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Burn the Ships: October Edition

Burn the Ships: October Edition

October’s Burn the Ships is designed to help you conquer mountains, trails—and everyday life.

Why it matters: Doing one challenging workout a week has physical and mental upsides. And doing it on Friday (or over the weekend) is a great way to wipe the work week off the books.

Quick updates:

  • The 2% Store is better than ever. We’re selling:

    • GORUCK Gear.

    • Burn the Ships Ruck Patches.

    • The new 2% Trucker Hat (the hat I wore on my Joe Rogan appearance).

    • Get it here.

  • If you want access to this workout (and the epic comment section that goes along with it), become a Member. Members get fit, have fun, and don’t die.

Read books. All the cool kids are doing it.

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

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.

That’s because there’s an upside to pushing it once a week. Specifically, it 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.”

But it also—obviously!—comes with physical upsides.

Intense exercise also seems to have 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.

In other words, 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.

Our task is to do the workout every Friday for the rest of the month. (Don’t sweat if you can’t do it Friday—just try to do it sometime 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: Hold Fast

Why the name?

  • Hold Fast is the name of one of my favorite trails near my home in Las Vegas. It’s a real sonofabitch, with a lot of rocky ups and downs.
  • Running, rucking, or hiking it well requires legs like pistons—legs that can repeatedly step up and down.

Why it works