Keep Training: A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste

This is not normal. It is also not a new normal. This is an interruption. And just like anytime our normal behavior is interrupted, we have an opportunity to wake up, snap out of our mindless patterns, appreciate what we have, and make a better plan for the future. So let’s go, friends. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. 

I’ve heard a lot of talk about how this is an amazing chance to just Netflix and chill. That’s wrong. Don’t do that. Let the rest of the country get soft on Game of Thrones and Domino’s while you take this time to get your head right, your body healthy, and your house in order. When the “all-clear” is given and the world goes back to work, you’ll be strong and focused and ready. As Mark Rippetoe famously said, “Strong people are harder to kill, and more useful in general.” And make no mistake, there will be plenty of opportunity for you to be useful on the other side of COVID-19. Start preparing now. Here’s a framework that I think will help you. 

Perspective and Gratitude

It is important to acknowledge that this situation has, and will continue to, cut us pretty deep. To some extent, we’ve all been hurt by COVID-19. Lost wages, social isolation, and anxiety about the future are all taking a toll. I get it. It is easy for us to focus on all of the things we’ve lost and all of the things that we can’t do. But that doesn’t have to be our focus. What if instead, we took some time to reflect on what we have and what we can do? Personally, I feel incredibly blessed to have a healthy family and the warm Florida sunshine. Sure, I’ve lost a few gigs and our anniversary trip is canceled – but I’ve been on more bike rides with my kids in the past two weeks than I did in the previous six months. At some point, this will pass. I’ll go back on the road, the kids will go back to school, and this unique opportunity will be gone. I’d hate to look back on it knowing that I squandered it. We have our health and we have each other. We can always make more money and take another trip. Trite, but true.     

Sharpen Your Axe

If you’re anything like me you have a to-do list that generally adds more check-boxes than it crosses off. It is hard to find the time to clean up the yard, organize the garage, straighten up the closet, or file the tax returns. I used to call these kinds of tasks “ankle-biters”, but now I call them “psychic weight”. They’re like a bunch of little 5lbs plates just weighing down my brain and preventing me from attacking life’s truly important work, and this COVID-19 situation just gave me a clear path to knock them out. Why sit on the couch and do nothing when you could be listening to a podcast and doing your spring cleaning? Why scroll through Instagram when you could be getting some fresh air while spreading some fresh mulch? I’m telling you, this window will close and you’ll go back on life’s treadmill. Get your house literally and figuratively in order while you can. When the whistle blows and the game resumes, you’ll be free from your psychic weight and ready to launch.


Keep Training

We all know that physical training is good for the body, mind, and spirit. And the last time I checked, push-ups were still free and readily available. So are burpees, squats, sit-ups, running, and of course rucking. If you’ve got a little bit of equipment, even better. With almost every gym on the planet offering some kind of virtual, at-home training program including GORUCK, there are limitless options to move your body and stay fit during COVID-19. If you can train with a family member or friend, that would be ideal. If you can’t, start a video chat and train together from a distance. Share your workouts. Challenge a buddy. Get creative. Just #KEEPTRAINING

A Helpful Exercise

Take five minutes each morning to pull out your notebook or journal and do this little exercise. It will absolutely help you to stay grateful, sharpen your axe, and keep training. 

Step 1: Get out of bed

Step 2: Drink 20oz of water

Step 3: Write down three things you’re grateful for. Big or small, just be grateful.

Step 4: Write down three things you’re going to do today. Get shit done.

Step 5: Write down your plan for today’s training. Fortune favors the prepared.

These are tough times, but you are tougher people. Take stock of what you’ve got. Be good to each other. Make a plan. Execute. I can’t wait to see you all at a GORUCK event soon. There will be high-fives. There will be hugs. There will be buddy-carries. I will be ready. And you will be too.

About the Author

Blayne Smith is a former Green Beret and co-founder of Applied Leadership Partners. He loves spending time with his family, staying fit, and exploring the wilds of Florida and beyond.


  1. Jaala Shaw says:

    “What if instead, we took some time to reflect on what we have and what we can do?” My thoughts exactly Blayne! Thanks for writing this; it is a message that everyone needs to hear. And that photo of you singing to P. just warms my heart!

  2. Daniel J D'Alesio Jr says:

    excellent advice. My son is associated with GORUCK and is very proud of the organization in the products. Recently he helped me select a Rucker 20L in Navy and lent me his 20 pound weight. I normally work out at the gym four days a week. Unfortunately it’s closed. Rucking in our nice Florida weather will be my major exercise routine through this emergency and also will be part of my exercise routine after all this is over. Dan D’Alesio.

  3. Gerald Cook says:

    Excellent advice just wish it could be put out to the public and people outside of our goruck groups that really need it

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