21st Apr2012

Military Fitness and Movement Training

by A.J.

Military Fitness EntrySo There You Are…

(Video Below)

You just left the last covered and concealed position moving to the breach point. After a short pregnent pause your breacher has set the charge on the door and the commander has initiated the breach. If the clanking sound of all you equipment didn’t wake up the house you are pretty sure the water impulse charge packed with det chord and c-4 did. As you move through the smokey threshold where the door used to be you catch a look at the HVT (high value target) he looks at you as you look at his hands to see if you can end this operation with 5.56 millimeters of lead and hate, unarmed he turns and runs out the back and your team pursues. In his man-jamas he clears a 6 foot wall no problem the breacher stands on a planter and can clear the far side from where he is and you get the order to follow; what is going to get you over that wall? Your strength? your cardio? Is it something about you military fitness?

Military Fitness Has Three Major Parts

We have all talked about the compromise between cardio and strength training when we are trying to hone in our military fitness but, I think those are only two pieces of the puzzle and without the third you may be missing the boat. The third part of military fitness IMHO is movement training. Functional strength is all the rage these days and you can’t talk about fitness without someone saying “Crossfit” but the fact of the matter is you are never going to power clean on the battle field but, you may have to climb a wall or pull yourself out of a burning humvee. This is not a hit on functional training which is super important, but if you have a greater respect for movement training when you are done reading this post and watching the video (below) I think you will have gained something for your time.

Military Fitness Chart

Military Fitness and Movement

As you see here for military tasks it was the finding of this group that mobility was of the highest priority

 

The term Mobility refers to your ability to move your body and negotiate it in space and time I like the term movement better because for me mobility means driving.

What is Movement Training for Military Fitness?

Movement training should contain bodyweight drills like push-ups and pull ups, but a regimen in movement training like you will get from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Yoga can not be replaced. Obstacle courses can also offer a huge training value for movement but,  it can be difficult to get out to a real obstacle course often enough to get some advantage from it. You can train your movement and agility just using your environment from trees and walls. The video below was built to give an example of some functional movement training while adding a specific technique to clear walls for CQB and CQC.

In the above video it is clear that strength and cardio is much less emphasized and in its place is flexibility, agility and technique to accomplish the task. By having the movement skill to get over the wall you require much less energy and strength plus as a bonus you can keep a lower silhouette that provides a much smaller target to the enemy than a very difficult press up would make.

Thanks For Stopping By

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17th Mar2012

The Principles of CQB

by A.J.

Speed, Surprise, Violence of Action

Lately we have been taking a look at CQB to try to educate/review some of the basic premises for military operators and tactical athletes. We decided to make a post dedicated to the most basic parts of CQB so in future installments we could delve deeper and not have to catch guys up as we go. This post will seem pretty basic to some of the people out there but, I think a review can do everyone some good sometimes. To win at CQB there are three pillars or principles that should be adhered to. The three pillars of CQB are of course:

1. Speed

2. Surprise

3. Violence of Action

 

Why discuss the  Principals of CQB?

CQB

I am not really sure why a team would want to be this close. How easy do you think it is to "sneak" 8 guys up to a breach point in the day time. If they were moving fast they should have no time to get ducks in a row. What is the number one man waiting for? Plus the last man is covering where they came from instead of the threat corner.

There is some confusion about the three principles and to be honest There isn’t a lot of consensus about what is the exact best way to apply these pillars. Police  tend to have their own play book and the military guys another but, that being said there are definitely places where we meet in the middle. I am going to give you my take on it and as usual I am going to make the disclaimer that these are only the opinions of the TacticalAthleticPerformance.com advisory board and you have to make the determination for your team what is right for you.

Speed

Speed is probably the most misunderstood principal because it does not mean an operator must run from one point in the objective to the next. Speed is a nuanced idea that the team should waste no time and give the enemy as little time as possible to prepare for the assault team. Recently, I was training with a long time friend of mine whose tactical prowess I respect a great deal and when we were doing some training he said: “well let’s just start off real slow, and back it off from there.” The quote really stuck with me because it showed a great deal of insight into CQB training and execution. Often times we get so excited and adrenaline overloaded that we tend to move way too fast and get ahead of our headlights, which in the long run slows the operation.

