Q&A 2.14.19

QUESTION

I want to thank you for your great program(s). A little background. I was injured on the job at an apartment fire 5 years ago. I had the ceiling come down and knock my helmet & mask off. Beside the neck and back injuries I ended up with inhalation injuries which permanently damaged my heart. I spent 9 months and multiple surgeries before I was cleared back to the line. I was very active and in great shape prior to the injuries. The cardiac injury left my a large portion of my left ventricle on the backside scarred over and it adhered to the pericardium. If that wasn’t enough I also got a small aneurism on the left ventricle. The doctors credit being in shape which allowed me to not only recover but return to the line when most thought I should medically retire. They were very guarded with what they thought I should be doing physically. I slowly began pushing my limits but if I pushed too hard and irritated my heart it would set me back sometimes weeks other times months. Last January I finally replaced my 20 y/o GShock. I heard the Garmin Fenix would give it a run and it had the HR monitoring with R-R measurements I was looking for plus the GPS mapping.

Using the suggested recovery time I have been able to push further and harder than I ever was able to before. This past summer I started your Military Athlete programs and my last cardiac checkup my cardiac output was near pre-injury levels. The doctors are amazed (I think I make them worry too). I wish I had not been pigheaded about paying for training sites years ago and done these when I was in my 30’s, but better late than never. Plus on a maturity factor I am only 21.

I am going to turn 50 in March and I am having two surgeries  I have to have my S-ICD (defibrillator) replaced in April or May so I told them I want to get the disks replaced in my neck we have been holding off on so I can minimize my down time. So the plan is to go into surgery in as good of shape as possible. So my plan after finishing Hector was to take it down a notch. I looked at the Meathead cycle and thought, huh doesn’t look bad. Damn, I was wrong, whole different type of suffering. You are a gifted trainer with a bit of sadist, love it.

The meat of my email,

1) What is your suggested recovery (rest) between programs?

2) If I understood correctly the Greek Hero series would be considered a Base training so I could just march through those general fitness?

3) On the Meathead Cycle Day 7 you have sled drag push, How far?

ANSWER

Thanks for the note and congrats on your recovery!
1) 1 week, if the plan you’re finishing doesn’t include an unload week.
2) Greek Hero plans are base fitness for soldiers and ground-based SOF. At 50, with your injury history, I wouldn’t want you doing these plans. I’d recommend you pivot to our SF45 Programming which is designed for tactical athletes ages 45-55.
3. 80 feet.
– Rob

QUESTION

Am looking into Big24 as a strength program. Have completed a few of your other programs.

I have an Oly weight barbell and plenty of plates but only 2x10k dumbbells and 1x 20k kettlebell.  Also have a sandbag with 30k of weights in 5k increments.

Could I use the barbell/plates to the same effect as a replacement for the DB/KB walking lunge? Could I use the barbell Curtis P style (static) as walking with a barbell would prove difficult in the confines of my home gym outdoor area.

Thanks in advance and for all you do!

ANSWER

You can do an inplace lunge with a barbell – be sure to step forward, not backward, and be smart with loading. If you get “stuck” it’s hard to escape from the barbell in the lunge position … this is why I generally prescribe db/kb’s for this exercise.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a mountain hunter who spends 45days each fall from Aug/Sept archery to supporting others on Oct/Nov rifle hunts.  I know I can do better fitness wise.  In a prior life, I was a endurance mtn bike racer (amateur) so know what high performance looks like and what I can achieve fitness wise.  I also know that my weak spot is upper body strength with my stronger aspects being long endurance and leg strength.  This last fall, I was involved in 4pack outs where by pack ranged from 75-110lbs covering 2-5miles of off/on trail.

Now for 2019, I will be joining my brother on a Dall sheep hunt in Alaska.  This will push the normal hunting bounds by a lot…. Most of my hunting is 1,500 – 3,000ft of vert on any given day with easier days sprinkled in, hunting backpack style.  This hunt is also a backpack hunt but with 3,000ft+ each day in rocky terrain (think boulders, shale slopes, etc).  It is a 14day hunt with 10days of the hard 3K/day scenarios (if weather and a whole host of variables work to our favor).

I do not want to be a burden and want to support Mark as best I can for this near once in a lifetime experience!  Looking to be more specific with the training I’ve been looking for a good plan.  The plans that most resemble and sound like they would be most specific to my goals are Denali.

