3 training basics every soldier needs to remember - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY FIT

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Here’s a fact: Training prepares you for the demands you’ll face in the field.

Sure, it might feel good to bend your knees an inch or two and call it a squat and curl for days on end, but what benefit are you gaining?


You need your workouts to provide results.

If you train with your ego, you’re probably wondering why you aren’t getting the results you require.

Here are a few things to remember that will keep your ego in check and the results rolling in so that your body is ready when you actually need it to perform in a life-or-death scenario.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Half and quarter reps have there place in a very specific type of training plan. Message me if you want to know what that plan is. For the other 99% of us they are just a waste of time.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Ralph Branson

1. Use a full range of motion

Imagine you walk over to the squat rack, load the bar up with two, maybe 300 pounds, and step under it only to find that it’s way too heavy for a full rep.

Instead of lightening the load to match your ability, you bend your knees ever so slightly, give a grunt and look around to see if anyone saw that sorry excuse for a squat.

Now, if this describes your typical leg day or any other workout for that matter, stop.

Honestly, if you’re grabbing weights that are too heavy to perform a full rep, you’re not only kidding yourself but also wasting your time. While doing heavy partial reps might massage your ego, you probably won’t find any measurable benefit, and you’ll for sure increase your chances of injury.

Using a full range of motion means that you’re activating all of the muscle fibers within a particular muscle group to perform the exercise. As a result, those muscle fibers and connected nerves are receiving the signal to grow bigger and stronger.

For most of you, resistance training isn’t just to look great. In the field, you need to perform under any circumstance, so your training needs to prep you to deal with the unknown.

What if you really need to be able to carry your 230-pound brother but can’t since you trained with two-inch squats? Will that sad example of a squat make you feel better then?

To fully benefit from each rep and training session, use the amount of weight that allows for a full range of motion. Eventually, your strength will improve enough to perform that 300-pound squat with a full range of motion, and you’ll be so much stronger as a result.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

The bench press, when performed correctly works way more than just your chest. Triceps, core, glutes, back, and sometimes even your face.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Ralph Branson

2. Prioritize important exercises

To get straight to the point, which of the following exercises is more likely to benefit you in the field:

Bicep curls or a barbell squat?

I know, biceps are the most important muscle group to many of you, but in reality, training them every day probably won’t provide much of a performance benefit. In fact, they may hamper your performance.

The barbell squat not only allows you to use more resistance, but it’s also a full-body challenge. Despite being a leg-dominant exercise that works quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves, it also demands that you have a strong upper and lower back and overall core strength.

Not to mention, using higher rep ranges also allows you to challenge your anaerobic capacity. Bicep curls, on the other hand, train your biceps and forearms and not much else.

Of course, it’s not a big deal if you train your biceps, and doing so will be somewhat beneficial. Just remember that you’re training to be a badass that can handle anything.

If you need to improve performance in the field, you should prioritize compound movements that are most likely to improve that performance. If you have extra energy and time, then focus on the less-important exercises.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Use your rest periods to perform a corrective, work an antagonist muscle group or rest. Leave the IG feed for 3AM when you’re supposed to be sleeping instead.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Ralph Branson

3. Put the phone down

If you head to the gym and spend half of the time scrolling through a feed, you’re wasting your time and probably ruining someone else’s workout if you’re doing it on a popular piece of equipment.

It’s clear that most of us feel the pull of social media, even at the worst times.

But the time you spend in the gym is meant to be for work. If you’re distracted by your phone and resting for longer than intended, you could be losing out on training improvements.

You should be using your rest periods to your advantage anyway…

If you find yourself distracted in the gym, make a conscious decision to hold off until the workout is done, and then get your fix. I promise, your workout will be far more productive.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

​Squatting heavy isn’t for everyone, but it is a metaphor for handling the important stuff first that I think everyone can understand.

U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik

BONUS: The bigger picture…

I’ve been recording my dreams lately and weird things have been happening as a result. Long story short, I received some great advice from my late grandfather in a recent dream. The gist of our dialogue was this:

“Everything you do in life is either making you a better version of yourself or a worse version.”

Obviously this advice can apply to all areas of life but when specifically looking at physical training it can be quite directive. We all have a mission we’re working towards accomplishing. Every training session, every exercise, every set, and every rep should be bringing us closer to mission accomplishment. If it’s not, fix it.

The Commander’s Intent of training, especially for those on Active Duty is: “…in order to become more capable at inflicting positive change on the world.” Be that becoming more deadly in combat, or simply having greater work capacity to keep moving forward when others would quit.

It’s your choice.

MIGHTY FIT

What supplements in the Exchange are worth your money? Part 1

Some hucksters will have you believe that in order for you to get the best results from your training you need to be taking some combination of pills and powders daily.

That’s not true. There are very few supplements that are worth the plastic tubs that they’re stored in. I’m here to tell you which supplements are worth it and which aren’t.


In order to keep things relatively uncomplicated, the supplements that I talk about here are only those that you don’t require to survive. The vitamins and minerals that we require for life are just that, necessary to survive. Obviously, if you are deficient in one of those, you should be supplementing or changing your diet around.

NO!

What I’m talking about are those supplements that are completely unnecessary for human life that you’re potentially spending greater than 10% of your monthly income on… I’m talking to you Cpl Jones.

I went to bodybuilding.com and searched their top 50 most selling supplements. I’m sure this list is very similar to the sales in your closest Exchange on base, so I’ll just use it as a proxy. Out of those top 50 selling supplements, all fall into the following categories:

  • Protein powder
  • Pre Workout
  • BCAAs
  • Creatine
  • Post-workout
  • Weight loss AKA Fat burner
  • Multivitamin
  • Intra Workout
  • Testosterone ‘support’
  • Omega 3
  • Pump stimulator
  • Mass gainer
How Much Protein To Build Muscle? The TRUTH !

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Protein powder

I don’t fully accept that protein powder is a supplement…because it’s a macronutrient. You need protein. If you aren’t getting enough in your diet from foods, It’s perfectly acceptable to buy and use some form of protein powder.

