I appreciate you guys publishing the articles regarding PEDs for tactical athletes. Prior to your article, I had been debating even getting my testosterone levels checked. I’ve long known something wasn’t right. For 16 years, my schedule has changed every month or more. The only thing “routine” was that nothing was “routine”. I served 8 years on SWAT and another 8 years on a proactive criminal patrol team. The stress is consistent and steady, yet I do enjoy my job.
I’m 38. For the past three years, I’ve noticed I’ve been losing strength, gaining weight, have been slow to recover, quick to be irritable, and sleeping poorly; it was impacting every aspect of my life. I felt like my tank was empty and my mind cloudy. Two fasted blood tests after your article showed my testosterone level was below 200. Ouch. I began my weekly injections at a clinic, with blood tests each six weeks. Initially, my levels went to 700, but due to blood chemistry, I am back down to 500, still below where I should be, which my doctor is currently trying to increase.
Despite my still low levels, I have doubled where I was. My symptoms are reduced and my strength is climbing, but still not to the MTI strength standards. I’m looking forward to what the next few months bring. I’d love to get back to “normal” but my plan is to be “optimal”, not just normal. Some questions I had, that others may want to know:
1) My insurance covers it with the exception of my $1,500 individual deductible and office co-pay.
2) I use an office specifically for testosterone currently. I stop by the office once a week for injections.
3) Financially, what I’ve got wrapped up into this is well worth it and I’m one-ply toilet paper cheap. I expect my total annual out of pocket to be $2,800. I may transition to another situation once I feel more comfortable with TRT and getting my dosage dialed in.
4) My diagnosis is hypogonadism.
5) I feel like this is safe and absolutely much more safe that going to work feeling like I was. I was either going to be a no-load or an on-duty injury…or worse.
Thanks for pulling this topic out of the shadows and into a positive light.
More on this topic:
I am 50 years old. I practiced a lot of sports but I realize I have a bad physical condition. I am often tired after my strength sessions. This year I wish to make a complete and new periodization. I decided to start the bodyweight foundation plan, and after TLU Strength. After i don’t know. What advice would you give me? Thank you for your answer.
These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance, chassis integrity and climbing fitness.
I’m a 45-year-old former college player who competes with roughly current DIII level players (i.e. USTA rated 4.0/4.5 player). I’ve been using some of the things on your site for purposes of in-season and out-of-season tennis training. For example, a workout with your exercises and my modifications might be:
Warm up – 10 min cardio
3 x 10 each of air squats, pushups, and 20 crunches
4 x full leg blaster with each set followed by 10-15 Push ups
100 loaded step ups (30-40lbs)
3×7-10 Scotty Bobs
3x20x45lbs. kettlebell squats
Some of the ski training stuff looks directly relevant to tennis training and at the recommendation of one of your other subscribers, I’ve incorporated things like the ski exercises into the rotation e.g. side to side jumps for 30 seconds followed by ski tuck for 30 seconds; burpee box jumps with sprints.
In terms of the regular Mountain Athlete Training, I’m below the strength standards re: exercise times 1.5 BW. My cardio, however, is very good and I tend to do pretty well with exercises like the ones I listed above. I could push myself harder, but a typical in-season/heavy tennis training week involves the workout above + 2-3 2-hour on-court sessions.
Most weeks I’m about 80% compliant with the general nutritional recommendations. Beer and the occasional grain is what gets me. I haven’t gone to Whole 30.
Anyway, I was wondering whether you guys had ever put together a tennis training program before and/or whether you might have some thoughts on it.
No on the tennis-specific plan.
Thoughts? In-season I’d recommend a focus on total body, lower body and mid-section (chassis integrity) strength not for performance, but durability. Heavy loading, low volume to add/maintain strength without increase mass gain. Upper body I’d focus on bodyweight volume work – scotty bobs, hand release push ups, dips, chin ups, etc. to balance the pulling volume of the tennis swing. I’d also incorporate dedicated elbow stretching/maintenance work for tennis elbow preventative maintenance.
