Q&A 6.22.24

Q: Good evening Rob,

I am emailing you because I wanted to know if you had any advice on a workout program for bodybuilding/athletic training. I want to do a 50/50 training program that incorporates weight lifting but I also want to train like an athlete. I’ve been working for about 5 years now so I’m good the weights department but have zero clue where to start training like an athlete. I recent just turned 21, I’m 5’10 and weigh 170 and I’m in pretty good shape. My goal is to put on around 10-15 pounds of muscle and to be an athlete at the same time. If you could help guide me that would be greatly appreciated.
A: If you want to train like an athlete – your weight training can’t be bodybuilding focused. I’m assuming by “athlete” you mean outside performance. Bodybuilding is designed for aesthetics, not performance. For example, one of the goals of bodybuilding is to add mass … but extra muscle mass without function is just extra weight you need to carry around while moving/running etc – it can be an impediment to athletic performance.

For what you’re asking, I’d recommend our Max Effort Strength + 1.5 Mile Run Training Plan.
This plan will shift your weight training focus from bodybuilding to strength, and add in distance and threshold running. As part of the running plan you’ll do threshold 800m repeats – which totally suck, but are great training not only for 1.5 mile run times, but also short work capacity.
Good luck.
– Rob

Q: Thanks for your programming!
I just recently completed my first ultra endurance event — a 350 mile, self-supported gravel cycling race in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

My next goal is a 100 mile mountain bike race in September and I intend to follow your 8 week 100 mile plan.  I have 3 weeks before that plan starts, and I am looking for a little bit of structure during that time.  What do you recommend?  I would like to a) maintain fitness/endurance, b) get back in the gym to improve strength, durability, and flexibility, and c) work in some cross training (running, hiking, surfing, etc).

Thank you!

A: Glad you liked your recent program.

For the short amount of time you have before your next program, the most cost-efficient method for three weeks of training is to do one month of our Daily General Fitness.
When you subscribe, you’ll have access for June and the previous six months. I recommend using May’s Daily General Fitness 2024.  It’s a balanced plan with more endurance than June’s programming.  Don’t forget to unsubscribe before beginning your next program.

Q: Hi MTI,

I have been becoming more interested in your training programs, but I am looking for some help.
First of my main goal is to become/maintain a higher level of fitness and functionality. Right now, I lift three days a week and run 3 or 4 (training for 1/2 marathon). I have found in the past year that I am getting more minor injuries (probably due to training that is too concentrated).
Do you have any selections for someone completely new to MTI? I am 32, civilian, male, and generally in pretty good shape.
Thank you for your time!
A: Thanks for checking out the various plans.

Let us know if you need any programming for the 1/2 marathon.  We have a Half Marathon Training Plan  (7 weeks 6 days/week within a built-in taper).
Since you are new to MTI, one of the best approaches would be to subscribe to our Daily General Fitness subscription.  It is designed as a high-level, day-to-day base fitness plan that may assist in preventing the minor injuries you are experiencing.  Depending on your seriousness about this half marathon, you may have to apply some additional endurance volume.  Let me know if you need any help with this.

Q: Good afternoon,

I am about to start the FBI PFT program from you guys. Should I wait until I’m exactly 6 weeks until the test or just repeat the program for the week or so between the program ending and the test. Also, will it mess up the program if I add some maintenance lifting (squat, bench, press, deadlift) twice a week?
A: The ideal situation is following the program’s timeline until the PFT.

Maintenance lifts have the potential to affect future training sessions. If you are a frequent lifter, this program can give your body a little break from the barbell, which is not a bad thing.

Q: Hello!

I was just thinking about starting your Willie training program. I’m also training for a half marathon that isn’t until December. Would you recommend sticking strictly to the program or could I add an easy run on a 6th day?

I currently run 3 days a week and lift another 3 days. Long runs are currently 6-9mi (once weekly). Short is 4-5mi (twice weekly).

Thanks for your help!

A: Thanks for reaching out.

If you are already putting in that type of mileage, it shouldn’t be an issue to add a 6-mile easy/recovery run at the end of the week.
If you are interested, here is our Half-Marathon Training Plan. It’s a seven-week, six-day/week plan with a built-in taper that can be back-planned the seven weeks prior to your half-marathon.
Let us know if you have any more questions.

Q: Good afternoon Coach!

I hope today finds you well. I am a new member here and I am really excited to get started. I will be training with my sons this summer, ages 13 and 15, and I am going to be using the body weight beginner program. I will be doing the exercises with them, but I was curious if you had a lighter program recommendation that I could do in addition to the program I would be doing with them. My first thoughts were to do a push/pull/legs variation and just hit the main lifts (bench, rows, squat, deadlifts) afterward, but I would love your advice on the matter.
My experience: I served 8 years in the Marine Corps Infantry and have been working out almost daily for 18 years. I have done a variety of types from military, to Crossfit, to body building. I am getting older and not trying to set records, but I love to push myself safely (I don’t want to get injured). My goals are just general fitness for the summer.
A: Thanks for reaching out. I’m glad to hear that you and your boys are getting after it together. It’s a good call to put them on Body Weight Beginner.

Something that could work well for you is that while they are doing the Body Weight Beginner, you could be doing the Busy Dad Limited Equipment Plan.  The weekly breakdown is very similar, and with limited equipment, all you would have to do is grab a set of dumbbells/kettlebells and sandbags and bring it to where they are doing their BW for Beginner program.  If they needed any coaching, you would be right there.  The Endurance days match up, so you can do whatever sounds fun together.

Q: Hey Rob,

My buddies and I have started doing more workouts with our plate carriers on. I’m curious if the juice is worth the squeeze. Can we get 90 to 95% of the benefits of doing all the exercises and cardio etc with no vest? Are we just putting additional strain on our bodies to just feel hardcore? I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.
A: I’m not sure I understand the question, but assume you’re doing bodyweight work and running with vests.

Will these impact your joints down the line? Yes …. adding weight like this esp. to bodyweight exercises will prematurely impact your joints. You’ll feel it when you’re in your 40-50s.
Do these make you more fit? The answer is more complicated than you think.
First – they are not making you stronger in terms of relative strength (strength per bodyweight). Best for max effort strength is heavy barbell lifting. Bodyweight exercises in a vest are primarily training strength endurance … which is important for some events/activities like PFTs, but not for everything.
Importantly, I feel high relative strength (strength per bodyweight) is a key component of durability – which is one reason it’s a significant part of MTI programming.
Will doing push ups in a vest increase your max rep push ups unloaded? Not sure … never tested this. But if you’re already maxing your PFT in push ups, why add the vest?
Will doing squats in a vest increase your max reps bodyweight squats? Not sure – but I do believe these will negatively impact your knees and consider them “Garbage Reps” …. we’ve worked to eliminate all garbage reps from our programming – which are light to moderately loaded high rep squatting movements.
Is running with plates good for your joints? No .. it’s not. However, if being in a tactical job isn’t good for your joints, and running in kit is part of the job … so you should do it, just not always. We regularly prescribe ruck running for this reason.
One thing we do know is that it takes time to “harden” to wearing a kit all day. So if you’re approaching deployment or a course/selection where you’ll be in kit all day, it’s a good idea to wear your plate/kit while training ahead of time – just to accomodate your body/mind to the load/feeling. But you know this already.
– Rob

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