Q&As 8/14/15


Questions include: Training Around an Injury While Preparing for a Big Expedition? Training While Stationed on a Ship? The Best Plan for Climbing Lhotse? Best Program to Prepare for Special Warfare Community PT? Weight Loss and Rucking?


I’m hoping you can help me.  I’m scheduled to fly to Nepal Oct. 9th for a 3 week climbing trip.  Last week I just passed the one year anniversary for ACL reconstruction surgery.  I’ve been very happy with my recovery so far, I’ve been able to ski, surf, rock climb, mountain bike, and peak bag during rehab with a knee brace.  I just saw the surgeon and he cleared me to return to full activity without a brace.
Unfortunately, I was finalizing my training plan for Nepal when I tore a calf muscle.  I don’t feel I was doing anything too extreme to cause the tear, just a routine gym workout.  It’s only a grade 1 tear, but I’m really worried this is going to jeopardize my trip.  The doc wants me to basically sit on my butt for 6-8 weeks to fully recover.
I obviously can’t do that and be ready for Nepal.  But if I re-injure this calf again I’m screwed.
The good news is that the Nepal trip isn’t too extreme.  It’s a 20,000 foot peak with a long approach, but it’s fully yak and Sherpa supported.  No 100 pound packs or anything like that.
Do you have any kind of a training program you could put me on that would help me prep for this trip?  I live in Idaho Falls and have access to a fully equipped gym.  I’m working with a really good manual therapist who’s helping with the rehab and could provide support for a training plan.
Clearly follow your doc’s advice and stay off the injured leg.
We have a plan which will train the rest of your body around your injury here: http://mtntactical.com/shop/training-program-for-athlete-suffering-from-leg/
It’s no joke. Good luck!
I am looking to either tailor a workout or find a workout that I could follow while on board a ship. I have very little space.  Also, life on a ship is busy and there is very little free time, if any. Do you have any advice or could you please steer me in the right direction?
A great place to start would be our Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/).
This plan does include running – which you could do on a treadmill. No treadmill? – Jump rope for time instead.
If I wanted to go in the “correct order” do I have it right; Valor, Fortitude, then Humility?
I’d recommend Humility, Fortitude then Valor.
Can’t say enough great things about your approach and what you’ve given in the “twilight” of my military career. To that I appreciatively say thank you.
 I’ve gone through APFT program with great success but that was over two years ago.  I’m getting back on the horse since seeing my APFT score drop to 255 end of last year.  I had already purchased Body weight and On-ramp before I learned about the Rookie packet. I’m following the programming order of the packet just purchasing them in pieces now. I finished on-ramp and will be started 2nd week of BW Mon.  However my question is I’ve always had muscle fatigue/failure in my lower back a lot sooner than my peers. My chiropractor and physical therapist told me right side lower back is more developed than my left side. Causing my right side to over compensate and therefore getting fatigue at a much faster rate.  After I finish the 4 week BW I was going to go through the Low back program then get back on the rookie packet.  Good Idea or Bad idea???  
See how you feel after Bodyweight I. If you’re no longer having issues, you won’t need the low back fitness plan.
In November of 2012 I broke my back, both my legs, and my foot in a training accident (along with other injuries which occurred simultaneously including three torn and protruding disks, some ligament stuff in my knees and a couple other things). I’ve gone through all the medical stuff to fix me up and rehabilitation, physical therapy etc. I got out of the military in 2013 following the medical stuff and slowly began training again in 2014. I’m now using my GI bill to go to college – with an intent to use these next few years to get back into the shape I was in, and upon graduation to go back into a physically demanding career field. Some team mates had recommended Military Athlete to me and now after purchasing and completing three of your plans (Bodyweight I, RAT 6, Busy Operator II) I no longer wish to do my own programming – I swear by your stuff. My primary goals are to strengthen my knees which are without a doubt my weakest link (often feeling unstable and perceivably unable to handle what my muscles probably can), as well as strengthen my back which generally feels pretty good now days – but I want to marginalize its possibility of becoming a liability down the road. I would also like to really work on increasing my strength in general while maintaining a solid calisthenic and running base, and also build back some more of the muscle mass which I have lost since my injury. What course of action would you suggest to get the most of these years “off”? Your plans have really suited my needs and are truly outstanding. I look forward to hearing the advice from the man himself.