Major goals;

  • Strong legs uphill and downhill for 3,000ft/day min.
  • Strong ‘backpack’ muscles for not more than 60lbs in and 60-90lbs out with an animal
  • Improved balance for the rocks and exposure in these mountains.
  • Improved arm strength
  • Improved calf strength (always blows out first before quads and glutes)

My family is fortunate to live in Hailey ID (just outside of Sun Valley) so we are always xc skiing, skinning, hiking, mtn biking, so have a great canvas out our backdoor to incorporate into a good plan.

I appreciate you digesting this, and welcome your suggestions for a good plan!  I am not a gym guy but the aspects of strength in the sample look like things I can do at home or outside.  A big plus!

Thanks in advance, and look forward to hearing from you!

ANSWER

You’ll want to complete this plan the 8 weeks directly before your trip.
If you want programming between now and then, look at the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Packet.
The plan deploys step ups to train uphill fitness – living in Hailey you can substitute vertical hiking under load. I live in Jackson, Wy and do this with a steep hill. If you use a hill, use water for load then on the top, dump the water to save your knees on the way back down.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently running a recruit class for my police department.  I have been informed if the weather is below 32°F, I am not allowed to put recruits through outdoor PT.  We have 4 rowing machines and that is the “cardio” equipment we have.  Our indoor workout area consists of our shooting range (Standard 25yd length). I am a strong believer in MTN programs and have, personally, been using them for 2 years.  Right now, recruits are finishing up Week 2 of Whiskey.  While I prepare them for the street, I still need them to pass their final Cooper at the 50 percentile.  What do you recommend to keep running endurance up without being able to put in some miles outside?  We have barbells, racks, dumbbells, kettlebells, weighted vests, battle ropes, sandbags etc.  I appreciate the guidance!

ANSWER

150m and 300m shuttles repeats.
8 Rounds
150m shuttle every 1:15
or
4 Rounds
300m Shuttle every 2:30
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been using on/off your training since 2009, so I’m familiar with it all – had a question – what would your recommended plan be for someone getting in shape for a volunteer SAR team with limited equipment and training time? One thought I had was scaling either the ruck improvement or ruck based selection plans to a 3/day a week plan I could do at work during lunch/one weekend day.  There is no selection process. It’s more inquiring about adapting a workout regime towards reaching and maintaining a baseline fitness for searches, thoughts? Thank you!

ANSWER

I recently designed 4 plans for Wilderness Professionals– Game Wardens, Forest Rangers, etc. These are what I recommend as your day to day fitness.
They concurrently train relative strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load), and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

I found your site from my Backpacker magazine. I am looking for a training program to get myself and two friends very fit and ready for trekking in Nepal for two months. We are all in our 50’s with varying levels of fitness. I looking at your 7week plan and it looking pretty intense to start. Do you have a plan or plans to bring us to a solid level of fitness prior to starting the 7 wk plan?

We specifically need plans that will fit our specific fitness levels and help us avoid injury during training. We don’t leave until September. Open to suggestions.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you begin our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then complete the Backpack Pre-season Training Plan directly before your trip.
Please understand we design our programming based on the fitness demands of the event – not the incoming fitness of the athlete. A 2-month Nepal Trek has the same fitness demands regardless of your age. Working through this programming – it’s okay to take more rest days if needed – you’ll recover slower – but complete the programming as prescribed. The only change to the Backpacking plan would be to use the same weight backpack for the step ups and trekking that you’ll carry in Nepal.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you have a Mountain Tactical plan you recommend for mountain rescue personnel?  I’m relatively strong but my weakness would be aerobic function.  Seems like most missions involve rucking in asap, stand around for long periods in the cold/wet and then ruck back out, sometimes with an injured person in a litter.

Thanks for any suggestions!

ANSWER

I just built a packet of 4 plans for Wilderness Professionals. I’d recommend these for you. They include strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, and mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load).
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a recent subscriber and have a question regarding programming.

I’m a 48-year old active duty Marine working at MARSOC.  I’m in week 3 of the Hector Program and love it.  My goal is to increase/sustain my tactical fitness throughout the year and prepare for a week-long backcountry backpack mountain elk archery hunt in mid-September.  I plan to start your backcountry hunting program 8 weeks before my hunt, but I’m not sure which programs to progress through between now and the end of July when I’ll start the backcountry hunting program.

