Q&A 10.1.20

QUESTION
I love your newsletter and your programming. I’m getting into backpack hunting and wanted to try out your hunting workouts. Quick question – how much top end is productive on lifts like the squat/bench/deadlift? I was a competitive weightlifter for a long time and I have a hard time turning down the intensity on max effort stuff. My old top end was near 500 lbs on the squat and about 360 on the clean and jerk at a body weight of about 212. I loved that time but I don’t really want to go back there. I feel diminishing returns after repping out 315 on the squat, at least for the stuff I like to do like ski touring, mountain biking, rock climbing, and backpack hunting. I’d like to take this in more of a body transformation direction to my long term goal of being a stronger mountain athlete and also focus on perfect consistent technique on the compound movements, as well as lifting pain free.
What are your thoughts? Am I being a baby? Is my hunch right? Or something in between?
Thanks much! Have a great weekend and I hope you’re out there chasing elk!
ANSWER
Hi-end max effort strength detracts from mountain performance a couple ways:
1) Less training time for endurance …. most mountain sports, including hunting, have a significant endurance component (uphill movement under load, long days), and this take time to train for. Too much time lifting heavyweight detracts from time spent working on endurance.
2) Excess body mass – 20 pounds of extra muscle is simply 20 pounds of extra weight you have to lug uphill.
What matters for mountain and tactical athletes is relative strength – or strength per bodyweight – not max effort strength.
How strong is strong enough?  The MTI Relative Strength Assessment answers this. A 4.0+ score on the MTI Relative Strength Assessment is plenty strong for an all-around mountain athlete.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been following MTI for a while (I’ve previously bought a training program). I also really enjoy reading and watching your videos on nutrition
I’m 45 years old. I’m an endurance athlete with focus on running and cycling.

I’m feeling good and strong overall health-wise and on the endurance aspect. I’m 5.9 and weigh 180lbs.

I haven’t been training for any specific race lately because of covid, but I’m keeping a regular running and cycling schedule during the week.  It’s not perfect, but I try to exercise 2-3 times during weekdays and longer sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
Something that I’ve always struggled with is my core and finding the right strength and conditioning program. My core area is not great(I have a small belly and fat that I’d like to work on. The same with my arms. I think my legs are the strongest (no surprise because of the running and cycling)
Ideally I’d like to get a program where I can use bodyweight and/or some simple equipment that I have in my garage(dumbbells, kettles bells, medicine ball, jump rope punching bag, etc)…I’m not planning to get a gym membership or get any fancy home gym equipment anytime soon. Maybe get some extras if needed(like a jumping box or sandbag).
I don’t want to get buffed. I want to burn fat, get toned and feel and look strong. I actually would like to lose some weight, maybe going down to 175 or 170lbs.
My plan is to start this program in September with the goal to build this into a routine to start 2021 strong. I’m also planning to follow your nutrition guidelines (hopefully the training and nutrition combined will help with fat burning and weight loss too)
I’d love to get your advice on what plan to get.
Hope this makes sense? Thanks so much for your insights

ANSWER

I’d recommend you begin with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this plan is no joke, deploys initial assessments, scales to your incoming fitness and continues to push you as your fitness improves. Email back on the other side of Bodyweight Foundation with your equipment and I’ll direct you from there.
Extra fat … understand you can’t outwork a shitty diet and 90% of bodyfat is diet related. Here are our dietary recommendations: http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition
Follow these, and if you still aren’t cutting, drop the cheat day.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m set to start the 100 Mile plan. I’m rotating back home from deployment and will be hit with up to a 14 day quarantine. I will get an Hour of PT time a day outside. My thoughts are get an hour of running in a day and some kind of leg work and core done in my room as a few times a week to try and keep some kind of stress on my legs? Any thoughts would be Greatly appreciated. Thanks

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Tues/Thursday bodyweight strength sessions in the 5-Mile Running Improvement Training Plan. You can work through these and do up to 4 days/week …. just follow the progression in the 5-mile plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Is there a program that incorporates what I am building with the Johnny plan?

ANSWER

Johnny is the first plan in the Country Singer Packet I – and the plans in this packet complement each other and are designed to be completed in order. Next, do Waylon – the second plan in the packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m just about to complete the big game hunting packet and I’m wondering what you would recommend for a program during hunting season.
My hunting will be mostly day trips on the weekend, the odd morning off in September.I’ve got a couple weeks off in Sept and Oct to hunt. So for the most part I’ll still have time during the week to train. I put on pretty good miles and elevation when I’m hunting.
What program would you recommend?

ANSWER

I’m headed out tonight for the Wyoming elk and deer bowhunting starting tomorrow!
I’d recommend Wrangell-St. Elias from our Wilderness Professional Packet. At a minimum, skip the Friday training session to prep for your weekend hunting … and better would be to skip Thurs and Friday to be fresh.
– Rob

QUESTION

Just want to thank you for all of your advice over the years, your APFT prep plan was truly on the ball, I maxed the PU and SU and came damn close on the run, it made a huge difference. I just finished my MA and earned my commission, however with the covid restrictions and my schedule, my personal fitness has taken a bit of a plunge, but I own that. As I am just starting back up the mountain again I want to reassess what it is I am doing; I am kind of burnt out on Crossfit and experiencing diminishing returns, the programming allows for almost no recovery and, as always, I question the utility and safety of some of the more “games-centric” movements. While I plan on returning to it eventually, albeit fewer days a week, I would like to start back up with something challenging, yet practical. I have your Military On Ramp program but, per your comments, see that the Body Weight Foundation program may be a better fit at the moment ( it has ACFT events/movements, which is a major plus). What would you suggest?
Again, thank you for all of your advice, as well as your articles, they have been an immeasurable help to me (and many I am sure) negotiating fitness, the military, and life in general.