Work capacity? I’d recommend short interval work, but not a lot of it. Your tennis practice will maintain this fitness in during the in-season.
Off Season/Directly Pre-Season:
I don’t recommend this program in-season. It’s too much volume and will negatively impact your actual tennis practice.
I am currently a Platoon Leader at Fort Drum, NY. We recently completed at JRTC rotation that exposed some weaknesses within the Platoon in regards to our workouts and the program that we have been following. Previously we were using the Ranger Athlete Warrior (RAW) PT program with the rest of our Company; we discovered though that because our mission requirements are some much different than the rest of the Company and Battalion, that we need a program that addresses our specific mission set. Right now we have a lot of guys in the platoon that are very good at lifting very heavy weights, but lack the endurance and the stamina needed for long (over 20km) movements under weight. We are in a position now that we are able to start from scratch and reevaluate how we conduct our daily PT.
Our goal is to be able to accomplish long overland movements, at least 20-25km, with very heavy weights, often between 100 and 120 pounds. What we are seeking is essentially a start from scratch program to meet that goal and then be able to sustain it over the long run (12 months or longer). Our advantage is that we don’t often get new members in the platoon because we are able to select from the Battalion who we want and when we want them, so we are able to sustain a program long term.
Right now we are starting with the Ruck Based Selection plan sort of as an evaluation to gauge where the platoon currently sits. We would like your advice as to what programs to use to meet our goals, or if none are available, working with you to create a program that accomplishes them. I know there are a lot of other platoons that are in our position, but, having reached out to them, none of them have been able to find a program that meets our specific needs based on mission set.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
The Ruck Plan is intense both in difficulty and time – including 6 day/week programming. If you’re platoon can get the time, it’s an awesome kickstart. Long term, I’d recommend you pivot to our new Grunt PT programming: http://gruntpt.com/
Why the limitation to only active duty? Guard and Reserve soldiers would benefit just as much if not more from this programming. Not to mention it would greatly help commanders close the pt gap. Active duty soldiers get PT 5 days a week. Guard and reserve soldiers only get unit pt once a month, making it harder for unit leaders to provide consistent programming. I’m just saying Mayne consider opening it up to guard and reserves. I’m sure the commands for both would thank you
Guard/reservists don’t have the institutional restrictions on equipment, time and programming for fitness training active duty line unit soldiers do. I’m sorry.
I’m a law enforcement officer in Florida and recently found your website. I think your work is great and already know I’m going to enjoy following some of the fitness plans I’ve seen. I recently became a subscriber and plan to get started soon. I’m currently about 5’10”, 147lbs, and 28 years old. I know I could use a bit more weight on me; however, I find it extremely hard to gain any weight. I know you’re not a nutrition specialist but I wanted to get your opinion on this.
The heaviest I have ever been was about 168 and that was after I had been eating well in excess of 3,500 calories a day, intentionally trying to gain weight, for an extended period of time. The food I had to eat to reach those numbers were calorie dense, not the healthiest, and I never felt good eating that much food. No matter how little I eat, I never drop below 145lbs and no matter how much I seem to eat (while under about 3500cal/day), I never seem to go above 146-150lbs.
Your plans recommend eating lean meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, and water. You mention in your video to only have little fruit and little nuts. What do you think I should do to increase my weight while following the recommended plan, or do you think following that nutritional plan would not be most beneficial to me? I can’t imagine eating enough meat and veggies in a day to gain any weight.
Thanks in advance, I love the articles I have read and think your ideas are exactly what I need to improve myself.
Not sure I can offer much. I would like to see you around 180, though, at your height.
Try this …. eat clean as prescribed in our nutritional guidelines, but also eat a medium jar of peanut butter a day. Just keep it with you and spoon it in and/or put it on anything, apples, celery … etc.
You don’t need to buy the expensive all natural stuff. Skippy, grocery store brand or whatever will work.
These plans include programming for upper body hypertrophy.
I was curious what, if any, are the differences in the two Busy Operator programs.
