Q&A 3/26/15

 Questions include:  how much protein to take when trying to gain weight, shoe recommendations, modifying Stuck in Motel Plan, difference between Ranger School Plan and RTB program, fire academy prep plans, and more…



I’ve reached out before and your PT recommendations have always been spot on. Just completed SFAS, 0615, was selected. I will be at SOCM (Medic school) for the next 6 months before I start the Q course and get scheduled for IUW.

My numbers are 60PU, 75SU, 2mi in 12:00, 5mi in 35:00, 12mi ruck in 2:30 at 55# dry, (+ water and mres, I usually carry 68#.) I am 5’10 and weigh 160.

What do you think I should do in this 6mo of school to better situate myself for the Q? I feel underweight and lacking in strength, but my work capacity and endurance seem strong. Thoughts?

Thank you so much Rob, the community is littered with bad information. I always find myself reaching out for insight from you that I couldn’t get otherwise.


Congrats! I’m jealous!

Focus now should be on building back up some strength for overall durability, then in the weeks prior, training sport specifically for Q.

I’d recommend a subscription to the website an starting the Operator Sessions at the beginning of the most recent strength cycle.

Then, 6 weeks out for Q, canceling your subscription and completing the Special Forces Qualification Course Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/special-forces-qualification-course-training-plan/).



You were recommended by one of my friend, you gave him a rucking plan to help in in the job wanted to do and highly advised you. I am currently trying to cross train in tactical air control party. And they are big on rucking. I have never really rucked before, but I really want this career. What kind of plan do you recommend me doing?


To specifically improve Rucking – start with our Rucking Improvement Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/4-week-ruck-improvement-program/

To improve rucking, running and strength – a more well rounded plan – do Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

8 Weeks before you report for TACP School, do the USAF TACP Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/usaf-tacp-training-plan/


So I’m currently sitting at 218lbs, 5’11. My body fat is pretty low and I still have pretty good work cap and endurance, but the extra weight is starting to really bug my already shitty knees (3 torn ACLs, same knee, didn’t have surgery after the last tear about 5 years ago).

Any recommendations on plans that would help me drop to about 210, possibly down to 205? I know that will take a hit to my strength numbers (and ego), but I’m 27 and would like to keep training and playing for many years to come.

FYSA, I don’t take any supplements besides fish oil and glucosamine. No creatine, no protein.

Thanks, and digging the new website.


You need to lose some muscle.

I’d recommend a subscription the website and to start following the SF45 Sessions. These are for old guys like me, but in general have a lot more endurance, and a lot less lifting. If you go this route, start with the TESLA cycle.

Another option is the Military Athlete Endurance Training Cycle (http://mtntactical.com/shop/military-athlete-endurance-training-cycle/) – with a couple changes ….

  • – Replace the Bodyweight Bench Presses in the plan with push ups
  • – Add in a long 90 minute run on Saturdays


I’m about to start on my path to at the end game getting selected. I’m attempting to choose between your two military athlete body weight training programs. What’s the difference between the two? Which one should I purchase with that goal in mind?


Start with Bodyweight I (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-training-program-i/) We created Bodyweight II after athletes wanted more bodyweight training plans.


The workout sessions are going great. I emailed you a few weeks ago and stated that I work for the FBI and inquired about what workouts I should do. You recommended that I start with the July 28, session. I have been consistent for 4 weeks now. I really enjoy the workouts. I have a couple of questions in regards to programming.

  1. Do you think a weighted vest is the same as running with a ruck?
  2. How do you recommend I add spring sports into my programming such as flag football and basketball.
  3. Is there a time when I should catch up to the current workout programming.


1) No. Use a ruck.

2) You can just add them in … several athletes do. If you sports are super intense, replace the daily session with your sports.

3) Begin with the start of the most recent cycle and follow along from there.


Is the APFT improvement program a stand alone program or can it be done in conjunction with a strength program? If so, what days do you recommend lifting (squats, press, deadline and bench)?


The APFT Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/apft-plan/) is designed as a stand alone plan.

You could possibly add in some low volume, heavy leg work … as long as you were still making the running progressions in the plan – perhaps 2 days/week.

I’d start just with the APFT plan for 3 weeks, then consider adding in leg work.