When should you have it? Literally whenever. There is no significantly important anabolic window. If you are eating somewhere in the ballpark of .8-1.3 grams of protein per lb of body weight per day, then you’re fine. For more on nutrition timing, check this out.

NOW, not all protein powders are created the same. There are generally three factors that you should keep in perspective when you go to buy some protein powder. Here they are in order of importance:

  1. Leucine Content: If a protein powder has less than 11% leucine or if it doesn’t list the exact proportions of amino acids, it’s sh!t protein with useless fillers. You don’t get an adequate muscle protein synthesis response with any dose of protein that has less than 2.5 grams of leucine in it. 11% leucine puts you at just over 2.5g of leucine for a typical serving scoop of powder of 25 grams of protein. This may seem more complicated than it actually is… read more on it here or shoot me an email at michael@composurefitness.com, and I’ll gladly explain it to you in detail.
  2. Ingredients: If you’re supplementing with additional protein, then supplement with protein, not a ‘proprietary blend.’ If there are other ingredients in your preferred brand, the chances are that they are simply trying to distract you from the fact that there’s an inadequate amount of leucine per serving.
  3. Sourcing: This one is simply based on your preferences. If you’re vegan or dairy doesn’t sit well in your stomach, then you’ll want to avoid proteins like whey and casein. Typically worthwhile vegan proteins will be a blend in order to get you the required amount of leucine. That being said if it doesn’t tell you what the blend is or again how much leucine there is per serving then it’s bullshit hippie nonsense made by someone just trying to take advantage of you or that’s too stupid to understand how protein supplementation works; either way, they don’t deserve your money.
How I make my own Pre-Workout to be both more effective and save $$$$$

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Pre-workout

This category is pretty large, mostly I’m talking about those dumb supplements with names like Gnar Pump, NitraFlex, Pre-Kaged, NeuroCore, and Pump Mode. Chances are that if it has a dumb name, it’s a waste of your money.

You’ll see, though, my umbrella recommendation is pretty consistent. If the supplement you’re considering contains any trademarked or patented blend/mix of supplements instead of individually listing the supplements, don’t buy it.

There are plenty of pre-workout supplements that have been shown to help increase performance. Recommendations are varied depending on what type of training session you are walking into and what the rest of your diet looks like.

Caffeine taken with theanine are pretty much always a safe idea to supplement with 30 minutes prior to training. That is my blanket recommendation for pre-workout. I failed to find any pre-workouts on the top 50 purchased supplements on bodybuilding.com that contained solely caffeine and theanine. They pretty much all have nonsense and bullsh!t in them.

If you’re a constant experiment, which you are, and you want to find out what actually impacts your performance, which you do, how can you figure that out if you’re taking a supplement that has 60 ingredients? There’s no way to know what’s working, what’s fluff, and what’s contributing to the tingling side-effect.

If you’ve already Pavlov’s-dogged yourself into needing that tingling sensation in order to get a good workout have no fear, it’s not something dangerous.

  • It’s probably beta-alanine that your favorite blend uses to achieve that feeling, which isn’t harmful and can actually aid in physical efforts over a minute.
Or it’s niacin, which although harmless at low levels, can lead to insulin resistance from prolonged exposure.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CREATINE (Ft. Eric Helms)

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Creatine

Creatine is probably the most highly researched supplement in existence. Yes, it does work, but what it does is probably not what you think it does.

Creatine doesn’t make you stronger or more muscular. It helps increase your power output, which in turn can make you stronger and more muscular.

It’s cheap and effective. If you want to invest in one supplement that will help you in your strength/muscle/health journey, this is the one.

If you want a full rundown on how creatine works exactly, send me an email at michael@composurefitness.com

and I’ll write a future article on the topic.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

In part 2 I’ll cover BCAAs, Post Workout Supplements, Intra Workout Supplements, and Multivitamins. That’s when things get interesting.

As I mentioned multiple times throughout this article, if you have any questions or alternative opinions on my take on these types of supplements, do not hesitate to email me at michael@composurefitness.com.

As always, when it comes to nutrition, your number one solution to any dietary need or hack should be to alter your diet of real foods to get adequate quantities and proportions of macro and micronutrients. Only after you have that dialed-in like I very explicitly outline in The Ultimate Composure Nutrition Guide should you bother walking down the supplement aisle.

If you made it this far in the article, you clearly care about your health and fitness. Why then have you not joined the Mighty Fit FB group? If you are in the group post in there which category of sports supplements that I covered in this article that you are the most disappointed by.
3 training basics every soldier needs to remember
MIGHTY FIT

The Rucking White Paper

I recently had the pleasure to read through the GoRuck Rucking White Paper. It’s basically 18,000+ words on everything you could ever want to know about moving long distances with weight on your back. A topic I am fond of reminiscing about.

Besides telling you to give it a read, print it out, and post it on your unit’s knowledge board I figured I would pull some of the greatness out of it for you as a nice preview of what to expect.


3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Looks way better than going for a “jog”.

(www.goruck.com)

On running in general

“And running sucks anyway, and the worst run is the first run, so there’s that.”

It sucks, but it’s an occupational hazard for many of you. The paper does an eye-opening job of explaining that rucking is actually a lower burden on the body in general when compared to standard running.

Imagine that…

On Progressive Overload

“When I was a kid I thought that if I was going to start something new I needed to conquer Rome in a day…That’s not the approach we’re going for here. Your body needs to get used to the effects of a little extra weight on your back, then you need to back off and see how your body responds.”

Sound logic anyone can get behind.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Ruck it out.

(www.goruck.com)

On posture

“Move a mile with the same rucksack on, and you’ll notice that the last thing you want to do is collapse onto your front. The rucksack literally pulls your shoulders back.

Which is exactly where they should be.”

The argument can be made that rucking will destroy your back and posture. The white paper very smart responds with:

“Form, bitch.” (“my words, not theirs.”)

