Rulk's Pursuit of Resiliency, Capacity, and Training Real Life Heroes

Rulk's Pursuit of Resiliency, Capacity, and Training Real Life Heroes

Rulk is a world-renowned functional strength and conditioning specialist with an emphasis on biomechanics working with the elite athletes, celebrities, and first responders. He designed and created a revolutionary training program called Raw Functional Training (RFT®). RFT® is a body weight movement curriculum specifically developed to improve mobility, increase functional strength, and a series of movement modalities that optimize the (CNS) central nervous system to maximize overall body performance and conditioning.

We sat down with him to learn more about his background, doing hard things, resiliency, capacity, and more..


Q: Who are you? What do you do?

I started off working with law enforcement, did a lot of work with a lot of the SWAT teams, the act divisions, arrest patrol tactics, etc...

Then work through the academy, and then went into fire, city county wildland, worked with state municipalities, federal municipalities. Then was fortunate to work with different branches of the elite military. So I worked with Seals, Army Rangers, Marine Raiders. Most recently, some of the guys are in Top Gun.

On the sports performance side of it I work with pretty much all the major sport leagues, NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, NHL, etc. So been great.

But my educational background is in kinesiology with emphasis on biomechanics.

All of my studies focused on sequencing - so the sequence of movements and how that directly correlates to adrenal system management and nervous system optimization.

So that's where the direct correlation is with guys that are first responders in high stress situations and elite performers that are in those situations as well.


Q: What led you to being in the position that you’re in now

I always loved working out. It's kind of my lifestyle, but kinesiology and movement always fascinated me, and more recently, I think outside of just the performance side of things is the recovery aspect and how do we recover more efficiently. I've been fortunate to work with Plunge for cold water immersion therapies.

My focus has always been more on resilience. I'm huge on consistency and resilience. Understanding how we can get back out there and train again. So the resilience aspect for most people that work out is you can work out hard, but how do you do that after day?

We've come to understand that consistency is the only way that you're gonna really achieve your results. Intensity is great, it's a very important part of training, but I think more so than anything is consistency.

You cannot be consistent unless you have a good strong recovery protocol in place.


Q: What's one of the hardest things or what's something you've had to overcome to get where you're at with training and and positioning in life.

It's always been more about making the time to train as we get into it. And that's why Haven bags have been so amazing. Because organization is something that we all struggle with.

Because life is crazy, things get crazy, and so we will forget things, we forget to put things in.

We don't have a place for something, so working with Haven’s been amazing because with that, the bags are specifically engineered to make sure that you have a space for all of the performance materials and tools that you're gonna need to train your recovery modalities, etc.

So, I think overcoming any type of obstacle is important, I think that's something that for me, I struggle with daily. It's, you just don't wanna do hard stuff.

All of us, I think as we get older, I think it's the aggressive pursuit of comfort, right? We're aggressively pursuing to be more comfortable, but inherently, when we're more comfortable, we become more vulnerable for a lot of different things. We become vulnerable for disease, injury, etc...

So for me, the main pillars are discipline, consistency, resilience, because we're always gonna fall down. But I think understanding that and integrating that into your daily protocol is so important.


Q: So when we talk about Haven - the gym is always been my “haven.”

Context: It's a place where I take some manic energy. I get it out of my body, to be able to focus better.

My body is more calm. So whether it's the gym or walking or yoga or whatever, even to us is, the idea of your daily practice. It's the thing you go to. It's a safe space and something we consider sacred.

Whether you’re a professional trainer, a professional athlete, or one of my favorite emails we ever got was “I'm a busy mom of three, and, I have this much time I can't fuck around. I can't be missing stuff because that space is the one moment I get to myself work out, to put this energy out so that I can give more to my family.”


What would you consider your haven?

I think what you said is training, recovery, your overall health and wellness is the core pillar within all of us, right, because that's what we have to be healthy.

People focus so much about being successful in business. I think that’s important, but you have to be successful in your own overall health and wellness not only physically but mentally.

And I think the great thing about Haven - is if you don't have organization and you're missing something, inevitably what happens is that enables excuses to be created. Excuses like, I don't have it, I'll forget it and then you fall off the wagon.

It's very important to have something that can be like your companion, your wingman, that has everything you need. When you look at it, right away you take inventory and see, I'm missing this, there's a place for this, it's not there.

Before you go on your walk, before you go on your trip, before you go to train, before you go to the gym or whatever you're doing, you can open the bag and there's a spot for everything.

It's important to have that because not only it helps with your organization, for those of us who struggle with organizing ourselves and organizing our lives is that it alleviates any aspects of any excuses to be created.