Jeez – you must be full of hardware!! Glad your back up and around and getting after it.
I’d recommend you try our Single Limb Strength Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/single-limb-strength-training-plan/).
I developed this training plan last summer to work with our professional FreeSki team. It’s no joke, and has a focus on unilateral training – which should strength and balance your knees. I built it for the skiers as preventative strength against ACL and other common ski knee injuries.
It’s not a rehab plan – it’s full on training.
Good luck.
I am planning on climbing Lhotse in March of 2017. That may seem far off but with work demands, etc I will begin my training in January. My question is what is included in the Big Mountain package. That is in addition to the weekly workout regiments. Over the 52 weeks I plan on cycling four to five times, depending on tampering, time available each week, etc. through the program.
The Big Mountain Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-mountain-training-program/) is a sport-specific training plan designed to be completed directly before your expedition. It is very focused and intense – esp. the last 6 weeks, and repeating the plan again and again will lead to boredom at best, and overtraining at worse.
What I’d recommend is you complete the plan now – to get a baseline. Then subscribe to the website and follow the “Mountain Base Alpha” then “Bravo” then “Charlie” training cycles. Ten weeks out from your climb, cancel you subscription, and re-complete the Big Mountain Training Plan directly before your trip.
I’m entering my second year at the Naval Academy and am aspiring to enter the Special Warfare Community.  To do that through the Academy I have to do well on a 36 hour screener in October of my junior year.  My plan was going to be to work towards the strength goals you have listed, as well as swimming, throughout this fall, winter, and early spring.  Then I plan to cut down on lifting, focusing more on running, PT, swimming, rucking, and lighter lifting.  My question is what type of program or programs are best for reaching those strength goals?  Furthermore, does your 8 week V2 BUD/s program contain an adequate amount of swimming, running, and PT to perform well on the PST (sub 8 swim, 100+push ups/sit ups, 25+ pull ups, and sub 9 run)?  Also, is there a decent amount of rucking in that program because the screener consists of a significant amount of rucking, including a timed 2 mile ruck?  Thanks for your time and for all the helpful information on your webpage.
Strength – My two go-two strength training plans for you are Rat 6 (http://mtntactical.com/shop/rat-6-strength/) and Big 24 (http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-24-strength-training-program-v3/).
In general, heavy loading and low volume (reps per set and total reps) are key for strength gains. Both these plans deploy this approach.
I’m not sure what your screener will involve, but my guess is it will begin with the PST, and then follow on with a bunch of other stuff. You’re goal should be to prepare for the entire effort, not get focused just on the PST.
BUD/s V2 Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/buds-training-program/) does include focused calisthenic, running, swimming and rucking assessments, and follow on progressions, as well as long “mini events” on the weekends which will help prepare you physically, and especially mentally, for the 36 hour push.
Specifically to the PST, the BUD/s V2 plan’s Session 1 Assessment includes 2 min. push ups, 2 min sit ups, max rep pull ups and a 500m swim. It also includes a 4 mile run for time in boots – which isn’t exactly like the 1.5 mile run in the PST, but will be more like what you’ll face during the screener.
The BUD/s V2 plan also assesses a 1200m combat side stroke, and 6-mile ruck at 45#. In addition, the plan includes long slow distance work for recovery and aerobic base, water treading and underwater swims, hypoxic swims, a weekly hard work capacity effort, as as mentioned above, mini events. This thing is full on.
I have been training for the upcoming Goruck selection. I have been using the selection training plan and feel like it has prepared me very well physically thus far. In the past week I have to started to see a dip in metrics (push-ups, rucking, strength based movements) and I’m concerned my overall bodyweight has declined too much. Since the start of the program, I have lost about 15-20 pounds, mainly due to mixing in intermittent fasting training. With the the event so close, I would like to get some strength back. I know I need the rucking miles, but do you have any suggestions on how to approach training in the coming weeks and not lose more weight as I train?  I’m just not feeling as strong as I would like in the lead up.  I also have some concern about training in the heat compounding the loss (I live in Iowa and it has been low to mid 90’s for a while, and it will stay that way until the event).
Thoughts?  Thanks in advance for any advice and feedback. Below are my present and current numbers.
                   Start       Current

