Click this link to The Periodic Table of Bodyweight Exercises and every icon is clickable!
One of my favorite classic skits from Saturday Night Live was when comedian, Billy Crystal, played Fernando, a superficial and overtly sexual latin night club performer who greeted everyone with the phrase, “Dahling, you look mahvelous.” His character lived by a personal credo that it was always “better to look good than to feel good.” Maybe we all have a little Fernando in each of us with our desire to look good. While I don’t believe we are all vain and self-absorbed like Fernando, could it be that we put a bigger price tag on our outward appearance than our inner health? This month, let’s focus on ways to feel good from the inside out starting with our body composition.
Here is an article from a friend of mine after having this discussion at a conference a few weeks ago on nutrition for military, police, fire fighters — our tactical athletes. The need for more carbs for highly active people but it goes deeper than that:
Nutrition and the Tactical Athlete
As a firefighter understands fire, the warrior must understand war. Maintaining combat effectiveness via proper training and nutrition is a big part of this.
Nutrition is the one factor affecting each person multiple times per day and therefore has the greatest impact on a person’s overall health and fitness level. Scientists agree that 70+% of diseases known to man are caused by lifestyle factors and many can be treated via lifestyle changes. Nutrition being the number one approach.
For the tactical / endurance athlete this fact does not change. Being fit does not mean being healthy and the level of proper nutrition should address both of these factors.
The level of combat readiness literally translates into life and death. This fact makes the tactical athlete an extreme endurance athlete. Long hours of high stress from limited sleep, MRE’s and massive physical demands provide very unique nutritional demands.
Combat is high stress. The modern day tactical athlete often operates night and day for months without rest. This massive amount of stress not only results in mental breakdown leading to PTSD but also physical breakdown leading to physical injury and less combat effectiveness. This high stress results in elevated cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol causes 3 main problems in the warrior. One, lowered immune functions thus making the warrior more susceptible to illness, two, protein breakdown from muscle to keep blood sugar steady which leads weakness and to number three, increased body fat.
The three issues can be offset with proper nutrition in the field. For years ultra-endurance athletes have developed techniques and products for maintaining endurance days on end during a race. Polysaccharide gels, powders and liquids aimed at keeping blood sugar levels steady along with hydration and electrolyte balance are the key. A tactical athlete must maintain steady blood sugar, water and electrolyte balance. MRE’s do not do this and often have the reverse effect of maintaining combat readiness.
How does a tactical athlete maintain steady blood sugar? First, start by figuring your personal caloric needs. Google is full of BMR calculators. Second, plan to eat 65–70% of your diet from a polysaccharide source. (whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans). Third, calculate your caloric intake of starchy carbs. 1 gram of carbs is 4 calories. Finally, use an online resource to calculate the carbohydrate intake from your food.
Example: BMR = 2000cals per day. Add 600 calories per day for moderate activity levels = 2600 calories per day consumed. 2600 x .65% of carbohydrate = 1690 calories from starchy sources. Each gram is 4 calories, 1690 / 4 = 423 grams of carbohydrate consumed per day. Finally to calculate how much carbohydrate is in the food you eat I suggest the online resource myfitnesspal.com.
There is much more to understand regarding nutrition. But, much like a firefighter studies and understands fire those whom wish to become or are tactical athletes must study and understand nutrition. We will further expand on this topic in the next edition.
Dr. Stephen Erle is the training director for the civilian BUD/s program, SEAL Training Adventures, as well as the Strength and Conditioning Coach and team physician for a Virginia University. In addition Dr. Erle instructs tactical athletics, sports medicine, sports nutrition and tactical combat casualty care medicine (TCCC). He can be reached for comment at Steve@SEALTrainingAdventures.com.
Training to be a Navy Seal means more than just passing the physical test. It’s more than making it through Navy Hell Week. Sure, these things are important but the rubber hits the road the minute your boots hit the ground on an actual mission.
