You might have heard, seen or read about this insane obstacle course challenge called a Tough Mudder. People are literally covered in mud, drenched in sweat and have facial expressions similar to those in child birth. You see some friends post about it on social media, grinning from ear to ear with pride and relief. You go ahead and "like" their post, but at the same time, you're really concerned about them (what drove this person into madness?). There are a few things you should know about mudders, the first point being that it's not only about physical strength, but mental grit.
What exactly is a Tough Mudder? It's an obstacle course ranging between 10 and 12 miles (start with a 5k), originally designed by British Special Forces as a test. In 2010, it became a full blown organization, dedicated to creating these courses and finding motivated people to run through them. Some of the obstacles include the human hamster wheel (a perpetual monkey bar), the birth canal (doing a belly crawl underwater through a tight space) and the liberator (an A-frame you climb using pegs).
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It's a team event. No way you have to go through this by yourself. If you're going to do this, you better have a couple crazy friends who will jump on board with you. The mudder pledge reads: "I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge. I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time." The teams can be as big or small as you want. There is no limit to the insanity, but you have to share it. Click here for more ways to workout as a team.
How can you prepare for a mudder? If you want to go for it, sign up first. You'll have access to a training guide and a four-week workout schedule. Twelve to 16 weeks of preparation is recommended. You'll need to workout, yes, but also watch your diet and hang out with your team as much as possible to strengthen your bonds. If you haven't been working out, this would be an awesome goal for you. You need to have both strength and cardio endurance to get this thing done. Be ready to try some new exercises and workouts along the way, like one of these five water sports. See an example of prep work here.
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Why go through this? If you were or are an athlete, if you're looking for a new fitness goal or if you have a bunch of kooky fit friends, you'll want on on this. Crossing the finish line has participants describing euphoria and pride. It doesn't involve a single day, but weeks and months of training and turning your body into a fit, healthy and pumped up machine. If this sounds like something you want to get involved in, find an event near you and go for it. You are stronger than you know!