Archive for the ‘Air Force Fitness’ Category
Competitive sports training whether it’s on a military sports team or for recreation requires ability and skill. Some argue that skills can be learned; but, ability is something more innate.
This may or may not be true. After all, there are plenty of zero to hero stories out there that tell how someone with little skill or ability was able to overcome the odds and win an event as a results of their desire and passion.
There is no doubt that cross training can build muscle and endurance. But does that transfer to making you better at your sport? In fact, some studies suggest that training programs like the use of weighted objects (such as wearing a weighted vest when you run to make you run faster once the vest is removed) actually do little more than provide the perception that you’re running faster once you’re lighter.
Before Columbus, the world was flat. But that crazy Italian just didn’t buy it. He went against “common” knowledge of his day and sailed unchartered waters…literally!
Well, just like any solid idea it sometimes takes a little bit of time for “common” knowledge to be overturned and then for it to rock established guidelines. It seems like the value of sports training being embraced by our military. In a recent news article it was reported that Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Madigan Healthcare System have begun setting up a clinic that will enhance the care of soldiers.
Are you getting ready for military bootcamp? Navy Seal Buds Training? Or an endurance event like the Marine Marathon or Ironman event? Or are you simply trying to stay in shape so when you strap on that Kevlar vest you know you’re ready for anything that comes your way?
In any case, guys that try too hard, too fast with their personal sports training programs can end up tired, fatigued, burnt out, and actually have trouble concentrating when it matters the most.
These are just some of the signs that you might be overtraining.
Here is an email from a security officer I have known for a few years who primarily does personal security details nearly everyday of the week.
Stew, I am trying to get back into workouts but with 18–20 hour travelling security details, I barely have time to sleep before I am up again preparing for the next day. This last month has been brutal with travel, daily security details, and eating like crap. I am ready to turn this around and start working out hard again. What do you recommend and where should I start?
Have you ever heard the phrase, ” Your nerves are shot?” Basically you are over stressed and need to focus on the basics right now. Truly though, your central nervous system takes a beating when you are not sleeping well and having long stressful work days which can negatively impact your personal life (thus more stress), and not eating right.
Hey Stew, I am working on a project and was curious what your opinion on today’s warrior and Special Ops fitness and which training disciplines best achieve this?
Great question! Over the past decade Special Ops Fitness has morphed into a new fitness genre along with military, police, and fire fighter fitness called Tactical Fitness. In fact, the National Strength and Conditioning Association has created the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Certification Program and hold some of the best conferences I have ever been to. Speakers include those physiologists and athletic trainers who train active duty Special Ops Team such as Delta Force and SEAL Team Six. But the real progress in training is in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, FBI, Border Patrol, and other federal law enforcement programs. Now many of our nation’s branches of service are hiring sports team trainers to run their indoctrination (boot camp), special operations maintenance and injury / rehabilitation programs for instance.
Every soldier, every war, has its own name for this.
“There’s a condition in combat, most people know about it. It’s when a fighting person’s nervous system has been stressed to its absolute peak and maximum, can’t take any more input, the nervous system has either snapped or is about to snap. In the First World War that condition was called Shell Shock. Simple, honest direct language…In the Second World War the same condition was called Battle Fatigue…Fatigue is a nicer word than shock…then in Korea it was called Operational Exhaustion…then Vietnam War the very same condition was called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder… ” ~George Carlin
This is how the comedian George Carlin explained the evolution of language to describe a very real condition experienced by war-time soldiers. And…it’s becoming clear that PTSD can be triggered in even non-civilians who are overly stressed.
If you are like most people, you spend most of your days sitting in a cubicle or office with your only exercise being a trip to the bathroom. This constant sitting literally takes years off your life. Even though the gym may be only a couple miles away, it seems like a hundred miles while stuck in the office. Don’t worry, I have invented the perfect solution, I call this workout the Co-Worker Drop. All you need are some co-workers to play along.
By Sergeant Michael Volkin (aka: The Volkinator) of Strength Stack 52
A typical gym workout lasts 30 minutes to 1 hour, and often includes significant weight-lifting. If exercises are performed incorrectly, the load on the muscles and stress on the joints of these repeated movements causes both short and long-term damage to your body.
