Veterans tend to fall off the wagon pretty hard when it comes to fitness. That isn’t to say we are universally fat or unfit, it’s actually quite the opposite. Most veterans have a level of fitness and capability from our days of service that doesn’t quickly fade away.
But many veterans do tend to relax from once-stringent standards once we walk away from the uniform. Relaxing on those standards is often a slippery slope that leads us further and further away from our formerly steel-cut, active-duty body and closer to health problems.
If you’re one of the many who have gone from fit to sh*t and you’re looking to rebound quickly, don’t fret! There’s a new kid on the block and he’s showing lots of promise. Below, you’ll find a few of the absolute best reasons you should give the ketogenic diet a try sooner rather than later.
The ketogenic diet, at its core, is a high-fat, low-carb diet. That’s it. The idea is that by restricting the amount of carbohydrates you consume, you force your body to look for other sources of fuel to burn for energy. This scouring results in your body attacking your stored fat, eventually causing you to drop the pounds.
Air Force Master Sgt. Lajuan P. Fuller amidst killing another workout.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward)
4. You’ll get results fast.
Since your body will not have its normal and preferred source of fuel (carbs), you’ll drop a considerable amount of water weight very quickly. It isn’t uncommon for new keto practitioners to drop six to nine pounds in the first week or two.
Even though most of this drop is pure water weight, you can expect to have a generally slimmer look. All the places that hold water will appear less bloated. Now, don’t expect to go from 30 percent body fat to a six pack in a week, but you can definitely expect your clothes to fit better.
Unleash the power within.
3. High-fat diets can actually make you much healthier.
When I was first introduced to the keto diet, my knee-jerk reaction was to question how a high-fat diet could actually lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
A ketogenic diet encourages the consumption of healthy fats, otherwise known as high-density lipoproteins. HDL transports cholesterol around the body while simultaneously collecting unused cholesterol and delivering it to the liver for disposal.
HDL is, essentially, the neighborhood watch of your bloodstream.
2. Fat adaptation.
There are a couple of terms you will hear tossed around in the world of keto. Those terms are ‘ketosis’ and ‘fat-adapted.’
Being “in ketosis” means your body is breaking down fatty acids and producing acetoacetate. When you use one of the many tools available to check and see if you’re in a ketogenic state, it’s looking for acetoacetate in your urine. Your body is looking for alternative fuel sources and, most times, this is when people experience what some call a “ketogenic flu.”
Being fat-adapted, on the other hand, means your body has gone without excess carbohydrates long enough to become an efficient machine at using fat as fuel instead of carbs. This is when you no longer feel the adverse affects of a ketogenic diet and your body is ready to use up this new type of fuel. There may times in which you take in enough carbs to exit ketosis (it happens), but it takes more than a single cheat day to undo being fat-adapted.
It sounds similar and, truthfully, it is. The key difference is the efficiency of fat-adaptation over ketosis.
Never too late to get that military body back.
(Photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel)
1. Get your best body — and your life — back.
As a veteran, you’ve been through some sh*t. You’ve seen some things and experienced some things that have made you forever different. For many of us, it just takes the right motivation to get you rolling — and once you’re going, nothing will stop you.
This diet could get you back in the health and fitness game — and that alone makes it worth a look!
Coffee gets credit for a lot of miraculous effects, whether deserved or not. It’s not going to stunt your growth, it won’t dehydrate you, and slamming coffee after a night of binge drinking won’t sober you up. Not even a little bit.
No matter what “researchers” continually seem to find on the internet, there are some true facts that make coffee an important part of a balanced breakfast, like staying alive in a world that’s constantly trying to kill you.
In a 2013 study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that consuming more than one cup of a caffeinated beverage every day had a protective effect on the drinker’s risk of suicide. The public health professionals’ caffeinated beverage of choice was an 8-ounce cup of coffee.
A sample population of more than 200,000 logged their food consumption in previous studies conducted by the school. Every four years over the span of 10 to 16 years, food use frequencies were tracked and measured. With a stunning 95% certainty, researchers found those who drank two to three cups of coffee every day cut their risk of suicide by almost half. Those who enjoyed four or more cut their risk by 53%.
It’s important to note that while Harvard chose to track all caffeinated beverages, it singled out coffee and decaffeinated coffee in the study, likely because the most common source of caffeine in America comes from coffee. But coffee studies have a long and troubled history.
In 1991, the World Health Organization added coffee to its list of possible carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances. If you need an idea of how much anyone listens to the WHO, just look at the spread of COVID-19. Or consider the fact that the very next year, half of Americans over 10 were drinking at least one cup every day.
Though one researcher was brave enough to tell the medical community they were wrong in 1992, coffee wasn’t exonerated until 2016. The WHO was forced to reverse itself and report that it may, in fact, be beneficial. Apparently the original study forgot to account for coffee drinkers who were also smokers.
“When these studies originally got started, back in the ’50s and the ’60s, it would be difficult to find an adult in this country that didn’t start their day off without having a cigarette and a cup of coffee,” Dr. Roy A. Jensen, the director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center, told the PBS show Nova.
Coffee drinkers everywhere are still waiting for the apology.
When it comes to cancer, the prairie-dogging caused by your first cups of the day is coffee speeding up the digestive system and cleaning out carcinogenic substances in your colon. Antioxidants in coffee ease inflammation, which is a risk factor for many kinds of cancer, especially in the liver.
The same antioxidants protecting your liquor processing unit are at work in the brain, increasing alertness and acting as a natural antidepressant. In fact, drinking coffee was found to decrease the risk of an early death by as much as 16%.
There are possible emotional side effects to drinking too much coffee, of course. The caffeine in coffee can leave you jittery, anxious, and rambling like an idiot after a point, usually after the average drinker’s fifth cup.
So skip the decaf, stop at two to five cups, and enjoy the miracle of modern medicine.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans- The Patriots unsinkable defense has hit two icebergs this year, in the form of Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. How fitting, then, that these two quarterbacks are representing the new generation of elite NFL quarterbacks. The days of a pocket passer are waning, and Deshaun Watson showed us just why his legs can be such a threat. His banged-up Texans offensive line didn’t hold him back from being #1 fantasy QB, as he scrambled for extra yards to buy time for his cannon (or, uhmm, iceberg-canon?) to go off. Watson and Jackson are #1/2 down the stretch.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans- One of the biggest knocks on Henry coming out of college was his speed. Who would’ve thought, when he came out of Alabama 3 years ago, that his hallmark NFL attribute would be insanely long runs? He has a gain of 20+ yards in half his games played this year, and he finds paydirt even more often than that. He plays Oakland’s abysmal rush defense next week for a juicy matchup.