No difference in terms of overall goal and function – both are designed to deploy super efficient 30-45 minute training sessions. Strength circuits, work capacity events, etc. are different. – Like 2 trucks …. one is a Ram and one is a Ford.
I just got started with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan with the goal of losing weight and raising my baseline level of fitness to the point that I can take on one of your training series.
I know the Virtue Series just received an update and was curious, how do the Virtue and Greek Hero series differ? What was each series designed to they focus on? Is there any big difference in how they’re designed to deliver on program goals (Ex: gym and weights vs more bodyweight and cardio)? Which series would you suggest as a reasonable next step for someone coming off the Bodyweight Foundation Plan? Is one plan more representative of your current training philosophy than the other?
Thanks for your time, help, and the great programming!
1. The training plans in both series were both initially completed by our tactical lab rats, including myself, at our facility in Wyoming. The Greek Hero Series deploys our most recent programming. The Virtue Series deploys our previous version.
2. Both Series are designed as day to day programming for tactical athletes. The Virtue Series concurrently trains strength, work capacity, endurance and chassis integrity. The Greek Hero Series trains these attributes plus TAC SEPA (tactical speed, explosive power and agility).
3. Each plan in the Virtue Series trains these attributes concurrently, but each also emphasizes certain attributes. Fortitude, for example, emphasizes gym-based strength and moderate paced, mid distance endurance. Some of the Greek Hero plans likewise have areas of emphasis, but it s more subtle. The more defined emphasis in the Virtue Series allows me to target these plans to athletes relatively new to our programming, or who need to work on specific areas. In general the Virtue programming is simpler, more direct and more “jagged.” As tools I can deploy for athletes the Virtue plans are a little more blunt. The Greek Hero plans are more fluid, subtle and sophisticated.
You specifically coming off of Bodyweight Foundation …. I’d recommend the Virtue Series, then the Greek Hero Series.
I am working through your Backcountry Big Game program in advance of a self-guided wilderness Tahr hunt coming up in New Zealand. So far I am seeing great results and it is definitely pushing up my endurance with the day-after-day training sessions.
My question is this: What would you recommend for training once I get back from NZ for maintenance over the summer, or should I do the whole Big Game program again directly before the Canadian fall hunting season? My plans are a 7-10 day backcountry elk bowhunt in early September, but then I will likely be out hunting in the mountains most weekends until the end of November. On a similar note, what would you recommend to keep me tuned up throughout the ‘weekend warrior’ stage of my hunting season. I likely won’t be able to maintain the time commitment required for the Backcountry Big Game program.
Thanks for all you do, I’m really happy to have found your programming after hearing you talk on hunting podcasts and then seeing your advice come up again in relation to ski training. For all the training stuff out there, I haven’t found anything else that is so dialed in on achieving outside performance for mountain athletes.
Use our Mountain Base programming between season/event specific trainups like the Backcountry Big Game Training Plan. This programming is available by following our daily sessions with an Athlete’s Subscription, or following the plans in the Greek Heroine Series: http://mtntactical.com/shop/greek-heroine-training-packet/
These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, and mountain endurance – running and uphill hiking under load.
Before your September Hunt – I’d recommend at least 4 weeks of the Backcountry Big Game Training Plans directly before you start. It’s up to you if you want to repeat the entire plan and it somewhat depends upon how much time between NZ and September you have. If you’ve got 3-4 months, I’d recommend repeating the entire plan.
I was looking through your programming and I wanted to get your advisement. I am a 33 year old Marine, 5 foot 5 inches, and with the new Marine height and weight standards I need to drop from my current 180 lbs to 165 lbs. I have always performed well physically, particularly in strength events, but my 3 mile times have always hovered between 19 -21 mins. Historically I have always done Crossfit and Soflete workouts, but they have packed on a ton of muscle on my short frame, which has made me too heavy for our new Marine standards.
I have been looking at your Fat-Loss Training Program, Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, and Gratitude. With my goals of dropping 15 lbs, improving my runs and maintaining my muscular endurance, and some muscular strength (I am not too concerned with my max lifts going down) which of these 3 programs do you recommend? I am also getting married on a beach this summer so I don’t want to look too squishy in front of the wife haha. Your advisement and recommendation is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
You’ll want to avoid the weight room for a while and push work capacity and endurance.
