Hey Rob,
What is your opinion on proper nutrition when following one of your training plans, i.e. DEVGRU or ruck-based selection?

My main concern is recovery and being able to ATTACK these sessions, as opposed to suffering through them.

Are carbs ideal? Or is it fat that I want to utilize?

Thanks for any advice you may have!

– J.

Hi J. –

Day to day nutrition should be similar or the same as our diet recommendations:

6 Days/week – eat as much meat, veggies, nuts, fruit (non tropical), cheese as you want. Off the menu is all grain, potatoes, bread, pasta, sugar, alcohol, milk, rice, etc. For the foods you can eat – there is no dietary restriction – eat as much as you want. These selection plans will make you hungry – eat!!

1 Day/week – Cheat like a mother

Event Nutrition – During these long sessions or to fuel up before, recover after, during – feel free to use "science food" – primarily from the endurance world – gels (gu), electrolytes, power bars, etc. It’s important to figure out what specific product works best for you – and to have it dialed and figured out prior to selection.

Personally – I pound cheese, hard salami and apples, plus sweet potatoes, and almond butter. I’m susceptible to cramping, and before the stamina events will take electrolyte tablets from hammerstrengh, and prior/during, take energy gels according to the product’s schedule – usually every 45 minutes. Meals on long mountain events are apples with salami and cheese. Recovery for me is the same – but some times I’ll drink a "Surge" recovery drink from t-nation.

One thing that doesn’t work for me is to get into these high volume cycles and let my diet go to hell- eat sweet breads, cookies, Clif bars, etc. I’ve been eating relatively "clean" for so long, these foods sit like a stone in my stomach, and don’t make me feel good.

– Rob

Ok a little bio on me. 34 year old, parent, husband, full time
student, work part time, BJJ x 4 days a week. I’m a Navy veteran,
ex-corpsman, got CrossFit certified in 2009, familiar with CF since
2003. Friend and fellow corpsman at BUD/S medical introduced me to
it. Have followed CF, CFFootball, and Sealfit to varying degrees of
Just went to talk to Navy Resv. recruiter and im too fluffy. 6’1,
230lbs. Mainly sticking to CF Football Strength WOD because of
schedule, and skipping on most of the rx metcons because of time
constraints. BJJ has been kicking my ass mainly due to my size and
lack of cardio conditioning. The strength is good, but my size and
lack of cardio means I get winded early.
I want to lose weight, maintain strength, increase cardio (especially
for BJJ) and maximize on the Navy PFT. What program would you suggest
would best fit my needs?
On a side note, the Never Quit Challange in Jacksonville Beach, FL. is
coming up and wanted to enter the Trident Solo competition.
5k run, 500m swim, 1500m paddle.

Was looking through your training programs and liked what I could see,
just wasnt sure what program would best suit me. Based on my different
interests and needs, what program would you suggest I start with?

Sorry, I’m at work, on my lunch break, just trying to get out all the
info I could in the small window that I have.

Any help in chosing a program would be appreciated.
Thanks for your time and patience.
– J.

Weight – I’d recommend starting with your diet. Fix it, and you might shed 15 quick pounds. Here are our dietary recommendations:

6 Days a Week: Eat lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and drink water. Don’t eat carbs (bread, spuds, rice) or sugar.
1 Day a Week: Cheat like a mother! Beer, pizza, ice cream – you name it! We’ve found you can’t eat clean over the long term without cheating. We’ve also found the longer you stick to this diet, the less you’ll "cheat" on your cheat days, and the more cheating will hurt you – i.e. stomach ache, gas, etc.

Training Plan: I’d recommend starting with the APFT plan – leaving the weight alone and doing some quality body weight work, and running intervals, plus leaving the weight alone, may help shed some unnecessary muscle mass. Here’s the link to the plan:

– Rob
Good afternoon,

I’ve been following the operator sessions and most of the time I can keep up. Running is what I’m worst at, and I need to be able to run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes by this summer, as I plan on enlisting in the USMC. I know I NEED to work on my running to get a good score for my IST, and I’d like to keep following the operator sessions but I don’t really know if I can run faster/longer just by doing the operator sessions alone. I believe it helps and I am getting better, but I don’t know if just doing operator sessions will get my run to where it needs to be.

Is there a program/cycle you could suggest I use to focus on running longer/faster that still incorporates full body work? Maybe something like the endurance cycle that was run back in March?

– L.

The best way to improve your running is to run, Louis.

Go to paypal and cancel your subscription to the Operator Sessions, then purchase and complete the 6-week APFT training plan. Here’s the link:

It includes lots of running!! – specifically designed to improve your 1.5 mile run time.

– Rob

I am wondering if the operator program would be good for females as RX on the workouts. I am a female Marine officer and am interesting in the program for better overall strength and conditioning. My fiance is currently doing the KB program with excellent gains and i am looking to start the operator program and would like to do it with him.

– E.

