Archive for the ‘Coast Guard Fitness’ Category

Workout of the Week #17

Combat Swimmer Stroke

Here is a swim workout that requires a video to best explain.  The focus is on three events:

Life Saving Buddy Tow — 25m
Combat Swimmer Stroke 50m
Freestyle 100m (6–10 strokes per breath)

The goal is to push yourself on the buddy tow — recover with the 50m CSS — then push your heart /​ lungs with 100m freestyle hypoxic type swim set.

 

See previous weeks workouts on the Stew Smith Blog Sections.

United We Stand

HonorGuard

I come from a family of patriots.  We all support our Veterans, our military service men and women and our country regardless of the date on the calendar or the status of world events. My grandfather is part of the Greatest Generation as a WWII Veteran. My uncles are Veterans of the Vietnam War.  I am a the spouse of a GWOT Veteran who served our country valiantly during a career that saw both peace and conflict. So, during a time when we celebrate our Nation’s birth, it seems fitting to also thank those who graciously and unselfishly support our troops, respect our flag, and serve our Veterans.  This week, while we’re spending time with family and friends,  I want to introduce you to a couple of patriots & patriotic organizations that have inspired me. 

A Klutz-​​Free Summer

National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic

Did you know there are about a million ways to break a toe?  Well, maybe not a million but I can tell you that a door frame, an asphalt driveway, or a box of National Geographic magazines will usually do the trick.  To say I was accident-​​prone when I was a kid is pretty much an understatement.  From broken toes and arms, to endless bruises, abrasions and sprains, I was always sporting a cast or a splint of some sort.  I wish I could blame it on some right of passage into adulthood, but, alas my klutzy nature has landed me in more than one painful situation over the years, like the heavy wedge I knocked into my foot while splitting wood with a sledge hammer this past weekend.  If you find yourself exceptionally attractive to accidental incidents, it’s time to learn some simple ways to go from clumsy to carefree this summer. 

Adventures in Travel

Family travel

I’ve been going a bit stir crazy the past few weeks and just recently figured out why.  The long winter and a late spring have left me with a prolonged case of cabin fever.  I partially blame my restlessness on my ethnic roots.  My ancestors rarely ever stayed in one place for an extended period of time which may be why I’m genetically predisposed to being a perpetual travel bug.  Much like military families, I learned a lot about travel early in my life.  My parents were always loading us kids into the station wagon to destinations unknown, well, at least it felt that way to four kids in sweatshirts, jeans and hushpuppy shoes. So, while I scope out travel brochures and exotic destinations, I thought it might be fun to figure out if travel is good for you after all! 

Favorite Workout #1 — Last Week

trxsqtrowUp

“Stew — What was your best workout you did last week?” asks an Army ROTC cadet.  “Anything new? Something classic?  I would love to hear what you come up with in your Spec Ops Team sessions.”

Many readers have been asking to post some of my favorite workouts we come up with each week with my pre-​​Military /​ Spec Ops PT groups.  Sounds like a plan.  I will post my favorite workouts of the previous week here on Monday’s each week.

This workout will vary each week as I tend to pick favorites that are a combination of upper body /​ lower body weights /​ calisthenics, or swim or run PT mix, or mix it all together for a challenging full-​​body /​ cardio burnout day. So without over-​​talking it — here it is:   “The Modified Murph with TRX and Kettlebells”

If you are into these type of workouts, you may have heard of the “Murph”?  It is a workout in honor of Navy SEAL officer Michael Murphy (MOH recipient) used often as a “Memorial Day Murph” workout in the CrossFit world.  It is actually a classic workout done my future Special Ops guys for decades.

Are You a Captain America?

Captain America1

I consider my sister-​​in-​​law, Dana, a real sister to me.  She is kind, compassionate, fun, wonderfully opinionated and loves me unconditionally.  I always welcome her advice and recommendations and she has never steered me wrongly.  Last summer she said I must watch The Avengers movie.  What a fun ride!  It was cool to see so many of my favorite characters like Thor, Ironman, and the Hulk joining forces to fight evil.  The only challenge was that I knew nothing about Captain America.  Friday night, I finally watched the first Captain America movie and can’t wait to see the sequel that apparently was a blockbuster at this past weekend’s opener. What caught my attention was the desire this scrawny little guy had to serve his country and sacrifice for the greater good of mankind.  Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far to find those willing to raise their shields to protect our country.  From our incredible service men and women to every day difference-​​makers, we all have a little bit of Captain America in us.

Plyometrics and Vertical Jumps

Plyometrics became popular for Olympic-​​bound athletes. And many professional and elite athletes are familiar with workouts that include vertical jump training to improve their performance on the track or on the court. But you’re a soldier. Is it possible that plyometric training can provide some value for the military?

The short answer is yes. Let’s talk about what plyometrics is, and isn’t, and how you can use it to improve your performance on the battle field.

