Save 17% with an Annual Subscription

Burn The Ships: June '24 Edition

A powerful rucking workout you can do anywhere.

Burn The Ships: June '24 Edition


  • Full access to our epic Burn the Ships workouts is for Members of 2%.
  • Become a Member below so you can Burn the Ships because living beats dying.
  • Thanks to our partners, who make the best products in their categories.
    • Maui Nui Venison: Provider of the world’s healthiest meat (the research, linked here, is insane).
    • Momentous Nutrition: The company that made me feel good about supplements again. The US Military and most pro sports teams trust it.
    • GORUCK: Maker of the best rucking gear (not stuff).
    • Discount code EASTER for all brands.


  • It's coming tomorrow. I'm currently flying from Paris back to Las Vegas.
  • Members, your episode will appear in the Member feed, which is linked to at the bottom of all Wednesday and Friday posts.

The post

It’s the first Friday of the month. Which means it’s time to Burn the Ships.

This post marks the first anniversary of Burn the Ships. Thanks to everyone who's followed and sweat along. I've enjoyed doing these workouts together with you every weekend.

This month, we’re doing a workout you can do anywhere you travel this summer. All it takes is a single backpack.

It builds killer strength and endurance and burns a lot of calories. Plus, it'll fix your weak points so you perform better overall.

If you’re a regular participant in Burn the Ships and know why we do this workout, scroll down to “This Month’s Workout” to get the details.

If you’re new (or want a refresher), start here so you understand the origins of Burn the Ships and the case for doing one tough workout a week.

The Case for One Tough Weekly Workout

I started doing one tough workout every Friday after my time reporting inside Gym Jones roughly 12 years ago. I’ve maintained the practice.

There’s magic in pushing it once a week.

First, there are the brain benefits. The practice makes me less insane.

Scientists at King’s College in London analyzed 53 studies on how intense exercise impacts mental health.

They found that it led to “improvements in mental wellbeing, depression severity, and perceived stress compared to non-active controls, and small improvements in mental wellbeing compared to active controls.”

In other words, intense exercise has a mental edge compared not only to not exercising (duh), but also to regular-paced exercise.

Intense exercise also—obviously!—comes with physical upsides.

It has a slight edge over less intense exercise for increasing VO2 max, which is associated with all sorts of good physical outcomes. A rule of thumb: the higher your VO2 max, the farther you are from death and disease.

TL;DR: All exercise helps. But it makes sense to go hard sometimes.

What’s “sometimes?”

The smartest trainers I regularly speak with suggest that one tough workout a week is the sweet spot for health and performance (more info on that here).

More than that, and we tend to get burned out and beat down. Less than that, and we miss out on some health and performance upsides.

Enter Burn the Ships.

Burn the Ships: How it works

On the first Friday of every month, we publish a new workout for Members only.

We do the workout every weekend. (Don’t sweat if you can’t do the workout during the weekend—just try to do it once each week.)

These workouts are safe and effective. They improve your strength, cardio, movement quality, and—in turn—your life.

We’ve provided scaled versions and exercise swaps, so anyone and everyone can do them.

  • In other words, we’re pushing edges and improving safely. It’s easy to be hard but hard to be smart.

This month's workout: No Excuses

Why the name?

Working out while traveling can be challenging.

  • You don't have access to your regular equipment or a decked out gym.
  • Your schedule is erratic, and you only have a little time.

This is why it's easy to make excuses not to exercise when you're traveling.

This month's Burn the Ships is an excuse killer. It's designed to radically improve your fitness and burn a ton of calories anywhere—at home or on the road. All in the time you have using equipment you're already traveling with.

It'll set the tone for your day so you can truly enjoy your vacation or a laid-back summer day without feeling lazy.

Where to do this workout

  • Anywhere.

Equipment needed

  • A ruck or the backpack you travel with.

Time commitment

  • Less than 60 minutes.

What I'm listening to while doing this workout

  • Music from the place I find myself doing this workout.
  • E.g., If I'm traveling in Austin, I'm listening to Willy Nelson. If I'm in Seattle, I'm listening to Pearl Jam or Nirvana. You get the point.


  • Use 10 to 40 pounds in your ruck/backpack, depending on your fitness level.
  • Use anything you have available for weight. For example:
    • If you're at home, stuff a ruck plate or sandbag into your backpack.
    • If you're at a hotel, borrow a dumbbell from the hotel gym (wrap the weight in a towel so it doesn't move around too much).
    • If you're at a vacation home, use anything on hand: Books, big bottles of water, etc. Tip: I sometimes travel with a GORUCK Brick Bag or dry bag, which I use as a laundry bag. Then I fill the bag with sand and use it as a weight (Brick Bags and dry bags rinse out easily).
  • Use the rucking to go somewhere interesting. Then do the circuit there.

How to do it

Here's the standard version of No Excuses.

Load your ruck/backpack with 10 to 40 pounds, then go outside or to a hotel gym and do the following: