through a mile or two of nude beach.  I was so out of it during this stretch that I only vaguely remember hearing my teammates make comments as we walked, but I visually have no memory of it.  This would be the start of mind games and hallucinations that would plague the rest of the night due to mental and physical fatigue.

Our next break would come up next to a massive rock face.  We removed our rucks and set down our weapons.  It was time to enter the ocean, and it was getting dark.  The sun was down, and we had all been sweating earlier, but now there was already a chill to the air.  We linked arms and walked into the ocean.  While still linked, we then sat down.  And then it began.  “Lay back, heads down!”  There were various versions of the surf torture, but the most common would include legs facing the shore or legs facing the ocean.  There were pros and cons to both.  Legs facing the ocean, you can see the next wave coming and prepare for it, but the ocean slams up your nose.  Legs facing the shore, you can’t see the waves coming, but doesn’t destroy your nose as bad.  As we started to settle in, I started to think, “This isn’t so bad.”  It was cold, but not horrible, and the reality is that during the breaks between waves, we were able to lay there completely relaxed and motionless.  These brief moments of physical calm were what kept me going through the surf drills, to the point where I actually looked forward to the next beat down in the ocean just to get a break from the pain of walking and running.  It wasn’t until the second or third session in the ocean that I figured out how to listen for the waves coming and timed when to blow hard out of my nose to keep the water out.  I was probably blowing snot all over myself each time, but at that time I can assure you I didn’t care.  If it helped make the next moment less miserable, then I was doing it.  That night, I’m guessing, we had at least 5+ sessions of surf torture, and with each one they got colder, but I did become more and more immune to them.

Then we stopped for dinner.  I think we were given 15 min.  This might seem like a long time, but we were sitting on the side of a step sand bank in complete darkness.  Trying to open an MRE in the complete darkness proved to be a challenge.  I was only able to eat the cracker and a pop tart during the allotted time before it was time to make sure we had all our trash, canteens full, and hydrate.  That 15 min, if it was even the full 15 min, goes extremely fast.  And then it was immediately back in the ocean.  For the next couple hours, we walked through neighborhoods and along the beach, gradually making our way back towards HQ.  Problem was we had no idea what time it was and no idea how far we had to go.  By this time, the blisters were extreme again. The ruck friction made my shoulders and lower back feel like open wounds being constantly ground with coarse sandpaper.  My knee was so painful, it was almost numb, and I was exhausted.  The hallucinations were starting too.  While lying in the ocean, I looked up and saw a large LED snowflake, like one you would see in someone’s yard as a Christmas decoration, perfectly visible and extremely detailed and real looking.  My first thought was, “is that the space station?  I don’t remember hearing that there was a light show mounted to the bottom of it.”  And then I realized I was hallucinating, but holy cow it was real looking.  During a 1-2 mile stretch of walking along a highway, I saw, about 50 feet in front of me, a group of guys breakdancing in the street.  And for several minutes, that image was crystal clear and about 50 feet in front of me.  I was looking forward to reaching it just for the momentary distraction.  It didn’t dawn on me that it wasn’t real for several minutes, and even when I realized it was not real, I could still see it.  This is a strange feeling that I have never experienced before and hope to never again.  The mind games and thoughts during this 3 – 4 hour stretch are unexplainable.  The good news was that we had all reached robot mode.  Nothing really mattered, just keep walking.  We were too tired to carry conversations, and every one of us was fighting the misery in our own way.  At one point we stopped on a beach, and after some surf torture and excessive bear crawling in the deep sand, played some tug-o-war.  No one was quitting and whatever they did to us didn’t really seem to matter.  I just kept telling myself that minutes were ticking off the clock.  At some point the sun would start to appear.  Before the night was over and the walking stopped, there was one more round of fun.  I don’t know if it lasted for 15 minutes or 2 hours, but near the end, we stopped and did some relay type races including wheelbarrows, sandbag carries, and bear crawls.  Once that fun was over, stretchers appeared out of nowhere.  We broke into boat crews with one of our team members on the stretcher and four people taking each corner handle.  Our team had a sixth member who walked alongside carrying all the weapons.  We would usually make it about 20 – 50 yards before having to set the stretcher down.  Every time we set it down, we had to swap out who was on the stretcher.   None of the tasks were pleasant.  Carrying all the sandy weapons in arms that were already raw was very painful and they were feeling very heavy by this point.  Our grips and forearms were shot from carrying everything earlier that day during the clean the gym evolution.  Holding that stretcher handle for any length of time was extremely rough.  And of course, “it paid to be a winner”, so the competitive juices were flowing.  Our team may have been the smallest physically, but we were determined to win this evolution and enjoy whatever minor reward that followed.  It was a heated race, back and forth.  But somehow, someway, our team pulled out a narrow victory.  I have absolutely no idea how I managed to hold onto the handle the last 50 feet or so without dropping whoever was in the stretcher.  This was truly one of those breakthrough moments of the weekend for me.  It was a moment where you swear you have nothing left to give physically, and yet you find whatever strength you need to succeed.  I was way too tired to really enjoy this little moment, and I found it crazy that such a breakthrough was happening at 03:30ish in the morning.  The reward was simply to sit on the curb to rest for about 1 min while the other teams finished, but it was worth it at the time.  Eventually, we made it back to HQ and the second night was almost over.  Thank god that was behind us.