Coast Guard Diver Rating Created

Cgdivers

Coast Guard divers have been performing hundreds of diving missions each year for decades around the world in support of the multiple maritime missions of the Coast Guard.  Now, starting this year (2014), the Coast Guard created the Diver (DV) rating for qualified enlisted members.  Until now, divers in the Coast Guard had different rating professions and diving was a collateral duty.

Tactical Fitness Ideas — Why Think and Exercise?

pyramid191

Stew, I recently heard you talk about adding thinking games into your workouts.  What do you mean?  How is that helpful to me being a better SWAT operator?   John

Being able to think while stressed is a trait all tactical operators (military, special ops, police, fire, EMS) all need to be able to do their jobs.  I have been experimenting with workouts over the years and realized that by training the brain to think while physically tired /​ stressed can help you when life or death situations occur.  This can be a simple pyramid workout where you have to do math during your workout or more advanced workouts where you have to get creative and think your way through them.  Of course, you also need the required tactical training to help perform your job, but when things are not stressful in “real life” you can simulate it in training and even your workouts.

Get Insanely Hard Muscles with the 300 Rise of an Empire Workout

300-rise-of-an-empire-workout

Do you want to know how the hundreds of muscle bound bodies covering the screen in the movie 300 Rise of an Empire got so unbelievably ripped?  Well I did the research for you. Unfortunately the cast exercised for 3 hours a day under a very strict regime set forth by Gym Jones.  However, by researching the program I was able to take the core components of the regimen and create a powerful workout that anyone with one hour a day, a bit of determination and a desire to pack on serious muscle could do in their own gym.

Boot Camp Workouts — Misunderstood Term

nutrition for runners

An interesting reply to a recent article on PFT Failures in the military, particularly the women and pullups story about the USMC standards, provoked some thought and a realization that maybe the term BOOT CAMP has been redefined over the years.  Here is a great question that discusses preparation prior to basic military training:

My nephew has recently joined the USMC and I saw that even before he went to boot camp, his recruiter worked with the kids regularly to physically prepare/​condition them even before actual boot camp.  My question is, are these women being tested before or right at basic training, or are they failing even after some sort of pre-​​conditioning +/​or remedial boot camp program?  Was my nephew’s recruiter unique in his pre-​​conditioning program? 

Nothing unique, as far as my experience shows, with recruiters (especially USMC recruiters) pre-​​training their candidates prior to basic training /​ boot camp.  The USMC is pretty good at it comparatively.  But it is a mix of society — mostly out of shape people in our society join each year. The military gets its share of these unfit recruits who attend Boot Camp like it is going to get them in shape /​ normal weight again.  Typically for men as well — you will have only 40–45% you are really exceeding the standards before training. Others are just meeting the minimums or below the standard.  Usually by the end of training, you will have 90 percent or more who are meeting the standards physically.  The problem is many of them are borderline pass /​ fail graduates which can be (and often is) a problem for that recruit /​ military member for the rest of their career.

I see the statistics that 40–45% of the women are passing or exceeding the standards with regard to pullups,  not that over half failed the standards at the END of basic.  Granted, that number should be higher in the passing zone and if given more time prior to Boot Camp they could have exceeded those minimum standards.  Women can do pullups — they just have to practice them.  Same for men.  I have seen many recruits (men) start off not being able to perform pullups too.  It is a time and practice issue more than anything.

I think the big problem with most people (men and women) who go to basic training think it will get them in shape. The term “boot camp” itself has become misinterpreted in society as a fitness class you take at a gym in order to get into shape.  In military training you need to be in shape PRIOR to going or you really do not stand much of a chance of completing near the preferred standards OR you risk getting injured.  Arriving in shape to military training (already meeting the standards) will allow you to use the workouts as a stress reliever.  This will enable you to learn your new job better too (shooting, moving, teamwork, sparring and other war fighting skills).

If you are thinking about serving this country. Do yourself a favor and show up having taken several fitness tests.  Prove to yourself that you can ace the standards in front of you.  You will be glad you did.

 

How to Workout Like an Olympic Champion

Bodyweight exercises

How to Workout Like an Olympic Champion - The Full Body Workout You Need to Start Doing NOW

The winter Olympic games are among us and as we see one chiseled athlete after another competing at what they do best it makes me want to reiterate to the fitness community what it really takes to have well defined muscles and slim waistline. I see one fitness blogger after another writing workout plans that tell you do hit the weights and do three sets of legs on one day, and three sets of another body part on another day.  The truth is getting a chiseled body doesn’t come with spending 15 minutes working out one or two body parts a day in the gym. Aside from eating healthy, you need to stimulate all the muscles in your body 3 times a week. A full body workout is especially useful for you 8-​​5ers who sit in an office all day waiting for that time you get to go to the gym to release energy.  Follow my 3 day full body workout routine below to ensure you hit all the right muscle groups in the right sequence.

