Back in April of this year, we attended National Organic Products Europe at the ExCel centre in London. After seeing our friends Natural Balance Foods (Trek & Nakd), we tried our arm at the “Batak” – often used in training football goalkeepers to test their agility and reflexes.
Unbelievably, I managed to come out on top of the leader board with a score of 71, a feat I couldn’t replicate on my next attempt in the Trek tent at Tough Mudder itself, but we will gloss over that for now!
The prize (or – you may be thinking – punishment) for the highly skilful individual topping the leader board was to join Team Trek in diving head first (as per the above photo) into Tough Mudder in Skipton!
For those that have never heard of it, Tough Mudder is a beast of an obstacle course that tests your mental and physical strength, stamina and ability to cope with getting absolutely covered in, well… mud!
From diving into the sub-zero Artcic Enema 2.0 (a skip full of icy water), to being mildly electrocuted by just the 10,000 volts surging through your nerves on Electroshock Therapy 2.0, Tough Mudder pushes you to the limit.
We opted for the full course, which includes over 10 miles of running, over 20 obstacles, and more than a few tonnes of mud! Put it this way, it is not for the feint-hearted.
It goes without saying that you need to prepare for such a challenge, so for anybody thinking of taking on Tough Mudder in the future, here are a few training and nutrition tips to give you the best chance of bagging that orange “finisher” headband, and sipping that celebratory beer at the finish line…
Body weight – Tough Mudder requires enough upper-body strength to literally haul yourself over (or through) most of the obstacles, so doing body weight training and compound exercises are a great way to prepare. Obstacles include vertical wall climbing, monkey bars and crawling through tight spaces, so being able to at least pull your own body weight is essential.
- Under hand grip pull up (if you struggle to do body weight pull ups, use a pull weight assisted pull up machine in your gym, or a lateral pull down machine)
- Over hand grip pull up
This helps train for wall-climbing obstacles such as Pyramid Scheme, Everest 2.0, Skidmarked and Berlin Walls, monkey-bar obstacles like Kong Infinity 2.0 and the Funky Monkey, as well as the tunnel crawling challenges of Birth Canal and Boa Constrictor.
Leg strength is required for assisting your team mates to get up and over climbing wall obstacles, as well as squeezing yourself through some slightly claustrophobic spots.
Tough Mudder is all about teamwork, camaraderie, and helping each other get to the finish line, so carrying – and being carried by - your team mates is a regular occurrence throughout the course! Luckily, our team mates in Team Trek had done their pull-ups and squats in the weeks leading up to the event!
- Running – Tough Mudder is a 10-mile endurance course with obstacles thrown in around every half-mile, so doing some cardio training is going to help you keep pace with your team.
- Rowing machine – taking on Tough Mudder strains every sinue of your body, so a full body exercise like rowing is a good way to prepare, as it helps with upper body strength and cardio rolled into one, which will come in handy for the obstacles, and for getting around the course. Swimming is also a good option if you have the amenities – if you take on Tough Mudder you need to be prepared to get covered head to toe in mud and water. Just a warning though, the water out on course isn’t quite as lovely and warm as you may be used to at the baths!
As with any fitness challenge, nutrition is important. I would recommend a carb load the night before and morning of Tough Mudder to give you that all-important energy to get you through. In the morning, easily digestible food such as fibre and oats is recommended – a bowl of porridge, peanut butter on wholemeal toast, or a couple of Trek Morning Berry Flapjacks would be sure to give you that slow-burning energy you’ll need.
The full Tough Mudder takes 4-5 hours so you need plenty of energy to get you through it. Trek bars and snacks are provided at various points around the course, but there are a few miles between each snack stop so a heavy carb meal the night before will be beneficial.
Hydration is of course equally as important. If you’re doing a summer Tough Mudder it’ll be sure to make you sweat, so plenty of water before taking part is a must. Again, there are drinks stations dotted around the course but you are going to have to get through the first few miles before you stop.
Nutrition throughout Tough Mudder
Handily, our friends at Trek are one of the main sponsors of Tough Mudder and provide mudders with nutritious high-protein snacks throughout the course.
You can eat like a true mudder throughout your training to nourish yourself as if you’re out on the course. Trek Morning berry flapjacks, Protein power chunks, and Energy bars all provide that energising kick you need throughout the Tough Mudder course.
Take advantage of the free Trek Protein chunks offered throughout the course, you will need them, they are delish, and they cater for most diets including coeliacs and vegans!
If you’re into energy drinks, swigging one before Tough Mudder isn’t a bad idea – Sunsoul natural energy drink is what I had and it really helped me to power through.
Until next time.