Most people continue to work out despite a known injury, aching back, or sore muscles because of the improved appearance of their physique as a result of the working out. However, over time, the improved appearance becomes harder to maintain and a “plateau” eventually occurs.
A workout plateau is when someone continues to exercise and sees diminishing returns on the improvement of their physique. In addition to these hardships, a gym workout causes a time constraint for many would-be gym goers. In addition to the 30 to 60 minute workout, the average gym member has to factor in the time for driving and parking.
Recently, several scientific studies – see Further Reading below – have been conducted which analyzes the optimal duration and intensity for a proper workout. Some experts claim high intensity and fast workouts are the most beneficial, others claim slow meticulous movements with heavy loads is the easiest way to maintain a great physique and optimal health.
“The warfighter is an elite athlete, it is time that training approaches that are scientifically based are updated within the military to match the functional demands of modern warfare…”
This was the observation in an abstract published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health as they talked about strength training for the warfighter.
Military Fitness Training and tests like the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) or “PT Test” and the PFT (Physical Fitness Training) are going to make a leap into the 21st century…finally! Beginning last year, studies in select areas began for the use of updated testing criteria through the Army Physical Readiness Test (APRT) and Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT).
The idea behind these changes is that soldiers will be better prepared physically if they train how they fight.
Eight Weeks. Is that enough time to get your butt into shape?
That’s what a lot of people wonder after the nerves settle, the farewell and good luck parties are just a memory, and the trash talk has passed. They wake up and suddenly realize they are two days into their first week of military fitness training and the cold harsh reality is that it’s only just begun…and secretly they wonder what the hell they’ve gotten into.
Yep…it happens to the best of us.
You wonder if it’s all worth it. And, at the end of the day, when the dust has settled, the muscles have been stretched, the body re-hydrated and belly filled with more (quality) calories than you thought anyone could eat…you think, yeah, maybe this will work…but first you have to get through eight weeks of Hell.
You’ve seen the movies and military bootcamp training clips, right? A staff sergeant up in your face yelling and screaming for you to do more, push yourself harder and insulting your mama and her combat-boot wearing ways.
Most guys respond with an “I’ll show you, you S.O.B.” kind of attitude, fight back and kick it in gear building mental toughness and physical endurance.
For some, this works. For others it’s a recipe for disaster. They actually do push themselves beyond their physical limits and their body quits…way sooner than their mind, pride, ego and spirit do.
If you are entering military bootcamp training with a body that’s not fully conditioned, then you could be setting yourself up for a setback in training. And that sucks.
Before you get the opportunity to do a single pushup or run a single mile in military bootcamp training, you have to pass the ASVAB test. This is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and is given at schools and processing stations across the country.
For some, the mental preparation is more of a workout than P.T. After all, you can’t really see you brain muscle grow when you do several repetitions of study, right? You just have to trust that memorizing all that stuff is going to matter at some point.
So how can you give yourself a mental advantage when you’re studying for the ASVAB test? Well, some studies would suggest that the right dietary supplements that include a dose of Ginseng may help.
Here is an email from an active duty airman who is training / trying out for the AF Para-rescue program (AFPJ). He is having issues with his running portion of the PAST which is arranged after the 500m swim.
I have been doing PAST workouts for several weeks. So far, I have done a practice PAST every Monday for the Past 4 weeks, today being the fourth one, and the running seems to kill me every time. The scheduled PAST that I have officially coming up is during the last week of March, somewhere between March 25–29.
It could be your transition or you need a better recovery program. Can you run well normally without the swim first? Perhaps you need to train for your transitions and do more swim — runs and read:
Is Cortisol bad? Is it only related to stress and gaining weight? In this article we’re going to discuss why athletes and trained soldiers have and need higher cortisol. We’ll also talk about the role of recovery supplements.
So what are recovery supplements and why are they needed for physical and emotional stress? For most people, when you mention the word “cortisol” they think about stress and gaining weight. This is because main stream media often links the two. This leads everyone to believe that cortisol and stress are bad and should be avoided. But is that really true? And…is avoiding stress even possible for someone that actually gets out of bed in the morning?