Davante Adams, WR, Packers- Adams injury woes seem to be a thing of the past. He looked sharp in and out of cuts, showed breakaway speed, and made athletic sideline catches in the Packers 31-13 route of the Giants. His 21.4 fantasy points seem like a beautiful sign of things to come as fantasy playoffs heat up.
Odell Beckham Jr. has now gone six straight games without 100 receiving yards.
It’s the longest streak of his career. (via @ESPNStatsInfo)pic.twitter.com/qFrKi4Dljl
Odell Beckham Jr, WR, Browns- Odell Beckham Jr. has gone six games in a row without 100 receiving yards. Obviously, Baker Mayfield is part of the problem. The root cause, however, is even bleaker for OBJ’s future in Cleveland. Freddie Kitchens absolute inability to call plays that put the ball in his best playmakers’ hands. There have been no kicking nets harmed this year, but hey, there are still four weeks left.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints- Drew Brees delivered a very lackluster performance against a juicy Atlanta matchup on Thanksgiving. The aging veteran racked up only 11.3 fantasy points, with six of them coming from a pass thrown to, ironically, his backup. Brees has his work cut out for him the next two weeks against stingy San Francisco and Indianapolis secondaries.
Nick Chubb, RB, Browns- Chubb, like OBJ, is suffering from Kitchens play-calling, however, Chubb’s fantasy value has another red flag—the arrival of Kareem Hunt. Hunt vultured one touchdown from Chubb, as well as 12 touches and 79 yards. This looks like a split backfield down the stretch.
Telling my kids this was Ryan Fitzpatrick and Devante Parkerpic.twitter.com/1UNQjZUdTy
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles- Alshon Jeffery’s recent fantasy uptick has been directly related to his volume of late. Just last week, he was targeted sixteen times. He turned that massive volume into nine catches, 137 yards, and a touchdown; a performance which was good for 28 fantasy points. As Wentz continues to air the ball out, and his pass-catching competitor Agholor continues to be a liability, Jeffery is getting low-to-mid WR1 looks.
Devante Parker, WR, Dolphins- Well if you started Devante Parker this week congratulations on both your win and your ability to predict the future. If you’re not a psychic, then chances are you saw that Parker has had four straight weeks of 10+ targets a game, and figured that a Dolphins team that is perpetually playing form behind could make Parker a worthy fantasy starter. Well, you’re right, and it doesn’t take a crystal ball to figure out Fitzmagic is back down the stretch. He’s bordering a must start for the rest of the year.
Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins- Guice certainly has fantasy value down the stretch. He is fresh off a long period of rehab following an injury, and is still showing the consistent ability to make defenders miss. His only knock is that he is splitting carries with aging future hall of famer Adrian Peterson. Still, Guice has the edge with his pass-catching ability, especially considering the Redskins play from behind in nearly every game.
James White, RB, Patriots- White is the greatest beneficiary of a neutered Brady offense. Brady’s arm isn’ what it used to be, and New England has resorted to running an “efficent” West Coast offense. This means a whole lot of outlook and swing passes to White, who racked up 8 receptions for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. This stat is all the more appealing when coupled with the fact that Sony Michel is being used exclusively as a rushing threat.
I blinked and Kiko Alonso was in the backfieldpic.twitter.com/LhL6HIOwMi
That’s not an intercontinental ballistic missile you see shooting through the B-gap right there. That’s Kiko Alonso, with a full head of steam, showing Devonta Freeman why offensive linemen need to communicate. Freeman couldn’t do anything but lock up and pray.
Quandre Diggs with a monster hit on Irv Smithpic.twitter.com/g6eI2kP0iH
Quandre Diggs made a last-second bid for Badass hit of the week on Monday night, resulting in the first split-champion result of the year. This ain’t no participation medal, though. This was well earned. Just ask Irv Smith (once he regains consciousness and regains full use of language again).
With so many diets out there to choose from, it’s hard to find one that you’ll feel comfortable with. To help with this, most diets are designed to allow at least one “cheat meal” outside of their plans.
A world where chocolate is not allowed is one few people actually want to live in, so taking a break from a rigid meal plan is a helpful way to be rewarded for dietary disciplined. However, these meals still need to have some structure to them.
There are common mistakes not many people know about — even when “cheating.” You might be wondering how that’s possible because you’re already cheating, but you can really mess up your diet and stack up those unwanted calories quicker than you think.
So we compiled a list of the common ways those sneaky calories work themselves onto the plate.
He’s trying to run off all those tasty milk bones.
People love food. That said, when they begin to enjoy a delicious meal, it can be easy to forget that each bite can take them past their maximum calorie threshold for the day. Eating out while maintaining a fat-burning diet is tough enough because of the variety available — but even worse, you don’t know exactly what is going into those meals.
A cheeseburger at a fast food restaurant usually contains more calories than ones you might make at home just from the added ingredients.
Those numbers quickly add up and the next thing you know, you’re cursing at yourself when you’re not making the progress you were hoping for. Be selective with your “cheat meals” so they don’t punish you later. As The Rock says, “Don’t cheat yourself. Treat yourself.”
The internet is full of people who claim to know every aspect of health and fitness just get you to subscribe to their YouTube channel or like their Facebook page. If you want to support them, that’s entirely up to you. Now, when these so-called “experts” deliver their advice on how you should be dieting, they are generally explaining themselves to a broader audience and not directly to you.
Some fitness personalities will tell you that “in order to get big, you need to eat big.” Unfortunately, that might not be the most beneficial diet plan for you. Eating a high-calorie diet that is meant to bulk you up also runs the risk of making you gain weight based on your metabolism rate and genetics.
The best way to monitor your weight gain is to count the calories going in versus the ones you’re able to burn throughout the day. Refrain from weighing yourself every day because the number can fluctuate based on the amount of water you retain. Jumping on a scale every few weeks will give you a more accurate reading of your progress.