Like all things, including staring at your phone screen all day, rucking could cause back issues…IF YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

In fact, when all the great gouge in this document is applied a proper diet of rucking and beer (more on that shortly) will make you stronger, more resilient, and more posturally erect.

This is the same argument I use when explaining the benefits of the deadlift or back squat to anyone.

There is a huge difference between doing something and doing it properly.

You can eat spaghetti through your nose, sure, but there’s a better way that’s much less likely to deviate your septum.

On working out solely to “look good”

“The point is not to have a set of pretty abs so you can take mirror selfies. One of our Cadre taught me with a smile on his face a long time ago that only an asshole brings a six-pack to a party.”

Just an example of the types of life advice you can expect from the paper.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Log PT is always more fun with friends.

(www.goruck.com)

On #slayfest workouts

“Rucking goes counter to the online world of individualized fitness, and counter to the idea of fitness as punishment. Grab your ruck, put some weight in it, and go for a walk. It’s that simple, and it’s more fun with friends and when you’re done, don’t worry about how many calories are in your beer. How’s that for a change of pace?”

One thing is overwhelmingly clear from this paper. You aren’t going to be able to fill up your pack with 100lbs of weight and ruck 6-minute miles for 50 miles on day one. You’ll probably never get to that point.

Who would want to anyway? That sounds miserable even if you are physically capable of it.

The community the folks at GoRuck have garnered is about community, healthy lifestyle, and enjoying a brew. Not necessarily in that order. It’s not about being the hardest hammer in the shed.

There’s a time and place for 150% efforts once in a while. It’s not every day.

On what rucking actually is…

“Ruck Running — don’t do it. That’s one of the only main things I was always told. If you do, all of the risks from running are magnified, and it turns the low injury risk activity of rucking into the high injury risk activity of running…. But, there is a way to move faster than just walking, with a ruck on.”

I have a brief history of rucking. I did not know this.

When first reading through the section on proper form, I just shook my head at how foolish I was.

You live and you learn, I suppose.

Do yourself a favor and learn here before you try to live it.

Rucking is not running. Learn the form, and it will become slightly more enjoyable and a whole lot nicer on your joints.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Pizza. That is all.

(www.goruck.com)

On experience being a great teacher

“My feet had blisters on the underside, I had wanted to test out our new boots so I thought it would be a good idea to not change my socks the entire time even though it was a monsoon the night prior and they were wet for over nineteen hours. It was a poor choice. My thighs and my calves ached, and all I really wanted to do was sit on the ground and eat my pizza.”

I truly believe that Dominos may be the only thing on planet Earth calorically dense enough to replenish all of the lost nutrients after a 12+ hour effort.

Been there. Don’t regret it.

On the intention behind GORUCK

“What I never wanted the GORUCK Challenge to become was some sort of bootcamp. Been there, done that, don’t need to do that again.”

I was pleasantly surprised to see this. Bootcamp style fitness is only effective in the short run. Since rucking is a long-run activity (pun intended,) they have their heads in long term adherence.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Rucking, fun for all ages.

(www.goruck.com)

The GORUCK Rucking White Paper

You can check it out here.

It has science, humor, history, military doctrine, and no-nonsense logic.

If your unit has you moving any distance with weight on your back, this should be required reading.

Oh, one last quote…

On post-workout beers

“…I started calling Beer ACRT, for Advanced Cellular Repair Technology. People seemed to get it immediately, especially when we’d be done with a Challenge and then I’d crack open a case of beers and start passing them out.”

Cheers.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember
MIGHTY FIT

Watch: How to pass the Naval Special Warfare Physical Screening Test

Think your physical fitness is top-notch enough to become a SEAL? If you’re even loosely considering taking the Special Warfare Physical Screening Test there are definitely some things you need to know. Watch this video for the top tips and a blueprint on making your way through the hardest workout PT test for US Navy special forces. It’s not just physical fitness that’s required to crush this test – it’s mental toughness, too.

The PST is a hardcore workout with strict time limits that challenges your physical fitness. First, there’s a rigorous 500-yard swim in under 12.5 minutes. You get 10 minutes to rest before starting the next part of the workout where you race to achieve a max number of pushups in two minutes. Two minutes to breathe and then you try to max out on sit-ups. Another 2-minute break before maxing out on your pull-ups. Then, you have a ten-minute break before the brutal 1.5-mile run – that has to be completed in under 12.5 minutes. 

Oh, and if you really want to be considered, you exceed these standards – not just meet them. 

So while the Army might be complaining about the new standards for the ACFT, the SEALS have been cross-training for so long that they make it look easy. 

How to cut down on the minutes it takes you to complete the test

To really do well on this, you need to identify your weaknesses and then crush them.

  • Train like you’re testing. Keep the same time limits for your own breaks. That way when you get to test day, it won’t seem completely impossible to regain your breath. 
  • Focus on progression. Get repetitions in throughout the day. For the exercises like sit-ups, break them up into sets. For example, if your max is 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes until failure. Break that up into 25 sit-ups several times a day to work on max progressive overload.  
  • Pacing is key for each test. Swimming 500 years in 12.5 minutes will wipe you out unless you pace your swim, using underwater recovery techniques including breaststroke, sidestroke and combat swim stroke to utilize your swim as a warm-up that gets you ready for the next part of the workout. 

The Navy Seal training pipeline includes six-month basic training on underwater demolition and airborne operations as well as three months of tactical training. Maintaining a top level of physical fitness and regular workouts is a necessity for a SEAL.

MIGHTY FIT

The complete bench press checklist

Holding a rifle, hiking with a heavy pack, loading a torpedo, pulling up an anchor, moving bulky equipment: these all require upper body strength. Whether you’re pushing, pulling, or maintaining posture, a strong and healthy upper body is a must.

The number of people who can’t raise their arms over their head due to a shoulder injury is unbelievable. Poor bench press form is often the cause of these issues.

Because we need our upper bodies to thrive in this world, it’s mandatory that everyone learn how to press to build a resilient upper body.