Upon returning from the night beach hike, it was time for Murph.  (1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats, 1 mile run, all for time and must finish in under 70 minutes) Along with the PST pull-ups, I was also worried about Murph and the pull-ups.  The rest I could gut through, but pull-ups were still my nemesis, especially wearing the ruck.  Luke and I had trained hard for this, but we were 42 hours in and physically wrecked by now. Fortunately, for whatever reason, the workout was scaled back (I think because we were behind schedule, I doubt it was mercy).  Wearing the ruck was optional, and it was team style so my swim buddy and I would split the reps, however we needed to.  This changed everything; this was now an evolution about honoring Michael Murphy, not about physically testing ourselves.  And even with all the mental and physical exhaustion, I do remember reflecting during this time what it must be like to be a Navy Seal.  Being this tired, this beat up, this uncomfortable, and doing it on a regular basis as part of your job with your life constantly at risk.  These guys are amazing, true heroes, and the ultimate badasses.  We breezed through Murph, but I will point out that two members of our team did the workout with their rucks; hats off to those guys!  And as always, 5 min to change and hydrate, and it was time for the next evolution.

Coach Divine would lead the next evolution.  I had a pretty good idea of what was next, but at this time I was in such a daze that nothing was registering.  Coach said to follow him, so we followed him.  We ran out of the complex and headed towards the beach.  Running was excruciating on my knee.  I was able to tolerate everything else fairly well, but running was still extremely painful.  I struggled to keep up with the lead group and quickly fell to the middle.  I desperately wanted to be up near Coach for this evolution, and I really think if my knee wasn’t such a mess, I would have been able to.  Once we hit the beach, I quickly fell to the back of the pack, but was still able to keep pace with the group.  Fortunately, I can speed walk about as fast as many were running, and that was not nearly as painful.  We only ran for about ½ mile or so, on the beach and then briefly stopped.  Those who had got there first would be in the group that went with Coach Divine, and the rest of us would stay at that location for our mission.  Figured we were going to get the short end of the stick for being slower, but at this point it didn’t really matter.  I was on autopilot and just executing whatever the coaches instructed.  Sense of time is shot at this point, so I have no idea how long we were actually on the beach, probably about 2 hours total.  Our mission was to dig a hole in the sand, big enough and deep enough for 10 of us to get in with our gear, and be covered in seaweed to be invisible to the enemy.  The actual time spent digging and gathering seaweed was probably 30 minutes.  The rest of the time was miscellaneous ocean beat down.  Lots of bear crawling, back and forth from the hole to the surf, that was probably 50 yards away.  Burpees and push-ups in the surf, and this was the first time I had really felt cold.  The sun was starting to come up, but I was so dehydrated and starved that I think that was contributing to an overall sense of chill.  As miserable as all this was, I didn’t care.  The most critical advice for the whole weekend was “Don’t look forward to the end.  It’s too far away and if you constantly look to the end, you will never make it”.  We were supposed to focus on small chunks and not look beyond that.  By now, I didn’t care what my better judgment was telling me, I was mentally counting down the hours until this was over.  There was no longer ANY question of if I would make it, now it was just about getting to the finish line.  Autopilot was fully engaged, but our bodies and minds were deteriorating fast. The act of digging the hole was not as easy as it sounds.  Moving that much sand around when you are so physically depleted was taking every ounce of energy I had.  The simple task of bending down to pick up seaweed was even tough.  The seaweed in the area was dried up and sharp to the touch and my hands and arms were getting even more destroyed than they already were.  To make matters worse, there were bugs in all this seaweed and our bodies would soon be covered in it.  Just to top off the experience, Coach had us take off our shirts before being covered to make good and sure the dry, bug-filled seaweed inflicted the max misery.  The good news was, however, that once in the hole and covered, we were lying down and still.  This actually felt good, except for the bug bites, which we couldn’t stop or swat away.  We had to remain still or our cover would be blown.  I’m guessing we laid there for about 10 min total, and once the other team came back, I did hear comments about how buried we were.  I have no idea what it looked like from the outside, and quite honestly didn’t care at the time.  Once we received the order to get out of the hole, we received some of the best news of the weekend!  “Take your sandbags out of your rucks and empty them.”  Fuck Ya!!  No more heavy ruck! For the rest of the time we had left, I did not care what they threw at us; it wasn’t going to be with that miserable ruck on!  This was that small boost I needed that would carry me through the next couple hours.  We had to fill in the hole and rinse all our gear in the ocean before returning to HQ.  I couldn’t find my shirt, as I think it got buried in the hole before I had a chance to retrieve it, but many of us had an extra shirt in our rucks, so I grabbed the first one I found and got to work.  Without the ruck, running wasn’t nearly as painful, so I was totally recharged and kept pace on the return jog.  There was no looking back now; we were in the home stretch and I was again feeling great!

