Marine Corps Fitness

Below is all of the fitness programs, help, facts, stats, etc that I have stumbled across while looking to improve my health. Credit is always given were credit is do. I am not in the business of stealing peoples work so where ever I can find a source, I will state it attached with a link to the original article. If you have any questions about a topic please feel free to ask. You can do so by going here.


1. Starting from the Beginning Part 1
Starting from the Beginning Part 2
Starting from the Beginning Part 3
Starting from the Beginning Part 4
Starting from the Beginning Part 5
The Five Day Workout Plan
Getting Over 20 Pull-Ups
8. Lets get ready for Boot Camp

Starting from the Beginning - PART 1

By: Tony Haynes

The decision must be made by you to change your life. You must understand that this can't be a whim or just words, or a fly-by-night thought. You have to make a concrete decision to change your lifestyle. Not just your eating habits or your exercise frequency, but your lifestyle. You must decide that you are going to change your life for the better, and that you will do whatever it takes to succeed. You must look in the mirror and within yourself and say, "I am not satisfied." You must say to yourself "I will not quit until my goals have been reached. You must take this decision seriously and commit to it. You must commit because your health and ultimately, your life depends on it. Once you've made that decision, realistic goals must be set.

One of the main reasons individuals get discouraged is that they set unrealistic goals. They say things like "I want to lose 20lbs in one month" or "I want to lose 50lbs in three months." These goals, although not impossible, are pretty unrealistic. These types of goals set you up for failure and discouragement. A realistic goal would be to lose an average of 2 pounds per week. This takes into account that you're not trying to lose weight the unhealthy way. An unhealthy way to lose weight would be to starve yourself. If you lose 2 pounds per week, within a few months the weight loss would really add up and become significant to you. Think about this, that would be 2 pounds per week for three months. That would add up to a whopping 24 pounds at the least.

Now, although I've talked about weight, it is important for you to know this. Out of everything that we discuss here, you need to remember these words. DON'T JUDGE YOUR PROGRESS BY WHAT THE SCALE SAYS. JUDGE YOUR PROGRESS BY THE MIRROR, THE WAISTLINE, THE TROUSER SIZE, THE DRESS SIZE OR THE WAY YOUR CLOTHES FIT YOU. This is very important. If you don't lose any weight one week, but your waist just shrank a half inch, that is much better than what the scale says. I never judge my progress by what the scale says. I look in the mirror and say to myself "hey, you only have a four pack. You need to get busy." The scale only gives you a rough measuring tool by which you may assess your progress. Now that you made the decision and set some realistic goals, we need to make an outline of your plan, in order for you to clearly identify the steps you need to succeed. And that's exactly what we're going to cover next issue. Setting up the outline for your plan.

Semper Fi!

Starting from the Beginning - PART 2

By: Tony Haynes

This outline must consist of a three-pronged approach, basically three pillars to stand on as a foundation. The first is a sound nutrition plan. The second, a good resistance (anaerobic) training regimen. Finally, the third one is a good cardio (aerobic) regimen. All three of these pillars are crucial to a successful and complete physical fitness program.

This issue of Semper Fitness we'll discuss the eating plan. Why? Because you can do all of the exercise in the world, but if you neglect your eating habits, there's a good chance that you will fail. Enough of the chitchat, let's get on with the scoop.

Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition! Everyone makes such a big deal about nutrition. What do I do? Should I follow a low fat, high carb diet or should I follow a high protein, low carb diet? What about Jenny Craig or Weight watchers? The truth is that there are a lot of effective weight loss plans out there. Some are more effective than others. As for myself, I've always preferred a lower fat higher protein and medium carb diet. I followed this plan when I was competing in natural bodybuilding and I follow it now. Although, I'm not as strict as I once was. I believe in being able to eat what you want, just in moderation. I'm not a big fan of diets. I prefer that you just monitor what you eat, when you eat and how you eat. At some point in time I want you to graduate to that level. If you ask my honest opinion though, I would tell most beginners to start out on a high protein low carbohydrate eating regimen. Not because it is the most nutritious, but because it is the easiest to follow. That's the problem with some diets. They become too hard to follow and we get discouraged because we feel that we're being deprived of something. Well, because the protein diet allows you to eat things like steak, eggs, cheese, butter and fried foods, this plan is easier to adjust to. For those of you who have a hard time staying on diets or monitoring your eating habits, this may be the plan for you. However, I would advise taking a multivitamin to make up for some of the lost vitamins due to diet change. If you want to learn about this plan, take a look in the Semper Fitness archive. Remember, we're starting from the beginning so don't start some difficult diet that you're going to quit after a couple of weeks.

Now, that you have a decent plan to start with, you need to take a look at how much you eat and when. To give you some insight into how much, take a look into the Semper Fitness archive and look under Darth Metabolism. That will explain some information about the amount of calories that we should be taking in.

After you've made the decision to get fit and found a sound nutrition plan that you can follow, it's time to set yourself up with a good cardiovascular (aerobic) plan.

Semper Fi!