There are approximately 206 calories in a cup of white rice, 231 in a whole chicken breast, and 45 in a cup of steamed vegetables. That equals 482 calories. Although the meal is healthy, it is nearly one-fourth of a 2,000 calorie per day meal plan. The various snacks and meals you’re eating in a day can add up real quick, so plan accordingly.
(Also, why are you eating white rice? Complex carbohydrates only!)
Starting a new diet can yield quick results. You might start seeing physical improvements right away as you embark on this fitness journey. But if you cut too many calories, you won’t be able to sustain that progress.
If you drastically cut calories, that notable fat loss will come to a halt when your body begins to protect itself from the food decrease you placed on it.
It will go from burning stored fat to only using the food you just ate for energy. Cutting calories should be a gradual process, not one you rapidly jump in to.
Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals- The Christian Kirk bubble has finally burst. The young receiver exploded this past Sunday, hauling in three touchdowns on the way to ending his TD-drought on the season. Murray is steadily gaining confidence, and Kirk is getting more red zone looks as Fitzgerald looks on nodding proudly and stroking his long white beard. All signs point to massive value for Kirk.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans- Derrick Henry is currently 5th in the NFL in total rush yards. That’s thanks in major part to his 32 fantasy point performance in a win over the Chiefs. The Chiefs’ defense is questionable, but what’s not questionable is Henry’s workhorse load, especially with a quarterback like Tannehill, who is green to the offensive system.
Ronald Jones, RB, Bucs- Are the Buccaneers good? Is milk good for you? Who cares! The Bucs have produced two of the best fantasy scoring WRs this year, and now Ronald Jones looks to be a borderline RB1 tier player moving forward. The big upside to Jones as of late is his pass-catching ability—8 receptions for 77 yards.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs- That knee seems to be holding up just fine. Mahomes returned with his superman cape still intact, and although the Chiefs suffered a surprising loss to the Titans, Mahomes continues his dominance as a fantasy stalwart. He even added some razzle-dazzle on a jump pass across the middle of the field for a 63-yard score.
Seeing Cooper Kupp’s stat line from today:pic.twitter.com/qdpzx9MIwi
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings- Diggs just posted his second consecutive sub 5 point fantasy performance. Diggs has always been streaky; the truly concerning reason to be cautious moving forward is the fact that his last two duds came in games where Thielen was sidelined. Even with the lion’s share of targets, Diggs cannot seem to get anything going lately.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams- Congratulations reader! You had as many catches, touchdowns, and fantasy points as Cooper Kupp this week. The Pittsburgh defense (apparently amazing now???) shut Kupp down, and highlighted just how hobbled the Rams offense looks this year with a banged-up Gurley. Goff could not get anything going, and with a tough stretch of good secondaries to come, now may be the time to trade Kupp.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants- Daniel Jones posted a 30+ point fantasy performance Sunday. You’d think then, that Barkley had a major role to play. Somehow that was not the case, as a clearly still slightly injured Barkley toughed it out for a measly 8 fantasy points. Barkley saw a loss of snap counts to Wayne Gallman, further signaling the idea that he was not fully 100%. He has a bye week to rest up, but simply put, he has not come within a mile of his supposed #1 pick value this year.
Odell Beckham Jr, WR, Browns- Christian Kirk entered Sunday’s matchup with 0 touchdowns. When the game ended, he had three times as many touchdowns as OBJ has had on the year. This isn’t for lack of targets, however. Mayfield was practically forcing the ball to OBJ in the red zone, but the two could just not get any kind of offensive rhythm going. Odell may take his talents elsewhere this off-season.
Ryan Tannehill with MAGIC, should’ve been the starter all season long.pic.twitter.com/zGBYv2kpIV
Brian Hill, RB, Falcons- Devonta Freeman suffered a foot injury, and Ito Smith is out as well. That makes Hill the lone figurehead in the backfield of a fairly potent offensive attack. Hill is the #1 waiver wire pickup in a fairly dry point of the season. He’s worth an add.
Jacob Hollister, TE, Seahawks- Hollister filled in nicely for Dissly, as he compiled 14 fantasy points en route to a 49ers upset. Tight ends are slim pickings this year, and with Hollister available on over 50% of leagues, he’s worth a waiver add.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans- Tannehill has filled in for Marcus Mariota guns blazing. He’s stringing together Titan wins, and (mort importantly for fantasy owners) he’s putting up solid numbers. The AM receiver-turned-quarterback product can also get the job done with his legs—boosting his value.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings- Sure, Rudolph has been somewhat of a “bust” this season from a fantasy standpoint. However, a multiple TD game from a tight end simply can’t be overlooked when the outlook is so thin. He hauled in both red zone targets and, while only racking up 14 receiving yards, ended the night with 17 fantasy points. If you’re hurting for a tight end (nice) then give Rudolph a shot.
Marshon Lattimore was having none of it @shonrp2pic.twitter.com/7jXWf9UssZ
Marshon Lattimore is one of the best cover corners in the league. Apparently, he wanted to prove to Julio Jones (and the rest of the league) that he’s a headhunter too. This Sunday, he delivered a textbook hat-on-the-ball-wrap-up that would make your high school DB coach cream his Nike fleece joggers.
We talk with the Marine and Creator of the MightyFIT Workout plan about Promotions, Happiness and Freedom Hair.
Most Marines can remember their best PFT score. A solid performance can earn you bragging rights, a line on the promotion list or maybe even signifies a personal goal (yeah, I still remember my first twenty straight pull ups, twenty years later). Yet, there is something much deeper in the those numbers…happiness.
You can argue with me all you want, yes Marines can be happy, but that doesn’t mean their life is going to be easy. At some point, Marines are guaranteed to be covered in mud, zombie tired and cleaning a piece of gear for the ten thousandth time. Despite what life may throw their way, either in training or war, Marines are still the most happy when they are fit and ready for a fight. And that means tough training, physical fitness, and confidence.
After my first deployment to Iraq, I was back at 29 Palms getting ready for a second, possibly more dangerous deployment. We trained every day and most weekends in a hot, nasty desert. That spring, I ran the fastest PFT of my life and I’ve never felt happier (17:54…just saying…). Despite the stress of the world around me, being in that kind of shape was one of the happiest points in my life. I was a trained, fit Marine and that feeling has stuck with me to this day.