The next evolution was bittersweet.  The good news was we were going for a sit down breakfast about a block from HQ.  The bad news was that we had strict orders to finish everything on our plates, and the reality was that we all knew there would be no time to let the food settle afterwards.  The meal consisted of a pancake, which was no joke at least ¾ -1 inch thick and 10inches in diameter.  Then there was a second plate with eggs, bacon, and potatoes.  I haven’t had a pancake in over a year, so I slathered it with butter and fake syrup and got to work.  Tasted like heaven, but I was really focused on chewing thoroughly to limit the impact once we were done.  I had a really bad feeling about how this was going to settle after we left the restaurant.  There wasn’t much time, so we all did what we had to do and feared the next couple hours.  Upon exiting the restaurant, we lined up in an alley behind the building.  A team member immediately peeled off to find a place to puke, which he did in spectacular form.  There was also strong evidence that someone had shit their pants.  Don’t know who it was, but had to be more than gas.  Poor bastard, talk about making a bad situation worse.  Then we jogged away, again under strict orders to stay within 6 feet of the coach who was leading.  We eventually made our way to the bottom of a hill.  The hill was probably 120 yards straight up.  From the bottom, we would make our way up the hill in various fun ways, such as backwards bear crawl, walking lunge, and burpee long jump.  The backwards bear crawl was by far the most fun.  This was a whole new type of misery they were tapping into; don’t even have words to really describe it other than it just sucked.  Each time we got to the top, we jogged to the bottom and started the next method up the hill.  By now the sun was out and it was getting hot, just to top things off, but I was constantly reminding myself that there were only single digit hours left.  Eventually the torture stopped and we returned to HQ.