That’s 22 weeks of workouts between now and the end of July.  I have access to every kind of workout equipment I’d need.

What programs do you suggest that I work through between now and when I start the Backcountry Hunting program?

ANSWER

In general, I recommend tactical athletes train for their job first, up until starting the sport-specific plan for their off duty event/season, then drop back into their base fitness programming after the event.
In MARSOC, esp. with the possibility of an unforeseen deployment. I’d recommend the Pirate Series Plans as they include swimming. The Greek Hero Plans – including Hector, don’t.
So, if there’s a chance you may deploy, here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks    Plan
1-7          William Kid
8-14        Long Ben
15-22      Backcountry Big Game Training Plan
That being said, if you are sure you won’t face an unforeseen deployment between now and September, you could pivot to our new Wilderness Professional Plans as your lead into the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Plan. The Wilderness professional plans specifically include step up work – and will help prepare for the thousands of step ups you’ll do during the Big Game plan.
Weeks    Plan
1-7          Wrangell St. Elias
8-14        Frank Church
15-22      Backcountry Big Game Training Plan
You have access to all this programming with your subscription. Email any questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for advice on potential plans to follow. I am in the coast guard and we are about to go out for 6 weeks then at the beginning of march ill have a full gym and start preparing for a power lifting meet on June 14 and will have a full gym. Right now my biggest focus is core stability for the next 6 weeks. The equipment I will have out on the boat is very limited running space, dumbbells up to 90 pounds, box or pelican case for step ups/jumps and a rowing machine. Thank you for any assistance/advice you give.

ANSWER

I’d recommend Dumbbell/Kettlebell Moe.
You can substitute step ups or rowing for the running in the plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

So I have been following along with your star series, I was wondering though if there was a way to do that and also do another workout.  I just don’t want to over train but at the same time I want to push.

ANSWER

You can do two-a-days. I’d probably have you start at 3 days/week, then move to 5.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a copy of the ACFT plan you put out last year. Unfortunately, the majority of the Army has stuck to fitness that only prepares for APFT and now everyone is worried how they’ll pass the ACFT. The Army is still toying with options such as alternate events, making it in addition to APFT or making it once a year for each test. Our brigade will be one of those who start testing in October 2019 before official 2020 implementation and start training in April/May time frame this year. The question I had is what your recommendation(s) would be for training that leads into and after the ACFT plan if you had to build a six month package like you have on some of your SOF selection plans? Thanks

ANSWER

You don’t need a6-month train up for the ACFT. The test simply isn’t that hard.
I’d recommend going through the full ACFT plan in April, and then repeating it the 6 weeks directly before the scheduled ACFT.
Between the ACFT plans, I’d recommend the plans/order in the Greek Hero Training Packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

I wanted to ask a quick question- I have recently completed the Body Weight Foundation, I am running about 12-15 miles a week, and I want to run a marathon in Oct.

I have limited access to equipment, I have a TRX, and that is about it

I have been working on getting used to a high altitude training environment here in Nairobi, and nutritional needs, I have noticed that I need more core exercises lately

Now the question is where do I go from here, I thought about mixing the meathead marathon and bodyweight, or is there another limited equipment program that I could do maybe even include the TRX?

ANSWER

Move to Bodyweight Build. It includes TRX training.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a 47 male and I what some recommendations on packets. I do some weight training and run 12 –15 miles a week. I also have been  back country hunting the last couple of years and want to continue doing so. Should I do the sf 45 packet or the hunting packet. If I do the sf 45 packet should I do the hunting plan 8 weeks before the hunt?

ANSWER

Do the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet now, then after your hunting season, drop into the SF45 programming.

– Rob


QUESTION

The Beep Test Training Plan has no training on the Saturday and Sunday. Do you recommend any type of recovery day actives i.e. walking. Will I be overtraining if i go for a jog on the recovery days?

ANSWER

You can go on a light jog or walk.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve got to get started on a weight loss and getting fit for hunting trips program that requires moderate to heavy backpacking and lots of walking on up and down terrain.
However I have to be careful ,I’m overweight by at least 75-100 lbs. and I have arthritis in both left and right knees and lower back . I currently am on anti inflammatory prescription medication to combat the pain and it works really well.
I just joined a gym that has exercise bikes, elliptical machines , treadmills, free weights and cable type weight training equipment . However I live where there is no mountains or hills to climb up and down only bleachers at a rodeo arena . Please help I have no knowledge of where to start or what to do and don’t want to get injured either .