 “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast”

                                           -every tactical instructor on earth

CQC Thailand

A couple years ago I was training the Thai Special Forces, and when I said "speed" they heard "run." I remember this hit not going so well. LOL

The reality (or at least how we see it) is that slow can be smooth and smooth can be fast, but slow isn’t fast. I recently looked up whether slow was defined as fast and for some reason Mr. Webster didn’t think so. Speed is the end goal, not “FAST”, now this may be a semantic argument but, the principles aren’t: fast, surprise and violence of action; so my suggestion is to just get fast out of your vocabulary (fast happens all on its own). Speed on the other hand is a product of the economy of motion. By moving smoothly and deliberately you will be able to clear an objective much more quickly and efficiently than you could by running through the objective, blowing off threats and generally acting like a spaz (which is my personal pet peeve). A deliberate (not to be confused with deliberate technique) approach that has good economy of motion will maintain the initiative and give the enemy less opportunity to prepare for the assault team. So if you get anything out of this section it would be that your team needs to be methodical, masterful and economical; which will provide all the “speed” you need.

 

Surprise

I know we have all seen the movies where the SWAT team simultaneously breaches every window of a building by repelling off the roof and putting an officer in a circular perimeter around the inside of the room before the enemy knows what is going on. Aside from the fact that I am not a fan of the circular ambush, the principal of surprise is definitely a big part of the hollywood infil and for good reason. When you are able to surprise the opposition force you can get ahead of their internal decision-making process, which many people describe as the OODA loop. The OODA loop which was first described by Col. Boyd of the U.S. Air Force is the theoretical decision-making process that we all must use before we carry out an action. Observe, Orient, Decide and Act is a constantly moving process the enemy must make to engage your assault force and by surprising the op-4 (opposition force) you can short-circuit the process and gain great advantage. Once we agree that surprise is important we then need to develop a plan that gives us the ability to maintain surprise and though I am not including an exhaustive list we can hit some of the big stuff.

When your team gets to decide what time to attack be sure to use a time that gives you the biggest advantage (and is when the enemy is the least alert). If you know the lights in a target turn off at a certain time I would suggest hitting that target about 45-70 minutes later which gives your enemy an opportunity to not only get to sleep but, to enter the deepest most restful sleep from which he will be the most disoriented when woke up. One problem with night-time is that it generally makes it more difficult to approach the target without being heard ( I can barely walk around my room in the dark without knocking something over). On the other hand peak traffic time may provide the noise pollution your team needs to gain access undetected. Surprise can also be manufactured by the use of flash bangs that create a disorienting effect with percussion, or even an explosive breach can elicit the same response. The police often send a guy in a pizza delivery  outfit to get the door open and quickly make entry, this works because the op-4 has pizza on the brain and the next thing he sees badges and guns in his face totally short circuiting the OODA loop. To use surprise effectively you need to avoid patterns and constantly change your team’s techniques, if the bad guy is in the back room and he hears you bang every room and then make entry; he will be waiting for the bang before he starts firing at the fatal funnel. Change entry points, tempo and tools to keep an advantage. Never get into the mindset that what worked yesterday is going to work today, CQB is a thinking man’s game so get your team able to flex from one TTP to the next. Have multiple tactics that you use and change them depending on the METT-TC. Remember surprise can come from many different aspects of the assault including timing, distraction, misdirection, decoy or any number of other tools, your mind is the only limit so plan a few mock training iterations and make it a point to get your guys thinking outside of the box.

Violence of Action

CQBVoA insures that the team maintains the initiative by kicking in doors and being generally aggressive. Keep both mental and physical momentum through action and combat mindset. Hesitation is the enemy of VoA so drill often to insure that all team members are “switched on” and ready to execute. It is amazing how often the first person to realize they are in a fight, wins the fight because acting first carries a huge prize for the carrier. Violence of Action also can demoralize the enemy and sometimes get them to surrender without the need for a shooter’s solution. VoA is maintained by refusing to let complicated CQB problems bog down the team, I have watched many teams (from the catwalk in training) literally stand in a room planning the way to hit the next room, by the time you are on the objective the planning phase has passed just get out there and execute. If your team has to discuss the correct way to cross a four-way intersection then obviously you need to take it back to the drawing board and et your SOPs squared away before you should spend any time in the shoot house. Remember an average plan well executed is better than a perfect plan, not executed.