Up next was yoga.  This sounded great, and just what our bodies needed.  I have no real experience with yoga and certainly, no experience with hot yoga. We had placed our shoes neatly outside of the gym door and entered.  Must have been 90 degrees in there and our bellies were still full and settling.  The instant wall of heat felt like getting punched in the gut.  This was again, a new type of misery I hadn’t anticipated.  The simplest of poses proved to be challenging, mainly due to my knee, but also because of the large chunks of flesh hanging off parts of my feet.  Simply standing on the mat barefoot was extremely painful; let alone trying to balance on certain parts of my feet that were bloody raw.  There was a lot of groaning from the group, but I tried my best to keep up with Coach and perform the stretches.  I knew my body needed it even though it was painful to perform.  And then my stomach started grumbling.  I hadn’t gone to the bathroom since Thursday and for the first time was feeling the effects.  I also knew that we were not done yet and there were several more hours of beat down ahead.  On top of all this I was feeling extremely light headed from the heat and drinking water was only making the nausea worse.  Even though I did not want to be disrespectful to Coach Divine, I made the decision to take care of business.  I got up and bolted out the door to the bathroom.  It wasn’t the result I was hoping for, but any relief was better than nothing, and it would be enough to get me through the day.  The fresh air of being outside of that room was also helping.  Five minutes later I return to the gym and resumed the yoga.  Towards the end of the session, we were instructed to lie on our backs with our arms to the side; basically get as comfortable and relaxed as possible.  We would spend about 10 min in this position.  There was instant snoring; most everyone was immediately out cold.  I stared at the ceiling and knew exactly what was coming.  I’d seen this in the video and was not going to allow myself to fall asleep, as I was sure this would just make things worse.  I struggled to stay awake, and I’m not sure I was successful.  I don’t know if I would call it sleeping, but I slipped into some strange trance that I have no idea how to explain.  And then it happened…all holy hell broke loose.  Even for those of us who knew what to expect, it was still a mind jarring shock.  The total serenity was replaced with air horns, megaphones, and screaming well-rested coaches.  “Get your shoes on!  What the hell are you idiots doing?” Our shoes were no longer neatly lined up outside the doors.  They were scattered all over the grinder.  Everyone was stumbling around in a complete daze trying to find their shoes.  I was actually wearing pants and boots since they were the only dry things I had left prior to this evolution.  I was able to locate my boots, but never found my socks, so I went without them.  This took my blister pain to a whole new level, and even caused a few new instant blisters that were more like nasty flesh wounds rather than blisters.  So here it is, the final beat down….

The next several hours, not really sure how long it lasted, were action-packed.  It was a grand finale which included all the weekend favorites.  The ice baths were full, hoses were out, and ALL the coaches were there.  It was a bright sunny day and the end was near.  I had been dreaming about this evolution for several weeks now and was excited to take this in.  The experience was however much different than I had envisioned.  I was in total robot mode.  Ice bath? Sure thing Coach, how long?  Burpees? No problem… real original Coach.  Bear crawl, blindfold, flutter kicks, none of it phased me.  Mentally and physically I was numb.  Nothing hurt, and it wasn’t fun nor was it miserable.  It was just happening.  I was totally passive to everything going on around me.  Just execute the order and keep going.  It was surreal.  The coaches kept threatening to make this last for 6 more hours, and honestly if they had, it wouldn’t have mattered.  The one exception was jump rope.  This was a 2 inch diameter rope and took serious effort to get it swinging.  Once moving, it took a lot to make it stop.  2 or 3 people were already in and jumping in unison.  Then it was my turn to join them. I timed it and jumped in.  I think I got about 1 jump and then the rope caught my feet.  The rope took my feet up into the air and my torso came crashing to the ground.  I think it must have looked a lot worse than it was, and it certainly could have been bad.  Fortunately, the back of my shoulder took most of the impact along with my hand.  My head did touch the ground, but not hard at all.  I was fine, but everyone freaked out.  I sat to the side for a moment and then got in line to try again.  This time I was a little more focused and there were no issues.  But it was about that time that another team member was upended by the rope so the coaches figured that was enough jump rope fun.  So it was back to the grinder.

