Snowmass Village Recreation Center starts prep class for Tough Mudder challenge |

Snowmass Village Recreation Center starts prep class for Tough Mudder challenge

Instructor Ray Cook leads his class through a series of warm-up routines before getting into the workout.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times |

An international challenge event returning to Snowmass for the second time has inspired a new way to get in shape at the town recreation center.

Tough Mudder is returning to the village Sept. 12-13, and Snowmass Recreation Center instructor Ray Cook has started a class aimed at prepping participants for the unique obstacles they’ll face in the event.

The exercises in the class are based on high- intensity interval training principles and on the obstacles in the challenge, which include everything from running through and crawling under live electrical wires, climbing walls, clambering through muddy pits and swimming through cold water. Known as one of the most physically and mentally challenging recreation courses out there, Mudder is not a competition, and so participants can complete it on their own time and have the option to skip some obstacles.

Similarly, Cook’s class is approachable to all fitness levels in that participants aren’t required to do a certain number of repetitions but rather as many as they can within a given timeframe, Cook said.

The 45-minute class starts with a 10-minute warmup of squats, push-ups, jumping jacks and core workouts. Then participants spread out to the various stations Cook has set up in the rec center’s gym and do one minute of exercises followed by 30 seconds of rest before rotating to another station.

Stations include burpees, a crawl exercise mimicking what Mudders have to do under a low-wire obstacle, core workouts, sprinting with weight on your shoulders, tricep dips and rope climbing. For now, participants are doing at least two rotations through the stations, but Cook hopes to build up to three.

A personal trainer at the rec center, Cook started the biweekly class about two months ahead of the actual event. Just like Tough Mudder, the goal of the class is to have fun, Cook said.

“I like doing challenging workouts with people,” Cook said. “It’s more affordable than privates, so I can reach out to people that normally can’t afford me.”

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