 

Conclusion

Thanks for reading to the end, you are a rock star. I am going to give away a free tee shirt to one person who comments on this post and enters the drawing, here is how to enter:CQC

1. Read post (done). 25% complete

2. Post comment that says “issue me a free tee” (also go to the TAP Store and pick the one you want and include in comment)

3. Share this post on your social network of choice (like or plus or whatever).

4. When we have 50 comments (mine don’t count) I am going to pick one random person and send a Tee Shirt.

Thanks again, and be sure to subscribe by putting in your email in the “subscribe” section to the right so you don’t miss any new posts.

 

 

 

07th Mar2012

Active Rest and Military Fitness

by A.J.

Rest Better And Improve Performance

What is Active Rest?

Rest Is An Important Part of Military FitnessThe Idea that you should train on your “off” days may bring a chill up your spine but it may be the missing piece in your training that could push your performance to the next level. Active rest (or active recovery) is the idea that even though you aren’t pushing your physical limitations you are taking some time to get off your rear end and activating you metabolism. A 20 minute moderate to slow swim can be a great active rest exercise that is just what you body needs to help you recover.

What Will Active Rest Do For Me?

Even one day of total inactivity can materially affect how your body responds to insulin and metabolizes sugar. By including a light exercise you are telling your body not to get lazy and just store calories, getting a light training in can kick your metabolism into high gear for hours after training is done. One the best ways to improve your military fitness is just drop useless bodyweight and active rest can help you do that..

One of the big problems with intense training is the development of huge amounts of lactic acid in the muscles that causes painful soreness, lowers muscle ph, and inhibits protein synthesis (muscle growth). A buffer like beta alanine can do only so much to counter act intense training, but active rest will help mobilize and metabolize lactic acid and speed recovery.

The movement of joints and tendons increases the elasticity and blood flow to these weak points in the body. One of the reasons joints are so slow to heal from injury is because of the low vascularity in these parts of the body. A half an hour of light exercise will help lubricate, oxygenate and repair minor tender spots.

Part of military fitness is mobility and mobility is closely related to  flexibility. Recently we were training in some basics parkour exercises to develop the ability to efficiently manuever through urban environments doing cat jumps and spider hangs and the like; one of the biggest obstacles to getting around over and through the environment for my team mates was a lack of flexibility and mobility. A well though out active recovery regimen will incorporate flexibility, enhancing training. You are required as a tactical athlete to be highly mobile if for no other reason than to overcome the cumbersome body armor. Below I have included a military fitness characteristic chart developed by the Department of Defense that probably explains it better than I can.

Military Fitness and Mobility

As you see here for military tasks it was the finding of this group that mobility was of the highest priority

Rules of Active Rest

  • Keep it moderate to low intensity (I try to keep my heart rate below 143) a rule of thumb is 60-65% your max heart rate
  • Don’t over do it, you don’t need to train for 2 hours to get benefit but ,do at least 20 minutes
  • Incorporate movements that develop flexibility and mobility
  • Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
  • Form over power, take this chance to refine movement skills and techniques
  • Have fun

Examples

I am going to include my favorite active rest exercises in order this in not an exhaustive list but it will give you insight to where my head is at.

  1. Swimming
  2. Yoga
  3. Jui Jitsu/MMA (light, training form and technique)
  4. Chiropractor
  5. biking
  6. Jogging
Yoga Can Help your Military Fitness

For all the reasons to do yoga here are two more

 

 Conclusion

Active rest days don’t have to be a trip to the gym, it can be playing sports or just a nice hike. Use your active rest days to remember how much you like being in good shape and enjoy what got you into training in the first place. Active recovery when combined with good nutrition and training can push you through plateaus. I hope you got something out of this post and if you did be sure to share it on your social network of choice and check out some advertisers in the “Klicks for Karma” section to see if anything captures your attention to the right because half the proceeds from you clicking goes to great foundations like the Special Operations Foundation and other great charities.

 

29th Feb2012

Combat Mindset and Peak Performance

by A.J.

