Q&A 10.21.16


I just learned of your various plans and programming and I’m looking for a little direction as to what might fit me best and how your group can help me out.  I’m a hunter, trail runner, skier and cross fitter but I also work full time, go to school half time, am training for Ski Patrol and family man with a little boy fresh off of treatment for cancer.  Over the last few years I have gone from 330lbs and unable to walk a mile to as low as 260 and having run a marathon.  My biggest issue has always been my weight and diet, which over the last month working with Wilderness Athlete I’ve dialed in my diet over the last 5 weeks and I’ve hit some huge running and weight loss milestones, but I’m looking to expand on that and really improve my training.

What I’m looking for is some programming or a plan that I can do year round that will help all of these.  I’m really looking for a good combination of strength training, crossfit style training that includes some running work as well.  I’m not afraid of doing 2-a-days a couple days a week(time permitting) and I have a fairly well equipped home gym to work out in plus access to a top notch crossfit box.  Which of your plans would you recommend for this or would doing the subscription and combining a couple plans be best for me?

Thanks for any help and I look forward to hearing from you.


A great place for you to start our stuff would be Fortitude – which one change. Skip the ruck running and just run unloaded twice per week – still completing the prescribed mileage.

Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/)  combines heavy gym-based strength, focused gym-based work capacity, and endurance (running).

Here’s more on the plan: http://mtntactical.com/military-athlete-articles/fortitude-strength-and-endurance/

Good luck!

– Rob


I am currently in week 5 of your RAT 6 Plan and I am loving it! I made huge strength improvements. Since my endurance is not what should be, I wanted to do your Running Improvement Plan. Three times a week I have Rugby training. Up until now I did my workouts in the mornings which worked well for me, but since I have lectures at university every day, adding a 1h running workout to my morning workouts would turn out to be a little problematic – timewise. After RAT 6 I have planned to do your Military Endurance Training Cycle, so I thought your Running Improvement Plan would serve as a good base. Would you recommend cutting out 1 day/week on the Running Improvement Plan, since already I have Rugby training three times a week? Would this still be a good preparation for your Military Endurance Training Cycle? Thank you in adance!


Your plan is solid. The Military Endurance Training Plan includes running and ruck running – so you’ll hurt some at first with the ruck running, but your strength work via Ruck 6 and rugby work will help.

Good luck!

– Rob


Good afternoon!  I am an active-duty infantry officer in the Marine Corps and have been an active user of your programs since 2012.  I have seen great success in my strength, endurance, and power through the use of your various programs.  Occasionally, I run marathons and about to run the Marine Corps Marathon in two weeks.   I am 6’2” 205lbs and have been able to maintain my weight and strength throughout my marathon prep.  Following my marathon, I am planning on taking on the Tuscobia Winter Ultra 80 Mile run in Northern Wisconsin on 7 January 2017 and have some questions on your recommendations on the combination of the best training plans that you offer.

Here is a little background on the event

·         Tuscobia Winter Ultra is a 80 Mile semi-supported run with one checkpoint at Mile 35.

·         It is a point-to-point race

·         There is a required gear list

o   Sleeping bag, bivy sack, iso mat, stove or Jet Boil, pot for melting snow, Firestarter, headlamp, and 3000 calories at all times to include race finish.

o   Additional gear will be warming layers and food for fuel throughout the race

·         Many competitors use sleds to pull their packs rather than rucking

My question is, what training package/packages would you recommend?  I have been looking at your ultra-marathon packages, but also wonder if I should supplement with a rucking package or another additional strength package.

Here is a link to the website for the race if you wanted to take a look.


Thanks in advance for your time in reading this email and for everything you do for my community.


The load (20-25#) and trail condition/footwear are the x factor in this race – not the distance or elevation.

What this means is if you do at least 50% of your training mileage (75% would be better) in similar conditions/pack/footwear, you’ll train the muscles/work capacity appropriately.

What you wouldn’t want to do is all your training unloaded in running shoes tights. But you know this.

You’re equipment selection here is key. I’m thinking goretex hiking boots like Salomon Quest 4D’s, thick socks, and gaitors. Softshell pants, light synthetic top, and breathable, yet wind resistant jacket like the Patagonia Houdini or Acteryx Squamish. I’m not sure I’d bother with a waterproof top … if you do I’d recommend the OR Helium – or something super light and similar. Your sleeping bag will be your emergency puffy – but you’ll likely want either a thick fleece hooded top or one of the new breathable synthetic puffies.  You’re pack will add warmth … and as long as you’re moving and it’s warmer than -10, you’ll be plenty warm as long as your digits are protected and it’s a dry cold, not a wet one.