[instagram https://instagram.com/p/BtqnE7aBBV-/ expand=1]Eugen Loki on Instagram: “⭕️WHY A FREE BENCH IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN A SMITH MACHINE BENCH⭕️ – I often hear coaches say they like to teach the bench press on the smith…”

instagram.com

First, bar path

The bench press is the one exception to the rule of the “straight bar path.” In all other lifts, you want to have the straightest, most vertical bar path possible. This keeps the amount of energy that is stolen from the movement to a minimum.

However, in order to prevent a shoulder impingement scenario, the bar path of the bench press has to be modified. The bar starts directly over your shoulders. If you brought it straight down from there, you would over time grind apart the architecture of your shoulders.

Instead, the bar needs to be brought down to a position lower on your chest, so that the angle made by your armpit is roughly 75 degrees, instead of the 90-degree angle that would form if you were constantly impinging your shoulder.

This means the bar path will be diagonal–the bar will travel from directly over your shoulder to somewhere between your sternum and nipples, and back up on the same path.

Now for the checklist…

Bench Press Step 1

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1. Shoulder blades together

Bring your shoulder blades together and pin them into the bench so that they are locked into place.

By having your shoulder blades locked into place, you can press them into the bench at the same time that you are pressing the bar away from your chest. This will cause maximum force. Think “press the bar up and the back down.

Bench Press Step 2

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2. Set your feet

Set your feet deep into the ground.

Your feet are your stability. They should not move at all during the exercise.

Position them flat on the ground slightly further apart than the knees.

Bench Press Step 3

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3. Take your grip

Grip the bar so that it rests in the heel of your palm directly over your wrist.

In order to transfer energy from you to the bar, you want the straightest connection possible.

If the bar sits higher in the palm of your hand, the wrist will bend, and the bar will be off-balance.

Your hands should be wide enough that when you touch your chest with the bar, your forearms are perfectly vertical from the front and from the side.

Bench Press Step 4

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4. Find your balance point

Unrack the bar and find your balance/”rest” point, directly above your shoulders.

It’s difficult to “feel” this position, so just like in marksmanship, you are going to use a sight picture to ensure you always bring the bar back to the proper place.

Choose a spot on the ceiling that you will look at for the entirety of the exercise, and line the bar up with that location.

The completion of every rep is denoted when you get the bar back to this position.

Bench Press Step 5

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5. Find your touch point

Find your bottom position with the help of your spotter.

On your first warm-up set, with an empty barbell, find the point on your chest that the bar touches when your elbows make a 75-degree angle.

For all follow on sets your spotter should take their index finger and tap you on your rib cage in the position where you should bring the bar to touch on each rep.

This proprioceptive technique can eventually be trained so that you don’t need the tapping reminder. In the beginning of learning the movement, it is wise to always have this mental support.

Bench Press Step 6 Execution

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6. Inhale and execute

  • You have your site picture
  • You have your proprioceptive bottom position reminder
  • The bar is stacked directly over your shoulders

Take a large inhale and brace so that there is no chest movement during the rep.

Bring the bar down to your chest as fast as possible while still maintaining enough control to be able to stop at any point along the way.

Touch your chest and explode back up to your starting site picture.

Exhale.

Inhale and repeat.

Keep your lower body and core engaged throughout the entire movement. The tighter your entire body is, the less energy you will bleed off during the movement.

Over time, you can start to perform 2 or 3 reps per breath. In the beginning, stick to 1 breath to perfect the form.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

What’s wrong here? 1. Eyes aren’t on the site picture. 2. The bar is too high in the palm of the hand causing the wrists to bend. 3. The grip is uneven. This is a recipe for the spotter to swoop in and rescue the trainee.

(Photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember
MIGHTY FIT

The best streaming workouts right now were developed in prison

Working out regularly is always necessary. It’s even more necessary now that we’re all social distancing at home due to coronavirus. Coss Marte, the founder of the prison-style fitness workout Conbody, can help.

A former drug kingpin and three-time felon, Coss knows a thing or two about being cooped up and devised a workout system that helped him stay in shape in a very small, confined space.

“When I was in solitary confinement I had to develop my own routine. I would wake up, eat breakfast, do a workout, read, then write letters,” Marte told Fatherly from his New York City home where he, quarantined like the rest of us, spoke over the phone. “There were times that I ran in the prison yard, but when I was stuck in solitary, it was just the side of my bed. And I had exercises that were pure function.” Those exercises? Sitting down. Getting up. Stepping up from the bed and stepping down. Duck walks. Bunny hops.

Marte now lives at home with a 12-year-old and runs Conbody, which is a gym and streaming workout service that is intense, motivating, and requires little room and less equipment.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

“Our workout is in small, constrained spaces because I developed it in a prison cell,” he says. That’s all you need. Here, then, are Coss’s tips for staying in shape when space is (very) minimal.

Keep Your Space Minimal

“If you have a yoga mat, put it down. I personally don’t do anything. I didn’t have anything when I was incarcerated. Sometimes i use a little towel for my wrists, but that’s about it.”

Go Barefoot

“Do it barefoot. You activate more muscles. You’re feeling the ground. There are other muscles in your feet that really activate coming up your legs. It’s the cheapest workout,” he says.

Don’t Rely on Indoor Workouts

Also, go outside. Take a walk. Try to distance yourself. But get some fresh air.

Let Your Kids on In the Fun

“Bring your kid into a workout routine. If they love to move and see someone live on a video camera,” Coss says. “I’ve done facetime videos with someone who was living in Minnesota and the kids were running around the mat. It was annoying but then she had her kid join.”

Stream Classes

Without motivation, you cheat. You don’t push it. You gain (weight). Finding a live class is best because they can see you (technology!) and push you. Try Conbody.com for regular streaming classes at 8, 1, and 530. “We see you and call you out and push you to the other level,” says Marte. If that’s not your style, there are also shorter, more anonymous online on-demand workout classes there, unlimited for / month.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Change It Up

“When I’m working out I don’t mind repetition, but the workouts that we developed are not that competitive,” says Marte. “I include anywhere from 20 to 40 different moves. It’s really changing. High-paced. No breaks. Going from one exercise to the other. Let your body rest and activate.”