You are the Master of Your MindsetCheck Your Headspace and Timing

I spent the day with some guys I have worked with over at Magis Group who are without a doubt the leading performance optimization training company for the military and specifically Special Operations. We got to talking about what are some of the differences between a good operator and a great operator. The owner of Magis is a man named Stephen Robinson and it is clear after talking to Steve that there is a lot more to the mental preparation than simply “thinking positively.” The tactical mindset is a deliberate mental state you create through the use of a disciplined mind. Hopefully with some of the info I put down here you can start to develop a methodical approach to increasing you capacity to perform in a tactical environment.

 

“there is a big difference between being a good shot and being a good shooter”

-me

 

After a few hours of talking I asked for one skill set I could use to improve how I perform, and I asked if I could share it with you guys and without missing a beat Steve gave me something pretty cool. He called it the “peak performance state.”

Developing a Peak Performance State

Or as I would say a “Peak Tactical Athletic Performance State.” So here it is sort of simplified but, enough to get us started.

1. Develop a ritual

When preparing for combat or just kitting up for training, do it the same way every time. I have a very specific order that I put on my gear, PCI my equipment and load my weapon systems (*ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, LOAD YOUR SECONDARY BEFORE YOUR PRIMARY) before I am ready to go. By doing it the same way you are using somatic (body movement) markers to train your mind and body to be ready. Just as certain body positions can trigger memories a ritual will prep your body for battle. As an added bonus if you do it the same way every time if you forget something it will feel wrong so you can correct the omission.

 

Tactical Mindset2. Eat for the Mission

Before a mission is no time to experiment with new foods or engage in gastronomical adventurism. The time to try new things is when there is nothing on the line and you aren’t required to perform. Bland food made of primarily complex carbos is probably going to be your best bet, avoid heavy protein and fats right before leaving the wire. Don’t worry the horrible chow hall food will be there when you get back.

 

3. Use a Mantra

A mantra is a few words that embody how you want to operate or what you expect from your self. The mantra doesn’t have to be a complex set of expectations but it should mean something to you and elicit a feeling state that is congruent with the mission. For what it is worth (probably not much) I always tell my self I am going to be “fast and accurate”, “I am going to engage targets fast and accurately”, “I am going to make decisions fast and accurately.” I know this may sound silly or useless for a few guys out there but I challenge you to try it and see if it works for you. Don’t make a huge scene with your team mates just quietly psych your self up.

 

4.Get in Character

There is nothing I hate more than when I am out training or on a mission and I know one of the guys I depend on is daydreaming or for some reason isn’t 100% focused on the task at hand. When you head out you are one thing and one thing only; you are a warrior on a mission who will stop at nothing to accomplish what is expected of you! You will have time later to worry about your bills, your spouse and whether you closed the garage door. If you can’t leave that stuff behind then you need to figure out who can replace you on the mission, it may sound harsh but in the real world when it gets ugly I don’t need fathers, brothers, or great husbands all I need are mission accomplishing machines who will stop at nothing to do the job and get the team back safe. Actors in Hollywood say they can get in “character” when they have to so I know the men and women who carry the banner of freedom should have no problem. Part of getting in character is your mental state; think about a time you performed at you best and recreate it in your mind, this should help stimulate your senses and get you motivated to go to work.

 

5. Be Present

Performance happens in the present, past performance doesn’t guarantee future success and the only easy day was yesterday. If you are in a surreal state of dissociation you can not perform at your peak. Studies have shown that Special Forces and SEAL candidates who try to mentally dissociate from selection have a much lower pass rate than those who just endure the moment and don’t save anything for later. Often times a mission can get out of hand fast, when the bullets are flying you can see it in the eyes of the new guy that he is just barely holding on to reality. One trick I use is I wiggle my toes in my boots and take a deep breath, it places me in the present and readies me to be an active participant in the mission. This can also be used to get other team members who have hit a limit get back online, grab a hold of him and ask him if he is ready to move to the next problem , tell him to take a deep breath because you are depending on him to do his job.

