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Old 01-21-2012, 04:12 AM   #1
Dan Morgan
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Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

Hi everyone,
I'm currently training to join the British Army with a view to joining the Parachute Regiment or a regular infantry regiment.

These are my goals:
1.5 miles run in under 9 minutes (currently 10.20)
100 pushups in 2 minutes (currently 61)
100 sit ups in 2 minutes (currently 67)
20 strict chin ups (currently 12)
10k run in under 40 minutes (currently about 45 minutes)

I also want to decrease my body weight from 200lbs at roughly 10% BF (worked out using Zone online calculator, wrist 6.5 inches waist 32 inches, height 73 inches) to 185-190lbs @ 6-8% bodyfat (30.5 inch waist), as I think this will make my goals easier to acheive.

I want to get these goals by June/July when hopefully I will have my preliminary selection (I already have acheived the minimum goals, these goals are to make me competitive in the best regiments).

I also enjoy lifting and crossfit so want to do these also, I don't want to loose too much strength (current squat 160kg, Clean 100kg, DL 175kg) but my army goals are most important.

This is a program I have been doing:
Day 1- Running intervals (eg 4x800m, 6x400m) plus circuit training (eg 10 rounds: 10 pushups, 10 sit ups, 5 chin ups, 5 burpees) increasing the number of rounds each week

Day 2 - Strength training from Military Athlete or Mtn Athlete

Day 3 - Density training on calisthenics (eg 4 chin ups on 30s x10, same for pushups and sit ups) and a long run (currently at 60 mins at ~9min/mile, plan to increase to 90mins)

Day 4 - Work capacity/metcon

Day 5 - Hill reps/fartlek run plus sprint calisthenics (eg 100 push ups as fast as possible etc.)

Day 6 - Strength training from Military Athlete or Mtn Athlete

Day 7 - Swimming (active recovery)

My diet is:

Breakfast - Protein smoothie with berries, milk, whey and peanut/almond butter OR 3 rashers of bacon and 2 eggs with grilled tomatoes

Morning snack - Post WO shake on running days (~60g carbs, 20g protein) Whey protein on lifting days

Lunch - chicken breast with vegetables or leftovers from dinner the night before (chicken curry, chilli or stir fry chicken) or occasionally if I can't find anything else some sort of meat sandwich

Afternoon snack - Nuts plus fruit on running days/protein bar on lifting days

Dinner - Chilli/Omelette/Stir fry chicken/curry chicken/steak, all cooked with vegetables

Pre bed snack - Celery with peanut/almond butter OR cottage cheese with a little fruit for flavour

I also supplement with 5g creatine mono before bed, a multi vitamin, vitamin D, vitamin B, glucosamine and omega 3 fish oil.

Also trying to drink about 5 litres/a gallon of water per day.



Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could improve my routine?

Many thanks,
Dan

Last edited by Dan Morgan : 01-21-2012 at 04:21 AM. Reason: Add supplements
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:24 AM   #2
Chris Cutter
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Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

Dan,

Your plan looks quite good buddy. 3 runs a week is a good start, 2 strength sessions a week will maintain your strength.

The only things that might need tweaking are:
+ Remove the met-con day and have this as a total rest day. (If you still want a met-con then throw it in after your strength training)
+ With Press-ups and Sit-ups you can Gtg (grease the groove) by performing multiple sub-maximal sets throughout the day.
+ You may need to increase what you are eating but you can just change and adjust as time goes on.

You've got plenty of time to acheive your goals so dont try and do too much too soon.

When you come to do P-Coy, your PFA run time wont need to be as fast as everyone else as your Deadlift numbers are so high, sub 9:20 I think.
With your size/strength you strike me more as a RM. Any other queries/questions, im happy to help buddy.

Cutter
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:54 AM   #3
Dan Morgan
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Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

Hi Chris,
Thanks for your reply. I will see how I feel on the metcon days, if I'm feeling like I need some rest I'll take it off or do some lighter technique or skill work (still haven't got that 1st muscle up!!). I'll play it by ear with that one, I think.

I have heard of GTG before, do you think this is a good idea to do as well as the training sessions I've planned or should I replace one of the sessions with this?