Now, if you’re reading this, then you at least have some interest in the military and you don’t have to be a Marine to understand that feeling fit and healthy is a good thing. That being said, even those of us who a maxed out a PFT at some point still have trouble finding a workout plan to meet the chaotic, unexpected and sometimes even lonely challenges that come after we take off the uniform.
Ladies and gents, let me introduce to Marine Michael Gregory, the creator of the MightyFIT workout plan and owner of Composure Fitness, whose sales pitch is “wanna make gains and look great naked?”
Michael doesn’t need to sell himself, he resume does it for him. An economist by training who first put his analysis skills to work as a Marine intelligence officer, Michael is one of those guys who could fit right in on wall street but he’s also tough. Like really tough. One of his first assignments in the Marines was with the MACE, Martial Arts Center of Excellence, think Spartan training in modern times. So what does a badass Marine martial arts instructor with a ten pound brain decide to do after he leaves the Marine Corps?
He moves to Bali and begins his next chapter helping Marines and others find their peak physical performance and dare I say it…happiness.
So when it came time to develop a workout plan for We Are The Mighty, we asked Michael to do what he does best and the eight week plan is pretty amazing. I recently had the chance to catch up with Michael and his thoughts on fitness and happiness didn’t disappoint.
(Michael Gregory being promoted on Iwo Jima.)
Michael, it’s great to chat with you. Before we dive in, tell me, what’s the craziest thing that you did in the Marine Corps?
MG: I was promoted on Iwo Jima.
MG: Yeah it was cool. And not planned. My commander was like, “Hey there’s a C- 130 going to Iwo. Get on it, find whoever is the senior officer and have them promote you.”
Ok, that pretty badass, what drove you to the Marine Corps?
MG: Yeah. so I joined out of high school. I knew I wanted to be in the military. It was the height of the wars and everyone was going to the Middle East to fight. I didn’t even know Asia was a thing, but they sent me to Japan. I got to work with almost every Allied country in Asia and it was it was good for me because I was always the kind of Marine that was on my own little plan. I always had long hair.
Dude, your hair is pretty crazy now.
MG: It’s my freedom hair.
Freedom Hair. I love that.
MG: I haven’t had it cut since I got out. That’s my freedom.
What set you on the fitness path to where you are right now?
MG: [Fitness] was always something that I cared about. I studied economics in college and I had to work out to keep my sanity. But when I got in the Marine Corps I was lucky enough in one of the “in-between times” between schools. I got sent to the Martial Arts Instructor Course in Quantico.
The MACE is no joke. What was it like as a brand new a Second Lieutenant?
MG: It was actually like it was cool because it was my first experience working with enlisted Marines. But in the schoolhouse we’re all getting trained to be instructors. We were equals there. So we all got along and I learned a lot and I actually took a lot of that with me when I was with my unit and my first Marines. It was eye opening. And that was some of the best organized training I got.
So where did you get the fitness knowledge to build a plan like the MightyFIT?
MG: In Japan, I had a pretty good fitness routine going on. I was kind of training myself. And studying. I would print out fitness stuff and bring it into the vault because nobody would talk to me there. I read a lot about nutrition, the body and exercise programs.
And when did Bali come into the picture?
MG: After the Marines, I decided to take a break you know and figure out what I want to do with my life. My wife convinced me to move to Bali for six months to just decompress a little bit and figure out a plan. And you know, we’ve been there for two and a half years.
(Because when you’re a fitness guru in Bali, front flips in the rain are just a part of life.)
So you started training Athletes and even other Marines?
MG: It took some time and it was all based on the results. I have a guy that I work with who is a Captain. He was afraid that he couldn’t make gains and still perform on the PFT. We developed a plan for him. Now, he’s squatting and lifting more than he ever had in his life and he’s at a lower body fat percentage while still running a 295 PFT. It’s my clients that have helped me grow. The word of your former clients is the most important thing that I have as a fitness professional.
How is fitness like firing a weapon?
MG. You know when you go to a civilian firing range and see somebody with the nicest weapons but still doesn’t know what there doing. They lack a foundation. They haven’t mastered the basics of marksmanship and they wonder why they can’t hit the target.
I do. It’s scary.
MG: You can see the same exact thing walking into any gym and see people with great physiques but no foundation. Your body is your weapon. Just like a rifle, you need to zero it in with the basics to become efficient and effective for other activities. The fundamentals cross over into all different workouts. You can go on to do Crossfit, run Marathons or whatever you’d like. That’s what the Mighty FIT plan is designed to do. It uses eight weeks to build a fitness foundation. It’s your zero.
Ok, how does this plan work for a guy like me with knees that are beat up and a back reading from a decade of body armor? Won’t I just hurt myself?
MG: The plan is designed so that really anyone can do it. You obviously need to listen to your body but none of these movements are inherently dangerous. I’m not asking anyone to do anything outside of a normal physical range of motion or at an explosive speed. In fact, a lot of people hurt themselves during explosive exercises. They think they’re athletic but lack a solid foundation. And what this plan does is prepare people for anything without being potentially dangerous by using a safe rate of perceived exertion.
A safe rate of what?
MG: Haha, the rate of perceived exertion. It’s simple. 80% effort is the goal and the weight is irrelevant. That’s the base element of the Mighty FIT plan. I’m not dictating weights for anyone right now. I tell people the exercise and the number of sets and reps. And you stick to your own weight. So if you feel like shit one day at 80% and it’s 30Lbs less than it was last week. That’s OK. Just do what your body perceives as 80% exertion even if that means that you’re starting off point is just standing up out of a chair, then just do that. There’s really no barrier to entry as long as you’re willing to adjust and don’t feel like you need to be perfect. Just be happy.
But I want to clarify, is happiness the overall goal here or is it something different?
MG: Happiness is the overall goal in so far as this plan will allow you to do whatever you want to make you happy.
That’s a Bali- Eat, Pray, Love answer.
MG: [He Laughs]. If you want to work out like a maniac then these eight weeks will prepare your body to work out like a maniac. If you just want to play with your kids, this will allow you to pick up your two year old son without feeling like you’re going to split your back.