 

Conclusion

These are skills that many of you guys already do to some degree or another, I know that because I have out briefed hundreds of combat vets and they have told me as much. You may use some of these and not others but, I would ask you to try it out before you discount it off-hand. You should be using this stuff both in tactical situations and non tactical for example: When I get home from work I open my safe and put my guns away (ritual) I get out of my uniform or work cloths and change (get in character) I take a deep breath and release any unneeded mental residue from the day (being present) and I tell myself I am going to go upstairs and be the best husband I can be (mantra) then I say hello to the wife and grab a beer (eat for the mission). As I write this I can actually hear your eyes rolling in your head, but I challenge you to take this approach to anything you want to accomplish and I defy you to come back and tell me it hasn’t fundamentally changed that way you approach your job, relationships and life. I would like to thank you for reading this post and spending time on the site and I would also like to thank Stephen Robinson for his permission to use some of his basic skills to help out other operators. Please check out the “Affiliates Section” to the right and proceed to buy things you would anyway from great sites like Bodybuilding.com because half the proceeds go to awesome charities like the Special Operations Foundation. If you feel you got some value out of this post I would really appreciate any feedback you have to give (I try to respond to them all) and thank you for sharing on your social network of choice.

 

 

20th Feb2012

Spartan Race Fort Carson

by A.J.

Come Join Us At The Spartan Race Fort Carson

Spartan Race Fort CarsonTactical Athletic Performance and Complete Nutrition of Colorado Springs are going to be supporting the Spartan Race Colorado held at Fort Carson home of the 10th Special Forces Group and Army 4th Infantry Division. This event is going to be one of the hardest of the year for the Spartan Race because of obstacles designed specifically for Special Operators as well as the intense altitude.

When: May 5th and 6th 2012 Starting at 0900 for the “elite” heat

Where: Fort Carson Colorado “The Best Home Town In The Army”

Distance: 4+ miles with additional obstacles

There will be no aid stations for hydration so come ready to rock.

The Race will have a Cinco De Mayo theme, unlike the typical Spartan Race this one is designed and supported specifically for the military athlete. Come hang out with us after the race at the Complete Nutrition Stand and get some free stuff if you mention Tactical Athletic Performance. Click the link Below and sign up. Hope to see you all there. All entrants get a free “Beer Ticket”

http://tacticalathleticperformance.com/SpartanRaceFC

 

12th Feb2012

Top Sites You Need To Visit

by A.J.

Military Fitness sitesI am always looking for new places to get info for our profession. Becuase it is such a small niche it is sometimes difficult to find good accurate info. The last couple of weeks I have been in a course for shooting, CQB and Urban Combat (which is why the post have slowed down for two weeks). While here I have been talking to my buddies about some lessons learned, TTPs and where to go for more info, so in the interest of getting that info out to the dedicated few who make a living carrying a firearm and wearing body armor I have put together a short list of some of my favorite places to go. Feel free to bookmark this post for future reference and if it turns out to be a post you enjoy share it with your buddies on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Leave a comment about your experience.

#1. Stew Smith, The Daily PT

Stew is a great buddy of mine and he is an absolute encyclopedia of military fitness techniques. I placed Stew at number one because I wanted to start out of the gate pretty strong. One of the unbelievable things about Stew is he answers all his non spam emails and I have seen him take time out and personally train guys that are getting ready for the military and advanced selection courses. You may never meet such a genuinely nice guy with the SEAL credentials he brings to the table.

#2. Kyle Lamb, Viking Tactics

Kyle Lamb is a former Delta Operator and Seargent Major in the Special Operations community, now Kyle is arguably the best tactical carbine instructor in the world. Besides being a great instructor he is a great guy who takes the time to answer questions and train interested parties in the military and the civilian sector but, be warned he is generally booked out many months in advance. His book “Green Eyes and Black Rifles: Warriors Guide to the Combat Carbine” is an absolute must ready for anyone in our profession.

#3. Ben Greenfield, Get Fit Guy

Ben Greenfield was NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the Year 2008, which is a great distinction. I personally do not know Ben but I have followed his blog and podcast for some time. Ben brings things down to a very basic level and anytime you spend on his site is well spent.

#4. Pistol-Training.com

Pistol-Training.com is a great resource when you are looking to add some variety to your training. This site has a huge library of drills, targets and information. Be sure to stop by and check out the original F.A.S.T. drill.

#5. R.E. Factor Tactical

R.E. Factor Tactical is a site dedicated to the needs and wants of operators and military members alike. R.E. Factor is owned by a Special Forces Master Breacher who I have worked with on a few operations and he specializes in creating special purpose items for breaching and other tactical needs. If you have a question about the tactical application of explosives there is no one out there I would rather ask.

