Q&A 7.18.19

QUESTION

I am an active duty United States Marine and have been researching some of your programs for quite a while. I have completed the TLU strength program that you have written and really enjoyed it. However, I have been unable to find a functional fitness program that was strenuous enough and met my needs (speaking about outside of MTN). I am a SSgt and part of an enlisted commissioning program. My next step is The Basic School and then Infantry Officers Course (IOC). I have been debating about purchasing your Greek Hero package for some time and am very interested but have some questions I would like to ask first. 

I am very tall and have a tendency to hold weight on my body (6’4” and 240 lbs at 16 percent body fat). I worry about my endurance and weight going into the program. I run relatively often now and lift weights about 5 times a week. I wonder if my 3 mile run time (20:00 roughly) or ruck run time will improve if I follow your program which would have me working out less often than I do now. I do not mean to insult your intelligence or education by asking, I only worry because I have tried many “solutions” to no end in terms of maintaining a lean, mobile frame (I do not consider myself to be lean at the moment). My weight fluctuates rapidly and often due to schools like Officer Candidates School and various deployments so my metabolism often does not work in my favor. I hope to be closer to 12 percent body fat and 225 or so lbs at the end of next summer (one year from now). This is for height and weight requirements as well as my mobility and functionality. The running that is implemented that I could see from sample training seems like it is little long distance and at a moderate pace and then some shorter running in the 400 meter range, this is similar to what I do now but I wonder if the program develops later on to focus on unloaded and loaded endurance distances. 

My next question is in regards to the guarantee you offer. If I follow the program to the letter for the duration of all seven series that come with the Greek Hero training program, do you still honor the guarantee? Of course this is on the honor system and I would not ever take advantage of it (integrity and all). Just curious, a year is a long time. 

You and your staff all seem to be very educated in the field and I don’t consider myself an amateur or naive. I trust that the programs are “lab-ratted” and work, but in my experience, my body is stubborn. My wife is a trainer within the military functional fitness realm and is CSCS, TSAC-F among others and has struggled to develop a methodology that fits my agenda. My goal is to not only be physically ready but prepared to excel when I am called upon. I apologize for the novel but am very curious and eager to hear from you and your staff. Any information or guidance you could offer in the selection of a program would be greatly appreciated. I would also be happy to field any questions about myself that might better aid you in developing me. 

ANSWER

How do I stay lean or lose fat?
Answers: (a) 90% or more of fat is diet related. Clean up your diet significantly, and you’ll lean up. You can’t outwork a shitty diet. Here are our recommendations. Follow this, and if it doesn’t work, cut the cheat day. Cleaning up your diet is key to maintaining your lean frame. Again – you can’t outwork your diet.
Greek Hero Endurance Programming
Each plan in the series deploys different endurance programming. Understand that for grunts like you, there are two primary types of mission -direct endurance, running and rucking. Some plans deploy one or the other, and some both. How the plans train endurance differs primarily between assessment based, hard fast intervals, and longer moderate or easy efforts for both running and rucking.
Guarantee?
It’s on your honor not to take advantage of our guarantee. Every once in a while we’ll see a douche bag abuse our guarantee and our efforts, but the vast majority of the athletes who come to MTI don’t. I would suspect however that if you weren’t satisfied with the programming you’d stop and request a refund long before a year came up. As well, you can purchase the plans individually and each includes a look at the first week of training. I’d recommend you start with Hector, do the first week under the “Sample Training” tab, and decide from there.
Overall programming?
Your attention on body image and making sure you work out hard enough is misplaced. As a professional tactical athlete, all that matter is your mission performance. Next is addressing the “burden of constant fitness” and longevity. MTI has two types of programming: (1) Base Fitness, and (2) Event-Specific Fitness (selection, deployments, courses, pfts, etc.)
MTI’s Base FItness programming for military SOF and infantry concurrently trains what we fill are the mission-direct demands of these athletes: High Relative Strength (strength per bodyweight), Work Capacity (multi-mode and sprint-repeat-based), Military Endurance (Run, Ruck), Chassis Integrity (MTI’s proprietary functional core strength training), and Tactical Agility. The Greek Hero plans all train Base Fitness and are designed to build into the military athlete a solid “base” level of mission-direct fitness upon which to build event specific fitness.
Our event-specific programming is not concerned with concurrently training these different fitness attributes, but rather laser-focused on training the athlete for the fitness demands of the specific event he/she will face at the school, selection, PFT, etc.
In an ideal situation the athlete will use our Base Fitness programming as his/her day to day fitness, and then drop out of the base fitness programming in the weeks directly before the event, and complete the appropriate event-specific training. For you, this would be the USMC TBS/IOC Training Packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