You have to train so that you’re building muscles and endurance that have a direct impact on your job. You have to practice to that each maneuver becomes second nature…as natural and effortless as breathing. You need the kind of training that will actually help you in your job.
What do I mean by that? Well, cycling gives you a great cardio workout and helps improve the heart, true. But it’s not going to give you a huge advantage when you’re humping an 80 pound pack over uneven terrain to get to your target.
Last time I checked, soldiers don’t ride bicycles into combat!
What is the best exercise? Some would argue the deadlift, bench press, squat, or even a plank. I don’t think there is a “best” exercise as they each serve a purpose. However, I know one exercise is always at the top of my list. This exercise is safe and effective for all ages and populations. It can help develop power and strength, while shedding that extra fat.
If you’ve been busting your butt on the treadmill over the last few months and need a change of scenery, it’s time to head outdoors and hit the pavement running! Here are a few tips that’ll prep you for the differences and help ease the transition.
Upgrade your running shoes. You don’t want to run on a road in worn out shoes and end up hurting from shin splints. Upgrade your shoes by going to a store where they watch you run. One of my favorites is Fleet Feet. I first discovered them at their Syracuse location and still go back on my trips from NYC. They just suited me up in the new Boost shoe by Adidas. My run feels lighter, which is critical when going from the treadmill to tougher outdoor routes where you deal with different types of terrain and weather patterns.
Train first. Because jogging outdoors is generally more intense than the belt assisted forward motion of the treadmill, you need to train your body to adapt. Instead of jogging 6 miles per hour at an incline of zero, you should reduce your speed and increase your incline. When you bring your speed down to 5.5 and run with an incline of 2–3, it will simulate running outdoors where you’re the one who pushes the ground away under your feet, not the machine.
Sports training involves various conditioning methods like a speed training program, endurance training, or strength training. Each
has a purpose based on the desired outcome.
You might have an upcoming sports event or want to stay fit for military, special ops, or Seal training. Or, you might be training for an event such as the Marine Marathon and you want to learn how to run faster.
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.
I’ve been working on a number of home improvement projects lately. This weekend I tackled the kitchen, walk-in pantry and guest bathroom — Ugh! What astonished me in cleaning out cabinets was all of the stuff I’ve accumulated from wedding gifts, to inherited treasures, to just plain junk. The hardest part of de-cluttering for me is letting go of things. It is a family characteristic to keep things if they pass two basic tests: could it be worth money or will I potentially need it someday. Forget the fact that just a minute ago I didn’t even know I owned it! Maybe you’re guilty of the same behavior especially when it comes to your health. You may not know what your health is worth until you lose it. As we close out April, let’s do some spring cleaning of our own and find out what your health is worth, now and later.
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.
I don’t know about you, but I have too much stuff to do. Like you, every day I deal with email, Facebook, tweets, work, pets, family, and so on. Finding time to go to the gym is getting harder and harder each day. Well, have no fear. I have assembled for you a workout you can do anywhere called the 2 Minute Workout that only takes, you guessed it, 2 minutes! This workout will get your blood pumping, increase your energy level, burn some calories and strengthen muscles. Not a bad way to spend 2 minutes!
You do not build muscle while you are exercising in a fitness center. The body builds muscle soon after you workout once it can get over your workout routines, using power and size in order to deal with the additional intensity. Typically the ideal time the body has for the purpose of recovery as well as muscle development is actually as you sleep. Using the best bodybuilding supplements at night will certainly actually assist you to develop more muscle whilst you sleep.
Tysen Ober is a 23 year old soldier who recently returned from an overseas deployment to Kuwait. With no job, no school, and no relationship awaiting his return, Tysen knew this was his moment to do something big. And boy is it big! Tysen will be running 3,500 miles from California to Maine to raise money for wounded warriors. His hope is to inspire others to “get out, get active and get involved in giving back to this country.” His drive and vision inspired me to talk about how far we can all go with the right attitude (see the bottom of this article for ways to support Tysen’s quest).