Stress is not all bad. It’s unmanaged stress that causes all sorts of problems.
This is article 3 of the 3 part series of Health Screening 101. The first two articles in the series of Health Screening 101 are the following:
In this article, we will discuss the changes in his Health Screening Test after four months of following a Low Carb / Paleo diet, an exercise program, and a statin drug.
Previous Article in the Series: Health Screening 101: Blood Testing (Part 1)
In this article, we will discuss the recommended courses of action to obtain healthy screening numbers posed to us by an officer with recent blood screening questions. The goal of the recommendations below is to turn the subject’s next blood test into fewer RED LIGHTS and eventually ALL GREEN LIGHTS.
Exercise, Diet, & Medication Recommendations
An exercise program should help you burn the glucose from your body as well as reduce your fat stores. To effectively do both, it is recommended that you start off your workout with resistance training (weight training or calisthenics) for 20–30 minutes to burn your blood sugar (glucose) and glycogen first. The higher your heart rate the more sugar you are using for energy. This is anaerobic training which requires your body to burn glycogen in order produce energy for the challenging demands of this high intensity exercise. Follow your anaerobic training with an easy paced, “fat burning”, aerobic training program like walking, jogging, biking, swimming at a pace that you can still hold a conversation but just barely. See below for a sample full body workout with cardio program:
Health Screening 101: Blood Testing (Part 1)
Without a better understanding of Health Screening Tests, looking at blood screening paperwork can be both overwhelming as well as invoke attitudes of apathy for borderline healthy / unhealthy numbers. Here is an email from an officer who is 33 years old who admits he needs to lose a few pounds, but is concerned with his recent blood work numbers:
Stew, I know you are not a doctor, but can you give me your opinion on these numbers? The left column is my most recent numbers from last week (Nov 2012) and the numbers on the right are the ranges I should be in to be considered healthy. I know I need to eat better, exercise, and get more sleep, but where do I start? Should I be overly-concerned and start taking medication to deal with this?
Wow, great question. I too get overwhelmed when I look at all the different blood test elements and ranges when some are good, bad, or borderline. And, yes, I am not a doctor, but I know several and have interviewed them to help me write this response to your questions. But to help demonstrate where you need to focus, we are going to use the TRAFFIC LIGHT System created by Specialty Health in Reno NV, to help drive home the importance and understanding of these scores as everyone thoroughly understands the standard traffic light:
A question posted about the training of the Tactical Athlete this week sparked some debate and with the help of Dr. Steve Erle, we came up with a very thorough answer. Nutrition will be addressed in a following post:
THE TACTICAL ATHLETE: How specifically does a tactical athlete train?
Here are some specifics on the physiology of training, example tactical specific exercises, and design of a tactical athletic program.
The tactical specific program is going to revolve around high capacity for muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and elevated cognitive function under high stress, elevated heart rates and often depleted nutrients.
There’s nothing more frustrating during military fitness training than getting injured. It interrupts your progress. It tests your patience because you have to rest the injury. Then when you can get back to training, it’s going to feel like you’re starting all over again. Any muscle gain you had will be quickly lost.
It’s exactly this frustration that pushes people to return to their military fitness training before they’re really ready.
So what can you do? The best advice is to prevent injuries by practicing the best form in your weight training, running and overall physical routines. True, you will push your body beyond its limits and accomplish things that you never thought were possible. However, you have to watch out for overtraining and overstraining.
Not everyone agrees that you can get everything you need to build muscle before, during and after military training simply by eating regular food. But most people would think that you lost your mind if you suggested that sugar is a great way to build muscle.
But did you know that an early study revealed that sugar in its raw, natural state contains chromium?
Yes…chromium! I know that you’ve heard of the “magic” of chromium picolinate to build lean muscle mass. And while there is some evidence that it works, the question is whether or not you should be taking a dietary supplement that contains chromium to give you the best results when you’re training for a military sport, getting ready for bootcamp, or just want to stay fit.