We have several female military athletes do the Operator Sessions. We generally prescribe loading for both men and women –

– Rob


Hey I’m an 11B with 1 AD currently deployed in RC SOUTH… and a few other guys want to try some of your work outs we wanna get strong and tone up a bit before we head back to the states, what do you have for us? Oh yea AKO is down like always thats why I didn’t email you from there. Let me know what you recommend. Thanks

– S.

Suggestions S. –

Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plan:
You could get this free – but it’s legs and lung intensive and am not sure what you mean by "tone up." I give this plan free to guys with deployment orders or those already downrange.

Ultimate Meathead Cycle:
Awesome strength program – which uses strength programming for the legs, and hypertrophy programming (body building) for the upper body.

357 Strength Plan:
Another Strength Plan which if full on total body, with serious work capacity included.

If none of these peaks your interest – see the other options at the website store:

– Rob


I’m an Army ROTC cadet and I started doing your APFT prep plan and I take my next APFT this upcoming Wednesday and I’m feeling good about it! I haven’t done it week by week as much as I would like with balancing Battalion PT, School, and a FTX this past weekend. My weak point is on the run, and I’ve had to lose weight to make height/weight. I’ve lost about 11 pounds this semester, and Have about 1 or 2 more to go. I’m 5’6" and yesterday I weighed 167.
After this APFT, the semester ends and I will be going to Moldova for an Army study abroad program. My question is when I return in mid June, What program should I do? I want to improve my strength without making any weight gains (losing weight/body fat would be preferable), but I NEED to improve my run. My PR for the 2 mile is 15:23 and I haven’t hit that in a few months. Is there a plan that will get me doing the strength training while still working on my running? I plan on redoing the APFT plan a few weeks out form the start of school (Aug 24) so what should I do in the meantime? Operator sessions or a sport specific plan? Sorry If I rambled here.

Here are some of my stats.
Age: 20
Height: 5’6"
Weight: 167
strict press 3rm- 95#
Deadlift- 255# 3rm-225
Clean- 125#
Front Squat- 215#
Backsqaut 5rm- 165#

My goals:
2 mile- 14:30 by September
max Push Ups (73)
overall strength increase with my lifting
Weight or body fat loss. If weight stays roughly here but my body fat goes down, I’d be happy with that.
Also, I plan on doing a GoRuck Light in September (potentially).

What plan do you r recommend both ideally and on a budget? really look forward to hearing from you!

Very Respectfully,
– J.

You’re answer is to lose 15 pounds, J. I’d like you 150-155# – this alone will increase your running performance.

Here are my dietary recommendations. Get disciplined and follow these:

Here’s our Nutritional Guideline:
6 Days a Week: Eat lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and drink water. Don’t eat carbs (bread, spuds, rice) or sugar.
1 Day a Week: Cheat like a mother! Beer, pizza, ice cream – you name it! We’ve found you can’t eat clean over the long term without cheating. We’ve also found the longer you stick to this diet, the less you’ll "cheat" on your cheat days, and the more cheating will hurt you – i.e. stomach ache, gas, etc.

In terms of a training plan – I’d recommend the Rat 6 Strength Plan when you return in mid-June – it’s a solid, old school, strength plan:

…. But, 6 weeks out from your APFT, re-do the APFT Plan.

– Rob


I just signed up to MilitaryAthlete and wanted to know if different operator sessions have different aspects pertaining to individual athlete goals. I am currently deployed in Afghanistan as a line medic and have a decent PT score (around 270). But when returning back home I am also a personal trainer and right now my focus is leaning out and putting on muscle as well (along with being fit enough to handle a special operations course if granted a slot). So my question is: Is there a certain operator session I should start with or just pick a day and follow on through with the sessions from there on.



The Operator Sessions are designed to develop a high level of base operational fitness and durability for military athletes. Specific fitness aims this programming include increasing relative strength without excessive mass gain, core strength, sprinting speed and work capacity, multi-modal work capacity, stamina for long events and multiple events over a single day, endurance, and addressing the "burden of constant fitness."

I’ve developed a fitness test, Operator Ugly, which test these attributes. Taking this test will give you a snapshot on the fitness elements I feel are important for a military athlete.

The Operator Sessions are designed as the day to day training for military athletes. For specific events such as SFAS, or to address specific fitness goals, such as mass gain, we’ve developed sport specific training plans which are available through the website store.

The proper way to use our programming is to do the Operator Sessions until 3-12 weeks out from your specific fitness event, or fitness goal. Then unsubscribe, and purchase and complete one of the sport specific plans. As an example, if you get a SFAS slot beginning October 1, do the Operator Sessions until August 1, then completed the Ruck Based Selection Training Program to "sport specifically" prepare for selection.

Why do the Operator Sessions in the first place and not just repeat the sport specific training plans? Two reasons – first, the sport specific plans are no joke, and the selection plans in particular, demand a high level of base fitness going in or you’ll never complete them. Second, these plans are very intense and do great to prepare athletes for the high demands of selections, but as day to day fitness, they are too intense, and have too much volume, and could lead to injury/burnout.