Training Plan? You need to put in the miles … so it depends somewhat on how much time you have to train now and how much suffering you want to do during the race.

Not much time to train and willing to suffer? 50-Mile Ultra Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/50-mile-ultra-plan/

Lot’s of time and want to Crush? 100-Mile Ultra. http://mtntactical.com/shop/100-mile-ultra-plan/

Again – train the way you will run … same weight pack, pants, shoes, system, everything. Get your gear dialed during the train up.

Good Luck!


Thoughts on subbing front squat for back squat in the Actaeon plan?


I use the Hang Squat Clean in the plan to hit the quads – every rep includes a front squat – and the box squat (not back squat) in the plan to hit the hamstrings, butt and hips.

This way I’m attempting to balance training for the anterior and posterior chains.

I’d rather you completed the plan as prescribed.

– Rob


Operator session seems very similar to the SWAT session, just wondering what the key differences were?


SWAT guys share many of the same fitness attributes as Military guys – esp. Tier 1 teams with heavy CQB mission sets. The one significant difference is endurance … most SWAT teams don’t have the same possible missions demanding endurance (i.e. rucking), or the PFTs and culture which have a strong unloaded running component.

So the SWAT cycles lack much emphasis with this endurance attribute. 

Some SWAT/SRT teams in rural areas do have a some rucking mission sets – i.e. Border Patrol BORSTAR/BORTAC especially on the Mexican border, rural state-wide SRT’s such as Kentucky, and others. For these teams, I recommend they complete the Operator Sessions.

Here is the link to my piece of the 5 types of Tactical Athletes and their fitness demands: http://mtntactical.com/fitness/5-types-tactical-athletes-fitness-demands/

– Rob


Good morning, thanks so much for what you all do. Quick question:

I’m active duty and I have been doing your USN PST workout to get back and ready for my standard NAVY PRT that I’ll be swimming. Just did day 11, and went up by 7 on pushups, 11 on sit-ups, 5 on pull-ups, and took 38 seconds off my swim. Now swimming an 8:22 as of yesterday. My problem is I have a GORUCK CHALLENGE TOUGH coming up two days after Thanksgiving in Plymouth, MA. The PRT is NOV 8th and the GORUCK is NOV 26th. I did an 8 mile ruck this past Saturday, but during the week I was wondering how best to substitute and do the USN PST one, mixed with the rucking and maybe some more strength based stuff for the GORUCK CHALLENGE one.

Any advice would be great. Thanks so much.


In general, your work related fitness should take priority – this means your focus should be on maximizing your PST score.

GoRuck …. focus on rucking, running and core. Know that the bodyweight work your already doing in the PST plan will also do an okay job of preparing your for these events in the goruck event.

Options until Nov. 9:

Best: Do 2-a-days on Tuesdays and Thursdays….. USN PST swim sessions in the AM, GoRuck Challenge Plan core/rucking in the PM (Tuesday and Thursday Sessions from the GoRuck Challenge Plans).

Next Best: Swap the Thursday PST swim session for the Thursday GoRuck Challenge plan’s Thursday core/ruck session.

After Nov 9:

Complete the last 2 weeks of the GoRuck Challenge Plan.

Good luck!

– Rob


I barely can run a mile im 5’9 250lbs( I lift weights also so I have a combo of high fat to good amount pf muscle ratio ) is this program able to help me?


Most our stuff isn’t appropriate for you. From what we do have, I’d recommend the Fat Loss Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fat-loss-training-program/

– Rob


I was looking at getting a subscription on your training plans, I used the Dryland and Backcountry workout to get ready for an Antarctica trip a few years back so I am familiar with those.

In cruising around your site I noticed that you have a lower-back fitness training plan, which I am a poster boy for needing. Is this something that would be integrated into the workouts that you send out with the subscription? I’m trying to figure out if I should just do the low-back workout, or a more comprehensive workout that would be targeted more toward a mix of Resort, backcountry and ski mountaineering.


The Low Back Plan isn’t designed to be added to another …. it’s a stand alone plan for those coming back from a low back issue. Sounds like you’re getting after it now, but feel week in that area.

One plan I just published which is designed to supplement/complement other training is our Chassis Integrity Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/chassis-integrity/

Chassis Integrity is my most recent and evolved theory on midsection training.

The plan is available for individual purchase at the link above. It also comes with an Athlete’s Subscription to the website.