Push-ups     71             80

Sit ups         70             79

Run             36:30         36:45

Ruck (12mi) 2h:40m     2h:45

Pull ups       13              15
Stop the fasting. Not sure what you were thinking there. That stuff may work with short crossfit-esque training but not for this selection plan.
Follow our dietary guidelines. Note there is no caloric restrictions – Eat, Eat, Eat – esp. fruits and veggies.

My sense is you’re eating muscle for calories. As well, be sure to fuel for your long rucks and mini events. Fuel = gels, electrolytes, etc.
Take an extra day rest each week. I’d recommend Wednesday. This week, skip the weekend mini-event this week.
If things don’t improve, take next week, total rest.
I recently bought your Fat Loss Training program to help jump start my road back onto the bike, onto skis and climbing. I need to drop 10-15 pounds to get back down to a body fat percentage that lends itself to a strong strength to weight ratio for my body and frame. Graduate school made me a little soft, but it’s time to get back to reality.
The program looks awesome and I can’t wait to get back into the gym and regular training. I’ve read a couple of sports nutrition books and have really gained a lot of great information for building a solid diet to supplement my training. The question that I have resides with supplements.
The last time I was training a ton. I used some Hammer Nutrition products, namely Recoverite and a Whey (Protein) supplement. Even if you are not familiar with the company and the product line. What is your take on supplements? If you do support using them, what would you recommend?
Not a huge supplement supporter. For this cycle – a whey protein shake would be okay – but not the recovery shake – if you want to cut fat.
I came to visit your gym and had a chat with you back in May with my partner. We have since returned from our North American tour back to winter in Australia. Snowing today here, but sadly it doesn’t last.
I am now able to start using the SSD training plans and am interested in your advice for which programs to start with. Over the next 4 months, I am in Tasmania (AUS) and then work in Antarctica in December-February. This leaves time for my usual sports: running, road cycling,rock climbing and mtn biking. Motivation is a wee bit lower being winter with wild weather and cold houses, but this could be the perfect time to focus on some SSD training plans as a priority over long hours cycling…
This year I want to do my sports differently. As a long-time competitive athlete, I don’t have the same drive at the moment for competing in endurance racing. I would rather focus on  something that has always been eluded me as an athlete: strength, stability, core strength and injury prevention.
Below are the body and core programs I was considering but would certainly take your advice for an initial program or designing a plan for the next 4 months. I have been drawn to some of the body weight programs because they are more flexible for location, however, since this work is a priority for me, I reckon the multiple sessions per week at the gym would prove more effective?

These are the programs that I was considering on your website (and why I was drawn to them):

-Off-season Strength for Endurance Athletes (drawn to this one bc of the listed program goals of correcting strength imbalances, improve mobility, build core strength, stability, landing mechanics, teaching body to move effectively)

-Falcon Training plan (because it has a mixture of gym-based strength, capacity, bodyweight, outdoors)

-Bodyweight Training Program 1 (simply because it can be done anywhere)

-Other ideas?
Pairing with a core strength plan as I require core strength, hip mobility, constantly have tight hip flexors):

-Core Strength 1

-Core Strength Bodyweight Only (can be done anywhere)
This is where I am currently at:

-biking 1-2 times a week. running 2-3 times a week. climbing in rock gym 1 time a week. Some yoga. Willing to change this.

