SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
RH: My name is Dr. Ryan Hewitt and I am a 37-year-old originally from Winnipeg, Canada. I own a successful wellness center in North Andover, MA, and have been a practicing chiropractor for 8 years. I am married for 6 years with 2 dogs.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
Hewitt: I played many sports growing up, but naturally growing up in mid-west Canada I gravitated towards hockey. I hung up the skates after playing for my chiropractic college in Minnesota and began training competitively in the sport of Crossfit since 2008. I was an individual regional athlete 2009-2010, and a regional team athlete 2011-2014, placing 17th in the world at the 2011 Reebok Crossfit games.
SGPT: How did you train for the Kokoro event?
Hewitt: I consider myself a hybrid athlete. I am always changing up my training and always hitting different energy systems to prepare for anything. In the 3 months leading up to Kokoro I spent some focus on 3 to 4 days of strength training using mostly big lifts like deadlift, bench, squat, and press coupled with 2-3 Crossfit WODs per day. Once or twice per week I would use one of the Seal Grinder PT workouts in the 30 day prep course to make sure I was doing enough calisthenic work and I would wear my combat boots. 3-4 days I would also supplement some additional short and long interval run/bike/swim workouts, and on Sundays I would either do a long aerobic session or a long ruck with a 20lb weight vest and 30 lb ruck. I also would do mobility often and even yoga every couple weeks.
SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?
Hewitt: SEALFIT Kokoro 43 was held at Vail Lake in Temecula, CA. The lake is a typical southern California muddy lake, warm, dirty, and full of bugs. The terrain was dry, hilly, prickly, rocky, and sandy. The perfect setup for a major athletic, mental, and emotional challenge.
SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?
Hewitt: For me the hardest part of the event ended up being the 20 mile march up Palomar mountain. I had a major gut check and “come to Jesus moment half way up” but my “WHY”… my swim buddy and a couple of power bars got me through it.
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for Kokoro?
Hewitt: I wish I would have done more rucking with training partners. Do not discount the value of having training partners to push you and make you better.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do Kokoro?
Hewitt: Yes I have many. Some of the most important though is to make sure that you are visiting that dark and uncomfortable place in your training. A lot. Kokoro will challenge you physically but most of all it will challenge your mental fortitude to continue. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Something that will help you endure the pain is to make sure you have a very powerful reason or a “why” for you to do this event. It helped me many times when things got ugly. I would keep your training very broad and inclusive including strength, mobility, long and short Crossfit WODs, plenty of running, sprinkle in some swimming, and make damn sure that your boots are broken in before even thinking about showing up! Lastly, something that saved my ass was bringing some nutrition. I am 193 lbs of mostly muscle and by the end of the camp I was 184. You will be dehydrated and malnourished. Make sure you are constantly hydrating, and constantly re-feeding. You will get meals provided but bring extra bars, gels, powders etc.
Hewitt: I wore Nike SFB Boots. Great for running.
SGPT: Did you use double socks/compression socks or body glide on your feet to prevent blisters?
Hewitt: I used sock liners, wool socks, body glide, and cool feet powder. I broke my boots in too, and I still ended up with blisters and lost my big toenail on my right foot. My feet held up all the way until the decent of the mountain ruck and they got pretty beat up from the down hill march. Overall my feet held up though due to taking care of them.
SGPT: What kind of ruck did you use for training and the event?
Hewitt: I used a 5.11 ruck to train with. I’m not sure what kind we used at the event but they were pretty cheap and uncomfortable.
SGPT: What book are you reading now?
Hewitt: I am reading Extreme Ownership by former Navy Seal commander Jocko Willink, and a book called Tripping over the Truthby Travis Christofferson
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview Ryan
Hewitt: My pleasure.
SGPT interviews Kokoro candidate TJ Murphy