#6. BodyBuilding.com

Body Building.com has a huge selection of supplements and shipping second to none. They provide free shipping to APO addresses which comes in super handy when deployed overseas. They also have a great tool to help develop supplementation regimens as well as workout programs. One thing I like to do is buy stuff while over seas so I have a constant influx of carepackages I send myself and besides, without some supplements you are forced to limit your fuel intake to stuff you find in the chow hall. “There is no point in treating your body like a temple in the gym if you treat it like a dumpster in the chow hall.” I would suggest getting over there and checking out all the new features they are adding all the time. In the interest of full disclosure the above is an affiliate link and I will get a small commission on anything you buy, but the prices are the same for you so thank you for using my link and helping to support this site.

 

#7. The Sniper’s Hide

As a military sniper it is often very very very difficult to get reliable info that you can use plus with everything else you gotta do staying up on the latest info and tactics is also hard, that is where The Sniper’s Hide comes in. The Sniper’s Hide has great info and if you are a sniper that wants to stay on the cutting edge or just a professional warrior who understands that marksmanship solves a huge number of tactical problems then this is the place to go.

 

#8. Matt Hathcock CrossFit Unbroken

I know there a ton of Crossfit fanatics out there and this site is the one I really like. Matt and his guys do a great job be sure to check them out. Based out of the Denver Metro area working out at Unbroken you not only have to contend with super human workouts but, also the altitude.

#9. Brownell’s

Brownell’s has been outfitting soldiers and police officers for over 70 years.  They have a great selection and if you are as interested in shooting as I am there is no one out there that can get you a better price so you can shoot more often. Get over there and get the best new optics for your pistol or rifle and just watch your performance improve. Like the Bodybuilding.com link this one is also an affiliate link so I thank you if you use it the next time you need to plus up your zombie apocalypse cache at better than Walmart prices.

#10. Andy Holmes, Complete Nutrition

Andy doesn’t have a super web site but, I think I would be remiss if I left him out. At one of my former ODAs we hired Andy to come in and get all the guys on the team squared away with what supplements we should be using for different phases of training. Andy is a two sport Olympic Athlete and well as a 4 Sport athlete in college. Andy specializes in military athletes and if you send him an email and mention that you got his info from T.A.P. he will waive his $125.00 consultation fee and provide phenomenal no obligation recommendations just tell him your MOS and what your goals are. You can contact him at Email Andy

#10.Tactical Athletic Performance

Of course you knew I was going to have this site in the list. I started this site to fill a void I found because you can probably find 100 sites on how to play some superhero video game but, there is literally no one stop shop for all the stuff that keeps us alive on the battlefield or get us some tips to share the best way to close with and destroy the enemy. T.A.P. was built as my attempt to help push the ball down the field but, it can’t work unless we get feedback from other guys who have been there and actually fired their weapons in combat so please whenever you find something relevant or maybe even off target give us your perspective. Thanks for reading to the end talk to you all soon. Be Safe.

05th Feb2012

10 Tips to Improve Your Training for the Military

by A.J.

Training for MilitaryWhether you are getting ready to join the military or you are just ready to push your performance to the next level there are definitely a few tips that should help. As a Special Operator there are two aspects of the military that I think are by far the most important, they are going to war and training. This article is intended to help you get the most out of your training for the military. Before I get a few of you saying I have made this post already I would say yes to a degree you are right, but not only is this a different take on the original it is also such an important topic that it is okay to reiterate some of the points to those of you who never read the first one here is the original “Improve Combat Training

 

10. Don’t Let Your Ego Slow You Down

Personally I have had difficulty with this aspect of military training. It is hard to give up your ideas and assumptions and take a listen to what others have to offer. If you go into training thinking you know it all I promise you will not get the most out of the training.

9. Strike a Balance Between Your Strength Training and Endurance Development

We tend to do the things we are good at and ignore the stuff we have a little more difficulty with. If you work on your weaknesses you will respond well to the training because, it is so much easier to improve at things you are bad at and in the long run you will find all your training events are easier.

