Archive for the ‘Navy Fitness’ Category
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.
Everyone’s busy nowadays; we’re lucky if we can find time to cook a healthy dinner for ourselves. Having an alternate plan for getting a great workout is vitally important to staying in great shape. Our busy lives sometimes pull us away from the important things in life like healthy food and time in the gym.
I have assembled the top 5 portable fitness equipment to keep you healthy in 2014 (and beyond):
I was recently asked by an Army veteran if there were other fitness tests out there to challenge/ test people who want to be “Tactically Fit”. This particular veteran likes to stay as fit as he was while serving more than 10 years ago and still manages an above average Army PFT for age groups 20 years younger. These are great health and fitness goals to ace a basic PFT, but is it really a Tactical Fitness Test? No — See the multiple dimensions required in creating a foundation to be “tactically fit” in order to have the ability to perform some of the most dangerous jobs in the world — defending / protecting our country and communities.
Tactical Fitness is the new fitness genre and I personally define it as: The ability to perform military, police, and fire fighter job related skills such as running, rucking, swimming, buddy rescue, equipment carry, requiring upper body and lower body strength and muscle endurance. I have been wanting to make an all inclusive tactical fitness test for a while now. The test below has no scientific study behind it, these are simply my opinions what tactical athletes should be able to do. However, all these events are commonly used testing events used by many military, special ops teams, SWAT Teams, police and fire fighters.
These are the twelve events I call the Tactical Fitness Dirty Dozen that I pulled from various military, police, and fire fighting fitness tests to create an all inclusive fitness challenge for those of you who want to be ready for anything. There is a grading system that is quite generous in basic pass / fail standards as well as a max point system of 100 points.
The events justification:
25# Pullup — Weighted pullups are required as most gear a tactical operator wears will weigh anywhere from 15-25lbs minus the back pack. Minimum is 2 reps / maxing is 10 reps. 1 point for each rep for a total of 10 points and minimum of 2 reps.
Body Weight bench press — Upper body strength with combination of moving your body weight for multiple repetitions to test pushing power of the tactical athlete. Minimum points for 5 reps (2 pts) and maximum (10) points for 15 reps.
Dead Lift (1.5x BW) — Can you lift more than your own body weight. Practicing this event alone will help a tactical athlete learn proper lifting techniques and build a stronger foundation to move heavy weight when required. 1 rep P/F but 2 points per rep until 5 reps for more points. Minimum points for 2 reps (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 5 reps.
Fireman carry — Can you rescue your buddy and carry for 100yds? Pass / Fail criteria (5 pts pass)
400m sprint - Can you run fast (no gear)? 60 seconds max points / 80 seconds minimum standard. Sometimes speed is essential.
Minimum points for 80 seconds (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 60 seconds.
300yd shuttle run - Can you run back and forth quickly (6 x 50m shuttle)? 60 seconds max / 80 seconds minimum standard.
Minimum points for 80 seconds (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 60 seconds.
Illinois Agility Test — You will have to zig and zag while running at full speed, changing direction often. Max points of (5) if completed under 15 seconds. Deduct a point for every second slower than 15 seconds until 19 seconds(1 pt). Slower than 19 seconds = fail.
Plank pose - Can you hold the plank pose for 1 minute minimum. Get extra points for every minute after that and max out at 5 minutes. 1 point 1 minute. Add a points for each minute up to 5 minutes. Max points 5 points.
3 mile timed run — The three mile timed run. Can you run 3 miles without stopping? Then you pass. If you get 18 minutes you max the test and can pick up a few more points if you can keep it under 23 minutes. 10 points for 18 min / 1 point less for each 30 seconds until max point time of 23 minutes.
50 lbs ruck in under 1 hour (4 miles) - This is the minimum standard for Army rucking times. Can you pace yourself at a perfect 15 min mile with 50lb back pack or weight vest. No need to go too fast on this event. It is about finishing on a steady pace. No extra points for getting under 1 hour. 10 points pass or fail.
Swim - Can you swim? - If you cannot swim you are ineffective on 75 % of this planet. Be an asset not a liability to your team, yourself, and your family. This is a basic survival skill we all should know how to do. 5 Points for just knowing how to swim.
500m swim — Any stroke. Swim 500m non-stop and you pass. Get 500m in 6 min or less and max out the swim test. You can get extra points until the 11th minute. 5 points for maxing the swim / 1 point less for every minutes until the 10th minute.
25m Life saving buddy tow - Can you dive to the bottom of a pool (8-9ft) grab a unconscious buddy and tow him 25m to the other end of the pool? Pass or fail — 5 points.
