September 2023

Really not much to say about this month, but we’ll do a quick update, nonetheless!


Body weight: 166.5

Mood: Okay

Upcoming Competitions: N/A


Nothing to report here, although, to be fair, this is probably a bit of a quiet month for most CrossFit competitors anyways. I know there are a few lower-level competitions going on right now (including the FortFight Competition I mentioned in an earlier monthly update), but…those aren’t for me. Mainly because I’m…


Yep, still going strong with my weightlifting regimen. After more than two months of working with Coach Leo Isaac, I really think I’m starting to experience some improvements in just about all of my weightlifting elements/areas.

Sometimes, it can be a bit hard to tell how much improvement I’m actually making, mainly due to the fact that I haven’t really gone heavy on any lifts since I started working with Leo. However, the sheer confidence I feel in my lifts and how much easier even moderately-heavy lifts now feel is inspiring to me and I am happy to continue onward.

As it is, some of the biggest changes I have experienced are my body’s positioning on movements like squats and front squats. I have worked hard to ditch my low-bar style (and completely unrelated poor squat form) in adopting a more “weightlifting-friendly) high-bar, upright form. Even with low weights this is a fight, but I’m confident in what perfecting these will do to my clean catch positioning and overall technique.

Since the beginning of August, I have been working through Book 2 of the Beginner Olympic Weightlifting Program series It is essentially a continuation of the first book (regarding workouts), with a few added elements in the areas of general instruction, weightlifting items of consideration, etc.

Having just completed Session 42, it is crazy to think that I’ll be finished with the ”standard” program soon and will be working on more personalized weightlifting in the near future. 42 sessions go by fast!

I think in the next couple of months, I’ll start working with weights that are/were closer to what I was using at the end of my HWPO days and then I’ll really get to see how well I’m coming along!


Well…so rucking is…nice. I have certainly enjoyed my rucking activities around my neighborhood and think that for many people, rucking can be an outstanding fitness activity.

Case in point, my brother-in-law, who started rucking “with me” at the beginning of August, is killing it. He is loving his rucking training and has already experienced some excellent gains from his rucking (combined with some minor nutritional changes and the inclusion of some metcons into his life).

…but it’s just not for me.

There are obviously a lot of factors that go into one’s fitness and body composition…but rucking isn’t something that is helping either of these factors for me. I’ve noticed my body looking worse and worse in the weightlifting videos I send to Leo each night and although my fitness isn’t terrible now, it could be better.

At the end of the day, I know I just have to have some intensity in my life, particularly in my metabolic training. Long, slow grinds, even with a heavier pack and moving at a fast pace just doesn’t do it for me.

…and it just isn’t very efficient. Just look at the calorie calculator GORUCK has put out for rucking.

There are a lot more efficient ways to burn the number of calories that rucking took 30+ minutes for me to burn.

And, considering that I’m not doing CrossFit right now, I do need to be cognizant of the calories I’m not burning.

Additionally, the Pathfinder program…yeah…I’m not sure who this program is made for, I know I’ve said this about HWPO, but I really mean it here.

In my “section” (Facebook group of “teammates”), I would estimate that most of the people had average-to-slightly below average levels of fitness for people who “train” (anything). This isn’t a knock on them since I was in the “Life” beginner program which is for people new to training/rucking or who have taken an extended break from physical activity.

Many of the rucking requirements and challenges reflect this skill level pretty well (you only had to ruck 60 miles over 3 months to get your “patch”), but others were/are…ridiculous.

Here are two examples of “intermediate/advanced” workouts that participants with average to maybe slightly-above-average were encouraged to complete within the last few weeks:

Workout 1:

EMOM 30 (50 seconds on/10 seconds off – each round) of:

Sandbag squat to alternating shoulder press

Feet elevated band resisted push-up

Mountain climbers

Turkish get-ups (Right arm)

Sandbag standing around the world

Turkish get-ups (Left arm)

Workout 2:

AMRAP 45 of:

10 kettlebell cleans (each arm)

10 lunges with power skip (each leg)

10 one-arm kettlebell swings (each arm)

10 kettlebell goblet squats

10 kettlebell windmills (each arm)

10 burpees with push-ups

Rest 1-2 minutes

Like…seriouslywho is this for? I know the people competing in the GORUCK Games are really hardcore, I can assure you that the people in the PathFinder class…aren’t those people.

The programming (to include the beginner WODs) is so over the top that I had to develop heavily scaled versions for my brother-in-law to perform. Not knowing any better, he would simply think “wow…I’m just not very good at this whole fitness thing…”

That’s not good programming and that’s not how you want people new to fitness to feel.

I may or may not do a review of the Pathfinder program (probably not since I “quit” one month into the three-month “program”), but I don’t recommend it.

So…what will I be doing instead? I’ll still probably ruck a couple of days a week (on my “rest” days from weightlifting), but I’ll be working Assault Bike and rower Tabata/sprints into my training as well as HWPO-style 40-minute EMOMs.

Even during the longer pieces, the intensity will be much higher than it has been during my rucks and I’ll have the added benefit of doing CrossFit-adjacent movements (although no high-rep weightlifting movements!) Hopefully, my body comp and fitness levels approve!

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Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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