(Michael Gregory training in Bali.)
So as I was reading the plan I know that there’s going to be soreness. Can you kind of quickly walk me through what DOMS is?
MG: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Which is just a fancy way of saying, you’re going to feel the workout the next day. It’s just what happens when people reach a threshold of physical output that they’re not used to. When we work out, we’re literally tearing our muscles apart so that they can be rebuilt into stronger muscle fibers. The body must then recover from the inflammation so all the good blood cells rush to that part of the body which is where the soreness comes from.
Is there anything I can do to prevent the soreness?
MG: The research shows that if you stick to the 80% threshold that I already talked about there shouldn’t be any issues. You should be able to get up and walk around the day afterwards. Usually when people push past that 80% threshold that’s when you get someone walking around like a zombie for a couple days.
If you feel like one of the sessions is particularly hard especially on the legs, then just hop on a stationary bike for 15 and 20 minutes at the end of the workout. An ice bath is another great alternative. But if you’re going to go for the ice bath, wait one or two hours after the workout because what it does is it kills inflammation altogether and inflammation is actually good when we’re trying to build up some muscle so if you kill it right away it has a tendency to stall the gains.
Before we transition off the plan, is there anything else you think people need to know?
MG: Well you know, just take week one as what it is… week one. Do the whole eight weeks before you cast judgment on whether or not you liked it or if it was effective or not.
What do you think is your biggest enemy to happiness? And do you even think like that?
MG: Yeah, I do. I’m obviously living in Bali. So, I have been doing more meditation and self reflection than I ever thought was possible. And honestly my own worst enemy is myself. And I think that’s true for a lot of people. I easily talk myself out of things that I make a commitment towards or that I know are good for me. So finding consistency with myself is one of the hardest challenges and it was something I didn’t realize in the Marine Corps because you kind of don’t have that option in the military. There are constantly other people that you’re responsible for or that are holding you accountable.
And now you’ve built your business, Composure Fitness obviously you’ve got the launch of the Mighty FIT Plan. What does the rest of 2019 look like for you?
MG: Growth. You can only work with so many people at one time. I’m excited about getting my voice out there with good fitness advice and building something more sustainable that reaches more people at once.
I’m excited about starting the 8 week Mighty FIT Plan.
MG: Have fun with it and Semper Fi.
Oh, I will brother. Semper Fi.
Check out Michael Gregory’s blog @ComposureFitness and download the Mighty FIT plan HERE.
Looking for a ridiculous fitness challenge to keep you on track this winter? Or maybe you’re just tired of the same old boring lift routine and need something new. Well, friends, let us introduce you to one of the most insane things to come out of CrossFit ever – the Burpee Mile Challenge.
You read that right – burpees for an entire mile.
The challenge isn’t so much about competing for a specific time, as it is one of those things you can say you’ve done and cross off your list. Like running the Red Bull 400 or completing a Ragnar, doing the Spartan Death Race, marathon rucking, or ultramarathoning.
So let’s talk about this challenge – what it is, the benefits of it, and how you can safely train to complete it.
The Burpee Mile challenge isn’t one of Crossfit’s better known WODS (Workout of the day) – it doesn’t classify as a Hero WOD that pays tribute to military and first responders, and it’s not one of the Girl WODs, but it’s definitely a benchmark. Doing burpees for an entire mile will test not just your physical ability to do over 800 burpees but also your mental toughness as well. First, the official rules: You must cover one-mile using burpees only. You can jump forward as far as you want for each burpee, but you’re not allowed to walk forward. So that’s on track to be a complete, full mile of burpees. Gross.
But the sneaky trick here is that you can jump forward as far as you want (or can). That means all your movement doesn’t have to come from burpees alone. That’s key if you’re really considering this challenge.
The best part is you don’t need any special equipment – just a stretch of distance to measure your progress. Gloves are a good idea if you’re doing this on anything other than soft ground since your hands are likely to get destroyed. A good goal time should be around 2 to 3 hours for beginners (that’s anyone who’s new to the painful love of burpees), 1.5-2.5 hours for intermediate burpee lovers, and for folks who knock out 100 burpees a day just for fun, your time should be less than two hours.
Keep in mind if you’ve never done a burpee in your life, this might not be a good challenge for you to try.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joel Mease)
So what are the benefits and what’s the point?
Well, the benefits are scant, to be honest. Sure, you’ll get a really good cardio because, of course, that’s going to happen when you perform so many burpees and broad jumps. But you’ll also fatigue your entire body, since burpees are a full-body movement. The combination of great cardio and improved muscle endurance will definitely put you one step closer to becoming stronger, leaner, and faster.
Benefits aside, the point is that the Burpee Mile is a workout that you’re going to want to quit … over and over and over again. It’s mentally challenging, just like running a marathon or doing a Spartan Race, and that’s the whole point. Challenging your mental stamina is all about perseverance and the Burpee Mile will definitely help with that.
Things to consider
A track is best for all these burpees because you’ll be safer than on the road, and it’s easier to measure distance. Make sure you have water and snacks like fast-acting carbs set up at various points along the route. You’re definitely going to need to refuel at least once during this challenge because it takes so much out of you.
As for clothing – long pants are best since you’re dropping to the ground. Knee sleeves can be a good idea, too, if you have those. No matter what, though, make sure you have a pair of gloves on – otherwise, your hands are going to get destroyed.
Don’t start off too fast. Just like with any other endurance race, save your go-go juice for when you really need it. Keep your jumps measured. Don’t try to jump too far. That just wastes energy and you’ll fry your legs.
Of course, the most common mistake is failing to train properly for this weird challenge. Don’t expect to walk onto a track and perform two hours’ worth of burpees right out of the gate. Work toward this goal by adding in several sets of burpee broad jumps to your existing routine. You know you’re ready to try the challenge when you can do 45 minutes of burpees without dying.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings- Diggs went into week 6 as the 47th ranked receiver in fantasy football. He left as the 18th. That’s thanks in part to his 48 point (the highest of any fantasy player) week. 11 catches, 167 yards, and three touchdowns. Although the Eagles were dealing with a banged-up secondary— Kirk Cousins finally returned to his gunslinging “you like that?!” days of yesteryear. Is Diggs back, or is he tempting trade bait?
