I'll cut to the chase. I'm verbose so if you don't like to read. Just do the program and thank me later. Now, on with the show for those who like words and stories.
I had been doing Pathfinder Class 019 (Roster 19-628) when I realized it wasn’t what I thought it was. What I thought Pathfinder was going to give me is a structured workout program. What I love about Pathfinder was that it challenged you to just get the miles in. It left the PT up to you. Unfortunately if the PT was up to me, I would do some pretty easy workouts. Hey PT is PT right? Unless you have no idea what you are doing like I did.
To this point I had only really done the Ruck.Training Light, Tough, and Heavy workout plans. They were a great mix of PT and miles, but still felt like a cobbled together program modeled after events, it didn’t feel like I was on a journey. They got me ready for some events and was a big help in exposing me to certain exercises, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
When I found Heavy Drop Training it was like the ruck gods heard me and said, here you go you lazy ass. Because I was in Pathfinder I knocked out the hard long mileage challenges in the first 2 months of that program. I did various amounts of PT so I didn’t get behind the 8-ball but really waited until HDT started to get those workouts in. I knew I would knock out half of the required Pathfinder workouts in 1 month based on the description on the HDT website; 3 prescribed workouts, 1 care package per week. I got my remaining 12 workouts in quick order and finished Pathfinder Endure.
Now let’s talk about the workouts. From the start it felt like Bryan Singelyn had found every weakness I was doing my damnedest to hide. He found the suck button on every single exercise and hit it with a sledgehammer. I was coming in with an injured shoulder, a friend of mine who was a PT had me doing rehab exercises going into the program but at this point I needed to use it more. My goal was to modify as little as possible. I stuck with the Body Weight and Ruck plan because last thing I needed to do was stress that shoulder out with an 40 or 80 pound sandbag.
Adding another layer of complication is that I am a Type 1 diabetic. I use rucking as a way to regulate my blood sugar. A good cardio workout does wonders in keeping it in check for me. The more I ruck, the better the numbers and less insulin I need.
Another way I have read all over is to build strength and it will also help regulate blood sugars. Since I am not the gym going type, I hoped HDT would help me with that as well. A good cardio workout has a way of elevating your blood sugar when the adrenaline hits and then falling once the cardio catches up. With my normal routine til this point; PT has never helped me regulate my blood sugar. PT + rucking miles had helped, but if I didn’t ruck my blood sugars would be a little elevated.
As I went through the pre-work it felt good to have solid baselines. Not solid as in good, solid as in, ok I know what that is now. Modifying for shoulder issues on burpees and push ups gave me a false sense of where I stood. As the first week came and went my muscles were groaning. For the first time it felt like I was actually challenging them. It felt like 2 years ago when I first started to get healthy. I was sore for a week. After the first week of HDT I felt like I did 2 years prior but my recovery time was faster. Into the second week, it challenged different parts of my body. It felt like every single exercise was tailored to my goals. Get a better base of strength and rehab the shoulder.
At the 3 week mark I was feeling great! The Battle Buddy system was awesome. Cadre Heath was my Battle Buddy and we would check in weekly. Although we weren’t talking everyday the feeling of letting him down loomed hard every single week. Without that battle buddy system I think HDT would miss the mark for me and be just white noise in the world of at-home workout plans.
In the end my gains did not come in rep counts. My gains came in a few different areas. Here is how it broke down.
Pre HDT: 14 modified (knee) unbroken
Post HDT: 12 full form unbroken
Pre-HDT: 40 (I probably counted more than I actually did properly)
Post HDT: 38 legit ones this time
Pre HDT: 55 modified without the push-up due to shoulder
Post HDT: 38 actual legit ones
Slick Run - 2 mile distance
Pre HDT: 0:24:15
After Week 1: 0:23:15 (1 minute faster)
After Week 3: 0:23:03 (picked up another 12 seconds)
After Week 5: 0:21:16
This is where I felt the program the best. I have never been a gifted runner. But picking up 3 minutes on the 2 mile run time feels like a huge win for me.
Strict Ruck- 2 mile distance
Pre HDT: 0:32:41
After Week 2: 0:31:57 (nearly a minute faster)
After Week 4: 0:30:11 (almost 2 minutes faster)
After Week 6: 0:29:43 (again a nearly 3 minute gain)
This felt huge to me. My legs felt stronger, but seeing it in the time made it all real! This was huge to me. From a blood sugar standpoint, the workouts did what only rucking has been able to do. It helped me regulate my blood sugar. Only twice did I get lower than a 70. So now that I have a solid rucking base and also what feels like a good base to build off on the PT side; it’s time to take it to another level. My shoulder is way better than it was and I can do full push ups and burpees now. Ruck burpees still give me an issue, but I have no doubt I can get through that. I am attempting my 2nd Murph in a week.
For the record I don’t think Singelyn is a Sadist as it's proclaimed in all the groups. Singelyn just knows what he is doing when it comes to engaging with people. Yeah an exercise might suck, but I think that is kind of the point. It breaks up the monotony of a single type of exercise. His workouts always kept me on my toes. Like any event we do, there is a moment where you just don't want to anymore. I pushed through that mental barrier more than one occasion.
This is a PT plan I highly recommend. What you get for $100 is totally worth it. I got more out of this workout than I would have ever gotten with a gym membership I couldn’t use. Pairing this with Pathfinder will just take your training to a whole new level.
I can’t wait to see what Round XII-19 has in store.