Here is a chart to make it easier to understand:
|Exercise||Pass / Fail Criteria|
|4 mile ruck (50lbs)||1 hour maximum time|
|25# Pullups max reps||2 – 10 reps|
|Bench press (bodyweight)||Pass or fail 1 rep: 5 reps — 15 reps for extra points|
|Dead Lift (1.5x bodyweight)||Pass or fail — 1 rep
(2–5 reps for extra pts)
|Fireman Carry (P/F)||100yds of equal bodyweight|
|400m sprint||60–80 seconds|
|Shuttle run 300yds||60–80 seconds|
|Plank pose (P/F)||1 minute minimum / 5 min max|
|3 mile run (P/F)||18 minutes to 23 minutes for extra points|
|IL Agility Test||<15 secs to >19 sec|
|Swim – can you swim?
|Yes / no|
|Swim 500m timed||6 minutes – 11 minutes|
|Swim – Buddy Tow||Pass/fail – 25m rescue swim|
Max points is 100 points if you ace everything. You can still pass with as little as 40 points. You must pass all events to pass the test. Give it a try and see where you stand. Practice and your weaknesses and think your way through this test as you can arrange to best fit your optimal scoring potential. The interesting thing about this test is you can arrange the events in any order you wish. Get creative and develop your own strategy for better performance. The test can be broken up into two sessions or challenge yourself and go for all events in one long testing session.
“The Dirty Dozen” Tactical Fitness Test eBook is here.
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 - 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.
Training large groups with varied fitness levels is one of the most challenging things to accomplish with success. Success will be defined by the group’s increased fitness levels as well as not injuring people who maybe ill-prepared for new and challenging exercises. Here is a great question from a new PT coordinator concerned with adding new ways to test the group in exercises /events not common to the Air Force PFT.
My unit has placed me in charge of the PT program which is a combination of remedial PT failures as well as the top fitness levels on our base. We are – for the most part – a competitive group and though we do focus on the PFT exercises so we stay on top of the test, I would like to change it up and add new fitness testing exercises to challenge our team. I recall you writing that there were about 10 to 12 exercises that have been deemed as acceptable (validated) for most military and police fitness tests. However, there will certainly be some naysayers who will be less than enthusiastic about fitness programming and evaluation on a department-wide basis – even if it is for fun. I know you have a lot of experience in this area, so I wanted to see what your thoughts were on the best exercises / tasks for testing purposes.
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.
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.
Removing the Flexed Arm Hang and adding Pullups to the women’s fitness standards in the Marine Corps was an upgrade that was carefully considered, studied and implemented with support throughout the chain of command for the past couple of years. However, recent events have forced the USMC to reconsider the start date of the new change. When 55% of the female graduating class at boot camp failed the three pullup minimum, the January 1, 2014 implementation date has been postponed.
Why is this an issue?
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!
You’ve seen BCAA supplements on the health food shelf; you’ve read about the benefits of BCAA when training and you want the results these supplements claim to deliver. But how do you know which are the best BCAA supplements? They contain different ingredients so which option is the best for a highly active lifestyle?
Great questions! And you’ll get your answer here because not all supplements are created equal.
BCAA supplements (branch chain amino acids) can be combined in a power formula that includes Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Biotin, Zinc, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine, L-Glutamine. While each of these ingredients are beneficial to the body on its own, when combined in the proper dosage, they become a highly effective component in a fitness regimen, the world of body building, and the military training.
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.
Mental Toughness has been a topic of discussion and debate for generations as we humans try to define our lives. What makes some people tougher than others? More successful? More motivated? Calm in stressful situations? What are the common traits of ordinary people doing extraordinary things? Can mental toughness be measured? Scientifically tested?
These are the questions I have been seeking answers to and the type of questions I get each day from young men and women preparing for challenging programs in the military, law enforcement, and fire-fighting professions.
There are some scientific studies performed trying to measure how people handle stress and why they graduate Special Operations programs like Army Special Forces and Navy SEALs. Some of the most interesting and pertinent to this discussion were the ones done by Dr. Andy Morgan of Yale Medical School.
When I was 19, I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry about the intake of calories. Fast-forward a couple decades and those “glory days” are long over. However, losing weight isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Even common household items you have in your house right now can help you burn calories and lose weight without ever hearing the dreaded word “diet”. Below are a few of my favorite household items that can help you consume less calories.
Building up your running is a constant battle for many recruits especially when they are also trying to build muscle to handle the stress of PT, rucking, and other weighted events in military training. Maintaining running for USMC fitness tests can be challenging as well for active duty Marines especially when you are deployed and spending most of the day wearing your kit / ruck. Here is a question from a USMC recruit trying to prepare himself for faster USMC fitness standards on the run:
I am currently able to accomplish the USMC PFT with 19 pull ups, 87 sit ups, and my 3 mile time is 25:00 minutes. Do you have any information and ways to reduce the time on my run? I rigorously work out 5 times a week including cardio and strength training. Thank you for your time and assistance.
Learning how to balance tough Special Ops level training with injury prevention is a constant battle and a delicate balance between recovery, logical progressions, nutrition, hydration, and knowing when to put in 100%. Now that last part is a bit tricky because in Spec Ops training you need to give 100% all the time right? Well — not really — you have to know when to turn it on and when to back it down so you do not injure yourself. Here is an email from a 28 yr old trying to get the most of his last few months before the age limit no longer allows him to attend SEAL training:
“Stew, I am 28 and a SEAL candidate working hard everyday to prepare myself for what is to come. I am a former boxer and have found that when I do the sprints in your Navy SEAL Fitness book , I ache for a day and I am borderline pulling a hamstring. How do I do these workouts at my age and not hurt myself?”
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!
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.
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.
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?