As a member of the US Navy Seal for 12 years, Chadd Wright was part of some of the most successful teams in the world while battling against the most extreme conditions and situations. During this time, he became a SEAL Instructor and Master Training Specialist, where he discovered one of his passions: teaching. As a SEAL, pushing himself to the limit was commonplace, but rather than putting more pressure on himself by thinking how daunting a task might seem, Wright learned to break down the challenge into smaller pieces to complete the mission. This process is a big part of why he was able to excel as an ultra-runner.
It’s methodologies like these and others that he uses with Project 3 of 7, which is a training company that also happens to be the title of Wright and his brother Blake’s podcast. Together, the two lead training missions across the country with the goal of helping people become better humans.
“The cool thing about wilderness is that it takes away all the facades that people put on,” Wright’s brother Blake said. “It tests them so much it takes everything away and you can see the real core of who they are because how they work when all hell breaks loose. They are simply reduced to their simplest form. When that happens, they can see those things that they couldn’t see before because the frontcountry gives you a lot of luxury and comfort where you can function like that.
Whether it’s training for the next event or spending days in the wild, Wright has found a product he trusts in HOIST, which is the US Army’s favorite hydration and supports the former military returning to civilian life.
Fresh off an off-the-grid backpacking excursion, Wright sat down with Bodybuilding and fitness share the principles he follows, why ultrarunning gives him the opportunity to practice what he teaches and what it takes to survive one of his excursions.
Practice what you teach
Somehow I became a mentor or influencer to people through social media and in many other ways. What I’ve found in ultrarunning is that it keeps me level with the ground. I think the word “coach” has been watered down so much these days. I believe if you want to be an influencer or a coach, you have to be there to do it. Ultrarunning for me is that arena where I can say I’m going to go out and test myself at a high level. I will test the principles I teach others. I will learn new things about myself and I will continue to challenge myself. It’s my field that keeps me sharp, relevant and really gives me confidence as a coach and influencer. It shows that the things I say don’t just come from theory and I practice them on a daily basis, and they work, and I win by using those principles. It’s not something I started 10 years ago or something I regurgitate from a book I read. Ultimately, our chosen way of life is a privilege we must earn every day. If I’m going to talk to you about how to improve, I have to earn my position to talk to you about it.
Body, soul and spirit
When I was a SEAL, towards the end of my career, I became a Master Training Specialist. I love teaching and it is a real passion for me. I also enjoy developing people into better humans – body, soul and spirit. We use this wild environment to develop people. The podcast revolves around physical fitness, mental toughness, and our spiritual relationship with God, us being Christians. We believe everyone has a spiritual side. 3 represents body, soul and spirit. Seven is the number for completion. So in everything we do, we try to develop someone’s body, their soul, which is their mind, their will and their emotions, and then their spirit – in order to give them complete fullness of life. We run many different training missions all over the United States. Everything from wilderness excursions, 140-mile kayak missions, and missions in high mountain environments at 12,000 feet above sea level. To bring it all home, when we go on a mission , it’s not about teaching you how to be a better outdoorsman or how to survive. You learn these skills, but ultimately we want to see you grow as a human being.
The most critical advice we give right off the bat, and I think it helps anyone who comes to train with us, is the three pillars of my life and what has allowed me to do so well in ultrarunning, in field training and all these things that I’ve done that are quite difficult. The first thing is that you need to be patient with yourself, the process, and your team members. The second is that you have to stay present, which means you have to be where your feet are. The third is that you must be deliberate in your actions. With every step you take, you need to be deliberate in your thoughts, words, and interactions with the people around you. If we can get you to be patient, to stay preset, to be deliberate in everything you do, you will be safe there. You will accomplish the mission and you will make the most of the time we can spend with you as a student.
It’s much easier said than done. It’s easy when I tell you to be patient, but when you’ve been on your feet for 16 straight hours, climbing the side of a mountain to a 5,000 foot ridge, and you’re so exhausted that you think you can’t go any further, it can be difficult. You have to be present, and you just have to break it down. You have to look at the tree in front of you and just say, “I’m going to go to that tree, and that’s a win.
Come out the other side
The biggest changes I see are people learning to lead and be led. I see people learning what it’s like to lead and make decisions and what it’s like to be led by someone who could be stronger when they’re weak. I see people learning to form a team and move towards a goal together as one unit. Believe it or not, people don’t know how to do this. They may tell you they know, but when you put them in a situation and tell them to do it, they don’t understand it. I see people learning to use a chain of command. I see people learning to communicate with each other and spreading information within a group, learning to support each other in practical ways when someone can’t carry the load of an 80-pound bag on the back. They have to learn to support each other because they realize that we all have to achieve this as one unit and you just can’t be an individual there.
You have to be a team member and lead when it’s your turn to lead. You have to listen and learn to communicate. All these things are baked into me. It’s normal for me as a former SEAL. I’ve operated on the most successful teams on Earth. Two years ago, I was amazed to find that these skills and traits weren’t common among civilians or corporate teams. They like to talk about it, but they don’t really know how to go about it.
There is no giving up
The bottom line of all of this is that I had to take quitting smoking off the table. No matter what was presented to me, I learned that you have to decide not to give up because I have to keep moving forward. If I had to find a new direction to get me where I want to go, then that’s part of the process. One of the big lessons I learned in SEAL training is that the number one reason people give up on something difficult is because they are overwhelmed by the big picture. I’ve seen so many guys in BUDS SEAL training that when the going gets tough all they can think about is not being able to do it for six more months and that’s when there they left. We would do something simple, and the guys would quit because they were thinking too far. Every day at SEAL training I had a goal and that was to get to breakfast. It was my only goal when I woke up in the morning. After that I made it for lunch. If you get to lunch, you’ll get through the day. This ability to break down each day and challenge small segments to ultimately accomplish something huge is absolutely essential. I use it today in my marriage, business, ultrarunning, all aspects of my fitness, and my relationship with Christ.
COMBAT STANDARD TEST
*Test must be completed in full kit (approximately 25lb vest to simulate body armor)*
I consider physical fitness as something functional. I always think that if I exercise, I want to become a well-rounded person. The physical form should allow me to be better in certain skills. I’m a warrior, so I always wonder how my fitness matches up with being a warrior, and what can I do to make myself a better warrior. The Standard Combat Test is training designed and tailored to replicate the stress of an actual combat scenario.
Start the clock: 60 minutes
- Load the Humvee: 25 front squats (135 pounds)
- Patrol in: 100 Calorie Assault Bike
- Fight against fires : 100 pull-up burpees
- Patrolling: 100 Calorie Assault Bike