I am a firefighter/EMT, and on an urban search and rescue team.  I’m currently going through medic school, so don’t have time to do a workout regimen every day.  I was wondering if you had a suggestion as to a good workout to improve/maintain fitness my fitness.  All the fire workouts seem to be geared towards tests, not on the job performance.

Another question was if you have had any experience with the Titin weighted shirt, I’m considering getting one as an alternate to a weight vest, and looking for more opinions than I’ve found.


A great place to start our stuff would be the 369 Work Capacity Cycle: http://mtntactical.com/shop/369-work-capacity-cycle/

Titin shirt? No experienced with it. We use the vests from weightvest.com and have had great luck with them.


I am looking to put on muscle mass and definition as my end goal for the hypertrophy program. I currently weigh 137lbs and am 5-9/5-10, and I think we both know that ain’t going to cut it for police work. My question to you is, how much protein do I need to intake to raise my bodyweight to between 160-170 pounds? I have always been confused by this, and would greatly appreciate the input.

Stay safe and train hard.


A general guideline is 1 gram of protein, per bodyweight pounds, per day – so about 140 grams per day for you – around 4x chicken breasts.

But also important is total calories.

What I’d recommend is the Hypertrophy Program for Skinny Guys  (http://mtntactical.com/shop/hypertrophy-program-for-skinny-guys/), plus a clean diet of meat and veggies. Plus – drink whole milk at every meal.

Finally, be patient. You’ll fill out.


I just bought the CCT/pj/cro 9 week program ( I am going for CCT) and I am thinking about getting the stand alone running and swimming programs as well. The only problem I am having is figuring out how they all work together.

For instance, would I not do the running  that is suggested in the selection school program and just follow the stand alone running program schedule? And the same for the swimming program as well?

The reason I am trying to do all 3 is because I still have to go through basic training and I don’t want to lose my distance speed/endurance for both running and swimming and I also want to get a basic understanding  for how the training is going to be like in the schools.

Any other advice you have for me is appreciated.


Don’t double up. You don’t need the stand alone running and swimming improvement plans – just follow the CCT/PJ/CRO Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/usaf-cctpjcro-selection-training-plan/)

This plan contains plenty of running and swimming.


So I am starting your Busy Operator program this week. I should be doing a different plan due to some time constraints but afterwards, I am looking to complete an Ultramarathon. Not a 100 Mile but a 50 miler. The only races that I’ve done are a bunch of 10km, 3 half marathons and 1 Olympic Triathlon. I can run farther than 13 miles but have never managed to hit anywhere near 40 miles a week training since I was back in the Fleet Marine Corps. I am currently overseas in South America. I was looking to follow your Pre-Season Ultra Plan. What are your recommendations? I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. When it comes to goals, I tend to over do em’ and go all out on the hardest possible. This one is definitely a big one for me.


Start with the Ultra PreSeason Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ultra-running-preseason-training-program/), which will bridge you to the Ultra 50-Mile Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/50-mile-ultra-plan/.

There’s no way around the volume you’ll need to put in. Understand the volume itself isn’t such a big deal for a young person, it’s the time it takes. It just takes time to run as much as you’ll need.

I’m happy for you … it’s good to change things up with training esp. when you have the opportunity.


Love your programming, any chance you can run through a typical day of nutrition. Just want an idea for a baseline.


Here’s what I ate yesterday –

Breakfast: Used lettuce leafs instead of bread and made a sandwhich of chicken deli slices, provolone cheese, hard salami and salt and pepper.

Lunch: Same as breakfast. I know, I’m a dork….

Afternoon Snack: Green apple and almond butter

Dinner: Two poached eggs, corned beef and hash, 1/2 avocado. Desert – 2x paleo peanut butter cookies.


I have been doing MA for about 2 years now, I have completed the hypertrophy for skinny guys program and the 357 strength program. Recently I have lost size and a little strength, but stayed the same weight. My question is: would it be better for me to do the skinny guys program again or the Atlas training program. I am 6’2″ 207#.


You could stand to gain 3-8 pounds, but strength is more important. Go with Atlas to do both: http://mtntactical.com/shop/atlas-training-plan/


I’m about to buy your 50 mile training plan in preparation for a 88km race in Vermont (May 31st), and I wanted to ask if you had any suggestions for recovery. Roughly a week after the race I have a APFT scheduled with my unit and I am worried about not being able to perform as well on the run. Are there any suggestions you can make to aid in my recovery and week of downtime before my APFT?