The Busy Dad and Busy Mom Workout

Stressed Father Feeding Little Daughter and Using Cell Phone

No matter what technological advances come out to make our lives more efficient and effective, we seem to have less and less free time in our daily lives.  With the daily responsibilities of being a parent, it seems nearly impossible to consistently make time for the gym.  But don’t worry; there are exercises you can fit into your existing day that can be surprisingly effective.  If you want to lose weight and have more defined muscles, fit the below routine into your daily schedule for 4 weeks.

Keep it Running: Nutrition Tips for Endurance

nutrition for runners

What Do Runner’s Eat? Whether you’re new to running or a competitive marathon athlete; endurance –based exercises like running require you to pay attention to your extra nutritional needs. If you don’t, you’ll notice changes in your body structure that may not be what you hoped for (like getting way too thin) or even worse, you’ll experience a lack of energy after your workout.

Although running may not seem as physically intense as weightlifting or martial arts; runners of all levels need to be pay close attention to vitamins and minerals as well as caloric intake. Your quality of nutrition will ensure optimal performance and help you avoid over training.

Back to the Drawing Board — Help!

injuredman

Often injuries or illnesses occur and derail our fitness and progress made over many months and years of effort.  This can be extremely frustrating to any hard charging military or fitness buff. Getting back into it after several weeks or months of recovery time can be a shock to the system and a bruise to the ego if efforts and expectations are too high.  Here is an email from a British Army soldier needing help after an illness sidelined him for several months:

Stew - Well my fitness has gone completely!  I am serving in the British army, unfortunately just over five months ago I was struck with kidney stones.  The doctors immediately stopped me from doing all physical exercise until this week when they have finally given me the all clear to start again!  I was feeling completely wasted after a ten minute jog and struggled to complete a measly 10 mins on the static bike!  Could you please advise me as to whether any of your other programmes would help me in starting to get back to fitness, any help would be more than gratefully received!

What Are You Doing This Year? 2014

What Are You Doing This Year? 2014

Every year — it never fails — many engage to correct all of their wrong-​​doings, unhealthful habits, and other self-​​helping notions in the form of New Year RESOLUTIONS.  “Resolution” is one of the most over-​​used words during the end of December and January each year, but by February it is gone usually along with our energy to better ourselves. So, I recommend instead of making a resolution, set four quarterly goals to help you reach where you want to be next year at this time.  Take a look back at 365 days ago.  Seems like yesterday right?  Why not create a logical goal setting formula that will work for you with a little bit of effort and some good habit building skills?  Where people fail with their resolutions is that they try to fix too much at one time.  Stopping smoking, starting an exercise program, eating healthy foods in an effort to lose weight can be too much to take on all at once.  Try another approach to success.

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Holiday_Eating_Weight_Loss

Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving stuffing and Christmas cookies, your body will take a brutal calorie beating this holiday season.  This is the perfect time to start or change that workout routine.

Your body has an amazing ability to adapt and for most people, working out consists of what I call a “zombie workout”, which involves going to the gym and doing the same exercises over and over.  I see people actually yawning while working out. Your body can’t possibly be getting an effective workout while yawning!

Band of Brothers

Clay Hunt

For those of you who connect with me regularly, you know my passion for our military and our veterans.  From the bravery, courage, and inspiring leadership of my amazing veteran husband, Mark Gauger LtCol USAF(ret), to the thousands and thousands of everyday people who have risen up to serve our nation so valiantly, I remain in awe of your service and sacrifice.  Recently, working here in Maine with the Travis Mills Project and the expansion of the National Veterans Family Center, I have become acutely aware of the unspoken needs of our Armed Forces.  No where is that need more evident than in the tragic death of Marine veteran, Clay Hunt, in 2011.   This article is a spotlight on a team who has taken up Clay’s torch to inspire leadership and provide mentorship for our veterans. 

BMI: Bogus Measurement or Valid Health Indicator? You Decide

what is the bmi

What’s My BMI? And other useless questions…

The BMI, or body mass index is a measurement that some doctors and other administers use to determine if a person is obese, or right in line with where they should be to be healthy. However, health and a healthy lifestyle really have more to do than the number on a scale.

For example, there was a man in Mexico that weighed in at 1200 pounds. He was desperate to lose weight and nothing seemed to work for him no matter how much or how little he ate. The curious thing was that based upon his blood work…he was normal and had all the “stats” of a healthy individual. However, most people (including this man) would agree that living in a 1200 pound body is the furthest thing from healthy.

Best Vitamins for Men in Combat Boots: Training for Military

military_workout

Some people mistakenly believe that “supplements” refer only to the stuff that meatheads use to juice up and bulk up, creating muscle that’s all for show with no real strength to back their play. And…there are some old-​​school philosophies out there that still support this antiquated way of thinking.
But make no mistake…supplements backed by science have a place. You see the results on the sports field. And, you see the result on the field of battle. Still there are skeptics that ask if there is any validity for the best vitamins for men training for military?