Humility is an intense, limited equipment plan on our tactical side.
I’m a grunt in the Marines, active duty. I’ve yet to find a program that
will develop every skill I need, infantry speaking.
Would the Operator Ugly Trainup program be good for keeping my PFT/CFT solid
as well as developing me for running and gunning?
I’ve stayed away from operator sessions only because I’m in the field so
much, it’s hard to keep a real schedule month to month like the operator
sessions are set up to be.
If there’s any other program you could suggest I will look at that as well.
I’m really just looking for something that will split my time effectively to
make me the most effective warrior.
The focus of the Operator Ugly Train Up
(http://mtntactical.com/shop/operator-ugly-train-up/) is to improve
your scores on the Operator Ugly Fitness assessment which is MTI’s
assessment for military athletes. We believe it’s the best 90 minute
assessment of tactical fitness.
The events are different than your CFT/PFT, obviously. Operator Ugly
includes pull ups, but it’s strength work is barbell focused. If
you’ve seen the plan, you know this.
In general there is a disconnect between military PFT’s and the actual
demands of the job. PFT’s, for the post part, are bodyweight focused –
event the CFT, while never on deployment, field exercises, etc., are
military athletes not loaded – with kit, rucks, etc. The main
difference is strength.
The Operator Ugly Train Up is an excellent plan to address this. It’s
assessment-based, so automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness.
My only caveat would be strength … I’m not sure how strong you are
and OU is built around bench press and front squat reps @ 185#, and
dead/hinge lift reps at 225. You’ll also need an 80 pound sandbag.
If you haven’t been lifting, are not familiar with these exercises,
etc. or perhaps aren’t strong enough out of the gate, I’d offer a
couple other options:
1) Work on your Strength with the MTI Relative Strength Assessment
Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/mti-relative-strength-assessment-training-plan/
2) Fortitude – which trains strength and military endurance (running,
ruck running) concurrently as well as Chassis Integrity and Work
So I spent 6 years Active Duty Army, before recently dropping a Green to Gold packet and becoming a cadet. I followed your programming while I was Active, with great results, but the goals here are different. All cadet command cares about is high APFT scores, so that’s all we do. We just spent 3 days in the field and did a 12 mile ruck, which is normally no big deal, but I found I didn’t bounce back as fast as I used to, and the ruck really kicked my ass.
I have a month long advanced camp (formally LDAC) coming up this summer, and I need to balance high APFT scores, with good all around fitness for rucking and patrolling. Any thoughts?
This plan has focused APFT Work, a ruck assessment, follow on ruck intervals and a long ruck weekly, and it also includes work capacity and chassis integrity work.
I am wondering what fitness plan would you recommend for someone who has been living a sedentary lifestyle?
Im a SF guy who did 10 years active and now guard. I am heading to Warrant Course in July. Im noticing that more and more schools are utilizing the UBRR (Upper Body Round Robin) and a 5 mile run. I haven’t confirmed that is the entry PT test but many of the cadre are pushing for them, do you recommend any sequence of programs leading up to a UBRR from now my school date? I was planning on continuing Greek operator programs and the PT test program but I wanted to get your opinion.
Also, girlfriend is not an athlete. She blew out her knee last year playing soccer. Is there an entry level program you recommend for someone who can handle the volume that most the programs have?
Thank you for your time and dedication to military performance,
You’ve got 13 weeks by my count.
Balanced training plan which concurrently trains heavy strength, work capacity, chassis integrity endurance (running, ruck running) and tactical agility. Hector and the rest of the “Greek Hero” plans deploy my most recent evolution of Fluid Periodization.
Sport-specific plan for the UBRR. Updated it this month.