-I weight 59kg, and don’t want to put on bulky muscle mass, but I would like to be stronger functionally, capably, endurance. The scales don’t matter to me, rather the feeling of a fit, strong and healthy person.

-I eat very healthy, minimal sugars

-I am very quad dominant, and need to learn to use glutes better. (Have had femoral stress fracture 15yrs ago, and continue to have reoccurring tightness in hip flexor, IT band tightness, poor posterior pelvic tilt mobility).

-Calves are always tight

-Competitive swimmer/rower’s back & shoulders. I use the large muscles primarily and have to consciously cue myself to use smaller stabilising muscles.

-Not as dynamic as I would like to be. Body loves to run or ride in straight forward lines and is challenged with dynamic or diagonal exercises. (In Jackson, you and I talked about balance issues and I have since seen doctor regarding them).

I hope you have some ideas. I’m open to options and would be grateful for your help.
I’d recommend you begin with the Bodyweight Foundation Training plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/). This plan applies my most recent theory to bodyweight training, is assessment-based, and includes endurance work in addition to bodyweight strength. It’s a great place for you to start.
Coach, I was looking for your recommended train up after extended time away from the program. Just getting back from 45 days in the field, nothing but running and calisthenics when I could fit it in.
Strength first. I’d recommend Rat 6 Strength (http://mtntactical.com/shop/rat-6-strength/).

You can purchase the plan individually. As well, you get access to it and 30+ other plans with a subscription to the website.
What is the recommended time to complete the stretches following the rounds.  Also, what is the recommended rest period before commencing the next round?
Aim to finish the session in 60 minutes – esp. at the beginning of the cycle. At the end of Big 24, it gets intense, and you’ll need more rest between sets. Aim to finish at 75 minutes then. Adjust the stretches accordingly.
I’m on the first week of the APFT program and I blasted through Wednesdays workout with ease but Thursday was horrific and I felt extremely sore during my run. I will admit I am not used to running back to back days but what would you recommend for me to do so I can potentially acclimate to this strategy? I have been foam rolling and popping nsaids but I’m trying to be hopeful about other controls.
Sorry – don’t have a magic pill for you here. You could take extra days rest which would help. You could also suffer through the soreness – it’ll get better.
I ETSd in 2009 and have since working for the railroad as a conductor, that is basically sedentary, which has therefore caused me to gain weight. I know, that’s mostly MY fault, but I recognize that, and I want to make a difference now and dedicate my time to train up, and get healthy so I can re-enlist back into the regular army. I’ve followed your guys page for a while now, and was curious if you had any guidance for a starting point with one of your training programs to help get me on the right track. I’ve been hitting the weights fairly regularly for the past few months but I’ve stalled. Any help would be appreciated
Start with the Fat Loss Training Plan. This plan is no joke, and a great way to kickstart yourself back to fitness.
You can purchase it individually from the website store here (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fat-loss-training-program/). As well, you get access to it and 30+ other plans with a subscription to the website.
I am currently training to prep myself for the rigors of SFAS and beyond.  I am at a crucial point where if I want to enter the Army under an 18X contract, I need to try and do so soon. Given some personal obligations, I might be able to delay my enlistment date to early 2016.  This gives me 6+ months from today to prepare myself.  
For others that have emailed you who are entering the Army under the 18X program, have many started with the Ruck Based Training Packet?  Is the packet also developed to improve scores on the APFT?  Is there anything else you would recommend those pursuing the 18x contract add or supplement to one of your training programs?
The Ruck Based Training Packet is what I’d recommend. The final plan – The Ruck Based Selection Training Plan has focused, specific APFT work.
But the packet is 9 months long, and you’ve got 6 months. As well – my sense is you’re still undecided about enlisting.
What I’d recommend is purchasing and completing the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-program/) now, and doing it.
This plan is no joke, takes a lot of commitment, and completing it will confirm for you you’ve got your ladder up against the right wall.
If you proceed ahead, you’ll want to repeat the plan again right before bootcamp.

