This Veterans Day, for the second year in a row, our workout of the day will be “Chad 1000X”, a Hero WOD created by Dave Castro in honor of his Navy SEAL teammate Chad Wilkinson. The workout is 1,000 box step-ups, as Rx’d with a 45-lb ruck to a 20-inch box. Most of us will scale this workout in one way or another – the most common way being doing the workout with no weight – but still, it will get rough. It will get very physically challenging, and then it will get very mentally challenging, and that’s the point. Chad killed himself in 2018 due to the effects of numerous deployments, several TBIs, blast wave injuries and PTSD. He was living in a daily personal hell, and in the end he couldn’t take it anymore. The reason we do 1,000 step-ups for his commemorative workout is because this is a workout that he would do often to prepare for his next big mountain summit, a personal hobby of his. But it’s also because the mental state this workout puts us in can remind us of the absolute struggle Chad lived through every day and eventually succumbed to, and to bring awareness to other military veterans that may currently be struggling due to their service injuries.
As we plan to take on the Chad 1000X workout on Veterans Day, let’s honor Chad in two ways.
First, please prepare for the workout. This is one of those that if you’ve done it before, you know. It is rough. Doing regular CrossFit workouts is a great start, and those of you taking on “Squatober” will be even more prepared, but adding in one more specific workout per week leading up to the big day will help tremendously with your physical stamina for the workout, as well as your mental approach as you start to learn how hundreds of box step-ups feel on your legs and your soul.
At a minimum, if you are planning to do 1,000 step-ups for Chad 1000X, work up to doing 300 step-ups in one session, and 500 step-ups in one week. With 4 weeks to go before the workout, what that might look like is:
Week 1: 200 step-ups
Week 2: 300 step-ups
Week 3: 400 step-ups
Week 4: 500 step-ups
In my training I have broken up sets of 100 step-ups with a one-lap ruck around the gym. If you don’t have a box to step up on, take on 2 stairs at a time, or do lunges.
Let’s also honor Chad by taking a moment to think about his life and his death. To learn more about Chad and his wife Sara, check out this article. Let’s think about others that know that might be struggling, and reach out and let them know we’re there for them, and they have someone to talk to whenever they need it, whether they are a veteran or not. And if you want to help create more awareness for veteran suicide and help those that you might not know, go here to register for the event, get a t-shirt and a patch, and donate some funds.
Thanks in advance for your time reading this, in preparing for the workout, and in helping to raise awareness in yourself and others about veteran suicide. Looking forward to this great community event in Chad 1000X on Veterans Day.