– Rob


I am interested in one more of your Training plans. I have a couple questions though.  Upon purchasing a plan does one have access to it for only one cycle or is it something that can be used multiple times.  Also I am a heli rappeler for the forest service and interested in one of the Wildland Fire plans you have available.  Can you recommend one I could do during a 16 week marathon training cycle.  I look forward to hearing back from you.  Thanks Harley


Access … pretty much forever, or until we go out of business. You can use it multiple times.

The plan I’d recommend for you is the Hot Shot/Smokejumper Pre-Season Training Plan. This is a 6-week, intense training plan, but you could complete 2-3 sessions a week during your easier running days for the marathon. You could also use it prior to next season.

Another option is to focus on strength while your doing your marathon work. Again – 2-3 sessions/week, and I’d recommend the In-Season Strength Plan for Endurance Athletes.

– Rob


Hello Rob my brother in law introduced me to your website and I like what I see.  I am sad to say that I feel lost with the amount of programs and training you have on here.  So i’ll just give you my Goals and stats and we will see what you suggest.  I’m 38 210lbs and I’m looking to have a much better fitness lvl than I do now.  I am in the Air force but I’m just an Aircraft Mechanic.  So the most Militarily physically prepared I need to be is for the AFPFT.  But  I want to be a better role model for my sons and I would love to be Healthy and Fit enough that when I’m 50+ I can maintain a high lvl of health and fitness.  My eating is good only difference in your Nutrition philosophy and mine is I do have a Carb once a day.  rice, potato, Ezekiel bread.   thanks for your attention if you have any question please just ask.


A great place to start our stuff is the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/)

Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this plan is no joke, deploys assessments and automatically “scales” to your individual fitness, and includes running.

– Rob


I’m a former Recon Marine looking for a challenging program. I have experience in a lot of different types of workouts and I’m curious as to what advice you’d have for me. I’m 6ft 200 lbs so I’m not necessarily a skinny dude but I don’t have as much mass as I’d like. Im looking for a program that would help me increase mass while not losing the functionality and athleticism that made me successful as a Marine. Im currently doing the Hypertrophy for Skinny Dudes program. What other ones would you suggest to satisfy both bulking up and maintaining mobility and functionality?  Thanks for the help.


After the Skinny Plan, I’d recommend you complete Achilles (http://mtntactical.com/shop/operator-achilles/).

Achilles deploys my most recent evolution of Fluid Periodization, and has a subtle, but intense strength focus. On the strength side it deploys super squats progression for both the back squat and bench press. We’ve found super squats a super effective and efficient way to add strength. And … if you are eating enough protein, mass.

– Rob


I am a ski instructor in Canada and I am looking at the snow training programs on your website.

This year I am going for my level 4 CSIA which requires high levels of fitness and strength as well as technical ability. One of my concerns is leg strengthening for injury prevention, particularly knee injuries.

I am an expert skier with a basic level of fitness, I bike regularly and run short distance (3km, not fast!)

Which training program would you recommend?

I am enjoying some interval type classes such as spin class and an aerobics class with tabata excerises at a gym I just joined, I do about 3 classes a week. I also go to a climbing gym 2-3 times a week for fun. Would I need to stop these other activities if I was to do, for example, the Dryland Skiing Training Program?  Obviously I don’t want to over train but if possible it would be nice to keep these things up too.


I’d recommend the Dryland Ski Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/dryland-ski-training-program/

Double up with your other classes/climbing? Depends upon your level of fitness. The dryland plan is no joke, and chances are you’re going to be pretty darn sore for the first 2-3 weeks. I’d recommend you dedicate these weeks to the plan, then start working in your other activites.

Good luck with level 4!

– Rob


I am stationed in Naples, Itally and am writing to you for advice in terms of what training plan is right for me?

For background, I enjoy hiking in the mountains (15 mile plus days) coupled with peak bagging when the opportunity presents itself (this last weekend was spent attempting Mt Triglav in Slovenia). This latest attempt indicated that I am not in the best shape that I could be in for this particular passion of mine. I have already completed a few of the high peaks in the US (non-technical) but I don’t think I have properly trained for them.

To put things in perspective, my ultimate goal is to one day summit Denali or Mont Blanc.

Again, which training plan would you recommend for someone who enjoys backcountry hiking and peak bagging (with the ultimate goal being one of the big mountains)?