You’re Going to Eat More. So Eat Healthy

“I’m eating more. Not really going outside as much,” says Marte, preaching to the proverbial choir. “I think under circumstances try to limit yourself. There’s a lot of temptations. At least try to pick on something healthy. Nuts. fruit, apple. Bananas. Celery sticks. Carrot sticks.”

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY FIT

Drink this to put on weight

Are you trying to put weight on?

If that seems like a ridiculous question to you, well, you’re not going to enjoy this article.

For those of you intrigued by the idea of gaining some mass, the following is the answer to all your hard-gaining woes.

I’m going to share with you the recipe I recommend to help you gain lean muscle in a sustainable way.

It’s a shake, and it’s delicious.

But first…


3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Adding size isn’t rocket science, it’s just regular science.

How do you actually put on weight?

In the Ultimate Composure Nutrition Guide, I lay out a very simple and clear formula to manipulating your body composition without getting fat in the process, like would happen on a dirty bulk.

In short, that entails adding 300-500 calories to your daily consumption each and every day for a period of up to 6 months.

That is the answer. Follow that sentence, and you will add a sustainable amount of weight without losing the definition you’ve already achieved past the point of no return.

The easiest way to do that is to have the Weight Gain Shake. It’s one simple addition to your diet. One variable change, that’s my kind of math.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

It doesn’t need to be pretty, but it will be tasty.

The weight gain shake

This is my go-to favorite.

When I’m cutting or maintaining my current weight, I have my daily protein shake with water. That’s

  • 1-2 scoops of protein powder
  • 12-24 of water

When trying to add size I simply throw in:

  • a banana ~100 cals
  • 2 tbsp of peanut butter, AKA ~a heaping spoonful AKA ~32 grams ~200 cals
  • 8 oz of whole milk ~150 cals

In total, I’m adding 1.5 servings of carbs, 1 serving of fat, and ⅔ of a portion of protein.

It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of extra calories each day 450-500 calories per day. That’ll keep your second brain happy.

BOOM! That’s your caloric surplus.

Eat normal and have this shake every day, and weight will accumulate.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

You can always eat more, if it’s sustainable…

Is that really enough?

If your goal is to really pack on size you should be more aggressive. BUT, if you’re a true hardgainer there’s a psychological barrier you need to overcome, or a more aggressive bulk will never work out for you.

I go deeply into the psychology of a hardgainer in the Ultimate Nutrition Guide.

One of the main hurdles for you to overcome is to become okay with your “abs” becoming softer. Skinny guys almost always take solace in their abs. It makes sense, everyone has abs if they can just get lean enough. Modern culture has decided that abs=strength. Not true.

Especially not true if the rest of your body looks emaciated.

Nevertheless, hardgainers find their identity in their stomach muscles that look more like extra ribs than something capable of protecting their midsection and developing power.

Those “abs” don’t really do what you think they do anyway.

If that’s you, a more modest caloric surplus is the best way to start adding some size. You won’t “lose” your abs and may even start to see an increase in definition depending on how diligently you’re training.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

If any of your bulking meals look like this you have a 99.99999% chance of having a bad time.

The dirty bulk

90% of the time, the above is my recommendation to add weight (in addition to doing the opposite of everything laid out here). That other 10% are people who need to add weight faster or are of a different caliber of mind.

Not better caliber, just different.

The dirty bulk, AKA eating like an asshole, is unsustainable for true hardgainers. It implies that you’ll get a few calorically heavy days and then go back to your normal eating patterns. Being a hardgainer means that you naturally eat less than you should, you can’t trust your body to intuitively want to eat more than will feel physically comfortable.

A more modest increase of 300-500 calories is much more sustainable for the time period it takes to gain muscle. On average, if you’re gaining more than 5 lbs a month, it’s going to be mostly fat. You don’t want that. The math of a 500 calorie surplus works out to about 4.5 lbs of muscle gain per month for a novice lifter. That’s right in the sweet spot.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Get the Mighty Fit Plan now and be first in line to get it fully supported in a mobile app for free.

Final Note

If this article has spurred more questions than it’s answered, check out the Ultimate Composure Nutrition Guide, it’s in my Free Resources Vault over at Composure Fitness. This guide is the perfect compliment to the Mighty Fit Plan, which is about to get a huge update shortly. If you’ve already completed the plan or are interested in it, now is the time to sign up for it so that you can be one of the first people to experience the plan in all its mighty glory after the overhaul.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember
MIGHTY FIT

The #1 secret all fighters should know

Popular culture has taught us that tough guys are born tough, winners win, and badasses are, well, badass. Maybe I’m not all that tough, but I’ve spent most of my life competing in the sorts of sports that should come with frequent flier cards for the ER, and it’s been my experience that dominating the competition doesn’t tend to come with very many valuable lessons.

In fact, if you really want to know how to win fights, the best thing you can do while training is lose some.


3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

After doing well in events like pugil sticks and being considered “tough” by my friends, I mistakenly started to believe that I was a tough guy. It didn’t take long to learn otherwise.

(Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jose Villalobosrocha)

While I already had a long and illustrious history of being a mouthy punk before I joined the Marines, it wasn’t until my second year in uniform that I formally entered into the world of fighting. I had earned my brown belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and had some scholastic wrestling behind me that had helped me dominate the competition in my unit and my circle of friends. As far as I was concerned, I was one tough bastard… that is until I walked into the training facility for Fight Club 29, nestled in a disused hangar in the deserts of Twentynine Palms, California.

As I walked into that bustling training environment that Coach Mark Geletko, a retired Marine Sergeant Major, cultivates through sheer force of enthusiastic will, I immediately made the most egregious of rookie mistakes: I was intimidated by the skill and athleticism in the room, so I squared my jaw and put on my best “tough guy” face. I was intent on proving to the team that I belonged there by showing off how badass I was… and silently, I promised myself I wouldn’t tap out a single time that day.