ANSWER

At 75-100 pounds overweight, I’m afraid all of our programming would prove too intense for you until you lose some weight. Even our Fat Loss Training Plan would be too intense.
I’m sorry.
To keep it simple, what I’d recommend for you outside of upper body strength training is fixing your diet (see here) and hiking up and down the rodeo arena bleachers for an hour each day.
– Rob

QUESTION

ANSWER


QUESTION

I just purchased Ultimate Work Capacity I because I am happy with my relative strength numbers (they are at your standards) but would like to improve work capacity/endurance.  Should I be worried about losing strength on the plan?

ANSWER

Yes – Ultimate Work Capacity I focuses on work capacity – it includes no strength training.
You’ll likely lose a little strength – but it should come back fast.
A plan which also trains strength but has a work capacity emphasis is Valor.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just wrapped up a season of wildland firefighting about 2 months ago, have been completing the Bodyweight Foundation since then, and just finished Week 3 of that program.
Last week I accepted an offer at a structural fire department, and am preparing for the academy, which begins in 4 weeks exactly.  I saw someone had asked a similar question about preparing for an academy 4-5 weeks away, and you recommended completing the first 3-4 weeks of the Fire Academy Prep plan and then skipping to Week 7 for the week before the Academy start.
Would that still be your recommendation factoring in my current progress in the Bodyweight Foundation program?

ANSWER

Yes. Some of the bodyweight work will be redundant, but the Fire Academy Training Plan includes intense loaded work capacity work, loaded strength training, chassis integrity work, etc.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m not training for any sort of water based selection, I just want to improve my swimming with a structured plan that gives me a challenge. That being said, I just purchased the swim improvement plan and I’m taking a look at the overview and the first week of training and I had a few questions.
1) How long does it typically take someone to complete the workouts?
2) What stroke should I assess with? I am most familiar with freestyle and breast stroke.
3) I don’t own fins, and am very unfamiliar with them having only used them once. When the plan calls for using fins for assessing with them or as part of the workout what do you recommend I do?
4) Nutrition: Over the holidays I have not been keeping as good on nutrition as I should have. I’m currently doing a power lifting/body building program 6 days a week after work and wanted to do the swimming before work. Do you find you have more effective workouts when you eat prior to morning workouts or after? Also, I followed your nutrition guidelines for the first few months this year while I was at Fort Benning and I’m going back to it. Do you have any tips for it with training two times a day?

ANSWER

1. 60-75 minutes, depending upon your swimming ability.
2. Overhand crawl
3. Does the pool at VMI have fins you can borrow? If not, just replace the finning in the plan with freestyle swimming
4. Prior. Eat more, but stay clean 6 days/week.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have some questions about your programs.
Firstly, are they available to users outside the US (Denmark)? Secondly, I have difficulty choosing a program. I am looking for a general purpose program that trains all aspects of fitness without favoring some at the expense of others. I have 7 years experience with crossfit, but have a couple of old injuries that have shaped my training for the last couple of years. I have access to a full crossfit box and open natural areas for training, and time to train 5-8 days a week.
Which program is best for me? Please don’t hesitate to write back if you need more information from me.

ANSWER

1. Yes – delivery is online or via our mobile phone app.
2. Programming? I’d recommend the plans order in the Country Singer Packet I. I designed these programs last year as base fitness for general athletes (not mountain or tactical). These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core) and endurance.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 55 year old Male. I want to get in shape! I’m not exactly sedentary I work out sometimes. I run and I snowboard. Also every year I run/walk pikes peak ascent. I’ve made it my goal this year to get in the best shape of my life. I am over weight and know nutrition will be a big part of my transformation. What plan do you recommend? I was thinking of getting the athletes one where I have access to 200 plans. However I wouldn’t know where to start???? Also I would really like something that lasted 9 months. So I could build from one to the next.  Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  I am 5’7″ 190…..need to be 150 to 160.
ANSWER
I recommend you start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then move to the plans order in the SF45 Packet – which are designed for athletes ages 45-55.
Here are our nutritional guidelines.
– Rob

 

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