Part 1: Origins
MAGPUL X JACOB HEPPNERPart 1: Origins
Embrace the grind. It’s hard to find somebody who personifies that phrase more than CrossFit Games veteran Jacob Heppner. With years under his belt as a dominant force in the Games, he’s decided to pursue a new challenge in the Tactical Games. Not drastically different from the CrossFit Games, the Tactical Games is a marriage of peak physical fitness and proficient firearms skills. Seeing as we may know a thing or two about the latter, we’ve teamed up with Jacob to follow him through every mile ran and round spent on his way to the Tactical Games podium.
“You always see people’s best, right? You always see the best parts of vacation, the best parts of their life, the best PR they have. But instead, I approach it as let me just show people what a real training schedule looks like. Me failing, me falling apart, me quitting a workout because I’m just like you. This is what it is, it’s not always butterflies and rainbows.”
Jacob Heppner Sled Pull
As a senior in college, Jacob was introduced to CrossFit games at his internship at the Department of Defense. He was playing college football at the time and wasn’t exceptionally physically gifted, but he was a hard worker, so he had the grit the Games require. He dove headfirst, balancing his full-time job with his workouts. Placing 18th at his first regionals in 2013, it wasn’t enough to qualify for the Games, but he knew he wanted to compete at the highest level and developed a plan for success. That next year he placed second in regionals, punching his first ticket to the Games.
Fast-forward to 2020, Jacob qualified for the Games five times, taking three top ten finishes, and tore through Regionals. He never podiumed, but with realistic expectations, he carved out his own niche by breaking down the sport and showing the reality behind what it takes to compete in the CrossFit Games. Jacob would share workout routines, focusing on highlighting the struggle and grit needed to overcome the grueling challenge of competing in the CrossFit games.
Stationary Bike Ride
Setting Up a Target
A knee injury in 2017 gave him more downtime than he was used to, so he decided to get into shooting. He was introduced to firearms at an early age but never got into them to a serious extent, so getting behind a gun was an easy decision. Always looking to challenge himself, just shooting evolved into weekly workouts where he combined CrossFit-like movements with shooting drills, leading to the creation of #fitnessandfirearms. The inspiration of combining the two came from biathlon competitions and the realization that he could shoot on target with ease, but introduce a spiked heart rate and placing shots where you want them gets a hell of a lot harder.
After doing that for about a year, he jumped right back into CrossFit competition. He was consistently told to check out the Tactical Games before he retired from CrossFit because they were so similar. He already had half the skills required to compete in the Tactical Games, so once officially retired from CrossFit, he looked to the Tactical Games as the next competitive effort that would challenge him in a way he needed.
Tools for the Job
Sighting in the New Rifle
Jacob has noticed a lot of carryover from CrossFit – notably the similarities between the communities. CrossFit athletes are an extremely supportive group, and the same can be said about the Tactical Games. Jacob has been welcomed with open arms, and the other competitors have no hesitations helping him progress and learn techniques.
Along with that, it is still a young sport, and there’s a lot of opportunity. Jacob is looking to become a household name and help mold the competitions with lessons learned from his career competing in the fitness world. Hi mantra: Grow the sport, have fun, and win. You can sum Jacob’s list of goals down to those three things. Back in Kansas, he’s already built “The Barn”; a personal gym complex where he plans to hold classes, hold camps for the top teenagers in CrossFit, and act as a center for the sport and merge the two communities together. All the while, he has a new podium in mind.
Aside from gearing up for upcoming Tactical Games events this year, Jacob has an upcoming amateur boxing bout versus Josh Bridges on September 18. They’re scheduled as the undercard for “The Heaviest Boxing Match in History,’ with strongman rivals Eddie Hall and Thor Bjornsson exchanging blows in Dubai. Josh and Jacob are longtime rivals from the CrossFit Games, and they’re looking to take their competition into the ring for six rounds. Like The Tactical Games, boxing is new territory, but a place Jacob isn’t afraid of.
Interested in seeing how things work out? Come back to Magpul COMMS for more up-close action with Jacob.