SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
I work as both a strength and conditioning coach and sport scientist with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, one of the national Olympic training centres in Canada for both winter and summer sport. I’ve worked exclusively on the summer sport side of things for the past decade. Currently I act as the lead of sports science and medicine for the women’s national Rugby Sevens program.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
I did, I was very lucky that my parents wanted me to experience a number of different sports and put me in pretty much every possible sport growing up. I had a very athletic upbringing experiencing and competing in a wide cross section of sports which ultimately lead to me competing at both a collegiate and national level. I truly believe that my multi-sport background set me up for success not only athletically but scholastically and professionally. I consider myself very blessed for having so many great experiences rooted in sport.
SGPT: How did you train for the Kokoro event?
I trained 7 days a week with a big focus on developing both aerobic fitness and work capacity. My strength training was designed to maximize my relative strength levels. To accommodate a lot more conditioning volume than I normally perform in a week I dropped my strength work to only 3x a week and then made sure to complete two to three conditioning sessions a day (7 days a week). My conditioning mainly focused on four training modalities; running, rucking, multimode conditioning circuits and then combat work (boxing, kickboxing and wrestling). I accumulate training volume and drove work capacity via the rucks and circuits and then focused on training at higher intensities through runs and combat training. I’d clump my intensity work (strength, runs and combat) all on one day and then would always interspace intensity days with volume days (rucks and circuits), I avoided concurrent intensity days in a training week when possible. Going into Kokoro my goal wasn’t just to complete the camp, but to be a leader and to help others succeed at the event. To accomplish this goal I knew I had to be well prepared physically; I needed to be able to consistently work with high effort for long periods of time and then recover quickly when opportunities presented themselves.
SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?
My Kokoro was split between SEALFit HQ in Encinitas and Vale Lake. We started out at HQ for the PST and Murph evolutions then were packed up and shipped out to Vale Lake where we put through a number of evolutions before heading out to the ruck on Mount Palomar. On the second day we were still at Vale where we had a number of boat crew competitions before going back to Encinitas to spend the night and next day on the beach and in the surf. The event was one of extremes, highlighted by the two locations, the dry heat of Vale and Palomar contrasted with the wet and cold of the beach and Pacific Ocean.
SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?
The cold of the surf torture, I got much colder during that evolution that I anticipated and found it tough to warm up between sessions in the surf, that evolution was a great learning experience for me and ended up being one of my favorite sessions of the whole event.
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for Kokoro?
Spend some more time in cold water! Even with all the rucking and running based conditioning I did I feel I probably could have still done more. I could have also done some longer rucks, the longest I got to in training was 3 hours, I think at minimum I should have done a few up in around the 6 hours mark. Also I should have added in at least one more running session a week either on hills or in sand. I was doing one of my weekly running sessions on hills and trails but they were nowhere as aggressive as the ones we had to run at Vale.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do Kokoro?
First off be honest with yourself and you’re current fitness level. Do the PST and see where you sit and then aim to be beyond the minimum PST scores by at least 30%. Make sure you actually perform the PST, don’t try to guess where you’re at, be honest with yourself and your starting point. If you’re coming in to Kokoro and can’t complete the minimum PST scores then you’re going to really struggle to complete the event. The event is more than just a test of physical fitness but the fitter you come in the better set you’ll be to get the most from the experience.
SGPT: What kind of boots did you use for the event?
Nike SFB 8” boots, well worth every dollar spent. Good combination of support, comfort and drainage.
SGPT: Did you use double socks/compression socks or body glide on your feet to prevent blisters?
Good socks are a must! I used Wigwam Rebel Fusion II socks and had a Wigwam liner, I used the liner for the long ruck. After the firsts nights ruck I started using body glide on my feet and thighs to help with some blisters and chaffing.
SGPT: What kind of ruck did you use for training and the event?
For training I used a Camalbak Motherload for longer rucks and for shorter ones I used a Camalbak Octane and a weight vest from Uni-Vest (20lbs). At the event I had my extra gear and clothing stored in the Motherload so I could access it between evolutions.
SGPT: What book are you reading now?
I just finished Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, an excellent book on leadership and Resilience by Eric Greitens, a great book on mental resiliency and grit. Currently I’m working on The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday and Deep Work by Cal Newport. So far both are very good.
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview
My pleasure, thank you for asking!