Any recommendations on what program work. I’m 40 years old  I have done cross fit im the past and some personal training in the past. My goal is to build some muscles and get rid of fat.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, and follow it up with the plans/order in the Country Singer Packet I.
Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan is no joke, and will kickstart your fitness. The Country Singer Plans deploy MTI fluid periodization for civilian athletes. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance and chassis integrity (core). These plans are high-level general fitness programming.
Fat? 90% of it is diet related. You can’t outwork a shitty diet. Here are our dietary recommendations. Eat clean 6 days/week and you should shed fat and lean up. If not, cut the cheat day ….
– Rob

QUESTION

I am on my final week of Humility, about to start Backcountry Big Game.  However, my hunting plans have been shifted back to November, instead of September.  I’ll have 7 weeks extra now, 8, if I skip my rest week. I have a bear hunt in mid-August that won’t be too bad, then my deer hunt in mid-November will be packing in for over a week.  I will do the Backcountry Big Game for it, for sure. Do you have any suggestions on a program for the extra 7 weeks?

ANSWER

Fortitude. It’s 7 weeks …. take the full rest week.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently serving in the MN National Guard and need to get back into shape. I currently am not working out and would like a starting place. Would the military on ramp be a good plan for me to choose? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER


QUESTION

I’m doing Big Cat, if I can’t always work out in bunker gear and pack is it okay to still do the work out as prescribed or add to the loading/reps? Also, how can I mix in push up and sit up and improvement plan for my APFT? Thanks for your time.

ANSWER

Only some of the agility work in the sessions do we want you loaded in bunker gear, most of it no – so you don’t need to add any reps/sets.
You can add in push ups and sit ups at the end of each session. Easy would be to do 10 rounds of 20x push ups, 30x sit ups.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m headed to USMC BRC the first week of July, I know we’re going to be eating a lot of chow hall food, but do you have any other recommendations for a high performance diet over the next 4 months?
During USMC IOC, I ate as much as I could and still lost weight. My biggest fear is my body breaking down. I’m currently 5’ 10”, 165lbs. Keeping weight on has always been a struggle.
Appreciate any recommendations.

ANSWER

I’m not sure if you’ll be able to supplement while at school, but body-buiding type mass gainer shakes/mixes and recovery shakes with both carbs/protein might be a way to add to your caloric intake if you’re not getting enough through the meals.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m curious about how I might adapt the Running Improvement plan to shorter distance trail runs. I’m doing a series of 3.5-mile races on some local trails. My idea was to use the 2-mile improvement plan, and my road running has definitely been progressing, but based on my last race I’m not sure how much has transferred to the trails.

There’s a ton of other variables in my case, and I don’t really think the plan is to blame, but I am curious whether there is anything you would recommend that I do differently either within this plan or even with a different plan.
Thanks!

ANSWER

You could do the long runs on trails, or you could do the whole thing … the problem is the assessment and all the intervals would need to be on the exact, same section on the exact same trail.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hope all is well. First, Leg Blaster and all the little and big brothers of it are one of the best lower body exercises in existence. In my experience nothing compares to it in bulding strength, endurance  explosive power and mental toughness. Thank you for making them popular.
Second, is their an equivalent for Leg Blaster for the Hamstrings? Feel overdevelopment in the quads  would like to balance it out.
Third, in a recent article I read about the idea of working with shuttle runs in a small space. What would be a good protocol for fat loss?
Fourth, weighted Dips and pull ups, both in all their incarnations are overall the best upper body development exercises. With little adjustment they can train all athletics qualities.
Looking forward on your feedback

ANSWER

Hamstring Leg Blaster? No …. but the Hamstring Hell is pretty good. So are Nordic Hamstrings and the Russian Hammer.
Shuttle Sprints Protocol for fat loss? Best is to clean up your diet. You can’t outwork a shitty diet. Then look at 30/30 Jingle Jangles.
All these exercises can be found at our exercises page: https://mtntactical.com/category/exercises/
– Rob

QUESTION

I wonder if you have a program that would recommend you to basketball in off season?

ANSWER

I’d recommend Waylon. This is a general fitness training program with a significant strength component, 20-30 minute work capacity effort, chassis integrity and endurance built around a 1.5 mile run and 800m repeats. Solid programming which will build your durability via strength, and overall work capacity.
– Rob

QUESTION

Which one of your programs would you recommend for an off-road motorcyclist planning several weeks riding later in the year (months away from now). They will be riding mainly desert tracks and unpaved roads using a 520 lb Adventure motorbike.