And when those excuses come up, then you make concessions. Those concessions then create weakness, that weakness and makes you not be as disciplined. The discipline then cannot be created with consistency.It's like a, it's like a snowball going down the hill.

So it's important that a haven needs to be an organized peaceful environment.

And that's where I think what Haven is doing with the bags is legendary bro, legendary.


Q: How do you create capacity

I think what a lot of people consider capacity is your individual capacity of what you're able to accomplish.

And I think a lot of times people don't look at themselves as an individual. They compare themselves to their peers or what else is going on and you start focusing on things that you cannot control. And that's where the mistake lies. You only can focus on the things you can control.

For me, I'm not looking into competing with anybody. I compete with myself. I'm trying to make myself a better version of what I was yesterday. But one of the most important pillars of that is being organized, because if I'm not, I'm not showing up for myself, right? You have to show up for yourself every single day, because that expands your capacity.

Consistency is what expands your capacity, not intensity.

So you can train really, really hard for one day, 2 days a week, great, but your capacity is not gonna really increase unless you get the volume over time. And the only way that you can get volume over time is if you have everything organized. Because you cannot be disciplined without organization.

And that's why Haven is such a huge component of that. Because you can integrate that into protocols for performance training, for strength training, for conditioning, for recovery, or just overall life. If you're a mom of three and you're trying to stay organized throughout the day, if you have a bag that has all of your things organized, that's what we're looking for.


Q: Last question, what's the most audacious goal you have for yourself?

I don't have, it's not specifically for performance goals. It sounds really strange cause a lot of people, a lot of people have performance goals. They're like, I wanna lift this much weight, I wanna run this far, I wanna be this fast, I wanna be this agile.

I think my goal is can I maintain consistency for the rest of my life? And that's a pretty hard one because life gets in the way of so many things. So for me, consistency is always key because the one thing I say this many times is that I can promise is we're all gonna go through adversity. That's why resilience is so important because you're gonna go through this consistent basis, and then you face adversity. And if you don't address it correctly, you either give up or you deviate and you make concessions, and then you're no longer consistent with what the goal was initially.

So for me, consistency is important, but in order to do that, I have to be disciplined in my daily life with my training, with my recovery, with my time management, even with my sleep, my nutrition. There has to be organization, cause if you don't, you're never gonna maintain that consistency that you need to accomplish the goal down the road. I wanna be the best version of myself at the end of my life, right? I don't wanna see myself deteriorate because of lack of discipline.

If things happen inherently that I can't control, that's life. But if something happens to me later on that's based upon my decisions, my lack of discipline, my lack of grit, my will, unwillingness to face adversity, overcome adversity, be resilient. That's, I think where, I would struggle with

So I think my overall goal in life is to maintain consistency, and that's in every aspect of my life, right, relationships, being a good dad doing all these different things. You wanna make sure that you can do things once great one day. You do things great one week, but can you consistently do that year after year after year? And in order to do that, there's certain pillars that you need in, in your life. And one of those organization is you have to be organized, just the nature of the beast.

Some of us struggle with it, and that's where Haven is like, what you guys have created is so legendary, because it's something that we all need, but no one has ever put it together, like, you guys have a quality, a quality bag that's constructed and engineered, in the highest level, and at the same time, it's compartmentalized for everything you need. That's what you want.


Q: When you talk about resiliency and consistency, and you walk up to a new hard problem, whether it is getting into a cold punch for your first time or it's something that got in the way of you going to the gym or something happened with your family. Whatever, there's something that's hard. How do you approach that new hard thing that just showed up in your way, what’s your mindset around that?

I think it's fascinating that within our brains there's neurological aspects of how we approach adversity and stress etc that goes on. And with me working with specifically first responders on a daily basis. They have so much stress. Their adrenal systems are through the roof, there’s stress of performance. And what I always look at it from that perspective is the understanding, your weaknesses is very important because those are the things that are your liabilities.

So in order to address your liabilities, it's super important that you're honest with yourself and understand that there's areas in your life that you're not great at and those are the ones you have to embrace. So the great thing about a cold plunge or doing cardio when you don't want to, or doing strength training or doing mobility work, usually the things that you avoid are the, there's a reason for it.

If it's a preferred avoidance, I don't like doing it, then you're allowing emotion to get in the way. So I think we're very emotional. Humans are emotional and that's great, emotions are great. But when they start dictating decisions on a daily basis, then you have to take inventory and audit that quite a bit. Cause you have to realize I might do this cause I just don't want to?

Usually the things you don't want to is because it's challenging, it's hard. But when things are hard or challenging, that's where we find growth. That's where you find and, and grow that will to overcome, the will to survive, and all these different things in your life that you need in order to be successful in every aspect of it. 

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