I'm delibrately trying to cut down on what I'm eating to lose the weight, if this starts to inferfere with performance I'll increase it but as long as my numbers are going the right way I'll keep at it.

Interesting you should say you think I'd be more suited to RM, why do you say this out of interest?

I did look into applying to them, but decided on the army eventually because of the draw of Sandhurst, and the fact that if I didn't get accepted into the Paras I'd have the option of joining another infantry regiment. However, it's early days with my application and I'm still waiting on a briefing date due to some medical issues from years ago (that don't affect me in the slightest now). So fingers crossed for being medically cleared, I'm fairly certain that I should be. I want to get these numbers by the time I attend a Parachute Regiment Potential Officers Insight course which will either be July or November. In fact, I'm hoping by the time P-Coy comes around (assuming that I will be accepted into the Army), I'll easily be getting these numbers as that will be two years in the future!

Cheers,
Dan
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:54 AM   #4
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

When do you plan on resting? Your progress will grind to a halt pretty quickly with an approach like that, or you'll just get injured or feel like crap all the time.

Your PFT goals can be reached pretty easily with frequency method work (similar to what Chris said) and some 400-800m intervals a few times per week. For instance you say you can do 61 pushups now--so you'd do 3-4 sets of 30 pushups spread throughout the day, 3-4 days per week. Same deal for pullups if you've got access to a pullup bar--just do sets at about 50% of your max. Situps don't lend themselves quite as well to FM work, so I'd do something like two or three 30-60 second intervals of max situps a few times per week. The good thing about FM work is that since it's done in submaximal sets, you're not hampering your recovery in any way so you can build up your volume quite a bit while doing them in addition to everything else you're doing.

For running, since you want to go 9 mins you'll benefit from building up to something like 6x400m repeats in around 1:10-1:15 with 2-3 minutes recovery, or 3x800m in around 4:00-4:15 each with 8-10 minutes recovery.

Also 6-8% BF is very low unless you're about to hit the stage for a bodybuilding competition. It's not a good range for optimal performance and will probably cause you to lose a good amount of your strength. If you're already 10% BF at that current height and weight you're good. Squat/deadlift strength is underrated by a lot of guys going into the military but it's a good way to avoid back pain when it's time to ruck for 10+ miles, and having a strong lower body and trunk is a buffer against the little freak injuries that pop up from time to time.
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:06 AM   #5
Dan Morgan
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Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

Hi Eric,
Thanks for your reply. I come from a rowing background, rowing about 100ks per week for some periods or 50k rowing/100k biking plus 1-3 weights sessions, so I'm used to a high volume of training, and I'm still young (21) so I find I can recover quite easily. Like I said in my previous post, I'm going to play it by ear and see if I feel tired or run down take a day off or an easy day. I should have said in my first post, actually, I'm taking an recovery week every six weeks where I will reduce volume of training by half, so that should help a lot with recovery. The swimming (day 7) is supposed to be a 'rest day', I just don't like being totally inactive for a day so I find going for a gentle swim to be quite beneficial mentally and physically.

I usually do the intervals around my next goal pace, for example my current time is 10.20, so my next goal is 10.00, so I try to do 800s in 3.20-3.30 with 2 mins rest.

Do you think 6-8% is too low, then? I read up on it and it said 6% is essential body fat, below is dangerous, so surely anything more than 6% is hampering performance as excess weight to carry? You see guys like Chris Spealler, Rich Froning etc. and they don't seem to carry an ounce of fat on them, they must be close to 6%, do you think?

Interesting you should mention avoiding back pain, that is what I'm having a few issues with on the medical side, a lower back injury 7 years ago when I was 13-14! It was only a sprain but it's all cleared up now so I'm hoping it won't be an issue for the medical staff, that remains to be seen.

Cheers,
Dan
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:57 AM   #6
Aron Naylor
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Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

hey man, I'm also going for the paras I'm just following Crossfit Endurance 3 days on 1 day off and I have got some pretty decent results so far. My mile and a half run is at the 8:45 mark at the minute and my push ups and sit ups and heaves are all above the guidelines, I would highly recommend it.
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:39 PM   #7
Damion Meyer
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Post Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

Don't worry about your body fat, instead worry about your numbers. If you increase all of your workout numbers and eat right, your body will turn into what it needs to be, even if it's not exactly what you want it to look like. Functionality takes precedence over looks, especially in the military.