This all went on for hours, I think.  At some point it was time to pick up the logs.  Sure thing, we know this, no problem.  We jumped into the log drills and this time they did seem to go on forever.  Robot mode was still in full effect, but fatigue was really starting to set in.  A variation of the log routine was to bring it up from the ground to shoulder, then overhead, 2” toss, then other shoulder, then ground, and then get your feet on the log and into a push-up position.  We would then perform one push-up and repeat.  Took us a little while to establish a rhythm, but eventually we got it and this would become our method of paying our burpee debt racked up over the course of the weekend, much of which was from the alleged sleeping in the van.  This routine took mental strength to pay attention to what you were doing and was also a full body workout, and fatigue was definitely becoming a struggle, but mentally I was strong.  The end was near.  Once this thought got in my head, it wasn’t going away.  The log work continued, but I could sense we were close.  There we stood with the log overhead, arms starting to tremble, and Coach Divine informed us that we were not done yet.  We were going to take the logs around the block a few times.  My very first thought was, “I know this tactic, Luke did this to us during Hell Week.  We aren’t really going to have to do this, he just wants us to think we have to and he wants to see our reaction.”  So we answered Coach’s order with a confident Hooyah.  It was the loudest and most aggressive Hooyah I had delivered all weekend.  Either he was bluffing and I wanted him to know I wasn’t afraid, or he wasn’t bluffing and we would find a way to get it done, either way the team felt unified in our response.  Walking with the logs was miserable, but robot mode and sensing the finish line would have made it tolerable.  Instead, Coach broke into several calls, which the team steadily answered with increasing volume.  And then everything around me went silent…  All I could hear was myself whispering “say the words, come on, just fucking say it, say the fucking words”…  And then he said it, the phrase it was all about, “Kokoro 34 secure”.  Since I was waiting for it and knew exactly what I wanted to hear, I instantly knew what it meant.  I think for some in the group, it didn’t immediately register, IT WAS OVER!  The coaches didn’t say another word, so I yelled out “right shoulder” and the team instinctively took the log to right shoulder and then lowered to the ground.  That was it…  The hugs started and the next 30 minutes was sort of a blissful blur.  Nothing was setting in, nothing was really registering, but the energy on the grinder had shifted 180 degrees.  The coaches were now friendly, and if you can believe it, there was walking on the grinder and no yelling!  No water was flying around, just high fives and hugs.  I found each coach and sincerely thanked them.  I also made sure to thank each of the Coaches who were Navy Seals for their service.  The coaches were amazing.  As hard as they were on us, it was never personal.  They were doing their jobs, and they were well trained professionals.  Group pictures followed and people started to change and compose themselves.

Immediately following, and during the drive home, I tried to reflect on what I had just accomplished, but I couldn’t comprehend it.  I think the mental fatigue was obviously to blame, but I felt like I should feel a sense of something and instead I was just numb.  I felt good with the exception of my knee, but emotionally I had nothing left.  The drive home was uneventful and went by surprisingly fast.  It really wasn’t until Monday afternoon that the magnitude of what this accomplishment meant to me would start to set in.  This experience has affected me much more than I thought it would.  The sense of accomplishment, pride, and overall boost in everyday confidence has exceeded any expectations I had.  This was truly a life changing experience that will impact me for years to come.  The best summary I can provide is that you learn who you are, and you learn things about yourself that you never knew before.  The Coaches teach you some, but you teach yourself about yourself as a result of this experience.  As I finish this write-up nearly two weeks later, the emotions associated with this experience are still fresh and still strong.  This was the hardest thing I have ever done and the most fulfilling accomplishment of my life.  And to close, I will admit that in the immediate aftermath of this event my answer to the question of whether I would ever do it again was a firm “Hell NO!”, but already that has soften to a “you never know..”.  I can’t help but think how the whole experience may have been different had it not been for my knee.  Would I have been able to lead more or could I have helped others more?  But for now, I’m going to finish healing and enjoy what this experience has done for me.  Hooyah Kokoro 34!

In Warrior Spirit
Paul Deuchar

Check out these amazing photos from the weekend. 


KOKORO 34 Paul D

Whole Life Challenge for Whole Life Change

Strength in Conditioning for Monday, September 8, 2014

With the Whole Life Challenge starting this week, attending tomorrow’s Food as Fuel seminar at SICFIT Scottsdale may be just what you need to perfect your paleo plan for WLC! The Whole Life Challenge is a kick start to transformation that will last a life time. Addressing multiple areas of our lives from a holistic perspective, the WLC will help you implement healthy changes benefiting your diet, fitness regimen, sleep schedule, and mental, emotional, and relational well being. If this sounds like exactly what you have been looking for, join SICFIT Scottsdale Saturday, September 13th, at 9am for the WLC baseline workout and weigh in.


Row 500m
5 Reps each complex: deadlift + clean + front-squat + press + back squat + press
3 Hip opening exercises, 3 calf stretches, ankle rolls
3 x 20 Back squats
2 Minute Rest
LIFE: 20 Air squats
FITNESS: Bodyweight/90% bodyweight
SPORT: 1.2x Bodyweight/bodyweight
10 Minute EMOM
3 Hang power cleans
LIFE: Barbell
FITNESS: 115/75
SPORT: 185/125
12 Minute AMRAP
12 Hand stand push ups
24 Russian kettle bell swings
LIFE: L-seated strict dumbbell press
FITNESS: Pike HSPU with feet on a box


Welcome SICFIT Chandler!