Nothing groundbreaking here, I’m sorry ……. ice, massage, rest, ibuprofen and clean food.


Just a quick question on what type of shoe you recommend?  I have been doing crossfit for years but it has changed so much and does not even follow its own philosophy anymore.  Anyway I have been using nano’s but with military athlete program what shoe do you think works best?


We’re finding that with our greater push into endurance, no one shoe can do it all.

You can get away with the reebok crossfit shoes or indoor soccer shoes for most lifting, gym-based work capacity efforts, and short runs (3-5 miles). However, longer runs and you’ll suffer. And these shoes don’t have enough padding/support for ruck running.

In the short term, a pair of those shoes and a pair of trail runners will work.

In the long term, invest in a pair of Olympic Weightlifting shoes – you won’t regret it – for your lifting and some work capacity stuff (non sprinting). They last for ever and just feel great. I use the $80 Adidas Power Lifters and have used ’em for 4 years.

So … I actually have 3 pairs of shoes ….

  1. Adidas Powerlifters for strength work and some gym-based work capacity
  2. Indoor Soccer Shoes for sprinting, or running based work capacity efforts ….i.e. 4 rounds, 5x Renegade Man Makers + 400m Run ….
  3. Trail Running shoes for long runs and rucking/ruck running


I just bought your new Stuck in a Motel training plan and it is absolutely one of the best plans I have seen from you guys. It is applicable for anyone, civilian or military, and is a tremendously detailed and comprehensive training plan hitting all attributes of fitness.

Some questions:

I am 53 and my ability to recover from training is not as high as when I was younger. Also, my time is very limited due to family and work responsibilities. So…

How would I modify the motel program to one-a-day instead of two-a-days?

How would I modify the program to only train three, four or even five days a week instead of six? (For example, three 90 minute workouts or five 45-60 minute workouts.)

What do you think about adding a weight vest/ 25 pound backpack to make the weights more challenging?

How could I incorporate rucking into the program?

Thanks Coach. Once again, one of the best I’ve seen. Keep up the great work.


  1. Skip the PM Sessions, or swap, and do AM one day, PM the next.
  2. Follow the sessions in order, don’t skip around, and do them the days you can.
  3. Sure
  4. Ruck in the PMs instead of Run.


I am a 20 year-old college sophomore. I am currently enrolled in my college’s Army ROTC program and I am looking to commission as an active duty infantry officer upon graduating. I’ve been considering your programming for some time now, but have made the decision to fully commit to it after doing CrossFit and olympic weightlifting for the last year and a half. Here are my stats:

  • Height – 5’7″
  • Weight – 175 lbs.
  • Back squat – 375 lbs.
  • Front squat – 305 lbs.
  • Bench press – 275 lbs.
  • Strict press – 180 lbs.
  • Push press – 245 lbs.
  • Clean & jerk – 270 lbs.
  • Snatch – 220 lbs.
  • Deadlift – 455 lbs.
  • Max strict pull-ups – 12


  • Push-ups: 88
  • Sit-ups: 71
  • 2-mile run: 14:33

Given my stats, where should I begin with your programming? Please let me know at your earliest convenience. Thank you!


1) Subscribe to the website and start the Operator Sessions with the 3-3-14 session.

2) If you’re hesitant to subscribe, start our stuff with Valor: http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/


I have been using your MA programming since 2011 and cannot overstate how well they have served me and soldiers over the years.  You are doing phenomenal work.

I was able to do one month of the Ruck Based Selection program prior to attending SFAS in February and performed very well but was not selected.  I was top 5 on the rucks, runs but felt as though I had lost a lot of strength, and I didn’t feel my strongest going in.

I will be going back to SFAS in September.  From May-September I will be stationed at a remote training area and will access to a large lake for swimming, a small weightroom, and miles of trails/hills for rucks and runs.

As I stated earlier, by team week I was feeling weak.  While I was still able to perform, it did affect my confidence a bit.  Perhaps more lifting prior to could help?  I won’t swim at all at SFAS but get great results from swimming as well.

Could another selection plan help me keep more strength throughout? Something with rucking, running, swimming and lifting?


We’ve had multiple guys get selected at SFAS using the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-program/).

My first recommendation would be to do a combined strength/endurance cycle like Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/) and Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/), then repeat the RBSTP prior to SFAS.

