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

10th Jan2012

The Best Nutritional Supplement You Aren’t Taking

by A.J.

Few other supplements can give you the bang for the buck that fish oils provide

Fish Oils, Omega -3, EPA and DHA are considered essential fatty acids your body can not build on its own. While talking to the Special Operations performance nutritionist  at Fort Bragg I asked her what, if any supplement should a high performance tactical athlete be taking. She told me that hands down the supplement she would suggest is an Omega-3 fish oil nutritional supplement. As military members we are generally pretty good at getting our protein in for the day and fairly good at taking a multivitamin but, we are terrible at getting our Omega-3s especially when we are over seas eating crap MREs. The question remains though; why do we need Omega-3s and fish oils in the first place? And what are Fish Oils anyway?

Fish Oils is a sort of generic term for a conglomeration of essential fatty acids. Fish oils consist of Omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are precursors to certain compounds that are known to reduce inflammation in the body (hint: the reason you take 800 mg motrin everyday is because of pain caused by inflammation).

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09th Jan2012

Are You Training All Your Energy Systems?

by A.J.

Military Fitness

Tactical Dead Sled

(Exercise video at the bottom)

Recently I sat down with the Strength and Conditioning Director of the Special Operations THOR 3 Program and I asked him about where some of the weaknesses in the average Special Operations Soldier were and what he had to say really surprised me. Often times SOF troopers completely ignore whole energy pathways you need to complete a mission at critical times. When you are in a fist fight you may need power to survive, or when chasing an insurgent your aerobic endurance may be the difference between capturing a HVT (High Value Target) or letting him get away. After these examples, he started talking about three distinct energy systems your body uses to do work, and according to him they were as follows. The following is fairly technical but I tried to keep it as simple as possible.

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02nd Jan2012

The Best Pre-Workout Supplement?

by A.J.

Military Fitness Supplement

Well the new year is upon us and it is time to start making good on some of our resolutions. I get asked all the time what is the best pre workout supplement for the tactical athlete who is concerned with military fitness. Obviously the answer will change from person to person and from situation to situation but, I think I have a few ideas that should be considered and if pressed for an absolute product recommendation this would be the one I chose and I will explain why.

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28th Sep2011

Injuries and the Tactical Athlete

by A.J.

Recently I was laid up for a week due to an injury and I know anyone who trains has had it happen to them. As an 18D on my team, working on injuries is probably the single most common problem I have (well injuries and giving I.V. fluid to team mates who have drank too much.) So, I have compiled a list of the more common stuff and how to deal with it. Maximizing training and minimizing down time provides the best results so let’s just get into it.

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09th Sep2011

Go Ruck Ascent… Food Is a Crutch

by A.J.

The Go Ruck Accent Takes a 14er

Over Labor Day weekend, 5 Green Berets led 50 people over some of Colorado’s most impressive 14,000-foot peaks for an event known as the GORUCK Ascent.  GORUCK, founded by a former Green Beret, manufactures military-grade gear and hosted the Ascent as a means by which to raise awareness and funds for the Green Beret Foundation.  Through this event, over $30,000 was raised for the Green Beret Foundation.

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17th Aug2011

Strength Training for the Tactical Athlete

by A.J.

As a Tactical Athlete you are required to stay proficient with your weapon system, you must stay one step ahead of the enemy’s TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) and keep on top of your fitness.   The demands placed on you often make it difficult to get the most out of strength training and athletic performance enhancement, so here are a few tips to get the most out of your strength training and overall physical training.

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15th Aug2011

Let’s Get to the Gym

by A.J.

Headed out to the gym todays workout back bi s and abs
5 sets of 20 pull ups
5 sets of 10 seated row
One-legged kettle bell curl and press 4 sets of 10
Straight bar curls 3 sets of 8 to failure
Decline Sit-ups 50 reps x 3 sets
3000 meters swim in fins

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