I’d recommend the Peak Bagger Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/

– Rob



Was hoping you might be able to give me some advice.  I’m just starting to train again after 3 months of only low level activity due to a busy summer (work and family).  Before that I was training a bit but also struggling with some long term issues with my lower back and right knee. Those issues settled down during my long rest but remain weaknesses and something I need to manage. Looking forward I want to work towards a week of BC skiing mid to late season. My thoughts are to work on back and knee strength / resilience and general fitness the next few months then in the new year maybe do Fortitude followed by your BC Ski program (which I used a couple of years ago with great success). I’m 46 years old and do not have any job specific fitness requirements. I have been cleared by my PT for training.

What do you think of the overall plan?  Any suggestions for the next few months?  I looked at both your lower back plan and post-rehab leg plan but these look like full programs so maybe not able to do both at once (though maybe I could do one after the other?). Or just a couple of general plans and let my back & knee develop along with everything else?


I’m thinking starting back with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/. I recommend this now because it deploys an inital assessment and progressions based on your assessment results – so it will automatically scale to your current level of fitness.

Follow it up with some solid strength work – Fortitude would work, but I’d have you swap out the rucking for step ups or uphill hiking @ 25#. When you do the swap, think time, not miles. You’ll work up to about 75 minutes.

Then roll into the Backcountry Ski Training Plan the 6 weeks directly before your mid-season trip.

All these plans are available for individual purchase. As well, you get access to all with an Athlete’s Subscription to the site.

Good luck!

– Rob


Can you recommend one of your programs to help with the FLETC PEB?


I’m ashamed to say I don’t have a plan for the FLETC PEB – I think this is the first time I’ve been asked.

From what I do have, our SWAT Selection Training Plan is pretty close: http://mtntactical.com/shop/swat-selection-training-plan/

This plan is built around the events we’ve found common for SWAT selections around the country – and includes assessments and progressions to improve these attributes:

(1) 1.5 Mile Run Aerobic Capacity

(2) 60 sec Max Rep Push-Ups Upper Body Muscular Endurance

(3) 60 sec Max Reps Sit-Ups Core and Lower Body Muscular Endurance

(4) 300m Sprint Speed Endurance

(5) 1RM Bench Press Upper Body Strength

(6) 1RM Front Squat Lower Body Strength

(7) Max Rep 25# Weighted Pull-Ups Upper Body Strength and Strength Endurance

(8) 100m Sprint with 25# Weighted Speed

(9) Obstacle / Agility Course with 25# Weighted Anaerobic Capacity and Agility

10) Longer Distance Runs Aerobic Capacity

There are some events in the PEB which aren’t covered – sit and reach, and Illinois Drill. I’m not sure there’s a progression for the sit and reach … at least I’ve never come across one – and I don’t have one developed. The SWAT Selection plan will improve your speed and quickness and some of that will transfer to the Illinois Drill – but not directly. You’ll want to drill that specific event.

I’m sorry – I wish I had a sport-specific plan to offer you. I’ll add it to the list.

– Rob


I’m writing this email to thank you and give some feed back on your LE Programming. I’ve been using your LE programming since April or so and have seen significant gains in my strength, speed, and endurance as well as maintaining weight and loosing inches where needed.  All while being pain free and without significant injury.  I’m on a Federal SWAT team and the workouts are definitely applicable to the type of fitness required to do my job.  I’ve done LE Whiskey, Tequila, SWAT Rugar and SWAT Beretta (which i’m finishing now, I did have to substitute the LSD runs in excess of 60 minutes with equal time rucking due to knee soreness from running on uneven terrain), I’m hoping to see you continue with the SWAT series as I feel its been the best programming for SWAT Athletes.  Additionally, I’ve had others in the gym see my progress in strength and begin to use your programming as well.  So again great job and I hope to see more of those specific programs. 

On a side note, I have a 15 year old son who’s a very good QB but needs to increase a little in size (6 feet, 160 lbs) and strength which of any of your general programs would you recommend for him as the off season approaches.


Thanks so much for the feedback – and am glad the plans have worked for you.  I plan 2-3 more SWAT plans in the gunmaker series. Just been jammed up here being short-staffed.

Your son … – I recommend Big 24: http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-24-strength-training-program-v3/

Big 24 is awesome strength training.

– Rob


I’m a National Guardsman that used to be a stud. I did crossfit, juijitsu, and ran daily. Then one day I pulled a hami and I continued to eat like I was a stud so I gained weight. I went from 220 lean to 250 pot belly.  That was a over a year ago. I am 29 so have 17 minutes to run the 2 mile. Sadly, for the first time in my life I hit 17 even. Do you have any programs that can help build me back up to running shape. I looked at your four week run improvement, but it’s a bit much for me to take on. Is there a version before that?