It's good that you're thinking ahead about what kinds of exercises you'll need to be good at for basic training. I only glanced at the military and mtn athlete sites, but they seem very similar to crossfit in the exercises and equipment required. They will probably work well, but also make sure to do more calisthenics. You probably will work out with barbells and dumbbells far less than bodyweight, if at all. Prepare yourself for many different bodyweight exercises, and more than just the pushups/situps/pullups from the physical fitness test. You will be doing many unconventional exercises like crab walks, bear crawls, high and low crawls, rolling left and right, walking lunges, flutter kicks and leg raises, and football "gassers" where you'll drop and pop over and over again. Do all of these things yourself and you will be much better prepared for those sadistic drill sergeants who want to break you.

Lastly, start ruck training now. Get a good backpack, fill it with thirty pounds of weight to begin and start walking. Start out doing three miles, then five, working up to about twelve miles straight. While you're increasing the distance, gradually increase the weight in the pack to fifty or sixty pounds. If the British infantry units train the same way the American ones do, you'll be rucking often during your training, working up to long marches. As an example, during the final phase of my infantry training, we did a fifteen miler, followed by some good training, then a ten miler back to the barracks. All of this was done with about sixty pounds of gear.

Now, after I was at my unit we conducted tests with the desire to receive the Expert Infantryman Badge, which included a 12-mile forced road march where you have to finish within three hours, carrying upwards of 75 pounds including ruck, weapon and other equipment. This may sound like a lot, and it is, but you work up to it. You start small and slow and short and you gradually increase the load and distance, and decrease the time in which you do it. If you try and do this too fast, your feet will disintegrate, even if you are great at other kinds of pt. Wear well-broken in shoes or boots when you do this. If you can, go to a surplus store and see if you can get some combat boots of the same type as are issued to trainees. Get your feet ready and take care of them and they'll take care of you.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:05 PM   #8
Ryan Dell Whitley
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Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

Forget about trying to do anything CrossFit, Mountain Athlete, Gym Jones, etc. You can have the fastest Fran time in the world and be two seconds too slow on one of your runs and not make it. Just focus on crushing the requirements. That's all your instructors are going to care about. Eat whatever diet allows you to exceed all physical requirements and meet the unit's height/weight standards.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:08 PM   #9
Damion Meyer
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Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

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Originally Posted by Ryan Dell Whitley View Post
Forget about trying to do anything CrossFit, Mountain Athlete, Gym Jones, etc. You can have the fastest Fran time in the world and be two seconds too slow on one of your runs and not make it. Just focus on crushing the requirements. That's all your instructors are going to care about. Eat whatever diet allows you to exceed all physical requirements and meet the unit's height/weight standards.
Even the height/weight standards don't really matter unless you're fat, rather than muscular. If you go overweight according to the table, you'll just get taped and if it's muscle you get sent on your merry way. So, I would agree with everything you said except to say don't even worry about the height/weight, because that'll be taken care of automatically if everything else is awesome.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:37 PM   #10
Donald Lee
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Re: Advice on training program and diet for military selection please?

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Originally Posted by Dan Morgan View Post
Do you think 6-8% is too low, then? I read up on it and it said 6% is essential body fat, below is dangerous, so surely anything more than 6% is hampering performance as excess weight to carry? You see guys like Chris Spealler, Rich Froning etc. and they don't seem to carry an ounce of fat on them, they must be close to 6%, do you think?
Endurance athletes need body fat to fuel their events. 9% is about the lowest ideal BF% for someone in the military.

For males, 3-4% BF is essential body fat. Pro bodybuilders go on stage at about 4-5% BF, and natural bodybuilders go on stage at about 5-7% BF.

As some others said, you don't need to worry about your bodyfat or body composition for the military, unless you're really fat or really skinny. You'll find that fit people in the military come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
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