Elite Athlete Spotlight – Christopher Rutz


Christopher Rutz finish line 1Christopher Rutz is a Spartan Pro team member, finished the 2012 Spartan Race season 1st for his age group and still an active spartan 300 elite.  The questions being asked were a contribution of social media OCR research and of what I felt the readers would enjoy.

  1. Your instagram account (@toughtraining) has grown to over 2,000 followers, your Facebook account (@livethetoughlife) has over 5,700 likes and you also have a blog (http://livethetoughlife.com). Besides your professional OCR status you have become quite the motivator for the community. Have you recognized the same? How do you feel about this honor and responsibility?

When I started Tough Training just over two years ago my intention was to provide a resource to my friends, that were interested, some insight into my healthy lifestyle. I always said, I am not sure where I am going with it, but I will just keep going. I am really flattered and honored that so many followers find the information useful. I love hearing back from people who have utilized bits and pieces of the information and made a positive change in their lives.

  1. Somewhat based on the first question, how do you effectively balance your work\life with your active schedule?

It is not easy. I have to remember what is most important and make it happen. What is most important my shift from day to day. Sometimes my priorities get out of balance and I have to make adjustments. One saying I remind myself of when things get too hectic is “ When things are not adding up in your life, start subtracting.”

  1. For the first time this year Spartan Race began racing in Mexico. Is there a way to compare a Mexico Sprint → US Sprint or Mexico Super to US Super?

Wow, that is a hard one. Both the US and MX races are outstanding. The biggest difference would be the elevation, The MX races were at 8-9000ft elevation. That added a degree of difficulty. In MX the outpouring of support for the race in the community is amazing. The MX culture has really embraced Spartan Racing. In Mexico there are also more big name sponsors, such as Chevrolet, which have really helped to boost the atmosphere at the races.

  1. Following the 2012 Spartan Race season you were given the nickname, “SuperBeast”, how do you manage planning and budgeting which race you attend?

Ah, “SuperBeast. Well traveling to races started out as something I did when it was convenient. It quickly turned into something I had to do. Last year I traveled a bunch. I am fortunate in the flexibility I have both at home and at work. There are no huge secrets to making it happen. Spartan Racing is something I enjoy and am willing to spend money to make happen. I try to travel on Southwest Airlines due to the flexibility they have with changing flights. In case I plan a trip and can’t make I can switch it to another one. I can get great rental car rates through my day job. I usually share a hotel room with another Spartan Pro Team member. I try to save where I can. This year on the Pro Team I get some assistance with travel.

  1. You have been known for eating a healthy paleo lifestyle (not diet) at home and on the road. It certainly takes a strong will to adhere to this. Do you have any suggestions for those looking to transition into this lifestyle?

Keep It Simple. Paleo is simple. Lean meat grilled, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, avocado, water and coconut water. I do not have any fancy recipes. Grill some meat, steam some veggies, cut up an avocado, sprinkle on some nuts. You have a meal. Avoid processed Paleo, like Paleo bread. Do not try to recreate your favorite non-Paleo foods with Paleo ingredients.

  1. You have quite a few sponsors. As most OCR athletes are limited in the gear they wear to each race the most important is their shoe. You are sponsored by Inov-8 and your most recent blog post provides some background around your “go to” race shoe. Can you summarize in 3-5 words what this shoe can provide an athlete? For those looking into transitioning to minimalist shoes from the standard trailing running shoe, do you have any recommendations?

Traction, drainage, protection and control.

Start out slow. I actually transitioned from Vibram FF to Inov-8s so I kinda went the other way. Whenever you change something start out slow or short and make a gradual transition. Move from a 6mm to a 3mm to a Zero drop. Run a mile vs 10 miles. Ultimately you need to listen to your body and do what is right for your own physiology. .

  1. Your provide your social media and blog with some great exercises for training. Can you recommend how you build your weekly training schedule? Do you see any benefit in short \ two a day workouts versus one long workout?

I try to mix it up. I follow Crossfit Endurance programming. I do some longer stuff, some two a days and some quick WOD. I like to have a lot of variety. Typically as follows:

Monday – WOD
Tuesday – WOD and Run (Intervals)
Wednesday – WOD
Thursday – Run (Intervals)
Friday – WOD and Hike (1 hour challenging terrain)
Saturday – WOD
Sunday – Run (Long 5-10 miles) and recovery WOD

  1. Christopher Rutz runYou are going to finish the season strong on the East Coast and race in both the Spartan Race Super in New Jersey and Spartan Race Championship Beast in Vermont. Do you have any recommendations to those athletes training to conquer these mountains?

Keep chugging up the hills. Lunges help, but nothing beats the experience of training on the slopes. I train almost exclusively on the trails. Sometimes rolling, other times very steep hills. The more hill training you can incorporate the better. Do not think you have to run up the hills, but do know you have to get to the top. Just keep moving one foot in front of the other. Short strides are more efficient than long strides when going up hill.

Thank you to Chris for taking the time to answer these questions for the community.  For those that enjoyed this article please look out for additional spotlight  features in the future.  For any elite athlete or influential member of the OCR industry that would like to participate in this spotlight please reach out to me. 

If you would like to continue and follow Chris you may find him on the below media sites:Tough Training




  1. As a new comer to the OCR arena and lifestyle, I can truly say the Tough Training website along with Chris’ many posts to sites such as Facebook and Instagram, he has not only been an inspiration, but his website has definitely been the go to site for all of my training questions or ideas. Although Chris and I converse online, I look forward to meeting him in person. As a huge supporter of Tough Training and Mud and Adventure, I think this was a great write-up for an exceptional individual and athlete.


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