   This is difficult for me to admit, but I’m reaching out. After years in the infantry my knees hurt and everything clicks and clangs. I could push myself running 60/120s all week but I figured I’d ask someone smart. Everyone in my unit and every vet I know raves about your programs. I hope you can help me come up with something that can help or refer me to a good workout. Thanks for your time.


Couple Options:

1) APFT Training Plan:

Focused plan to improve your APFT score, including the run.

2) Bodyweight Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/

This plan is no joke, and uses an initial assessment and follow-on progressions based on this assessment. This way it automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness.

The plan also includes sprinting, and long, easy runs to build running capacity and endurance. It’s not as focused as the APFT Training Plan, but is more well rounded, and a great start to improve your fitness.

Here’s the weekly schedule:

  • Monday: Bodyweight Calisthenics Progression, Sprints
  • Tuesday: 800m Intervals, Core/Low Back
  • Wednesday: Bodyweight Calisthenics Progression, Agility
  • Thursday: Long easy run, Core/Low Back
  • Friday: Bodyweight Calisthenics Progression, Sprints
  • Saturday: Long easy Run
  • Sunday: Rest

As well, clean up your diet. Here are our dietary recommendations: http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition

The plans above can be purchased individually at the links indicated. Both are also included with the 120+ plans and daily sessions which come with an Athlete’s Subscription to our work.

Good luck.

– Rob


SSgt R.recommended you to me after I told him I wanted to attend MARSOC A&S. His biggest concern for me was my knees. To elaborate on that, back in January of 2014 I hit a tree with my left leg while snowboarding. I had a bruise from hip to knee but no bone damage was diagnosed. I had to walk on crutches for about two weeks afterwards and once I started walking on my own, it still took a while to run  without any pain in the knee. By March I had ran my PFT and the left knee hurt(ached) quite a bit for another week. Through physical therapy (which was just stretching) and running, the pain went mostly away. It would get bad only after not training properly for a while or on long car rides and things like that. I got it looked at multiple times and they thought a meniscus tear was possible but ultimately said nothing was wrong and I’m fine even after I told them it hurts.

        So I went along like that, just managing the pain and stretching until February of 2016 when I was at Cpl’s Course on the Land Nav portion and while trudging through the swamp, I fell in a hole and twisted my right knee. I limped on it for a week and then got seen and was able to rest it. This was diagnosed as a “messed up IT band” though they wouldn’t elaborate. They said it wasn’t torn though. I went through Sports Medicine and they gave me the same routine of stretches as my left knee. Not very helpful. This knee is less manageable. I can now crack the knee just by twisting while standing upright about 10 times in a minute. I try not to do that, but it relieves a little bit of pressure so I tend to do it after standing for too long.

        When I go to the gym and train legs, I can’t handle too much weight on the Reverse Leg Curl and when I squat, the pressure I mentioned comes in full force. Sprints make it feel like I tear it and running makes me wear a brace afterwards if I go too far or too fast. I’ve noticed that when I do run, I can run further the next time if I don’t push it. The best days are when I do leg day at the gym. I’m not sure why but both legs feel much better afterwards. The stretches that Sports Medicine gave me aren’t very helpful on their own but in combination with what I do at the gym or running, I see results.

        SSgt Rinell wanted me to ask you what your recommendations are and out of the programs you have, which one(s) should I take a look at. He asked me to provide as much information as possible. I think I’m on the right path because as of now, through training, they are feeling better. I’m not a professional though and I would like to get both knees as healthy as possible before I attempt A&S. We were also looking at the MARSOC plan you have and I’d like to start that no later than February 1st. Please get back to me at your earliest convenience. Thank you.


You’ve got medical/injury stuff going on I can’t help you with. I’m just not a doctor.

In general, increasing your strength, and being consistent with activity may help with stiffness and recovery, but likely won’t heal broken stuff.

I’d encourage you to step outside the military medical system and seek a second opinion from a civilian orthopedic doctor … or keep pushing the military medical system until you can find an answer. Seems you need MRI’s.

From my stuff, I’d recommend the Post-Rehab Leg Injury Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/post-rehab-leg-injury-training-plan-ssd/

Many have used this plan successfully coming back from knee surgery … however, the surgery fixed their issue and we just helped bring them back to strength for full training.

I wish I could offer more.

– Rob


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