The 5 Unsexy Secrets to PATHFINDER Success

Being a PATHFINDER roster requires diligence, patience, and the ability to follow-through with discipline. However, there are some definite secrets to roster success, and it might be simpler than you think. 

We're putting the biggest secret right here at the top, where you can't miss it. Do you want to know the secret to most PATHFINDER roster's success?

It's in the small numbers.

Over and over again, regardless of program, the rosters who Finish and patch are the ones that do small things consistently. They do short miles before the sun comes up or after work, or have figured out that working out every day (with one of the tons of workouts in our library) means it becomes an automatic part of their daily life.

Pick off your small goals one by one. It could be the goal of an extra mile, or five more push-ups, or three pounds lost. Once the first small goal is met, the next goal moves to the top. Selecting small, manageable goals and consistently going after them equals success. We told you this would be unsexy.

This is also why we stress that you select your Challenges up front, in the first week of a new PATHFINDER Class cycle. If you use your phone calendar, those alerts pop up on your scheduled days reminding you of your promise to yourself. A bunch of alerts means you nagging yourself to just get it done. One day, those alerts will be your endurance event or thru-hike countdown days.

Ah, the toe-dippers. Hesitant to put 100% of themselves into anything, they sprinkle their efforts around, not really committing to anything. 

When there's so much to try, it's tempting to try it all. And yet, if you only give 60% of yourself to something you need to fully commit to for results, why get mad when the best you get is 60% back (if you're lucky)?

Commit fully. It's 12-weeks. You won't get stronger by trying All Of The Things. Try one thing, and embrace it. The stronger the commitment you make to your goals, your success and improving your physical body, the more likely you are to succeed. Period. 

Toe dipping and discipline don't mix.  If you're always looking for the next edge, the next exciting thing to try, you're burning up your energy looking, not doing. Discipline happens when you make a decision and stick with it. We know PATHFINDER is hard -- but we also know you can do it.

Completing long-distance or extended-hour endurance Events will take everything you have -- dedication, grit and fortitude. It starts here.


Patience is how the successful become even more successful.

It's not an incredible work ethic, it's not supernatural athletic genes -- it's the dogged skill of waiting for the change to occur.

Yes, there's perseverance. Yes, there's endurance and discipline. But patience is what fuels those three traits.

The fast road is flashy and sexy. We all want to be the hot athlete, muscles glistening, looking great in spandex...but take a look at any endurance event. The majority of the people there - whether it's an OCR, GORUCK, a marathon - they don't look like fitness models. They also definitely don't look like they care about that. They're just people who learned to build a foundation of patience, and they are deeply engaged in actively reaching the goal they set.

The path to patience starts with accommodating a capacity for boredom. (WHAT?) It's true. Long miles over mountains, through cities, deep into forests and scrub pine deserts...ultimately? It can be boring, and don't believe anyone that tells you differently. You train, and you practice, and you stare straight ahead and begin to deal with the boredom as part of the training process. Except it stops being boring, then you stop fighting the boredom (you don't want to admit to) with podcasts and music and THEN it starts becoming true training. You took the slow road, and it was worth the wait.

There are a lot of fitness overthinker's out there. While fitness is definitely a science, it's also an art form.

A lot of the time when we get new clients, they've been thinking about rucking and exercise for a long time. They've jumped from program to program looking for The One. They've convinced themselves (and let marketing convince them too) that there's an answer out there they've missed. They would definitely be stronger/thinner/more capable if only they found their missing piece.

But here's a big secret -- maybe the biggest one there is: There is no missing piece. The secret to success really is:

  • You get the work
  • You do the work
  • You don't let yourself get by on excuses
  • You get your results

Overthinking isn't self-reflection. It's ruminating on a thought that you can't/won't/shouldn't hit your goals and creating anxiety around the idea that fitness is a precise group of measurements, instead of an artful blend of techniques.

It's believing the hype that says there's a mythical answer out there. The mythical answer is just doing the freaking hard work. The end.


There is a whole army of people out there who see failure in one of two ways:

  1. Failure is terrifying
  2. Failure is imminent

We prefer to see failure differently.

We believe that failure is exciting. It's challenging. It's something to strive for.

Now, we've said a lot of controversial things in this post, but that ^^^ might be the most. Yes, failure can be disappointing and ultimately, it means the standard, whatever it happened to be, wasn't met. 

But that means you've set a standard -- your own -- just by the attempt. And it means there's ALSO room to continue to move your own personal standard up the ladder as you move towards your goals. 

Life gets in the way -- people get sick, jobs get difficult, babies get born. Our priorities shift and force our adaptability and flexibility in ways we may not have been able to predict the day before. We can use that as fuel. Objectively look at what we might have seen as a failure, and instead, choose to see it as our case-study of one. We can AAR (After Action Report) any aspect of our life -- a crappy workout, a bad break-up, a junk day at the office, a Challenge we couldn't meet. Doing this gives us insight into ourselves, our motivations and how we can reframe negative things that happen and fix them next time.

Check out PATHFINDER's program options:

Learning what rucking is all about? PATHFINDER Life

Training for a GORUCK Basic? PATHFINDER Forward

Training for a GORUCK Challenge? PATHFINDER Endure

Training for a GORUCK Heavy? PATHFINDER Advanced

Training for a GORUCK Star Course? PATHFINDER Horizon

Training for a GBF OPERATION STIRLING or mountain backpacking? PATHFINDER Stirling

Looking for personalized training for your unique goals? PATHFINDER XP

Need help with your fueling or some weight loss to hit your goals? PATHFINDER Personalized Nutrition Coaching