Some guys are hesitant to subscribe to the Operator Sessions, so we’ve created fitness attribute training plans like our Hypertrophy plan for Skinny Guys, 357 Strength Plan, Work Capacity plan, etc. These plans can be used to focus on a specific fitness element you may deem lacking.

Specific to your questions below, I believe you military related fitness should take precedence over your second job as a personal trainer, and you can just jump in the Operator Sessions and follow along. However, we do have a plan specifically designed for mass gain – our Hypertrophy Program for Skinny Guys available through the website store.

If you decided to do the hypertrophy plan, you can cancel your subscription to the Operator Sessions through paypal. You can’t do both at the same time.

– Rob

hey Rob, i’m a huge fan of your workouts. i recently went to a specialty running shoe store to get shoe fit, and they told me that i overpronate and explained to me exactly what that means when it comes to selecting footwear and orthotics. one thing that they told me when i asked if there was anything that i could do to strengthen the muscles in my feet to correct my overpronation and they said no, there was nothing that i could do. i was hoping to get your quick opinion on overpronation in the military and possibly even some ways to correct the problem. thanks Rob.

– A.

Sorry A. – You’re over my head now and into the rehab/PT/MD realm. I can’t help you here. – Rob


I want to know if it is possible for you to host a program for 40 Marines here at 1st Recon Bn Camp Pendleton CA, focusing on nutrition, form, and customizing workout plains for events and or personal in their Teams or Company.

Thank you
– B.

Please click the "Start Here" button on the website:

This will give you better idea on the array of the work we do and programming we can offer. There’s a chance we’ve got a plan or a programming already built which will meet your needs.

I can recommend a course of programming using our stuff, and if you have a need which isn’t covered, I can investigate a customized plan and get back to you with the cost/details.

– Rob


Hi Rob,

First off, much respect and thanks for such a great website and programming. Without a doubt the smartest most effective training I’ve ever come across. So here’s my situation. I used to follow your programming a few years back from the Mountain Athlete site and when you started Military Athlete it just blew my mind. My back ground is in law enforcement with the majority of my career being in Special Operations, so it was a perfect fit for me and a few members of my team. I’ve since transitioned into a few different training methods and after recovering from a broken leg pretty much focused on strength only doing things like Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 and good ole basic 5×5 programs with some conditioning thrown in here and there. I came back to Military Athlete about a month ago looking for a more challenging and full compliment of training. I have been doing the free operator sessions for the past month to get back in the swing of things and have just been adding weight to the lifts, becoming more efficient at the movements again and cutting down my times on the timed sessions. At this point I am looking to take the next step and was wondering what would be the closest programing to these sessions that I have been doing because I find them to be the perfect mix of what I need and am looking for at this time. I was looking at the 357 plan since it looks like the free operator sessions may have been pulled from that and thinking about starting there and then moving onto the daily sessions, or should I just sign up and fall in with the daily operator sessions. Which do you think would be the best progression at this point? Thanks in advance brother and keep up the great work!

– J.

Best would be to subscribe to the Operator Sessions, J. These cover everything – strength, stamina, work capacity, endurance, durability. The 357 Strength plan – is strength focused, and it seems you’ve already cycled through a couple strength plans already – and need some balance. If you don’t want to subscribe to the Operator Sessions, I’d recommend the Work Capacity Plan we’ve built:

– Rob



I have a question for you regarding the training masks that have become popular in the MMA world. A little background on me…I’m not a mountain guy, nor have I ever trained in high altitudes short of layover at the Denver airport. But I’ve seen fighters train with it and have argued the merits with other unqualified people.

I understand, based on some research, that wearing one doesn’t replicate training at high altitude because you can’t change the amount of oxygen in the air and that the main potential benefit is increased lung capacity, which in theory, could increase your anaerobic performance (assuming you are doing the other things that an athlete should do). The opinions on the internet vary from "Hell Yes" to "Hell No" and seem to be 50/50 each way.

Bottom line, would one of these things help a guy who trains using your program, in his garage, alone, in the middle of a midwestern State? If I say I’m not curious about the possibility of increasing my performance by putting on a mask, I’d be lying.


– F.

P.S. Someone turned me on to Stronger Faster Healthier’s Recovery protein mix…thoughts? Thanks again.

Unfortunately, I can’t offer an opinion on the mask – I haven’t used on or tested them on the lab rats. In general, however, I’m suspicious. It seems you can always increase the intensity of a work cap or endurance effort without the need of extra equipment.

Likewise – I can’t offer any first hand opinion on your recovery mix. In general, I’m not much of a supplement guy – Every once in a while i’ll shoot a whey protein shake after training, and less often, a recovery drink. The stuff I use comes from T-Nation – Surge, is the recovery drink, and I get their Metabolic Drive whey. No real reason I purchase this product, other than it’s relatively basic, and they’ve got free shipping.

– Rob

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