I have a question about APFT improvement. Do you think it is possible to program a day or two of APFT work into the week while also working on strength/work capacity? Would the bodyweight work take away from the strength work? I am addicted to the barbell. I previously tried to simply do bodyweight movements a month out before a pt test and I was going crazy. I am curious if you have any input. I have some sway with my squads pt schedule and may be able to do some experimenting. I think its important to have a relative strength as well as a good aerobic base, however having a high pt score is also really important for career advancement (schools and what not). Appreciate any input.
Yes, but better is to not use your day-to-day training to focus on the APFT, but rather train for your job as a soldier using our Grunt PT programming (gruntpt.com
After your APFT, drop back into Grunt PT.
A coworker of mine subscribed to your site a while ago, and had good results so I’ve got some questions about heading the right direction… I’m a LEO, work patrol and need to lose about 20-30 lbs. I have a boatload of young kids, so no time to load everyone up and head to a gym so I need something I can do at home and a reasonable amount of time. I have the added challenge of a tear in my ac joint that they don’t want to fix because of my age and as long as I do some push-ups every day I have no issues, I can’t do pull-ups with it though. I’m trying to change my diet because, well, my diet blows. Having kids in the house with all their good tasting shit doesn’t help… but I’m working on following your nutrition guidelines with the cheat day of course… I’m wondering what you suggest as far as a program that I can make time for every day at home. I appreciate your help, and look forward to using your program.
Pull ups … try chin ups or horizontal pull ups – see if you can do those.
Hi Rob I saw your article a few weeks ago about high stress training underwater. However I do not have access to a pool or anyone to be there if I pass out haha. I was wondering if there is any high stress training that can be completed on land? If you have any suggestions please let me know. Thank you.
All that comes to mind is force on force training via airsoft or paintballs, or any fighting sport – boxing, etc.
I am very impressed with your training plans and your philosophy, but I am a little confused about what the best plans would be for me between now and August.
I live and work as a paramedic in Texas (flatland). I am going to Colorado in mid August, and am planning to climb multiple 14ers over the course of several days. While I have a lot of flat ground endurance under load, when I last climbed a 14er, I found that the amount of elevation gain was brutal, and I want to be better prepared this time.
I have eighteen weeks to prepare. Is there a recommended sequence of training plans that would work best for me to train for my goal of multiple Class 1-3 14er ascents over a few days?
Thank you for your work and for taking the time to read this.
These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance, chassis integrity and climbing fitness.
I have enjoyed your programs over the years. I am currently an Air Force EOD tech with a decent physical base. I just returned from Air Assault School and was in the top 30 of 154 on the 12 mi ruck. I am looking for a recommendation for me for the next few months.
I am currently in process to become a USSS Special Agent. I will be continuing service in EOD as a reservist if I’m accepted into the USSS.
-2mi run is 15:18 in February
-1.5mi run was 10:40 last May
-6mi Ruck w/armor, helmet, rifle, 25# ruck: 1:07
-12mi Ruck w/armor, helmet, rifle, 25# ruck: 2:42
-Hand release push up in 1min: 31
-Pull-Ups in 1 min: 21
-Box jumps w/step down in 1 min: 23 @ 24″
-Squat is around 260#
-Bench is around 285#
-200lbs @ 73″ tall, 29 years old, 18-19% BF.
-weaknesses: mobility, hips, low back
-strengths: upper body
-I typically have 1.5hr to train each day
These plans represent the furthest evolution of my programming and concurrently train relative strength, work capacity, military endurance (running, rucking), chassis integrity (our mid-section training methodology) and TAC SEPA (tactical speed, explosive power and agility).
How much importance should I put on gym based training over bodyweight exercises for SFAS?
I’ve been thinking about focusing more on relative strength (2X BW Deadlift, 1.5 BW Front Squat, and Bench Press) as well as training all the bodyweight exercises, while rucking, running, and swimming.
We think of high relative strength (strength per bodyweight) is important not only for performance, but also for durability. High relative strength builds a “strength buffer” around athletes – stronger athletes are harder to injury, don’t get injured as bad if something does happen, and recover faster.
We’ll use prior programming before the selection plan to build high relative strength.
I really enjoyed your ski training plan this past season. I am preparing for a Spartan race in late August. Can you recommend one of your training plans?