The thing is, I wasn’t badass. I was a tough guy from the block in the company of men that had dedicated themselves to the craft of fighting. Everyone in the room had at least one amateur fight under their belts, a few even had professional ones, and I fancied myself their peer from behind a handful of bar brawl stories and a knack for high school wrestling.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

I was bigger, stronger, and fitter than some fighters I squared off against in those early days, but if your plan is to overwhelm experience with muscle, you’re in for a bad day.

As foolish as it seems in hindsight, I see that same look on the faces of new fighters all the time. Some are so lost behind their tough-guy facades that they can’t break through, and ultimately, they have to leave the sport behind. Others, like me, have to learn that “tough” doesn’t always mean winning, and guys that always “have to” win rarely have the skills they need to get out of a jam when they’re in one.

In the months leading up to my first fight, I began training with our team’s premier fighters in the weight class above and below my own (at 185 pounds). That meant standing and swinging with the bruising power of guys that fought heavyweight at 205+, before hopping onto the mats with the lightning quickness of a 175-pound Jiu Jitsu stud that knew more about submissions than I do about… anything.

And boy did I lose. Some days it seemed like all I did was lose. At one point during my first week, one of our best heavyweight strikers named Nate landed a powerful (and quite high) pump kick to my midsection, raising alarm bells from my small intestines all the way to my brain, all blaring in unison that if I didn’t get my ass to a bathroom, I was going to have an awfully embarrassing mess in my pants. After the emergency had passed, I half-limped my way back out of the “porta-john” outside our hangar and stumbled back into the ring, ready to get beat again.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

The only really effective way to learn not to panic in a choke is to spend time getting choked. You’ve got to learn to fight back from a position of disadvantage to be a capable fighter.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Samuel Guerra)

Losing teaches you a lot of things about yourself and about the craft of fighting. Do it often enough, and you begin to understand the difference between a sloppy choke that makes it hard to breathe and a good one that makes it impossible. You start to recognize the differences between punches that could put you to bed, and the ones you’re willing to eat while you set up your next move. You start to accept the hurt to avoid an injury and to be comfortable in a submission that used to scare you. Most importantly, you stop being afraid of getting knocked out, choked out, or losing in front of your peers, and in that freedom, you’re finally able to find out what you’re really made of.

I went undefeated in my short semi-professional fighting career, though I never won by knock-out or submission. I’m still not the toughest guy around, but in the years since I transitioned from competitive fighting to simply training, I’ve learned to let go of my fear of losing and embrace the satisfying hurt of learning new lessons from skilled peers.

I may not be as quick as I was when I first got into the fighting game, but unlike that young buck, I’m not afraid to hurt, to grind, or to lose if I have to. And if you ask me, that makes me a much more dangerous old man.

MIGHTY FIT

4 ‘Can you do THIS?’ fitness challenges

So here’s the story. I normally run a few times a week, strength train and figure skate as often as I possibly can. (What can I say? I love knife shoes.) I’ve since gone through several quarantine phases. It started with, “I’m going to use this time to be in the best shape of my life!”…aka denial. It was then followed by stress baking, boredom snacking and finally my current stage: Trying my best to find balance.

Instead of stressing myself out with rigid fitness goals, I’m listening to my body and choosing workouts I actually feel like doing. For motivation, I’m trying a new fitness challenge each day to appreciate everything my body can do. (Even when I’ve eaten more onion and garlic pretzel chips than medically recommended.) These are a few of the exercises I’ve tried so far…can you do them all?


Stand Up From the Floor…No Hands Allowed!

Okay, this one sounds deceptively easy. Lay down on your stomach and try to get up without using your hands for help. Roll over, sit up, bend your knees, lean forward and try to rise to your feet. It doesn’t require exceptional strength, but you do need to have decent flexibility throughout your hips and hamstrings.

Balance on One Leg for 60 Seconds

Another exercise that sounds crazy easy, except that you have to do this balanced on the *ball* of your foot. You don’t have to raise all the way up to your toes, but your heel must be lifted off the ground for it to count. Start out with one hand on a chair or countertop for balance. First, lift your free leg up, keeping your foot pressed lightly against your standing leg for stability. Then, lift up onto the ball of your foot and start the timer.

This is a test not only of balance but of the strength of all the stabilizing muscles from your calves to your core. Thirty seconds and up is considered good, and 60 seconds is excellent. Pro-tip: Try focusing on keeping a tight core and flexing your glutes to hold the position longer!

Hold a Plank for 2 Minutes

The humble plank is a great, full-body exercise, and it’s pretty tough. Just hold the “up” part of a pushup as long as you can, making sure your back isn’t arched and your butt isn’t sticking up in the air — save that for yoga class! While you only need to hold planks for around 30 seconds to benefit from them, it’s fun to see how long you can hold them! (Not to brag, but I did it for 3.)

Pistol Squats

This is the toughest one on the list, hands down. To do a pistol squat, you extend one leg straight out in front of you and squat down to a minimum of 90 degrees- some people can go all the way to the floor! It’s super tough, and you need more than just strength. You need a ton of flexibility to keep your free leg from hitting the floor. A cheat as you work your way up to a full pistol squat is to hold onto a railing to lessen the resistance. I managed 5 before I couldn’t make it back up and fell on my butt.

Which exercise was the toughest for you? Hopefully, you surprised yourself!

MIGHTY FIT

The endurance boost training plug-in

Half of readers get tested on their endurance capability. The other half is worried about surviving the zombie apocalypse. Lucky for you, in the Venn diagram of fitness, those two overlap quite nicely.

This endurance plug-in lays out a very simple and effective plan to get you up to snuff for the PFA or the incoming wave of walking-dead. If you’re worried about your chainsaw-wielding skills or max push-ups, you better be using the Mighty Fit Plan to prepare!

I’ll be talking in terms of running, but this basic template can be applied to swimming, cycling, Pogo-sticking, or any other endurance training modality.


3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Don’t get me wrong training outdoors can be a mind-blowing experience. If you enjoy it you should do it.