looking to put in a lateral transfer package for BUD/S come April 2016 but more likely April 2017, I’ll have to get my Surface Warfare Officer pin first and will be cutting it very close on 2016.
Some stats that I’ve written down recently (I really need to start tracking everything)

       9.5 miles in 71:28 from last week

       3 miles from the mid assessment was low 19’s

       From the endurance initial assessment:

               87 burpees

               32 box jumps

               50 push ups

               63 lunges

               21 pull ups

       From the Hybrid cycle

               200# hang squat clean

               315# hinge

               185# push press

               27:12 ruck @50# plus sledge
I’m looking for a little guidance on how to continue on my training for the next 10 weeks or so. I’ve been doing the operator sessions since march and have seen a ton of improvement across the board. I’m coming into the last week of the most recent endurance cycle, the 1 week unload and reassessment and looking forward to seeing the results. Problem is, my ship is headed underway and while I’ll have enough space and equipment to finish this week up, I don’t see how I’ll be able to accomplish the new chassis integrity cycle. The ship will be underway for 6 or so of the next 10 weeks. The ship has basic hotel equipment, treadmill, assorted DB’s and KB’s, a few barbells and benches, and a smith machine, plus I can bring my weight vest and do some workouts on the flight deck but not with a barbell.
The area I feel pretty lacking in right now is my PST type events, I need to be at 30 pull ups 110+ push up and sit ups by the time I take my next one, ideally I’d be able to do those kind of numbers at anytime, not just when training for those events. Though I know I’m significantly stronger and much much faster than I was before, I struggled to knock out the 87 push ups for the PRT just before the new endurance phase started up.
So, where to go from here? Suggestions on a plan? I’ll jump back into the operator sessions after these next 10 weeks, we’ll have a good stretch in port come early winter.
One last off topic question that I’ve had for a while, I rucked with 50# during the hybrid cycle, didn’t have a scale to weigh the sandbag the first few times I rucked but it ended up weighing in at exactly 50#. In first/second phase BUD/S, they ruck with 35-40 pound pills, but obviously in pretty soft sand and no rifle. I know I’ll need to be able to hold an 8 min pace pretty comfortably for 3 miles. Should I bump up to your suggested weight for rucks, cutdown to go faster, or keep in the middle right at 50 pounds?

A big thanks to you and your team for the time and effort put into these programs, they’ve made all the difference in my training.
In the short term, when you get on the ship, switch from the Operator Sessions to the US Navy PST plan – you have access to this plan with your monthly subscription. For the swimming in the PST, substitute rowing – and follow the plan as prescribed. You’ll need to do the running on a treadmill. This will take 6 weeks. Email back when you’re finished.
I would like a plan to follow the rat strength.  Do you have one?  We have made awesome strength gains and want to keep the forward momentum. Most of the focus on weights rather than running.
A good follow up would be 357 Strength. This plan combines solid strength training, with short, intense work capacity.
You can purchase the plan individually here: http://mtntactical.com/shop/357-strength/
As well, 357 Strength is one of the many plans included with a subscription to the website.
First, I want to say thank you for creating such great training programs! I have just completed the Bodyweight I plan and have seen considerable results over the past few weeks.

I’m registered to complete a GoRuck Challenge event on October 2nd and would like to utilize your training plan to fully prepare myself to excel in this event. The challenge is that the standard plan for this requires a full gym and unfortunately I’m on the road for work 4 days/week. The hotel gyms are very limited in their equipment which is why the bodyweight plan has worked so well for me. My initial thought is to go through the Bodyweight program again, but this time wearing a weighted rucksack during the exercises. However, I’m afraid this might lead to gaps during the Challenge since the plan isn’t targeted for this event.

While at home I have access to a pull-up bar, 60lb sandbag, along with my rucksack and bricks.Do you have any suggestions as to what I might be able to do to best prepare for the GoRuck Challenge with this equipment?

