Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tough Mudder Tuesday: Training with Gumsaba

For work, I was lucky enough to get assigned our fitness write-ups for the Best of the East Bay issue, which meant I got to try this amazing early morning bootcamp called Gumsaba. You can read more about my experience over at Diablo, or you can just know that I loved everything except the wakeup time. I can't deny it felt good knocking out the workout by 6:30 a.m., but I'm a big fan of the snooze button, and workouts get pushed until after work when I don't have a story to write. That being said, Michelle (one of the founders, and the main face for Gumsaba) contacted me wanting to know if I'd like to join the bootcamp's Tough Mudder training this month. 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday felt doable, and so off I went to Oak Hill Park in Danville last weekend.

I got pretty serious about those sandbags (all photos courtesy of Gumsaba).

The training was GREAT. We incorporated 15lb sandbags into three different "stations," each of which lasted for 15 minutes. My group started with a circuit that included walking down a hill with the bags and dumping them by a cone, jogging a trail to another set of cones, five burpees, jogging back to where we left the bags, and running up hill with the sand weights hoisted over one shoulder (alternated each rep). By rep three you really have to push yourself to jog up that last hill with the sandbag. Luckily, that was the toughest station (mentally) for me.

Station two involved 20 assisted pull-ups (I wussed out and went for the super resistant black band for more hoist), walking lunges to two "balance beams" (really, just wood placed off the ground), and then walking the balance beams with a 15lb sandbag in each hand. Balance is one of my strengths, so I rocked through the first set, but pull ups are not, and I really struggled with switching to underhand for the second. But I made it through all of my sets without falling off the balance beams, and hopefully my armpits or whatever are getting stronger.

Last station was rope climbs, jog, and tree sits or squats with the sandbag until the ropes were free. The ropes were always free. My arms were not having it with the rope climbs, but I got about halfway up each time. "Worked on my grip strength," as someone who knows what they're talking about might say. I think if I had hit this stations before the pull-ups I may have been more successful and actually slapped the tree the ropes were tied around, but for now I'll take getting off the ground. 

despite getting sunburned on my hike, still the palest in the land

And that was it! I made it through pretty successfully, jogging the whole time we were supposed to be jogging, and the training just really hammered home the fact that I need to keep working on my upper body strength. Even Michelle admitted she had troubles with the greased monkey bars, so I'm just preparing for a nice swim through those.

Gumsaba's Tough Mudder trainings are pretty booked up for this summer, but Michelle mentioned she definitely plans on growing the program for next year. I'd definitely recommend her normal bootcamps for building strength and adding some of those skills we worked on this weekend, and you can always try shooting her an email to see if there's space in the weekend trainings. It's the only Tough Mudder–specific training I know of going on in the area that isn't linked to a running group or Crossfit gym, and the group is so insanely supportive that you can't possibly feel bad while you're running through the drills. Ok, you'll feel a little bad, but mainly because you're pushing your body, but I've never felt so good as when one of the other members gave me props for my rope climb, even if it was just two feet off the ground. Baby steps, people.

Check out gogumsaba.com/events/ for more information about the training, or stop by gogumsaba.com for information on the bootcamps, fitness and nutrition tips, and more. And a big thank you to Michelle for letting me participate!

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