ANSWER

I don’t have a specific adventure riding training plan. But from what I do have, and given the core/upper body and grip strength demands of your sport, I’d recommend San Quentin from our Notorious Prison Packet of plans of Correctional Officers.
This plan concurrently trains strength, work capacity, grip strength, upper body hypertrophy and chassis integrity (functional core). The fitness should translate well to your riding.
I’d recommend doing the plan now, and then repeating it the 7 weeks directly before your ride.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question regarding the pull-up portion of the Operator Ugly Improvement Plan. On my last iteration (May), I scored performed 24 pull-ups on the assessment.

Per the programming, I was to begin at 25% of the repetitions performed (six) with an additional 20 pounds; I used my body armor, ~23 pounds. As I progressed through the programming, I was performing 40-50 weighted pull-ups per day and hitting 200+ per week.

I have had tendonitis in my biceps tendon previously and am concerned about the volume of the pull-ups, especially weighted. I made the conscious decision not to move to sets of nine per the programming for fear of aggravating/reinjuring the tendon.

Is there a better way to progress the pull-ups without so much volume? Increase the weight further and reduce the number of repetitions? Decrease the rest period from 90 to 75 or 60 seconds?

ANSWER

Quick answer is I’m not sure. Increasing the load and dropping the volume will also increase stress on your elbows.
I’d recommend being safe and either …
1) Drop the IBA and do the prescribed reps unloaded.
2) Keep the IBA and cut the prescribed reps in half.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just started the ruck based selection packet. I wanted to say thanks for making this comprehensive plan. I’ve been an endurance athlete pretty much my whole life, and this plan is super valuable to me.
My strength stats are:
Squat 260
Bench 225
OHP 155
Clean 240
Should I still do the Big 24 cycle? I know my numbers aren’t great, but I’m worried that the gains will not be so great, and I will lose lots of endurance / ruck based skills in that cycle. I’ve been traditionally not very strong.
I plan to complete this whole packet prior to boot camp because I am going to go from Boot -> AIT -> Airborne -> SFPC -> Selection. So I don’t think I will have much time between Boot and Selection to complete the program.  Do guys usually keep doing this program in the pipeline?
Is it OK to ruck run in running shoes at first? I am still working on finding the proper boots.

ANSWER

Yes on Big 24. The strength programming in the plan is meant to build your durability.
Yes – complete the entire packet before Boot – you won’t have much time after entering to train.
Okay on rucking in running shoes.
– Rob

QUESTION

I used both the spirits and gun makers series’ in the past.  I was wondering if you’ve considered developing a program for K9 handlers.  Due to different demands placed on them than both patrol and SWAT officers.  If not, what would you recommend to help with tracking for distance?

ANSWER

I’ve been asked by a few handlers for a K9-specific packet – and will still consider it. But last year I developed a K9 Handler Fitness Assessment – sent it to several of the officers who wanted their own packet, and posted it to k9 fb groups, etc. and didn’t have a single K9 handler complete the assessment and provide feedback … so I’m just not sure there’s a lot of interest.
You now …. the plans in the Wilderness Packet will prepare you for distance tracking. These are designed for wilderness professionals including game wardens, forest rangers, etc.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been doing a lot of barbell work this winter. I want to get more body strength going with some dumbbell work. What plan do you recommend.

ANSWER

Tammy – If you want a balanced multi-modal plan which deploys dumbbell strength work
Moe – if you want a strength-focused plan which deploys dumbbell strength work
– Rob

QUESTION

Just wanted to say thank you and great job with the Rainier Training Plan. I successfully summitted the mountain last week and everything went well. I felt amazingly fit, we moved extremely fast during the climb passing numerous teams on summit day. We got back to high camp from the summit and I felt like I could of keep on hiking. The training plan was fantastic.
Next on the list is Denali, would you recommend your new Everest 23 week plan as a lead up to the 9 week Denali plan? Or use it instead of the 9 week plan and include the tire pull exercises? I like the idea of a full 5+ month plan to stick with, instead of just the 9 week plan.

ANSWER

Congrats!
No … roll into the plans/order of the Wilderness Packet of training plans until your out weeks from Denali. Start with the first plan in the packet – Jedediah Smith.
9-weeks out from Denali, drop out of the wilderness packet plans and complete the Denali Training Plan the 9 weeks directly before your trip.
– Rob

QUESTION

I will be running a road marathon on October 26th. I already have a running training program for that race, so by the end of that program I’ll be running about 40 miles per week (probably 40% on trails), plus some weight training each week.

After that race, I have a 50k race planned on March 7th (approx 18 weeks between) that has about 14,000 ft in elevation change on pretty technical trails.  I was looking at your ultramarathon/mountain running plans, which would you suggest to fill this 18 week timeframe to have me ready for the race?

ANSWER

The Alpine Running plan will give you a little break from road volume, and help with uphill endurance, and the volume in the Ultra Pre-Season Plan is adequate for a 50K.
– Rob

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