Nutrition bars are increasingly popular. but you may need to take a closer look at the labels. You might be consuming more sugar and calories then you would from a candy bar, you might be surprised to see what else is in them! Check out my Fox & Friends First segment for what to look for if you are supplementing your diet with these bars.
My advice, skip the bar for real, non-processed food like hard boiled eggs, apples, milk, yogurt and almonds. The only bar I lift is a barbell.
It must be a right of passage for most kids, watching classic Disney films like Cinderella, Snow White, Dumbo, and Pinocchio, just to name a few. In true Disney form, there is always a hero or heroine who must overcome his or her fears to defeat the evil witch, monster or various inanimate objects brought to life by overzealous animators. To this day I can’t tell you everything that happened in those movies as my view was inevitably obstructed by the clever hands-over-eyes technique employed whenever something scary was about to happen like the Evil Queen who tempts innocent Snow White to bite into a poisonous apple. “This is no ordinary apple. It’s a magic wishing apple,” says the queen, enticingly. Fortunately, for us, our apple crunching outcome is far more positive. As apple trees begin to blossom, check out the amazing health benefits of apples.
Ever wonder how bad sitting behind a desk all day is for you? Maybe you used to be in the field and now think that your 30 minutes at the gym is enough to combat 8 hours behind a desk? Studies show that you are better off working out at the office several times a day than sitting and then hitting the gym!
Do my suggested office workout several times a day and you will fight that sitting disease.
The following question was asked to SGT Michael Volkin, military fitness expert, best-selling author and inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards — the ultimate 52 card workout. Is SGT Volkin right? Sound off and let’s hear your comments.
SGT Volkin what is your answer for the obesity epidemic?
I don’t like the argument some experts say that UN-nutritious food is too available to us. We are human beings, not animals, we have choices when we eat. The problem is, Americans more-so than any other country in the world eats with their eyes and not their stomach. Americans eat with their eyes because we act on cravings. So if we can control our cravings then we would only eat when we are actually hungry, when our body actually needs food and not just wants it. It all has to do with cravings. There are a few ways to learn to control cravings.
With four rambunctious children in the house, my parents always found creative ways to burn off our endless energy/wear us down in the evening. One of my favorite memories was going to the old fashioned drive-in movie theatre in town possibly because it was the only time we were allowed to dress in our pajamas in public! We cuddled under blankets and watched The Jungle Book. Big old Baloo was my favorite character, a lumbering bear who didn’t have a care in the world and yet was full of wisdom for a wide-eyed jungle boy named Mowgli. One thing for sure about Baloo was his ability to enjoy the “simple bare necessities of life” from back scratches on the bark of a tree to picking “a pawpaw or a prickly pear.” Maybe Baloo was onto something - the right prick can be painless and may just heal what ails you…”You better believe it baby.”
Being a soldier is not a 9–5 job. Especially in combat. You don’t clock in after your morning cup of joe, or clock out when the factory whistle blows. Being a soldier has its perks, and you can have a deep sense of satisfaction and personal enjoyment for what you do.
It’s just that soldiers don’t work normal shifts…and the effects of sleep deprivation on your body can negatively affect your work unless you strengthen your system with the right fitness and best dietary supplement routine.
You need the nutrients that will help handle sleep deprivation and extreme conditions and still have peak performance in everything you do. For some, odd shifts may be temporary as in military training; other times it will continue for an extended period. Know how to keep your rhythm in check and keep healthy.
In desperate need of a warm up, we ventured down to sunny Florida last week. Mark’s parents have a lovely home there and it has become our winter respite. Our daily routine includes tennis, golf and a swim in the pool which includes a walk by the neighbors Gardenia bush — my favorite flower. In fact, Gardenias were the centerpiece of my high school prom bouquet. While other girls had corsages, my date went all out with a bridal like bouquet that he insisted I carry it all evening. Okay, awkward! Even though the details of the dance have faded, I am amazed at the power of scent to trigger memories. It’s no wonder aromatherapy has become such a beneficial tool in our wellness arsenal. What better way to celebrate the bloom of spring than with the power of the flower.