8. Don’t Waste Your Workouts

After you train you have about 45 minutes to get some fuel in the machine or you have essentially wasted your time in the gym. In a recent study they had three groups of strength trainers those who ate within 45 minutes of working out, those who ate at normal meal times and those who waited three hours after training to eat and the results most likely won’t blow your skirt up. The group who waited three hours after training actually got weaker from training, the guys who just eat at normal meal times had a slight gain and those who ate within 45 minutes of training had significant increases in performance. The moral of the story is have a fueling plan for after you train and be sure to get do it or you just wasted your time, effort and motivation.

7. Have Fun

If you don’t at least a little bit enjoy the outdoors, physical training and adventure maybe being a military athlete isn’t for you. There is no shame in not wanting to be a tactical athlete just understand that it isn’t for you. If you do have the aptitude to be a light-fighter and warrior don’t let it become a drag have fun with it. Do your ruck marching in places where you get to enjoy nature and be in the wild. Join teams and train in groups. In my most recent shooting school we would spend about 12 hours a day at the range and after all that time in gear we were getting pretty tired, but as soon as the steel target tree came out and it was a competition everyone was revitalized to train just because a little friendly competition really makes training more fun.

6. Have a Rest Plan

Recovery is a huge part of training. The military is notorious for making the military personnel work on low sleep, so sleep when you can. Even if you are training everyday be sure to have a few days where you are engaging in recovery exercises like a moderate swim or a slow jog. Have a plan to recover and get better everyday.

5. Have a Plan

Decide some performance markers you want to achieve and move toward that goal. When someone tells me they are going to get in shape I say “great what is your plan,” often I get a weird look, but I think your plan is one of the largest indicators of whether you will be successful. Write it out even if it is a rough draft like “go to the gym 5 days a week and run 10 miles on Saturday and Sunday” the more detailed the better but be sure to at least have an idea of how you are going to proceed.

4. Get a partner

No matter how motivated you are a partner will help you stay more consistent. Having a partner will also give you an indication of your progress verses someone else’s. With a partner comes accountability and the responsibility that someone is depending on you and all that should help you stick to it.

3. Watch Your Nutrition

Don’t fall into the trap of treating your body like a temple in the gym and a dumpster in the chow hall. As a military athlete nutrition becomes especially important because the department of defense only gives lips service to the idea of high quality nutrition. I am a huge advocate of supplements for all tactical athletes simply because I see a terrible effect on my performance that the military diet tends to have. Just like your mom always said “eat you vegetables.” Be sure to get a variety of veggies, lean protein sources and try to keep your saturated fats to below 8 grams per day.

2. Don’t Forget About Your Movement Skills

Recently the Special Operations community has been really interested in what separates the candidates that pass selection and training events and those that do not pass. Candidates that fail to pass are generally separated into three distinct groups and they are as follows; Persons who quit training voluntarily or “VW” (voluntary withdrawal), persons who fail to meet the standard, and persons who for some medical reason cannot continue to train. A recent study showed that 87% of candidate who failed to get above a 14 on a functional movement screening failed to complete Officer Candidate School due to injuries. The functional movement screening is a specific battery of movement skills that display your overall functional movement prowess. To help develop your movement techniques focus on lower impact training like yoga which I personally believe to be a totally indispensible part of military fitness for any operator who wants to achieve a higher level of performance.

1. Get Leaner

Gravity is a sonofagun. As a ground trooper we talk about how much our ruck weights and how heavy our equipment is. The military will weight you down with a hundred pounds of ultra-light-weight equipment even though we can’t always choose what we carry we can choose not to carry around the extra weight of body fat. Anything over 10% body fat is a uneeded excess. I put together a little article for fat burning that may help get you on the right track.

 

Get a head start

I decided to include a video I made last year that I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from military member who just want a place to start.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by, be sure to leave a comment, share with your battle buddies on Facebook and bookmark for future reference.

28th Jan2012

Optimum Fat Burning For Military Fitness

by A.J.

