Introducing MTI’s “Busy Dad” Training Plans

By Rob Shaul

Over the past few months, I’ve received more than the normal number of emails from athletes describing themselves as a “busy Dad” and in need of a relatively short, super-efficient training plan.

Sometimes these come from civilian athletes, but more often than not they come from mountain or tactical professionals, or former tactical athletes now retired and/or onto some other career with kids in the house.

The requests are generally the same, a multi-modal training plan with sessions that last 35-45 minutes.

On a bigger scale, in terms of MTI programming, we’ve been headed in the shorter training session direction for a couple years now. We’ve tested and studied shorter training sessions and found that 45-minute training sessions have the same fitness improving impact as 60 minute sessions. Many of the more recent, new programs we’ve designed, as well as some updates, have moved to these shorter sessions.

It hasn’t always been possible to decrease session duration. Many endurance efforts, especially, just need longer training time. In all my programming experience, I’ve never found a short cut to endurance. To go long, you need to train long.

As well, I purposely design two-a-days and long “mini events” into most of our tactical selection programs. I need to prepare athletes for the physical and mental fatigue they’ll experience during long days of constant hazing at law enforcement and military selections.

Finally, many athletes simply expect a 60-minute training session and feel “cheated” if they don’t get one – regardless of the training effect. I’ver certainly been that way in my younger years …. where 60-90 minute training sessions were the norm – and I had the time to train like this.

But overall, we’re always working to make MTI programming as effective and efficient as possible – hence these new “Busy Dad” plans.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve built two 5-plan “Busy Dad” packets – one for limited equipment and one for athletes who have access to a fully outfitted functional fitness gym.

In addition to being a programming challenge, designing these plans has forced me to really think through the need and duration of warm up, set/rep schemes, equipment efficiency, and get creative by combining programming attributes and methods to maximize training time.

And yes, these plans will work for “Busy Mom’s” too, and include loading and rep schemes for female athletes. MTI is unique, however, in that the majority of the athletes who use our programming are men. The athlete make up for most gyms, including Crossfit affiliates, is made up of 60/40 or 70/30 women to men. That MTI’s athletes are mostly men, and and that the requests for this shorter programming has mostly come from men, led to the “Busy Dad” names.

The Busy Dad Limited Equipment (BDLE) plans are 5 week, 5 days/week plans and deploy bodyweight strength, dumbbells/kettlebells, a pull up bar, and a sandbag for training.

The Busy Dad Full Gym (BDFG) plans are longer at 7 weeks, 5 days/week and require a fully-equipped functional fitness gym including barbells, plates, squat racks, bench, dumbbells/kettlebells, plyo boxes, sandbags and a pull up bar, to complete.

Both sets of plans deploy some of my and MTI’s most creative and cutting edge programming.

However, don’t be fooled by the shorter duration of the training sessions in these plans. MTI programming isn’t about short cuts or keeping the athlete entertained – all that matters is outside the gym-performance and these plans, despite their shorter durations, are accordingly intense.

Feel free to email me,



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