I’m a professional in the fitness industry and I really appreciate what you and your staff are doing at MTI. I spend a lot of time programming classes and training sessions for my own clients that I don’t spend enough time programming for myself. But, like you, I like being a lab rat for others programs. I’ve done many online workout programs (both to learn new styles of programming and become familiar with new exercises) I’ve done programming from GYM JONES to Crossfit to Gymnastics Bodies and many in between, however none of them have addressed the combination of Strength, Conditioning and Mobility as well as MTI has.
This fall I spent 2.5 months in the mountains and backcountry hunting Dall Sheep, caribou, mountain goats, moose and Stone Sheep. As a hunter and camera operator, my pack would routinely weigh 60 lbs, with a day pack of 40 lbs or more. We would do 20 km days, up to 60 km with light packs (overnight sprints) and up to 4500’ (1400 m) of elevation in a single day (60 lb pack). A third of a caribou and camera gear is north of 100 lb. Hunting days could run from 5:00 am to 1 am on occasion, but we were always up before the sun.
I started the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet with Humility. I completed over 90% of the workouts, though sadly was unable to do all of the “mini-events” found in the Backcountry Big Game Training Plan. I began the program in good shape and had been completing weekly rucks with 60-80 lbs (two hours) since January of this year.
As the mountain hunting season comes to a close, I have some observations about the results of my training:
– I never had sore shoulders or chassis from carrying the weight.
– I never had sore legs, even after the hardest days.
– I felt 100% capable of doing what was needed.
– My upper body was sufficiently strong to meet all challenges
– My weight didn’t drop during training (I could work on my diet a bit).
My 30-minute step-up results went from 815 (July 15) to 824 (September 26). I would associate much of the modest increase to determination and technique, so it does not indicate a substantial fitness improvement. My weight would have been about five lb heavier in September.
In summary, if anyone wants to be capable in the mountains, this program will get them there.
The only aspect of my fitness I will change for next season is related to my anaerobic threshold and my ability to push into a higher gear and go harder. As long as it was a slow grind, I was capable. When the time came to push up steeper country, the wheels would more or less fall off and I would be left working at a higher than I thought I should need to (heart rate of 170, for example). The elevated heart rates compromised my ability to think and film, and in steep goat terrain, this can be a liability.
I wanted to thank you for an excellent Mountain athlete programming and your recommendations of a training plan.
I just got back form Denali. In only 7 days I solo summited Denali via West Buttress and safely solo skied off the summit. I moved from base camp to 14K camp in 3 days in single carries wearing 73 lbs backpack and no sleds (my body weight is 115lbs). I got weathered off for 2 days at 14K camp and then did a summit push from 14K camp. The next day I skied down back to BC in 3.5 hours. I felt strong and more than adequately prepared. I can’t thank you enough.
I ended up doing some fusion between your backcountry skiing program and your Denali program. Both are fantastic and really work great. My heaviest pack for carry uphills was 55lbs.
Rob – Just wanted to give out a huge kudos to you and your 100 Mile Training Plan. I just completed the Bryce Canyon 100 in 33:45 with the use of your training plan. This is the fourth 100 I’ve completed and I’ve used various other plans and expensive coaches, your plan crushes them all in my opinion.
I am a Tactical Paramedic in Canada and Provide Direct Medical Support to Tactical Teams. Fitness wise it’s lots of crazy hours, call ins, rucking weight, stair climbs with weight and then being able to perform sometimes complex medical tasks and utilize psychomotor skills following a duration of physical work.
I have been on and completed the MTI FBI HRT and SWAT selection programs and I am doing the SWAT/SRT Ruger for the 2nd time.
The results are great, from a functional fitness point of view. I am almost 48 y/o and have no problem completing these tasks and sometimes completing them seemingly easier than some much younger than me. I have found that doing them outside during the year in all temps has been beneficial. As an example I did the Tac Sepa outside today and it’s pretty cold and snowy but I think this has been to my advantage as this is the same environment and temp that I operate in.
Just wanted to pass on how great I think the programming is.
“Thanks for all you do. Been a customer now for 2 years or so. In that time I did the Cpat training program, smoked the Cpat and got Pro Firefighter certifications back. I also completed police academy (whereupon at age 44 I was in the fasted run/pt group among mostly 20 year olds). I need a structured plan telling me what to do when to accomplish a specific goal. No hype just hard core. MTI did that. I’ve looked at other programs but end up comparing everything to MTI. Thanks again. Definitely a satisfied customer.”