One selection plan that combines strength, swimming, rucking and running, is the FBI HRT Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fbi-hrt-selection-training-plan/). The swimming prescribed in this plan is designed for a pool …. so you’ll have to modify it for a lake.


I’m a ROTC cadet who leaves for IBOLC in August and Ranger School sometime around January. After doing Crossfit for the past year or so, I recently found out about Military Athlete and am really interested in your programming. I’m 5’8″, 185, and just about all of my lifts either meet or come very close to the military strength standards on your website. My weakest areas are running and rucking: my last APFT 2 mile was 14:30 and I am in the 40-41 minute range for the 5 mile. I generally max push ups/sit ups with little difficulty. What would you recommend as the best plan to help get me into top running/rucking shape by August? I’m hoping to max my run by then reduce my 5 mile time by several minutes, and greatly improve my rucking. I’m looking at your Valor, Ruck Based Selection Program, and Ranger School Training Plan but can’t decide between those three-any other suggestions you have would be greatly welcomed as well.


We’ve found the Ranger School Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ranger-school-training-plan/) is a good prep plan for both IBOLC and Ranger School.

I’d recommend this 7 week plan the 7 weeks directly before reporting for IBOLC.

Options between now and then …

1) Subscribe to the website and start completing the Operator Sessions. Begin with the 12.22.14 session – the start of a Strongman Strength + Endurance Cycle.

2) Complete Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/) followed by Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/).

Good luck! Excited for you!


Regarding the loading progression for Big 24, what is the reason for using a progression that doesn’t scale in proportion to the initial weight (5#, 10#) instead of a percentage of the initial 3x max? I recently started this program with my wife and realized how the loading is much easier for her. If my back squat x3 is 255 and hers is 120, then a drop in 10# for session 3 is much more pronounced for her than for me.


We also use percentage-based loading. For example we use it in Rat 6 Strength (http://mtntactical.com/shop/rat-6-strength/).

Big 24 progression is different, and difficult. We’ve had great luck with it.


I’ve completed your dryland ski program and just got back from a slushy week in Jackson feeling good.  I’ve got to stay in shape for three more weeks for an AK heli trip.  What would you recommend?

PS Looking forward to MB plan (which I already own) and peak bagger, which I plan to buy soon for summer in the Jackson.


Sorry about the crappy skiing this year…. it’s been a warm winter here.

Repeat the last 3 weeks of the Dryland Ski Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/dryland-ski-training-program/).

I compete in weightlifting and play soccer with some other guys from the neighborhood.  My current goal is to increase my overall work capacity and running ability for soccer.  However, I want to still do some barbell work.  I purchased Falcon last week and have a few questions:

  1.  I usually play soccer on Sat.  Should I do this instead of the longer run at the end of the week, or in addition to the long run?
  2.  I am going to sub snatches for thrusters and sub power jerk 3x for the mil. press 5x.  Thoughts?
  3.  What do you think of cutting barbell sets from 6 to 4-5?

I am 41, 185lbs and am as “good once, as I ever was”, but I have trouble sustaining the effort (work capacity).  I do have issues with recovery(shift work/call/kids/coaching kids, etc) and I have found I do best with less sets, but higher intensity.  Again my goal for doing Falcon is improving work capacity and running.  Please let me know if these tweaks are too much and the intent of Falcon is lost.  Thank you.


1) Soccer instead of the long run.

2) Ok

3) Stick with 6.


I am currently a student and army reservist up here in Canada. Right now I am using an individualized program from someone else, but it is too expensive and I am sure I can receive the same level of training through some of your programs. I have 3 years until I can apply for SOF selection, and so I am wondering the best plan/combination of plans that will keep my fitness improving over that time. Should I implement your fluid periodization outline and purchase a few different programs and cycle them?


Couple places to start:

1) Ruck Based Selection Training Packet: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-packet/

7 plans over 9 months or so designed to bring you into selection. I know you have more time, but this packet would be a great head start.

2) Subscribe to the Website and complete the day to day training in the Operator Sessions.

I completed the On-Ramp Training Program and moved on to the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet. I took one full week off between the end of the On-Ramp and the beginning of the Bodyweight 1 Plan in the packet. I started On-Ramp at 6 feet tall and a body weight of about 195-200 pounds, but by the end of the BW1 plan I was down to 165 pounds with no significant changes to my diet. I feel like I made significant improvements on my strength and work capacity, but that seems like a lot of weight to have lost, and I feel as though I am seriously underweight now. Is this an issue, and if so will it sort itself out as I work through the training packet?

