On October 17th, I attempted my biggest challenge to date. And while I failed to succeed, I wouldn’t trade the experience of dedicating a year of my athletic career to this event for anything.

Training for GORUCK Selection, “The Toughest Endurance Event in the World”, took a toll on my body. It forced me to spend a lot of time doing long, slow conditioning work. Something I have never done a lot of.

I was fortunate in that my method of choice was rucking. This helped me preserve quite a lot of muscle mass. But two to three hours of endurance work every day, no matter what modality, is going to make you smaller.

My bodyweight went down as anticipated. Through, what I feel was an intelligent training plan, my strength actually remained stable. In fact, I actually increased a couple of lifts.

I was pleasantly surprised by that.

It’s been three weeks now since Selection, and recovery has been going well. Being med dropped at the 18-hour mark likely prevented me from doing too much damage to my body. But I’m still dealing with a few issues.

My left shoulder has seen better days. I’m still missing skin on my back and thigh. My hip has been tight. And I’m literally a much smaller person than I was just two months ago.

None of my clothes fit right now. T-shirts I used to fill out are now baggy, and my pants are falling off. I feel like I’m in elementary school all over again.

I weighed 90 pounds soaking wet until I was 14. Through a lot of hard work in the gym, I was able to “bulk up” to 110 pounds by wrestling season of grade nine. At the time this was a big feat, but I kept working hard.

Years later, I would weigh over 220 pounds. Doubling my “bulky” ninth-grade self.

These days, 180 – 185 pounds is where I feel most at home. At this weight, I’m strong, fast, athletic, and generally feel good. This is about what I weighed this past summer.

As of right now, though, I’m under 174 pounds. And it’s time to change that.

My goal is to be back up around 185 pounds by the new year. That gives me about eight weeks to gain about ten pounds.

Doable. But not easy.

The biggest issue (and I know this is dumb) is that I don’t plan to stop rucking.

Typically when gaining mass we would want to cut back dramatically on any kind of conditioning work. But I’ve come to value the mental benefits of rucking too much to set it aside, even for just a few weeks. My family deserves me at my best, and that means rucking needs to be a part of my routine.

So I’ll still be doing almost daily, heavy rucks during my bulk.

To reach my goal, I’ll need to change my diet significantly. Eating enough calories can be a struggle for me at the best of times. Going into these next eight weeks, I realize that I am going to have to make eating a priority.

In anticipation of the non-stop eating I’m about to undergo, I have spent the past ten days strictly following a 16/8 Intermittent Fasting protocol. Sixteen hours of fasting followed by an eight-hour feeding window each and every day. My body is primed and ready to grow.

With the Christmas season fast approaching, my timing couldn’t be much better. Food will be everywhere, and for the first time in over a decade, I need to eat it.

I’m looking forward to the change of pace. Looking forward to a lot more lifting and getting back to my roots. And I’m looking forward to having clothes that fit again.

If you’re interested in following along, I’ll be logging my progress right here in the blog. Stay tuned for what will hopefully a bigger, stronger, me.