SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
Christopher Bones: 41 year old male. 5’ 7’ 195lbs. Self employed attorney in New York City metro area. Married with one kid.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
CB: Have been involved in numerous athletic and physical activities most of my life. Typical American kid – I played little league baseball and soccer. I got cut from the football team in HS as a freshman and ran cross country and took up the throwing events (Hammer, Shot Put, Discus) in the Winter and Spring. Was All-American as a Hammer Thrower in High School and was ranked No. 1 in NYS in the Hammer Throw 2 years in a row. Also threw the shot put and discus. Have done martial arts on and off from the age of 16 including Japanese Karate, Brazilian JJ, and Ki Chuan Do (2nd Degree BB), participated in 5 bodybuilding shows in my early 20’s. I placed mostly last in 4 of them, and 1st in my class in one and that was good enough for that endeavor. From my mid 20’s to mid 30’s, I mainly just worked out in a gym lifting weights until at around 37 years old to where I am now, which is a more well rounded type program in order to participate in events such as GORUCK.
SGPT: How did you train for the GORUCK event?
CB: This was my 25th and 26th GORUCK event. I have done 1 HCL, 4 Heavy events, the rest were GORUCK Challenges and Lights. My training now consists mainly of 1 hour workouts broken down by 15 minutes of DB weight circuits with 25-35lb with no rest at all of a combo of squats, lunges, curl and press, toe raises, bent over dead lifts, pull ups. Usually it looks like this: 10 lunges > 10 Squats > 10 Toe Raises > 10 deadlifts > 10 curls > 10 military press > 10 Push Ups > 5 Pull Ups In 15 minutes – I try to aim for 5 sets of that or more. Next 15 minutes – again no rest at all something like this – 10 Lunges > 10 Air squats > 20 pushups > 10 sit ups > 5-10 pull ups > 5-10 dips on parallel bars. In 15 minutes – I aim for 5 sets of that at least. The following 30 minutes I try to do Cardio – but something really good. Lately I have been doing a CD series called Bas Rutten MMA workout CD’s for cardio – it’s a Heavy Bag workout with exercises mixed in. Its all audio and you have to keep pace w the commands. There is a mix of heavy bag, burpees, sit ups, and push ups, etc. I felt my cardio was top notch for these two events and was never winded or felt gassed. I credit that workout for that. Many nights – after working out in the gym as described above, I put on a V-Force Vest (which I found out about from your site and review), or a GR Ruck with 35-50lbs, and go out for a 30-45-60 minute ruck or fast walk. Honestly – I believe I would have benefited from longer rucks – like 90 minute rucks at a 13-15 min mile pace. Time is an issue however, so its tricky sometimes prioritizing training. I’m also a big fan of Stew Smiths’ work. He helped me prepare for my first Heavy and HCL and the help was critical moving me from a traditional weightlifting, bodybuilding, type of workout, to a more balanced and varied regimen.
SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?
CB: I did the NYC GORUCK 9/11 Challenge and Light in Manhattan. As I mentioned before I have done 1 HCL, 4 Heavy, 10 Challenges, 10 Lights thus far.
SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?
