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February 22, 2016 Comments (0) Tips & Inspiration

Meet Chris Rutz: Your OCR Tough Training Guru

Chris doing some of his Tough Training in the TerraClaw 220's.

My OCR Roots

Obstacle Racing has come a long way in the past few years. 2010 was a year of birth or incubation for major race promoters like Spartan Race, Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder. These races were just getting started with a handful of races sprinkled across mostly the US, Canada and the UK. I discovered the sport in late 2010 and got my feet wet – literally – in 2011. A dozen Tough Mudders, a couple of Spartan Races and any other local “mud runs” I could find in my state. I was coming from an extensive endurance sports background having competed as an Ironman triathlete, road bike racer and just being a general outdoor fitness enthusiast. Immediately prior to my jump into OCR I had discovered CrossFit and integrated this into my endurance training. I found that my training was perfect for this emerging sport. I began competing in Spartan Races across the US, delivering results that put me on the podium and earning a record 7 trifecta medals in 2012. In 2013 I joined the Spartan Race Pro Team and Team Inov-8; it was about this time I started Tough Training as a resource for athletes looking to enter the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). My goal was to provide a diverse pool of athletes’ guidance on how to get into and perform well in the sport of OCR.

"Concurrently I was planning to retire early from my career... Reviewing my retirement plan with my advisor, one of his first questions was what I was planning to do with my time. My immediate answer was 'Take Tough Training to the next level on the OCR coaching scene.'"

“Concurrently I was planning to retire early from my career… Reviewing my retirement plan with my advisor, one of his first questions was what I was planning to do with my time. My immediate answer was ‘Take Tough Training to the next level on the OCR coaching scene.'”

Coaching is What Sets Tough Training Apart From the Rest

Tough Training quickly emerged from being a Facebook page and website, to a comprehensive coaching program. I began to coach athletes one-on-one, virtually as well as in person. Initially I was drawing on my 20+ years of endurance sports experience and combining it with my CrossFit knowledge. Around this same time Spartan was rolling out their coaching program called Spartan SGX and CrossFit had also introduced Endurance certifications. I was eager to deepen my OCR specific training knowledge to take the athletes I was training and myself to the next level. Concurrently I was planning to retire early from my career in the insurance industry.  Reviewing my retirement plan with my adviser, one of his first questions was what I was planning to do with my time. My immediate answer was “Take Tough Training to the next level on the OCR coaching scene.”

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My next step was to begin as a coaching assistant at Power In Motion institute (PIM) in Scottsdale, AZ. I began working on my coaching certifications and training as a mentee. My first certification was the Spartan SGX Level I certification. The level I certification is a two day workshop which involved Spartan history, movements, programming, coaching, and business development. At the conclusion of the weekend there were additional studies which lead up to the exam. This was a 100 question on-line exam which covered all aspects of the seminar. In order to earn your certification you had to earn a passing score of an 80% or above. Shortly after obtaining my SGX Level I certification I added CrossFit’s Endurance and StrongFirst to my coaching education resume.

Since then I have built my coaching business through Tough Training at PIM, small group fitness classes, and expanded my online resources to include an app called SugarWOD to directly interface with my virtual clients and see the progress on a real time basis.

I will be sharing workout plans, tips on racing and whatever else I come across that would benefit the new or seasoned OCR athlete on a regular basis.

I will be sharing workout plans, tips on racing and whatever else I come across that would benefit the new or seasoned OCR athlete on a regular basis.

Building on this success I wanted to take my education to the next level and earn my Spartan SGX Level II certification. This was a weekend workshop which entailed deeper education on Level I topics, new topics such as HRV (Heart Rate Variability), performance supplements, and racing in extreme environments. In addition to the classroom there was also an outdoor team building experience. The exam for this section was a case study; we were given an athlete to build a training program for with the goal of enhancing their performance at their next Spartan Race. This programming was very similar to the program I provide to my athletes.

All of this education and experience is what I want to share with you all over the next 12 months. I will be sharing workout plans, tips on racing and whatever else I come across that would benefit the new or seasoned OCR athlete on a regular basis. Thanks for following and stay tuned!

Follow Christopher and Tough Training on lnstagram and Facebook. For all things Tough Training visit his website at livethetoughlife.com.

Chris is hoping and dedicated to getting his 100th racing medal this year!

Chris is dedicated to and working hard towards earning his 100th racing medal this year!

“Whether you are working first, fifth or fiftieth don’t let anything get in the way of your goals. Stay focused, stay on track and get it done. My secret to so many? Signing up for the next one, before I complete the last one.” – Chris Rutz

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