Patriots defense- The Patriots have the best defense in the NFL, and it’s not even close. They’ve racked up 122 points through the first 6 weeks of the season. That’s the highest fantasy total for a defense through the first 6 weeks since the 1987 Chicago Bears. They’re well rounded, fast, and deep. They also benefit from a cupcake schedule. As always.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens- Lamar Jackson bounced back this week, and continued his MVP conversation year. While he displayed efficient passing abilities (236 yards on 22 for 33), his fantasy damage came with his legs. He ran for 152 yards and a touchdown. Those are RB1 numbers, and he ain’t even a running back.
Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs- One of the biggest fantasy surprises this year, Chris Godwin, continues his tear through the NFL. He’s the #1 PPR WR in the NFL so far (and he’s leading by almost 28 points). Although he didn’t find the endzone, he has more than 125 yards in his last three games. He’s the real deal, and he’s here to stay.Melvin Gordon is still in the preseason…
#PITvsLAC | #NFLSundaypic.twitter.com/gLCc5Uy4tt
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers- Fantasy owners that gambled on Gordon ending his hold out were ecstatic to see their efforts pay off two weeks ago with his announced return. However, most of them (including us) did not plan for him to do diddly-squat once he was back. In fact, Ekeler has been a more usable fantasy RB since his return, which isn’t saying much. It’s not too late to trade him to the “Taco” of your league. Go for it.
Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers- Poor JuJu has lost his 1st and 2nd string quarterbacks. The Steelers offense applied a very conservative offense approach (much to the benefit of James Conner owners) that hurt JuJu’s potential fantasy value greatly. Monitor Mason Rudolph’s progress moving forward, because as long as Hodges is under center, JuJu is a real liability on a fantasy roster.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals- Man, the Bengals suck. Mixon’s fantasy value has plummeted massively because of it. The Bengals are playing from behind around 85% of the time, and cannot rely on the run game late in the game, because they have to pass out of their deficit. This, compiled with their piss-poor offensive line play, has crippled Mixon from a fantasy standpoint. His only hope now is for a rally from Cincinnati in the second half of the season.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals- Man, the Bengals suck (repeated for the people in the back). Tyler Boyd’s hot start to the season went cold for a week. He caught 3 of 7 targets for only 10 yards as the Ravens doused the Bengals. AJ Green is coming back soon to reclaim the lion-share of targets, and the Jaguars defense is looming next. Ship him if you can.
SAM DARNOLD IS BACK.
92-yard throw to Robby Anderson for SIX.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles- Jeffery was a ray of sunshine for the Eagles on Sunday. He hauled in 10 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. His momentum may continue against a questionable Dallas secondary in week 7, especially since Wentz seems to be playing much closer to pre-injury days.
Curtis Samuel, WR, Panthers- Samuel racked up 23.8 points in the Panthers London debut. Carolina’s offense, thanks to the explosive play of CMC, is looking more and more lethal, and Samuel has become the go-to guy through the air. The Panthers are undefeated since starting Kyle Allen in place of a hobbled Cam Newton, and show no signs of slowing down.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins- AP racked up a 100+ yard rushing day on the road to 15 points. The old man is the only glimmer outside of Terry McLaurin on this terrible Redskins team. He benefited from a matchup with the equally impotent Dolphins, but is unfortunately in for a rude awakening for his next three games: the 49ers, Vikings, and Bills.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets- Darnold didn’t die! In fact, he was living! He posted an outstanding 338 yards passing and 2 TDs in his return from a bout of mono. He has a real test against New England next week, but anybody who owns a Jets offensive player should be rejoicing at the thought of Darnold returning to the helm for the rest of the season.
Thomas Davis with the SLAM! pic.twitter.com/zQeBiQe8sW
Don’t try to hurdle around Thomas Davis Sr. He does not care that he is 78 years old, he will end you. This came off the heels of a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call against the stalwart defender. The penalty only served to fuel his anger, and you won’t like him when he’s angry.
In the mountains of Crested Butte Colorado, the Adaptive Sports Center is working to help people with disabilities enjoy physically rigorous activities both in indoor facilities and in the beautiful mountains of the area. They not only welcome disabled veterans and others who live an adaptive lifestyle, but they give lessons to those people and close family and friends to help them enjoy the sports safely. And a new building is helping them do even more.
Crested Butte is an inspiring place for an adaptive sports center as it is home to a lake, a reservoir, plenty of great rock climbing areas, mountain trails, and awesome slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and more.
But of course, many of those activities are challenging for veterans and others who have disabilities. So the ASC has always provided the special equipment necessary to make the slopes, trails, and more accessible. They also have trainers that can help disabled people learn how to use the equipment properly, and the trainers even help friends and family members learn unfamiliar sports and activities so that wounded veterans and others can bond as a group in the outdoors.
And while the ASC supports plenty of individuals and families with no military affiliation, they also make a point of helping veteran and military families like the Dryers, an Air Force family. Mitchell Dryer, a former Air National Guard firefighter, was injured in a fire and his daughter, Emeri, lost control of her legs to an infection as a baby.
Emeri learned to ski at the ASC. A skilled skier took her on the slopes after she had learned to give them the commands for “faster” and “slower.” Now, she carves the slopes with the rest of her family.
There are also participants like Jose, a veteran combat medic who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder but uses adaptive cycling and cooking to center and challenge himself.
The facilities and personnel at ASC are essential to making many of these transitions possible, but the folks at the center are celebrating the recent opening of a whole new facility that expands their care possibilities.
The Kelsey Wright Building was built in 2018-2019 and is now open. One of its prime offerings is that it allows participants to ski into and out of the building during winter programs, which is great because it houses lots of support activities for the ASC’s mission.
It has a space where personnel can assess the capabilities of participants, an area to modify, repair, and properly fit equipment, and an industrial kitchen. But it also has a lot of great space that isn’t directly tied to outdoor services. It has a classroom, a library, a housing area, and an adaptive climbing wall.
The ASC does ask participants to pay what they can for all the activities they use at the center, but everything is done at reduced cost, and they offer scholarships for those who need financial assistance. If your family or the family of someone you know would benefit from their services, you can find more information here.