Lower Your Intensity, Increase Your Performance

Fat BurningWhat is the best way to burn fat, lean up and overall increase my ability on the battle field? This is a question I get hit with quite often. The fact of the matter is you can’t flex fat so besides a small amount of fuel you need to carry on your body, excess fat just slows you down, increases the work you have to do to get the job done and doesn’t seem to do much to improve your appearance in a uniform. Conventional wisdom says you burn more calories from fat when your output is low and you burn more calories from carbs when you put out at high intensity. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as just dropping your intensity to burn more fat, because when you drop intensity you also drop total calorie output. The question becomes what is the optimum intensity output to burn the most fat while not getting too far into the carbohydrate and muscle burning zone. One pound of fat provides about 3600 calories of energy which is why your body depends on it when your are resting or not putting out much effort, the average person carries less that 2000 calories from carbohydrates on the entire body and even a lean fit athlete carries over 25,000 calories of energy as stored fat.

Get In The Fat Burning Zone

 

For most people your peak fat burning zone is between 45% and 65% of your maximum heart rate. The way most people find the max heart rate simply take 220 and subtract their age to find their max heart rate, but unfortunately this can be very inaccurate and in the military athlete this inaccuracy can be even more stated. So here is how you can find that zone the way they do in a lab for professional athletes.

Finding Your Optimum Fat Burning Zone

Step 1: Warm up on a treadmill or bike for 10 minutes.

Military FitnessStep 2: Peddle on a stationary bike for 20 minutes at your maximum sustainable rate. You should feel a developing burn in the legs, but not so much intensity that your muscels cramp up or force you to stop. (this level of output is right at your lactic acid threshold, where you muscles are creating lactic acid at about the same rate your body is able to process that acid out.)

Step 3: Record your heart rate every minute for the twenty minutes and find the average. From that number subtract 20 beats from that.

Step 4: That number is your Optimun Fat burning rate stay within 3 beats of that number above and below. This is where for your time and effort you will burn the most fat for your individual body.

Example: If your average heart rate during the 20 minutes is 165 then subtract 20 to get 145 and therefor you optimum fat burning zone is 142-148 beats per minute.

My Recommendations

 

I have included my recommendations, and in the interest of full disclosure if you buy any of theses products through my links below I will be compensated for your purchase but whether you buy them through me or else where I truly appreciate you stopping by and reading my post. Please leave a comment and bookmark for future reference.

Remember that the fat burning zone will not develop your overall endurance and cardio vascular fitness as well as other training methods so spend time in the fat burning zone but do not neglect the rest of your fitness requirements.

You are going to need a decent heart moniter do not depend on the monitor on your basic cardio equipment. The polar FT2 is a no frills monitor I use regularly the price is right and mine has lasted me a long time.

 

Once you have found the zone you need to be training in to burn fat I recommend a few helpful fat burning aids. As you have seen here before I am a huge believer in fish oils for overall health as well as a few other supplements like:


Dymatize Dyma-Burn Xtreme – 120 Capsules

17th Jan2012

Armbars, Combat and the Tactical Athlete

by A.J.

A well executed armbar can quickly end a fight

A few years ago I wrote a concept brief for the Army Special Operations community with respect to a few basic Mixed Martial Arts techniques I thought every person who is called upon to fight in combat should know. I later penned a similar article and farmed it out on the internet under the pen name “Abel Cossas” (google it, somehow it ended up everywhere). In the concept brief I talked about how much training time it would take to make an operator proficient in 15 basic moves and how it could help them achieve objectives and I always wanted to revisit that list and teach those specific moves.

Here is the first of many (hopefully) installments on that idea to get the force informed on what I think we should all know. Now I understand that in a gun fight the last thing you want to be doing is rolling around on the floor trying to submit an opponent but, that not withstanding I feel that providing our operators with some basic fall back on skills can’t really hurt either. As a side note I believe that training in MMA also provides a mental edge to the military athlete that can help provide a holistic solution to the problem of creating military fitness both mental and physical.

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13th Jan2012

Black Smoke Ready

by A.J.

This Article was written by one of the TAP contributors:

The following was told to me by a sergeant that has been in the Army for over 20 years.  He has just returned from Afghanistan a few days ago.  We were discussing the different facets of being ready as it pertains to proper tactical nutrition.   What he told me was just one example of how being properly prepared doesn’t just stop at gear, logistics, and weapon systems.  The most important weapon in the U.S. military is the American trooper and if you are not taking care of yourself as a tactical athlete you might be fine for a while but eventually it will catch up you … and that is never a good time.

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