ANSWER

I’d recommend Military OnRamp with your training background.
– Rob

QUESTION

What is the best course of action if my civil affairs selection train up ends 3 weeks before I get to selection? Do I repeat the program? Or move on to base fitness?

ANSWER

Repeat weeks 5, 6 and 7 in the plan, then do week 8 directly before selection. So, do 5 twice, 6 twice and 7 twice.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a few of your programs and I need some help. I no longer have a gym. I really like the swat selection plan I was following. I have a pull-up, dip and ab tower, a strong man sandbag that goes up to 130lbs and two adjustable dumbbells they o to 30lbs. I need a plan to address running both sprints and long distance(5-8miles. I also need a plan that can help with strength. Any help is much appreciated. I go through plans but there are so many I’m not sure where to start.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you start with the Sandbag / Weight Vest / Dumbbell Training Plan (you can use a backpack in place of the vest), and follow it up with Humility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a history of compression fractures (I have osteoporosis despite being only 60 and male and being pretty athletically active for most of my life). My most recent fracture occurred four weeks ago and my current pain level would allow me to start training again. I have been biking, hiking and doing some body weight exercises. I won’t be able to run for several more weeks as axial spine loading would cause a lot of pain. Likewise, any exercises such as squats/deadlifts etc are out (probably permanently except for light loads) because of the compression forces. Do you have any recommendations about which of your programs would work for me? Any ideas about substituting exercises for the squat/deadlift?

ANSWER

I’d recommend bodyweight for a cycle – specifically the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. 
Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this plan deploys an initial assessment, and used your assessment results for the subsequent progressions. In this way it automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness. You’ll be pushed.
– Rob

QUESTION

Doing a trail run marathon in January. Looked into the Max Effort Marathon plan, but running different trails makes it tough to do assessments based on pace due to different terrain, elevation, etc. Any recommendations or suggestions to modify?

ANSWER

Do the Max Effort Marathon Training Plan and do the weekly easy run and the weekend long run on trails.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you recommend still sticking with the Ranger School packet as it stands now?
(1-Mil on Ramp, 2-Humility, 3-Fortitude, 4-Valor, 5-Gratitude, 6-Ranger School Training Plan)
Or, do you advise moving over to the updated Greek Hero series? If so, what would that look like as far as a timeline (which plans and in what order)? I have an RSLC date of May 10th and will finish Mil on-ramp this week.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I was just looking through the plan and saw the incline bench press sets, and was wondering if there was an exercise I could substitute for that, because I get a really bad shoulder pain when I do it. And I’ve talked to people in my gym and even a couple trainers about my form, so I know that’s not the reason for the pain, but it’s the only exercise that causes that pain for me. In my own workouts I usually substitute it with an incline cable fly, but I thought it would be better to ask you about it instead of just substituting.

ANSWER

Simplest solution is stick to the flat bench press. If that’s problematic, switch to flat bench with dumbbells.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I’m working through the run and ruck improvement plan while deployed right now. When I get back in a few weeks I’ll start the Ranger School plan to prep for SURT at the end of November. What do you recommend for the Saturday swim session if all the pools are closed from Covid? If I get a RS slot after SURT, I’ll have about 2 weeks over Christmas before the report date for RS. What do you recommend for those two weeks?

ANSWER

No good substitute for swimming. Might need to find a pond with a buddy to get it done if you’re not confident in your swimming.

Use the two weeks after SURT for recovery. If your orders are delayed for Ranger School, start back on Week 1 of the Ranger School Program. Good luck!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I’m trying to figure out what plan is right for me.  I’m currently a police officer with access to a total gym but there are so many plans to choose from I don’t know which one to start with.  A little background on me.  I’ll be 47 in December and I’m 6’2, 190-195 lbs depending on the day.  I wouldn’t consider myself in great shape but I’m not completely out of shape either.  Where would you recommend I start?  I’m looking for something long term that I can stick with to increase strength as well as endurance.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

Start with our LE On-Ramp Program. After that, you can drop into our Spirits Packetdesigned for LEO’s. You can purchase individually or sign up for the Athlete’s Subscription, which has access to the whole library of plans. Hope this helps!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I’m emailing in regards to my Wildland Fire Training Packet. I’ve recently begun Blackwater, I’m on the 3rd week, but I have a question/concern:
I recently read “Training for the Uphill Athlete” and learned for the first time about the concept of building an aerobic base. I did nothing but high intensity (i.e. zone 3 and above) workouts in preparations for previous fire seasons (hotshot crew), and never seemed to get better. If anything, my body felt worn down and I completely lost my menstrual cycle. Thus, upon reading this book I’ve figured I would probably greatly benefit from putting a lot of volume in Zone1/zone 2 training in order to basically get my aerobic house in order before adding in higher intensity.
My concern with the programming here is that it seems to jump straight into higher intensity work and intervals without a base-building phase.
So, should I swap the weekly interval workouts for a longer aerobic base building session? I have  a strong anaerobic system. I’m a small female, 22 y/o, and i can deadlift 265 lbs, squat 235, bench press 165, and do nearly 20 pull-ups. I’m very good at high intensity crossfit style metcons, but I think i have a major deficiency in my aerobic endurance. I want to really build my aerobic base, but also want to follow this program meticulously because I paid good money for it. I would love some advice on how to move forward, and sorry about the length of this email!
Thanks in advance.

ANSWER

I would recommend finishing Blackwater, and then starting the Mann Gulch Program which has a heavier emphasis on developing endurance. These plans are designed to build sequentially upon one another. We also have a Hotshot/Smoke Jumper Pre-Season Training Program which is heavily focused on endurance but is most appropriate to start 6-week prior to the start of the fire season.

-Charlie

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