CB: Every event is different. No two are the same. Some are more difficult than others. Some of the factors that add or subtract to an events’ difficulty are things like weather, time of the year, location, the amount of participants, and most importantly, who the Cadre instructor leading the event is. I have had events like GORUCK Ft. Bragg Heavy and HCL in NYC 2015 and a few others that have taken everything I have to complete, while others were relatively easy. You never really know going into it what type of difficulty you are going to experience. The most important key though, in my humble opinion, is to be ready for the hardest type event imaginable. I have found that outlook and mind set to provide me with good focus in my training leading up to the event itself. I joke with people who are nervous in what to expect – and tell them “Prepare as if Cadre Lucifer is showing up to eat you.” Sounds funny, but its true – the harder you train for these things – the easier the event becomes and more time you have to thrive than simply surviving. For myself personally, the hardest part is almost always dealing with feet and foot issues along with joint pain more than anything else. Almost invariably, at GR events you will be going in the water and your feet will be wet, sometimes from right the beginning of the event and other times throughout. Additionally, moving a long distance with weight on your back adds to and creates pressure and friction, which helps contribute to blisters and hot spots. Sometimes, there are very few breaks where one has the ability to deal with foot issues before they develop into a problem. I also often experience foot soreness and inflammation in my knee joints from being under weight and moving for many hours at a clip. Im still looking for the right cure for that, if it exists. From what I have observed, everyone is different and has different body types and strengths and weaknesses. Some people who are slender have issues with carrying heavy weight, buddy carries, or being under the log, while excelling at PT and general rucking. Others like myself who have a more weightlifter type body and background do better on slower movements carrying heavy things. On that same note, heavier people are better in cold freezing water and colder events, while more slender people tend to deal with the heat better in the hot weather and humid condition events. One aspect of GR events that is hard to explain is mental stress. For some people, the mental stress of not knowing what is going to happen, some of the seeds of doubt planted in your head by Instructors early on in an event, the fear of cold water, the fear of whatever, is the hardest for some people. At one event in particular, a Heavy, we had already gone approximately 28.5 hours into the event, normally its 24 or so, and when we were all gathered up thinking it was Endex and the event over, we were told that we had another timed 12 mile ruck to do before the event was over. Most of us thought they had to be kidding with us, but we had to turn around and start the road march. One by one we did so and went off into the darkness. About 400 yards in, the Instructors were there, in the dark shaking our hands for a job well done. It was over, they wanted to test us to see if we would go another 12 miles after all we had been through. We learned shortly thereafter that 4 people had quit up in the parking lot because they didn’t want to do the 12 mile ruck. They had no idea the event was literally going to be over in 5 more minutes, but because they perceived mentally that it would be something else – they quit. Talk about a mind screw! In another event, a Heavy event. About ½ way through one of the Instructors showed up in a pick up truck and gave a little speech how our performance was bad and that it was only half way and we had so many miles to go and it was better to quit now, etc. He said he would drive people to wherever they wanted to go, just hop in the truck, and a few people did, and others had to be talked out of getting into the truck and leaving. The stories like this are endless, but you get the point. Mental stress for some is as every bit debilitating as physical stress can be. One of the keys to excelling at GR type events is to try to focus on your weaknesses in training and become as well rounded as possible. These events are supposed to be fun and the better ones’ training is, the more thriving they will do than simply surviving. Spending an entire event trying to survive the thing doesn’t sound like my idea of a plan at all.
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for the recent GORUCK event?
CB: Nearly every single event I have done where I felt soreness or pain afterwards, the one thing I wish I had done more of is ruck more and spend more time with a weight vest on the road or treadmill. This would toughen my feet as well as strengthen my joints for the event more. Simple answer –RUCK MORE!
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do GORUCK?
CB: DFQ! Only kidding. I have not done Selection so I’m probably not the best person to talk to. However, IF I were training for Selection, I would most likely focus on rucking and making sure I was as durable as possible. I would train with a weight heavier than the standard ruck weight. I would also do a few simulated PT Tests that is the standard of every GORUCK Selection event and make sure I was far exceeding the minimum requirements before showing up.
CB: I wore the Rocky 8 Inch C5c Boot, Darn Tough Socks. I like the ankle support of the boot while it being lightweight.
Same for the Rocky C4T. I would advise to getting a ½ size bigger as feet tend to swell over time and miles.
Unfortunately, this is a lesson learned the hard way one too many times.
CB: No but I want to try that next time with the double socks. Yes on bodyglide and I also use a product called Trail Toes: Phenomenal Ultra-Extreme, Anti-Friction Foot that works well. Not only on your feet, but inner thighs and shoulders as well. CB:
SGPT: What kind of ruck did you use for training and the event?
CB: GR1. I think I have 3 of them as well as 2 GR0. These rucks are durable and will last through almost anything.
SGPT: What is your next big event?
CB: Big Event? I have a few events planned. I have been looking at SealFit Kokoro and there is a GORUCK ABSOHTL in NYC next year that looks interesting. Having something always on my calendar and coming up helps keep my motivation high for training for events like this. As I mentioned earlier, my goal is not to survive these events, but thrive and enjoy them.
CB: I recently finished Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win and like his podcasts.
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview Christopher.
CB: Any time – keep up the great work you do.
GORUCK training tips
ANSWER: I use Athletic Greens in our shakes. It’s got tons of great nutrition—vitamins and minerals. Plus it mixes up easy in milk or water.