If you’re interested in donating to the non-profit center to help it with its missions, you can do that here. The Adaptive Sports Center is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible.
Gym-goers the world over have proclaimed that Mondays are International Chest Days. This is because the chest is considered one of the most important parts of the male physique. Why? It’s simple. Having a well-trained chest tends to draw wandering eyes while you’re at the beach, and who doesn’t want that positive attention?
Now, waking up and doing a few push-ups is a start, but it isn’t going to give you that fully defined look that most males want to achieve before getting their feet sandy. It takes solid form, controlled repetition, and the continual introduction of new exercises to get the results you want.
Since our bodies are amazing at adapting, switching up how we workout is essential to continued growth. You can do a variety of movements to get a good pump, but remember, it’s “time under tension” that will get those muscles to reach their full potential.
So, warm up for a few minutes with some cardio or by lightly working those chest muscles using resistance bands and let’s go!
First, find a manageable set of dumb bells. Not too light, but not too heavy. Then, lay flat on a workout bench and bring the weights up toward your chest and hold them in position. Once you’re ready to begin, press the weight up over your chest and then slowly bring them back to their original position.
Each rep should take around three seconds. One second to get the weight up, another second as you squeeze your pectorals, and finally a full second to bring the weight down.
Now, do two to three more sets of 10 to 15 reps each.
Take a seat on an incline bench and pick up the D-handles attached a cable weight system. Next, move the handles up and far in front of your chest until you touch the two handles together. Make sure you squeeze your chest muscles for a second or two before lowering the handles back to their starting position.
After picking a manageable weight, lay on a flat bench and bring the dumb bells up together, over your chest. Make sure the weights remain touching as you bring them down toward the center of your chest.
Some trainers encourage their clients to flare their elbows out as they bring the load down, while others suggest keeping those puppies pointing inward. We recommend you follow whatever feels better and doesn’t add too much tension to your elbows. Remember, we’re focusing on your chest, not your elbows.
This is one of our favorites. Once you hop up on the dip rack, lean your body forward to put maximum tension on your chest muscles. Next, slowly lower your body down and raise it back up. We recommend taking about four to six seconds for each rep. Two to three seconds down and two to three seconds up.
Sit down on the machine and grab onto the handles. Check to see if your arms are parallel to the deck. If not, adjust your seat so that your arms are as close to parallel with the floor as possible.
Start the rep by bringing your hands toward your body’s centerline and, as always, squeeze your chest when you reach the peak of the movement. Then, slowly return the handles to their original position and enjoy that extra stretch.
First, get on your knees as if you were preparing to do a regular push-up, then place your two thumbs and two index fingers together, creating a diamond-shaped hole between. Prop your body up on your newly formed diamond and start pushing out those reps.
You want to do these until you just can’t go on. That’s what we in the biz call, “going until failure.”
Now, go out there and make at least one day of every week chest day. ‘Merica!
When people think of traveling 1,000 miles it often conjures thoughts of long, uncomfortable drives with kids shouting “are we there yet?” or perhaps of long lines waiting to get through airport security.
But what it almost certainly does not evoke is the thought of running those 1,000 miles.
The mere idea of running such a distance would seem crazy to most people. But it seemed like a great idea to Lt. Col. Daniel R. Hanson, Task Force Guardian Arizona Joint Staff, Arizona Army National Guard, and he decided to set out to accomplish it in one year.
For Hanson running 1,000 miles in a year was a chance to strive for a goal that would stretch his physical and mental limits.
“I believe if you are not setting goals that stretch you, you’re probably not setting those goals high enough,” said Hanson.
To reach for such a goal, Hanson would take the lessons he learned while attending the Senior War College.
Lt. Col. Daniel R. Hanson, Task Force Guardian Joint Staff, Arizona Army National Guard, stands with the shoes and race bib he wore when running the Revel Mt. Lemmon Marathon, along with the medal he earned for completing the race held in Tucson, Ariz. on Nov. 02, 2019.
(Photo by Sgt. Nicholas Moyte)
“In 2017 I accepted admission into the Senior War College,” said Hanson. “I had seen several of my friends and leaders come out of the school wrecked. It is very hard to keep a balanced life in that, and so I decided when I accepted Senior Service College that I was going to make sure I kept all my fitness’s in check.”
For Hanson, this simply means focusing on establishing and maintaining a balance between all aspects of his life.
“Try not to be over-focused,” said Hanson. “If our goals support other goals, all of our fitness’s, I think that we find that we have a much better experience in getting to those goals and accomplishing them.”
Running 1,000 miles in a year is difficult in the best of circumstances, but it would be nearly impossible without the support of his wife. Fortunately for Hanson, his wife was right beside him providing support, balance, and often a training partner.
“In my case, my spouse is very involved in my military life, and she’s very involved in my spiritual life, and she’s very involved in my physical life,” said Hanson. “We’d go places and we’d run together. We’d go places and we’d hike together. We find ways to make physical fitness not separate from each other.”
Lt. Col. Daniel R. Hanson, Task Force Guardian Arizona Joint Staff, Arizona Army National Guard, gestures to the camera as he runs the Revel Mt. Lemon marathon in Tucson, Ariz. on Nov. 02, 2019.
(Photo by Sgt. Nicholas Moyte)
Hanson also had the support of his Army Family to help bolster his efforts.
“I know my team out here, they would make sure that I would hydrate,” said Hanson. “They would make sure that I ate properly. They would support me and motivate me.”
As he approached the homestretch of his journey, the idea of running a marathon to complete his 1,000 miles began to gain traction in his mind. He also saw it as an opportunity to take another shot at a goal he had once reached for but fell short of grasping.
“I did a marathon in 2004 and I did not reach my goal of doing a less than 3 hour and 30-minute marathon,” said Hanson. “But this one here, as I was running I was kind of watching my splits and in the back of my mind, I knew I had not met my goal in 2004. I started to mention to my wife that my splits are getting close to Boston times.”
Hanson decided to complete his journey and pursue his secondary goal at the Revel Mt. Lemmon marathon held in Tucson, Ariz. on Nov. 02, 2019. As the marathon progressed, he knew he would complete his 1,000 miles and felt confident he would finally achieve the goal that eluded him in 2004.