(Photo by Fabio Comparelli on Unsplash)

How to logistically fit in endurance training

Strength training is the base of any solid training plan. Three days of strength training is the minimum in order to ensure all bases are covered. That still leaves four days a week to train.

Typically, you don’t want to do the same type of training two days in a row. That means your endurance training sessions should alternate days with the strength training days. That covers 5-6 days a week.

Day seven is special: it’s a day of rest. Some people may need two days of recovery, while for others, one is enough. The number of runs you engage in per week depends on your current level of fitness, your proximity to your race or test day, your ultimate goal, and one other factor…:

The level of enjoyment you get from endurance training!

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

It’s not all sunrises and mountain views though…

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Debra S. Sainer/Released)

If you enjoy running, go out three days a week. If you are doing it for work, run twice and add the third day two months out from your test. If you’re like me, ignore it entirely until you get winded going up a flight of stairs and then start training it to ensure you are more survivable in the zombie apocalypse.

Soreness is the last limiting factor. If you are sore from lifting and sore from running, only run two times a week until you are recovering efficiently enough to be fresh on day six.

You need to learn to trust your body, but also not be mentally weak. If you feel good enough to train, you should; don’t allow soreness to be a convenient excuse to be a lazy POS.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

There’s a reason many professional swimmers get fat after retiring. Read the article below and commit it to memory.

(Photo by Gentrit Sylejmani on Unsplash)

This plug-in is not for fat loss

I know this needs to be said. It is highly likely that the world has convinced you that cardio is the best type of exercise to achieve fat loss. I’m here to tell you the prior sentence is a horrible generalization and exaggeration. It’s plain wrong.

The intricacies of fat loss in relation to exercise are spelled out here.

In short, cardio makes you lose weight indiscriminately. You’ll lose fat, muscle mass, and a whole bunch of other “stuff.” This total decrease in size means two things:

  1. Cardio makes you require fewer calories all day; this needs to be reflected in your diet to achieve continued fat loss.
  2. Over time, you become more efficient at cardio, so you burn fewer calories for the same workout that used to burn more.

Here’s the full article again. Read it and commit it to memory so you can start shutting down any bro science that claims you lose fat by indiscriminately running, biking, or swimming more.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

Sometimes you gotta run…You can’t kill ’em all.

(Zombieland Oct 11, 2009)

The 3 workouts of the endurance boost plug-in

Here are the template workouts to improve your endurance. Start where they recommend, and progress as able to achieve your peak performance.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

The epitome of long and slow, the open water swim.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kevan Dunlop)

​Workout 1: Long and slow

Run for 25 minutes at a pace in which you can still speak in full sentences.

If you have a heart rate monitor, the goal is to keep your heart rate under 60% of your heart rate max. That is roughly where most people can carry on a conversation while running.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

You don’t need blocks for your sprints but you do need to PUT OUT.

(Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash)

​Workout 2: Sprints

400-800 meter repeats (for those of you training to improve PT test scores.)

Choose your distance, and always do that distance so that you can gauge improvement. Time yourself, and then rest for 2-3 times that length of time. Sprint as hard as you can every repetition for the entire length. Don’t cheat yourself.

Start workout one with four iterations of your distance and increase 1-2 lengths every two weeks as your recovery permits.

Example:

  • Week 1: 4×400 meters
    • 1: 75 second sprint/ 150 second rest
    • 2: 80 second sprint/ 160 second rest
    • 3: 86 second sprint/ 172 second rest
    • 4: 91 second sprint/ 182 second rest
  • Week 2: 4×400 meters
    • 1: 72 second sprint/ 144 second rest
    • 2: 79 second sprint/ 158 second rest
    • 3: 83 second sprint/ 166 second rest
    • 4: 85 second sprint/ 170 second rest
  • Week 3: 6×400 meters
    • 1: 72 second sprint/ 144 second rest
    • 2: 79 second sprint/ 158 second rest
    • 3: 83 second sprint/ 166 second rest
    • 4: 85 second sprint/ 170 second rest
    • 5: 90 second sprint/ 180 second rest
    • 6: 97 second sprint/ 194 second rest
  • etc…
3 training basics every soldier needs to remember

I love people that look the part. I’d be the guy running a marathon in cargo shorts, eating tater-tots for a mid-race glucose boost.

(Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash)

​Workout 3: Timed distance

Run your race length or the length of your PT test and time yourself.

Simple and idiot-proof. Just hop on a site like gmaps pedometer and plan your route.

Mighty FIT is making some big strides to bring you the fitness content that you want to read, please take 2 minutes and let us know what your preferences are here. Michael and the other writers will take your input to craft future articles and training plans.

3 training basics every soldier needs to remember
MIGHTY FIT

This NASA-inspired protein powder is here to save the world and your gains

Did anyone in your high school complain about gym rats and “show muscles”? Well, there’s not really any such thing as show muscles in the military. Every fiber can make you more lethal, whether it’s the biceps to curl a tank or artillery round that’s about to be thrown into the breech, or the hamstrings to make it through a long patrol.


Solar Foods makes the future of food look amazing

www.youtube.com

But think about how badly it will suck for the Space Force. They need to keep those muscles strong enough to beat Martians to death with hammers and wrenches on a moment’s notice, but they need to fuel those gains with freeze-dried foods while working out in low gravity.

Luckily, a Finnish company has created a process that would let them make protein powder from almost any planet’s atmosphere, and the Finns are scaling up the tech to sell guilt-free protein powder to all of us here on Terra Firma.

Solar Foods’ technique was originally pushed by NASA and is now supported by the European Space Agency. The basic idea is to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, combine it with water as well as some additional nutrients, and turn it protein. The final product is a single-cell protein that can be used like traditional flour. It’s 50 percent protein, up to 10 percent fat, and up to 25 percent carbohydrates.

And, it’s carbon neutral. If there’s a chance you’ll be deployed to a desert in the next few years, be excited that your cooks could make about 4.25 pounds of Solein with a single 5-gallon jug of water. And there are essentially no land requirements, so it could be done even on small forward bases.