Strength in Conditioning for Saturday, September 6, 2014

It is with great power and responsibility that we welcome our newest SICFIT gym SICFIT Chandler to the team of Fitness Professionals. A 3,200 sq/ft space located inside the newly renovated Chandler Ice Den. This state of the art strength in conditioning facility will be lead by Nathan Atchison the primary owner and operator. Nathan and his team share a passion for fitness and nutrition that begun years ago when he was a child growing up in Southern California. Nathan, his wife Shannon and their 7 year old daughter Madyson are the pride, joy and dedication of his life. He shows the same love and caring for his clients, members and students as he does his friends and family. If you would like more information and to schedule your FREE introductory training session contactNathan@SICFITchandler.com760.668.7409

SICFIT Chandler is located inside the newly renovated Chandler Ice Den.
7225 W Harrison St. Chandler, AZ 85226.
Off the 10 freeway and Ray rd


SICFIT licensed gyms are designed to enhance the lives of our students through educated coaching, nutritional counseling, challenges, seminars, level testing and community events. Our three levels of training and nutrition are the backbone of our exercise philosophy simply described as LIFE  I  FITNESS  I  SPORT where our goal is to simply improve the quality of life, to become better than (yesterday) or to score the most points to win.

We introduce personal athletic achievement into sport and train athletes ranging from kids to seniors and from “push up to podium.” We believe that being physically FIT and healthy is inspiring; it feels good, builds confidence, enriches our lives and allows us to live our best by becoming better leaders, parents, children and humans. We believe that every SICFIT gym should teach all facets of human movement including but not limited to functional movements, personal training, gymnastics, periodized strength training, pre-hab, mobility, flexibility, yoga, Olympic weightlifting, competitive FITness, military training, endurance adventure racing, nutrition coaching, life coaching, supplement prescriptions, body fat analysis, customized programming and above all else holding ourselves, coaches and students and our facilities to the highest possible standards and accountability.

The SICFIT Licensee will be given the rigorous standards, structure and systems to open, run and execute a high level Strength In Conditioning facility. The support given will provide a platform for success of any hungry Trainer, Coach or Athlete. The tools are prepared and delivered, and with hard work and commitment, you will out perform your competitors. We strive for a community of fitness business leaders with outstanding, highly qualified coaches, and a safe and supportive environment.

To learn more about a future in fitness visit us at SICFIT Gym’s “Future of Fitness”


Reverse tabata | 10 seconds work, 20 seconds rest, 8 rounds
LIFE: Knee tuck hold
FITNESS: Hanging bar L-hold
SPORT: L-sit on rings
30 Minute AMRAP
5 Deadlift
5 Push ups
9 Box jumps
LIFE: Kettlebell deadlift, knee push up, step up 5 each leg
FITNESS: Deadlift 205/135, regular push up, step up 24/20
SPORT: Deadlift 275/185, regular push up, box jump 24/20


SICFIT Scottsdale Coaches corner September 2014

The world is unpredictable and chaotic. Destiny favors the prepared (in mind, body and spirit). Hard physical training, proper nutrition, and strong values are foundational to living a good life. Personal growth encompasses the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We believe that there is an athlete and warrior within everyone.  Leadership is best shown through example. We use what works and discard what doesn’t. We innovate. We treat everyone with respect, encouragement, and sometimes, tough love. The defining attributes of leaders are an unconquerable spirit, a burning desire to better oneself, and service to your teammates and communities.
As I sit comfortably in my leather office chair drinking purified water out of a Mason glass I am reflecting back on my experience a couple weekends ago at the world renown SEALFIT academy in Encinitas, California. Words cannot describe the physical, mental and spiritual definition of KOKORO, a 52 hour trainig course that simulates what a Navy Seal would experience during HELL WEEK. 26 mile night hikes, water torture and no sleep. It is an undeniable fact that we are all capable of doing 20x more than we think we can sometimes we just need a push. Ask Paul Deuchar one of our members, KOKORO 34 graduate and SICFIT Scottsdale’s September Athlete of the Month. He decided to tackle the mountain head first and came out on top. 