“I would say I was pretty doggone focused,” said Hanson. “Certainly you’re feeling discomfort, but up until the point I started having debilitating cramps, I fully felt I was going to be able to accomplish my goal.”
Lt. Col. Daniel R. Hanson, Task Force Guardian Joint Staff, Arizona Army National Guard, returns the salute of Capt. Aaron Thacker, Public Affairs Officer In Charge, Arizona National Guard, at Papago Park Military Reservation in Phoenix, Ariz. on Nov. 07, 2019.
(Photo by Sgt. Nicholas Moyte)
Hanson would complete the marathon and reach 1,000 miles. However, despite his spirit willing him to keep going, his body would rebel and he would fall short of his secondary goal of a sub 3 hour and 25-minute marathon. He would cross the finish line with a time of 3 hours and 40 minutes, which would place him in the top 23% of all finishers.
“So, my goal was to be under 3 hours and 25 minutes,” said Hanson. “I think I was on pace to be under until mile 23. Somewhere in the 23rd is when the cramping started and I lost my pace.”
Failure to reach a goal, even if not the primary goal, is often enough for many people to avoid striving for difficult goals in the future. For Lt. Col. Hanson it is simply a confirmation that he is setting goals that will continually push him to expand his own limits.
“Not meeting a goal is a disappointment, but it’s only a setback,” said Hanson. “It’s a mentality thing. Although I felt like I failed, it’s just setting goals for yourself that are relevant to yourself that push you to the next level.”
And that disappointment is not enough to stop Hanson, it is just more motivation to keep chasing his white rabbit.
“There is a marathon here in Phoenix/Mesa in February,” said Hanson with a grin. “I think I can get it next time. I just need to tweak a couple of things.”
It’s almost beach season! That means it’s time put on those colorful tank tops and get your feet sandy. However, before we sizzle in the sun, many of us want to get our arms jacked so that we can give out free tickets to the gun show.
So, how can you get your arms pumped up before summer? Well, at this point in the year, it’d take a miracle — but now is always the best time to start.
The biceps are composed of two muscles: the long and short head. To bulk them up, you’ll also need to include some work on the triceps — which is made up of the lateral, medial, and long head.
If you’re ready to get that daily muscle pump going, then let’s go.
Note: Don’t get these confused with EZ-curls, that’s something different.
This exercise requires a tight grip on the bar, keeping your hands about shoulder-width apart with your elbows placed in front of your hips. With your wrists straight, lift the bar up and feel the squeeze in those biceps.
Then, lower the bar slowly, focusing on the negative motion. This movement should take approximately three seconds to complete. Go any faster and you’re probably not getting the full rep.
While using an adjustable cable machine, take a solid step backward, set your feet, keep a slight bend in your knees, then push down and breathe out. After you push down, slowly raise the bar until your elbows return to a 90-degree bend.
Similar to a straight bar curl, seated incline bench dumbbell curls are a great way to shoot blood into your biceps and achieve that epic pump. While in a seated 45-degree position, have workable weights in both hands — which should be hanging down by your sides.
As you start the rep, bring the dumbbells up and squeeze the bicep at the peak of the rep, then, lower that sucker back down slowly. The key to this exercise is to keep your back firmly on the bench. Lifting off the inclined bench could result in crappy form, and we don’t want that.
Laying flat and using an EZ-curl bar with a proper amount of weight, start the rep by lowering the bar toward your forehead. Keep your elbows pointed inward and you slowly bring the bar to touch your forehead.
If you mismanage the rep, you can smack yourself right in the forehead. We don’t want that, but that’s why they call it a skullcrusher.
This exercise focuses on expanding the width of your bicep and forearm. Once you’ve grabbed a manageable set of weights from the rack, hold them down by your side until you are ready to begin.
Now, raise the weights up by bending elbows at a 90-degree angle and squeeze that sucker at the peak. There are many ways to complete this exercise correctly. You can alternate hands and which direction you decide to move the weight: toward your chest or out in front of you.
This one is the opposite of the tricep push down. Once you’ve chosen a legit dumbbell weight that you can handle, bring it over your head with two hands and stretch it back behind you. Make sure you don’t hit yourself with the weight as you begin the rep, extending your arms straight overhead.
Once you slowly lower the weight down, remember to breathe and halt the weight when your elbow reaches a 90-degree angle. Then, bring the weight back up. Easy day, right?
Note: These exercises should be done with a spotter or a fitness professional. Have fun getting buffed out, but don’t get hurt out there.
There are 640 muscles in the human body. The primary functions of these critical, fibrous structures are to support movement and help circulate blood throughout our anatomy. Everyone has three different types of muscles: smooth (or visceral), cardiac, and skeletal.
Smooth muscles, like our esophagus and intestines, push the food we eat through our digestive system. Cardiac muscles, also known as myocardium (your heart), contract and relax to move through the body’s vessels. Skeletal muscles layer on top of our bones, connect to the osseous matter via tendons, and move our limbs around.
Although each type of muscle can be damaged in various ways, our skeletal muscles are most often damaged. The leading cause for most of our muscular lacerations — also known as “strains” or “muscle pulls” — is the moving an unprepared set of muscles.
We’re here today to learn what happens to your muscles when they’re pulled. It just might make you rethink how you warm up before your next exercise.
Picture your pre-workout muscles like a frozen rubber band. If you stretch it out fast and far enough, it’ll break. Once we strain a muscle, the neuroreceptors will send a message to our brains, letting it know something’s wrong. These muscular injuries usually feel like a shock and cause our bodies to immediate jerk back into its starting position — protecting the structure. Unfortunately, by the time you feel the pain and your body reacts, the damage might already be done.
The amount of damage the muscle structure sustains helps catalog these injuries into three different categories, based on severity. The lower end of injury is called a “pull,” which means around 5 percent of the muscle was torn. Treatment for these minor injuries typically consists of painkillers and rest.
A “sprain” is the next tier up. Here, a significant percentage of the muscle fibers, greater than 5 percent, are damaged. This type of injury usually requires several weeks of recovery before the person is back to fully functioning.
The diagnosis that no one wants to hear is a “rupture.” This means every fiber in the muscle group has been torn. These injuries are severe and typically require immediate surgery. For many athletes, hamstrings, groin, and quadriceps are the muscle groups most at risk.