How To

If you’re signed up for a Tough Mudder, you’ve probably got training on your mind. If not, you should. Although this is our first Mudder, we hear that they’re…tough. But training can be daunting if you don’t have the proper equipment. Good news is that a state of the art gym isn’t required to get you Mudder ready.

One of the great things about this unconventional race is that preparing for them can be unconventional too. If you’re on the go like we are, you may be thinking that you don’t have time to get into the gym every day. But don’t sit down on the couch just yet! We’ve got some training exercises that you can do anywhere. The key is to think outside the gym.

Although we’re Mudder virgins, we’re no strangers to thinking unconventionally. Living in a van, you come up with weird ways to solve problems. Whether it’s finding a healthy tree to host an upper body workout or fixing our cabinet hinges using toothpicks and glue, we know how to make it work! Here’s a crash course we came up with to get you ready for the real course.

We separated our training into 3 distinct disciplines: Cardio, Strength, and Mental



Endurance is a crucial aspect of Tough Mudders. Running will become your best friend. And great news: running is something you can do anywhere. Find a scenic view to keep your mind occupied, like a ridge in the desert or a cute girl. Or both.

Running with a friend is better than sweating it out on your own, so call up a buddy or catch up to that cute girl and chase the setting sun together.

Not all Tough Mudders are flat. In fact, most aren’t. So switch it up on your runs. Hit up a trail, run around the base of a mountain before hiking it, or just find a sturdy set of stairs. There’s nothing more reenergizing than cruising up and down the stairs at work during lunch break.


Strength is important in a Tough Mudder as well, thanks to those pesky, awesome, obstacles. Although you’ll have teammates to pull you through, don’t make them do all the work! You may think you need weights and rubber bands to get ripped, but fancy equipment be damned, we’re thinking outside the gym!



  • Beef up your biceps the old fashioned way with a few pushups in any place that has a floor. You can find floors pretty much anywhere so no excuses. Drop and gimme 20.
  • Pull-ups are great but it can be a little tricky to find a good spot. We’ve found that the open doorway of the van or a tree with strong branches make the best chin-up bars.



  • To get a good burn in your belly, sit-ups can be done on the same floor you do your push-ups. So again, save the excuses.
  • Remember when Planking was cool? Then it wasn’t. But let’s bring that back. Find a park bench, trash can, or vehicle. Bonus points if you don’t set off the alarm!



  • To get the glutes in fine form, lunges are perfect. Dip deep and feel the burn. Then go for a run!
  • Wall Sits require a wall and the will to survive. If you like making people uncomfortable, elevators kill two birds with one wall sit.




Last but not least, mental preparation shouldn’t be forgotten. It doesn’t matter how huge your muscles are if you can’t carry them across the finish line. Here are some pointers to help you keep it together when you fell like you “can’t even.”

  • Practicing yoga keeps your mind balanced, even if you can’t balance in all those crazy positions.
  • Focus on your breathing. If you’re losing your cool, find your happy place and get in the zone.
  • Know that endorphins are here to help. When you get tired, only 40% of your energy has been used. It’s all in your mind!
  • Speak a mantra to yourself. It may sound weird, but it works. Coin a phrase that pumps you up and repeat it to yourself when you’re feeling burnt out.
  • Encourage yourself by giving yourself incentives. Nothing makes me run faster than setting a local watering hole as my destination.
  • Always remember: This is for fun. It won’t always be fun, but the goal is to finish with friends at your side.

These are our go-to exercises, but find what works best for you. And feel free to add to our list! What other outside-the-gym exercises are you implementing in your Tough Mudder training?

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