The entire process only needs a little infrastructure, some electricity, water, and carbon dioxide, so it could potentially be used at bases around the world or in space flight. (The European Space Agency specifically got involved in the hopes that the process could work en route to Mars.)

If you want to get your hands on this high-protein flour, you’ll have to wait till 2021 and, even then, hopefully, be stationed in Europe. That’s when and where the company plans to start its commercial launch with global access coming later in the year.

MIGHTY FIT

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Working out your core is one of the toughest and most painful parts of any exercise routine. Putting strain on your torso and getting that unique, deep burn isn’t a very appealing prospect to most people — they’d rather be making gains in their arms or chest.


Planking primarily targets your core muscles, like the hip abductors, pelvic floor, lower back, and lower chest. During a plank, all of these structures must work in concert to hold up the body’s weight, strengthening the entire group with a single exercise. Although most people only hold the position for between 30 and 60 seconds, this brief moment can feel like a freakin’ eternity.

To help all you hopefuls looking to strengthen your core, we’ve come up with a few proven remedies to get your mind off the anguish. Use these tips to hold a plank for long periods of time, build core strength, and, most importantly, get those abs to pop out.

Also Read: 5 workout machines you should skip while at the gym

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Control your breathing

As you hold a plank, your body will tire out. Your torso will let your brain know it’s getting sore via pain receptors. Although it’s wise to listen to your body, at times like these, it’s better to distract yourself from every little message sent to the brain. A great way to do this is by focusing on your breathing.

Breathing deeply relaxes your body and blocks out distracting thoughts like, “when the hell will this exercise be over?” The next time you decide to shoot for a 45-to-60-second plank, inhale in on a 4-count and exhale for just as long. After just fifteen inhales and exhales, you’ll be at the 1-minute mark.

Easy, right?

www.youtube.com

Watch a motivational YouTube clip

Working out is meant to break you down physically. It takes mental strength to push through discomfort. That’s exactly why so many people hire trainers — for outside motivation that pushes them through those last, crucial minutes of intense training.

If you don’t want to shell out cash for a trainer, there are other ways to find the motivation to get into tip-top shape. Many people watch cool motivational YouTube clips to distract the mind and block out the physical pain. Via that smartphone you keep in your pocket at all times, you can quickly view a “moto” clip (like the one below) to get you through those final seconds of your plank.

www.youtube.com

Conduct an intra-modification

As with any other exercise, there are many variations of planks, each designed to focus on the various muscles that make up your core. You can use this information to your abdominal advantage. If you start out in a four-point plank and fatigue sets in, modify the exercise and move into a side plank.

The idea is to build up your strength gradually — go until you can’t.

www.youtube.com

Recite a music verse in your head

Everyone likes music. There’s no doubt that you’ve memorized a few verses during all those hours you’ve logged listening to the radio. So, as you set out to challenge your body via planking, start reciting a 45-to-60-second song verse in your head — not out loud — to get you through the tough, physical static hold.

Your abs will thank you later.

MIGHTY FIT

5 ways to save money by constructing a home gym

Frequently working out is one of the primary activities active duty service members do throughout their work week. The military provides some well-financed fitness centers to keep the troops in shape both mentally and physically. The memberships are technically free of charge since you signed your name on that dotted line before you swore in.

After we get our DD-214s, we’re technically not allowed to show up on base and work out in this those military gyms anymore. After losing that benefit, veterans are forced to do one of three things: stop working out, pay a hefty monthly subscription to a local facility, or build their own gym.

Now, we know what you’re thinking, you don’t have the cash in your pocket (or the experience) to build a home gym. Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s easier than it seems. In fact, countless veterans across the nation have started doing just that same thing in their garages, backyards, and spare bedrooms.

It can be done quite effectively if you do your homework. But you’re in luck if you’re reading this article because we’ve done the homework for you. Since gym memberships can cost between nine dollars all the way up to $150+ a month, over time, you can save some serious coin by building what you actually need in your home versus all the crap your paying for in the gym that you don’t use.

So, remember all this valuable information we’ve about to shed light on when building your first home gym.

Also Read: 5 workout machines you should skip while at the gym

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Figure out your fitness goals

Do you want to run a triathlon next year, compete in the next physique contest, or just look good naked? We think these are fair questions and the paths to these individual goals are different for obvious reasons. Depending on what your fitness goals are, you’ll want to research what type of equipment you’re willing to purchase for your home gym.

Those who enjoy running will probably buy a higher-end treadmill versus a large variety of dumbbells they’re probably never going to lift. So, pick a goal and figure out what equipment can deliver the results you’re looking for.

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Take measurements

One thing most service members all have in common is that they probably all lived in the barracks at one time or another. That means we all know have to make the best out of a very confined space. You can actually squeeze a decent home gym into your garage, a spare bedroom, or a back patio. This means, after identifying your fitness goal, you’re going to have to measure and find out exactly how much space you’ll have available to for assorted gym equipment.

Planning is key to setting up a budget.

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Establish a budget

Most of us may be rich at heart, but our bank accounts don’t reflect our good nature. That being said, you don’t have to break the bank on building your home gym. You can buy each piece of equipment individually if you want or everything at once. But it’s important to make sure you can pay your mortgage next month, so make that budget and stick to it.

We don’t want anyone to go broke.

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Research for proper condensed equipment

Unlike decades ago, fitness manufactures have developed multi-weight equipment that can be easily stored in your home gym without taking up too much space. These condensed pieces of equipment can consist of multi-angle workout benches to multi-weight dumbbells.

You can build dozens of routines by purchasing these modernized condensed pieces of workout equipment for your home gym. These space savers will also keep you from spending all your cash on workout crap you don’t need.

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Look for equipment at second hand locations

Workout gear can be super expensive. Walk into any retail sports store and check out the prices for all the equipment you’re looking to purchase. Then, write all those prices down, then go to a second-hand fitness equipment store or even Craigslist (be careful because that can be a hit-and-miss) to search for the gear you want to purchase.

The beauty of workout equipment is since the gear isn’t electronic, you don’t really have to worry about any of the stuff burning out.

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