First off, thanks for always taking the time to look for feedback and ways to improve your programming. I became an Operator Sessions devotee a long time ago around the time I was actually ending my career as an 18B in 10th Group. As I have aged and physical fitness and life demands have changed, I have always come back to those sessions to get my brokedown ass in shape and measure where I’m at with my mental and physical fitness.
I am 41 and currently an agent with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DS), which unfortunately like most FLEs has no real enforcement of physical fitness standards. DS runs the gamut of PT animals to fat slobs and everything in between. We also have a unique culture where half our jobs are overseas and half domestic and we typically do one to three year rotations in these different positions. The overseas gigs are much more highly regarded in the agency and the State Department at large. That said, those two arenas potentially have very different physical fitness demands, as we are largely doing criminal investigations/close protection stateside or managing vast security programs/running protection overseas. It can be difficult to sell the need for a high level of physical fitness as long as nothing goes wrong, but few agents understand that they could be dragging an unconscious protectee (i.e. Benghazi), under fire in a very bad place, and what the required level of fitness is to not only get them off the X but potentially fight back in a coherent manner.
I apologize for all the email diarrhea, but the point I’m getting to is that on a day to day basis our physical fitness requirements aren’t much beyond walking down the hall and pulverizing a computer keyboard. On the other hand, overseas we often work alone with protectees in austere environments, small teams in failed states, or larger elements with DoD or PMCs in war zones. Anything is possible and I am of the mindset that as an organization we should always look to be in shape for the worst case scenario. It is simply not possible sometimes with our work schedules but myself and other colleagues have greatly appreciated your recent cycle of shortened but intensified Operator Sessions. I can knock them out and get to my glorious 12hr day of cable and memo writing, but feel confident that when I have to take some “important person” out to bad guy country by myself, I am physically prepared if something goes wrong.
To your question, the Operator Sessions exceed the daily physical fitness needs of my agency but my belief is they are an exceptional measuring stick of performance for anyone who carries a weapon and does dangerous work. I used to have to cut down the longer form sessions because I simply could not fit them in my day or use the “Busy Operator” programming, but the current cycles have been a perfect fit and still thrash me. Even if you can’t continue to focus on creating shorter training sessions with the same level of impact, myself and others I work with greatly appreciate what is already on the site and would love to see more like it.
I’ll stop making your eyes bleed with one anecdote. I have converted a lot of guys and gals from different military and LE backgrounds to MTI training and I have always passed on my training mantra, which has stuck with just about all of them. I look at the session for the day and I say “fuck you, Rob Shaul” outloud for the pain you are about to make me endure, and I end it with the same when I’ve completed it. I still have buddies all over the world who will text that to me after a session.
Fuck you Rob, and I mean that in the best possible way.
I wanted to reach out and thank you all for the exceptional training plans. I recently completed SFAS and am thankful to say I was selected. I followed a handful of training plans with the lead up time I had, including Humility, Fortitude, Valor and the Ruck-based plan. I think they all prepared me well with a base of strength and thought the Ruck-based plan did a tremendous job. I finished in the top 10 in all of our rucks and felt very comfortable under the weight for land nav week as well. Also, I found the sandbag work to be very beneficial and had direct correlation to success within a couple events throughout SFAS.
“Really love the website and training plans. I used the Ranger School prep plan and it got me through RAP week and the school straight through. I was very impressed how physically prepared I was by just following your plan and eating well. I use a combination of your plans now to make the PT plan for my platoon. Last week my platoon scored a 276 average on the APFT… the BEST in the entire battalion. So thank you all for your hard work in putting all these plans together.”
“I’ve been following your site and methodology since 2008, when I discovered Military Athlete.Its deployed with me to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, on ships and across the world! I’m a USMC Infantry Officer and love how much your program and site has developed over time. I cancelled my subscription because I tore my ACL skiing this season; I’ll renew my subscription in a couple months once I’m cleared from the PT. I had my surgery a couple days ago. In the mean time I’m catching up with essays on MTI. Thanks for your diligence, passion, and care you have put into MTI. It’s truly a benefit to so many.”