I also have a few questions about the Rat 6 plan that I received with the packet. In the introduction it says that the plan is 8 weeks and 40 sessions long, however my plan has 9 weeks and 45 sessions in it, with week 9 being a retest of 1RM on the lifts. Should I complete it as I have it in my packet, or drop the last week? And I assume that I will begin the Ruck Improvement at week 5 or 6 respectively depending on your answer. Finally(sorry this turned into a book), weeks 17 and 37 in my copy of Rat 6 says to do 4 X military press for 8 rounds, but the chart for 1RM% says to do 3 or 2 reps each round, and I’m not sure which is correct.

Again, sorry this was so long and thank you very much for everything that you’ve done, from the programming to the taking the time to respond to my emails. I’ve never been happier with a product or company!


Not sure what to tell you about your weight loss – it’s not the result of the programming. At 6 feet, I’d like you around 185-195 pounds. Something medical might be going on. I’d recommend you go see a doctor and get a health fair blood draw, at a minimum.

Do Rat 6 as prescribed – we don’t count the retest week. Follow the 1RM % chart.


I have two questions in regard to your Ranger training program.

1)      Besides the length, what are the main differences between your Ranger School program and  the program designed by the RTB?

2)      If I were to start your  program I would have 9 weeks until I report to Benning. What should I do during those last two weeks? Should I just repeat the last two weeks of the program?

1) My program has a greater focus on the RPFT events and specifically improving the individual’s score on each individual event.

– My program deploys multiple assessments, then progresses your work based upon your individual assessment results. This way it automatically “scales” to the incoming fitness of the athlete. The program you sent simply has you do push ups – My program tells you how many push ups you need to do in a certain interval based upon your assessment results – same for situps, chin ups, etc.

– You’ll ruck more in my program, at a heavier load. Also, the program you sent simply progresses rucking distance, my program is interested in increasing your rucking speed.

– You’ll run more in my program, and your running pace is based upon your 5 mile assessments – and is designed to significantly improve your running speed – or movement over ground.

– My program has a greater emphasis on pure strength and core strength for durability. The strength and core strength work isn’t random, like the program you sent. It’s professionally programmed.

– My program doesn’t include swimming. The Combat Water Survival Assessment isn’t a swimming event I feel requires significant time in the pool. I’m assuming you’ll smoke this event.

– My program includes focused, progressed stability strength work for the shoulders and hips – as you know, injury is a major concern over the long grind of Ranger School.

– The program you sent has a greater emphasis on random, equipment laden, crossfit-style multi-modal work capacity events. The work capacity events in my program are relatively short, and use bodyweight exercises. The focus of the metabolic conditioning in my program is running and rucking – stuff that directly transfers to the PFT and Ranger School.

There are more, significant differences, these are key. It is pretty cool that the program you sent includes the Curtis P exercise – one of ours.

2). Repeat weeks 5, and 7.


Next year I may have an opportunity to attend the Army’s Air Assault School.  Later that summer I had planned on climbing Mt. Rainier.  What training plan would you recommend for Air Assault and how could I integrate training for the Mt. Rainier climb?  What is your recommendation on how to approach preparing for these two events. I appreciate all the work you do for us in military service!


I don’t have one plan that will do both. I’d recommend focusing on one at a time.

Use the Army OCS Plan for Air Assault (http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-ocs-training-plan/).

Use Big Mountain for Rainier: http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-mountain-training-program/

If you need to chose, do Army OCS and add in step ups and leg blasters.


Firstly, let me say thank you for providing incredibly insightful programming. I have been prepping for the Dallas Fire Rescue Academy with the Mil Athlete Valor program and have seen nothing but positive results.

I am just about 4 weeks out from starting the academy, and was wondering if you could recommend a program to lead me into it. I was considering starting valor over, but wanted to know if you thought there was something else I could do. Like many schools like it, I will have 1.5 mile timed runs, tower climbs in bunker gear, and bodyweight PT.


I’d recommend the Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/sandbagweight-vestdumbbell-training-plan/




Subscribe to MTI's Newsletter - BETA