Any advice you might have is greatly appreciated.
One option would be the Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/afghanistan-pre-deployment-training-plan/) – but this would only work if you were driving for travel – so you could through the limited training gear in your car.
Another option would be the Stuck in A Motel Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/stuck-in-a-motel-training-plan/) combined with the Rucking Improvement Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/4-week-ruck-improvement-program/). You could alternate sessions each day, or do 2-a-days.
You can purchase both plans individually. As well, both are included with a subscription to the website.
First off thanks for the great website. I am an Army OCS hopeful with one more year of college left before I can start the College Op process. What would be a good plan for me as far as getting my fitness base towards exceeding what would be necessary in OCS? Would the OCS plan be too specific this far out? Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. As of right now the only part of my APFT that is not maxed is the push up portion.
I’d recommend going ahead and doing the Army OCS Plan now (http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-ocs-training-plan/). You’ll need to repeat it directly before OCS, but it seems you’re chomping on the bit now – and this will allow you to see where you’re at.
Between the end of the OCS plan now and starting it again before OCS, I’d recommend you subscribe to the website and follow the Operator Sessions.
I am going to Colorado to elk hunt in a year. I haven’t trained hard in over two years (just maintenance stuff). I want to know what a logical progression through your training plans might be. I just had knee surgery for a torn meniscus. I’m thinking that when I am cleared, I would start with the post injury leg rehab program and then possibly move to the body weight 1 program then something else eventually ending with the backcountry big game hunting plan.  What are your thoughts/recommendations?
I like the plan.
1) Post Injury Leg Rehab

2) Bodyweight Foundation

3) Rat 6 Strength

4) Follow SSD or Mountain Base Sessions on Website

5) Backcountry Hunting prior to your hunt.
You can purchase these plans individually from the website store. As well, each is included with a subscription to the website.
Do you schedule your food?
Right now I try to eat every four hours 500 cal or less permeal
I’m not too geeky with my diet other than eating clean 6 days/week.
Just wondering if you could give any tips, a website or source you

use, or just any ideas to the nutrition side of mountain athlete. I am

currently on the hypertrophy for skinny guys plan and just having some

trouble getting down that much meat. Thank you in advance!
Our nutrition stuff is here: http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition
My day to day nutrition stuff doesn’t get any more complicated than this. One thing you could add is whey protein shakes after training and before bed. You could also drink whole milk – that will add some mass!
  It has come to my knowledge that you and the staff at Mountain Athlete and Military Athlete are planning on designing a training plan to physically prepare 2nd Lieutenants for the Infantry Officer’s Course. I recently graduated from OCS about a month ago (courtesy of your training plan), and have one year left of school before commissioning and reporting to TBS. The plan I have below is used in a continuous cycle and constantly repeats until approaching a sports-specific event. It is as follows:

– Weeks 1-4: Big 24 Strength (AM) + Core Strength for Runners (AM) + Running Club (PM)

– Week 5: Running Club

– Weeks 6-9: 369 Work Capacity (AM) + Core Strength for Runners (AM) + Running Club (PM)

Week 10: Running Club

Weeks 11-14: Ultimate Meathead Cycle (AM) + Core Strength for Runners (AM) + Running Club (PM)

– Week 15: Running Club

– Weeks 16-19: 369 Work Capacity (AM) + Core Strength for Runners (AM) + Running Club (PM)

-Week 20: Running Club

      Is this a good example for programming in regards to military fitness, or should there be some improvement? I feel all right maintaining my PFT score (294) and CFT Score (300), but I feel the need to always improve my strength and work capacity.

      In addition, will there be an announcement as to when the Infantry Officer’s Course Training Plan (if made) will be released for those who desire to prepare for the course?
What I’d recommend for you is to subscribe to the website and follow the Operator Sessions. With a subscription you get access to several of the training plans, but honestly, I’d want you just following the Operator Sessions esp. if you’re doing lots of running with the runners club.
Our IOC plan will mainly be focused on the CET the first day. It will likely be an 8 week plan you’ll want to do directly before IOC. We will announce it on the site and through our newsletter.

Subscribe to MTI's Newsletter - BETA