MTI’s Most Influential Articles


By Rob Shaul

We have been working with mountain and tactical athletes for well over a decade, and early on established MTI as a thought leader both within and without of mountain and tactical athlete fitness.

Below are our most influential articles over the years.

1) What Does It Mean To Be a Quiet Professional?

I first penned these ideas in 2015, and early on surprised at how they were received and their impact outside our small world. The impact has extended beyond the mountain and tactical fields, as I’ve had multiple business executives and other business leaders ask permission to share these thoughts with their companies either as a post on the bulletin board or in a leadership course. Our work here continues, and I’ve been invited to speak/present to the Denver Fire Department on Quiet Professionalism. We have more work to do here, but it’s been very encouraging to see the principles of Quiet Professionalism be of interest to a large audience. You can read some of the responses here, or listen to a podcast on Quiet Professionalism here.

2) First Responders, Why Do You Tolerate Unfit Police and Firemen?

I knew our approach to First Responder fitness would be controversial, but I was not prepared for the response (here and here) to this article first published in 2016.  Most of the response has been positive, but also, a significant part has been negative. First Responders face many more obstacles to establishing a culture of fitness than military units including no high jeopardy fitness assessments, older athletes, no time on duty to train, often no place to train, and very stressful and demanding work schedules. Regardless, we strongly feel mission-direct fitness is a high priority safety concern and issue for fireman and police.

3) 5 Types of Tactical Athletes and Their Fitness Demands

Programming is everything when it comes to strength and conditioning for tactical athletes – far more important than fancy equipment, fancy exercises, celebrity strength coaches, or highly refined science food. MTI’s programming evolution over the years had led us to identify 5 types of tactical athletes, and design mission-direct, day to day programming for each type. Other tactical strength coaches have followed our lead – to the benefit of all tactical athletes.

4) 7 Obstacles to Implementing Functional Fitness in the “Big Army”

I receive an email from a new or incoming battalion commander at least once a week who has seen this article and been influenced by its ideas and suggestions. Turning the big Army is like turning a fleet of massive oil tankers, but we’re working to do it one battalion commander at a time!

5) Garbage Reps

Our turn away from moderately loaded, high rep deep squatting movements, mostly used in work capacity events, has had influence deep into the functional fitness strength and conditioning world …. hopefully cutting back on this type of activity and saving knees from arthritis in the process! I’ll often receive emails with questions from long-time CrossFit coaches asking for our reasoning and also for ways we’ve replaced garbage reps in our programming.

6) Tyranny of the FMS

Our contrarian thinking toward the Functional Movement Screen and the entire fitness sub-industry of mobility, pre-hab, re-hab, and other questionable movements and activities has caught the attention of the major fitness media and other coaches who’ve seen similar non-results from this stuff with their athletes.

7) My Biggest Programming Mistakes

I’ve made lots over the years, and in this article, I’m identifying and admitting to my biggest mistakes that has influenced both athletes and fellow coaches – and hopefully helped others not make the same mistakes I have.

8) My Failure Resume

My biggest failures in life and work.

9) The Wind in My Face

“While I’m not an existentialist, I turn 53 tomorrow, and acutely feel the “wind in my face” of my coming death. This sense has built steadily after I turned 50 a few short years ago.”

10) “Little Boy” As a Career Choice

“When I grow up, I want to be a little boy.” – Joseph Heller

11) 8 Life Things, Worth Every Penny

Being debt free, Proximity, Kids, Career Change, Proximity …

12) Stuff I’ve Learned Part I, & 13) Stuff I’ve Learned Part 2

Being debt free, Proximity, Kids, Career Change, Proximity …

Questions, Comments, Feedback? Any I missed? Email


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