September is here and we are so close to what I like to call “Fall” in Arizona. You know the 2 weeks in between Hot and Cold. Which means playing outside in sub 100 degree temperatures, bike riding with my kids to school and watching football. For most it can also mean bad food choices like hot dogs with buns, chip, dips and beer. So why not have a Whole Life Challenge before the candy, stuffing and cookies are in our face? The late, great Jack Lalanne coined “Fitness is King, nutrition is Queen and together they make a happy kingdom” so what are you waiting for? The accountability of course! That’s why everyone in the gym should be on this 8 week nutrition challenge together. Sign up HERE.
Thank you to all of you who showed your support for our 6th annual anniversary party. It was a huge SICcess and offered many different events throughout the course of the day. A special thank you and Mahalo to our 6 year members who have been with us all the way. Tina Vange, Marc Lutz, Tom Rietz, Reem Kiddess, Richard Shields, Bill Gold, Chris Tousley, Katie Gerken and Gwen Whitfill. Without you all we would just be a place to workout, because of you we are a community. 
photo 1

Congratulations are in order for these amazing accomplishments:
To our 5 newest Level I students who completed the signature “White band”  FITness test.
As always we will continue to offer this piece of our program to anyone who “Show’s up, Never Quits” all we ask is that you come back and assist the process.
To our Athlete of the Month Paul Deuchar for completing the 52 hour course KOKORO 34.
KOKORO 34 Paul D
To Coach Nathan Atchison and Najla Kayyem for finalizing SICFIT Chandler located inside the new;ly renovated Chandler Ice Den.
Now joining San Diego, El paso and Scottsdale as our 4th SICFIT gym.
We are also looking for a ROCKSTAR: Also known as the General Manager of SICFIT Scottsdale to Coach, operate and execute the Flagship gym and run the day to day operations. If you or anyone you know is interested please email info@SICFITscottsdale.com with a complete resume and short video telling us why you think you could do the job!
On December 6th 2014 join TEAM SICFIT  on the GRID-lot for the SICEST of the SOUTHWEST III as the “Old school, takes on this new sport”. Combining strategy, brute physical power, and agility, team racing brings strategic athletics to the competitive FITness set. SICest of the Southwest III will feature 24 teams of 6 athletes in each of the following categories. SPORT/advanced and FITNESS/intermediate plus 24 individual PRO men and 24 PRO women.

This year SICFIT Scottsdale will be the HOST facility for the SICEST of the SOUTHWEST III. If you would like to compete, volunteer, judge or sponsor in any capacity use the links below.

Here are a timeline of events happening at or around your home gym this month. Find the clipboard with event title and get registered. If you would like to be auto enrolled please reply to this email with your name and event you would like to sign up for
Sep 6th FREE class Saturday  (10am)
Sep 9th Food as Fuel nutrition seminar & Whole life challenge information (7pm)
Sep 11th Here’s to the Heroes annual 9/11 workout *Classes at (6am,7am,5pm,6pm ONLY)
Sep 13th Whole life challenge workout/weigh in/measurements (9am-11am)
Sep 23-25 GUEST DAYS all classes FREE when you bring guest, if they enroll recieve $50 off your monthly membership
Sep 27 Fundamentals seminar (1pm-3pm) anyone looking for semi private instruction on the basic functional movements presented in a classroom setting.
In good health…..
Luke D. Kayyem


Bring a Friend, Gain a Workout Buddy!


Strength in Conditioning for Friday, September 5, 2014

Don’t forget to round up all the folks in your life who you know will fall in love with all the positive change SICFIT Scottsdale can help them implement into their lives. Bring them with you to tomorrow’s free intro workout at 10am. Once they get a taste of how SICFIT’s Strength in Conditioning functional fitness and HIT programming is unlike anything they have ever done before, they will be hooked and they will have you to thank… And you will have another workout buddy!

Agility/line drills 5 min
2-3 Even teams
Beginning on back run across gym, perform 7 reps of an exercise, run back and tags out.
First exercise- burpees
Second exercise- push ups
Third exercise- broad jumps
Fourth exercise- Bear crawl down and back
7 Minute AMRAP
6 Shuttle runs
6 Push ups
6 Sit ups
6 Burpees
Rest 2 min
5 Minute AMRAP same thing
Rest 2 min
3 Minute AMRAP same thing


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