SGPT Interviews SEALFIT 20X Finisher Mark Clingen

When you write down your goal and do hard work – you are able to achieve big goals.

SEALgrinderPT sits down for an interview with SEALFIT 20X finisher Mark Clingen.

This article is jam packed with tips and advice on how Mark prepared for this big event and in the end conquered it by finishing the drill.

SGPT: Tell us about yourself? Where are you from and where do you train?

MC: I am a 51 year old construction worker from Toronto, Canada. My only son is 23 and he lives with me & my wife Laurie.

SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

MC: I did not play many organized sports growing up, though I loved to play them for fun with friends. My parents were fervently religious and thought that organized sports would distract from living for God.

However, I still managed to run 3,000m track in grade nine, and play two years of junior football in high school. When I was 20, I started playing rugby while attending Queen’s University in Northern Ireland, and continued with club rugby when I returned home for a few years thereafter.

SGPT: How did you train for the SEALFIT 20X Challenge event?

MC: I trained for SEALFIT 20X Challenge by hiring a local crossfit gym owner and 30 year vet of Cdn Armed Forces who provided a four times per week training schedule including one session with him. He spoke with Kokoro grad and author Robert Owens who was kind enough to provide tips on training me for the SF camp.

I entered a SGPT ruck challenge back in 2020 during the start of Covid. I followed a few other SGPT teammates on Strava. I love the hard core intensity workouts other SGPT Teammates post up like Arnie Ol’ Jack.

After around a year I convinced my local SF social media friend and “swim buddy”, to join me. At first, the sessions focused on the Mike Murphy workout, but gradually moved to other functional exercises like rucking. The workouts were usually timed and Coach Paul pushed us to resume any time we stopped. Additionally, I read dozens of books by those who went through Bud/s and SF crucibles. Also, I talked to many candidates and graduates.

Further to the physical training, I hired a Crossfit dietitian, Krista Schmidt, who secured Kokoro 57. She provided great guidance and support on what to eat in order to build muscle and get stronger. Her insights on the event were invaluable!

I “box breathed” 4,800 minutes over the past two years using Sealfit app on my phone. I also attended two virtual Unbeatable Mind Summits online.

I read all of Cmdr Mark Divine’s books, and worked through “The Way of the SEAL” 12 month course as well as another Foundations course they offer.

SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?

MC: The event was in Temecula, California on Saturday morning April 30th, 2022. It began at 7 a.m with “slow play” registration until 8. Event opened with introduction to Coaches before jogging up hill to look down and “win in our minds” on the wide open grinder just before starting our event. At first, Commander Divine met with us and imparted some wisdom and psyched us up to go.

Then, the break-out followed which was an attempt to simulate the chaos of war through noise, smoke, water assault, and confusing multiple directions like “on your backs, stomachs, feet repeatedly together with various calisthenics. One cannot forget the shocking ice baths. We were made to enter the two large animal water troughs brimming with ice cubes a couple dozen times over course of the day.

The remainder of day included fun team races, where winner received a hydration break while others trained harder, PST (physical standards test including push ups, sit ups, squats, pull ups, and mile run performed slick with just body weight), slick Murph, stretcher carry races with approximately 200lbs and four & five person crews, finishing with short telephone pole lifts, holds, and carries with seven man boat crews.

SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?

MC: The hardest part of the event for me, other than when my swim buddy tapped, was the day long weariness from volume of work and the 85 degree hot sun.

SGPT: What kind of boots did you use for the event?

MC: I wore Oakley Field Assault boots during the event.

They were used by Cdn Armed Forces in Afghanistan, and are lightweight and dry quickly.

SGPT: Did you use double socks or body glide on your feet to prevent blisters?

MC: I used Bag Balm on my feet and groin area, and wore two pairs of socks including thin liner pair & slightly thicker wool outer pair made by The Sock Guys.

SGPT: What kind of ruck did you use for training and the event?

MC: Going for authenticity with ruck, I used the $25 Rothco cheap backpack that SEALFIT uses in Kokoro Camp event.

However, in training I opted for 44lb weight vest and carried 12lb abs sand filled tube weapon, or two 9lb water jugs. I also trained with 20lb vest for Murph and shorter faster rucks.

SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for 20X event?

MC: I felt very prepared for the event. I have no regrets about my training. Thanks to Covid and difficulty with cross border travel I had two years to prepare.

SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do SEAL 20X?

MC: My only tip for up and coming athletes who want to prepare is to start with 6X and work your way up. Don’t presume to know anything about the event. Stay humble and train as hard as possible. It’s harder than most civilians think!

SGPT: What book are you reading now?

MC: I’m currently reading Ryan Holiday’s “Stillness is the Key”.

SGPT: Many thanks for the interview

MC: You’re most welcome.

Questions from our SGPT athletes.

Question: Coach; I want to train for a GORUCK light that is coming up in the spring.  I am not in shape so how do I get started?

Answer: Good question. I would start by walking in your neighborhood and then slowly add a 10 lb weight vest. Check out this SGPT article: GORUCK Training Tips

Are you interested in training for the SEALFIT 20X event?

Do you have a big event on the horizon and you want to finish the drill?

Get individual coaching from SGPT Coach Brad McLeod (SEALFIT certified coach). Check out coaching here:

About the Author:
bradBrad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness after being kicked out of a top tier Spec Ops training unit. He failed out of BUD/S the first time after failing a math test (made it through Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp). He came back a year later and graduated and served as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams with a total of 6 years of military service.

Today, he helps Veterans and athletes achieve their goals. What is your goal? Lets work together to accomplish it.

Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to help you step up and take hold of your dreams and realize your goals. Contact [email protected]

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