Starting from the Beginning - PART 3

By: Tony Haynes

When discussing cardiovascular programs, we're talking about blood flowing through the heart and the rate at which oxygen gets into the bloodstream and goes through the body. We're talking about exercise. We're talking about sweat. And not the sweat that comes from 110-degree weather in a hooch in Vietnam, Korea, or Iraq. I'm talking about the sweat that comes from a 2-5 mile endurance run. I'm talking about the sweat that comes from a 25 mile MMRES hump. I'm talking about the sweat that comes from the First Sergeant or Sergeant Major's death run. Hopefully, everyone's on the same sheet of music. Let's get started with the real deal.

When you set up a cardio program, you have to understand the level you are at. If you're going from a completely sedentary lifestyle, meaning that you've just been sitting on the couch playing video games or watching videos for your exercise, you might want to start off light.

There are many types of cardio exercises. You have to understand that cardio exercises are exercises that get the heart pumping blood vigorously throughout the body. You may hear the term aerobic. This means with oxygen. Whenever you do cardio exercises, i.e. running, walking, or swimming, you start breathing heavy. This gets oxygen to your lungs at the cyclic rate. This provides oxygen to the bloodstream quicker as the heart pumps more blood throughout the body.

It's a beautiful thing to be able to keep things simple and with so many exercises as an option, the variety helps keep it simple. You can walk, bike, skate, rollerblade, skip rope, swim, row, ride an exercise bike, use a tread mill, cardio kick box or take aerobics to get your cardio exercises. The key is time. You want to build up to doing some sort of aerobic type exercise for at least twenty (20) minutes per session. If you can't do 20 minutes, then start with whatever you can do - 5, 10, or 15 minutes. The key is to increase whatever exercise you do by one minute every time you conduct it. Then build up to the 20 minutes if you weren't able to start there.

After you get to the 20-minute point, you want to continue to increase how long you do the exercises. If you can make it to the 30 or 45-minute mark, you are right where you need to be.

The reason you'll hear trainers put the benchmark at 20 minutes is because that's the point at which the body starts to switch from using glycogen (stored sugar) for energy and starts using stored fat. That's where we all want to be. Once we start using stored body fat to supplement our energy use, we'll start to lose body fat. That's putting it simply. Remember, the key is to burn more calories than we consume, without consuming less than we need to survive (See Semper Fitness archive: Darth Metabolism). Once we've gotten to a point where we can burn more than our basic metabolic rate, we'll start to lose body fat.

Now, that's the second pillar of physical fitness "starting from the beginning". Next issue, we're going to discuss the third pillar, and that is anaerobic exercises or resistance training. This pillar is going to top things off to firm up the gut, buns, thighs, chest and whatever body part you wish to improve on.

Semper Fi!

Starting from the Beginning - PART 4

By: Tony Haynes

There are some that believe that if they start lifting weights, they'll get huge. I don't know how many women that I've heard say they don't want to be big and muscular. It doesn't quite work that way. The main purpose of doing anaerobic workouts, or resistance training is to build lean body mass. It's a simple fact that the more lean body mass or muscle that you have, the higher your metabolism. Of course, the higher your metabolism, the more calories that you burn while at rest. The less lean body mass that you have, the slower your metabolism and the less number of calories that you burn while at rest. For those with a decent amount of lean body mass, a slight change in their diet and exercise habits will reap big rewards. Well, as is our regular, let's get started with the scoop.

First of all, we need to clear up a couple of things. When it comes to muscle, we must understand something about what it requires for energy. We're going to step off of the exercise kick for a second because this is a very important issue to the person that's trying to build lean body mass. One must understand that your muscle's main and preferred source of energy is carbohydrates. Specifically, glycogen, the muscles stored form of sugar. This is why it's important to have a balanced diet and not to rely solely on proteins for your energy sources. Proteins are good for building muscle, but carbohydrates are great for powering those muscles. So, let's not neglect to consume some good complex carbs or fiber. Now, that we've cleared that up, let's get on with some workout scoop.

There are many, many different resistance training workouts to choose from. High rep, low weight. Low weight, high rep. Total failure. Push pull. Supersets. It's all pretty crazy, isn't it? You may ask yourself, what should I do? How many days should I work out? I don't have much time. Well, the truth is that any type of resistance training in any form will help you build lean body mass. That's why the fitness magazines are filled with so many different workout plans. That's why you get so much advice from everyone. It is also why those who are giving you all of this advice appear to be in great physical condition. Again, this is because any resistance training is going to help you guild lean body mass and make some progress. Now, that being said, one must understand that proper form and rest is crucial to the success of your resistance training regimen. Improper form and lack of proper rest can lead to injuries, thus, stopping your fitness program in its tracks. In regards to proper exercise and rest, we will discuss a couple of workout plans that will get you started. We'll discuss the first workout plan now and the next workout plan next issue.

The first workout will be a three day workout. I understand that everyone can't workout five days a week. Well, a decent three day a week workout will do just fine. As far as how many sets and reps, we will be doing three sets of 10 repetitions. The first set is always a warm-up set with just enough weight to warm the muscles up. You should be able to do this set fairly easy. The second two sets should be done with heavier weight. Enough weight so that you would only be able to do, at the most, one more repetition. For the first day you can do chest and triceps. Conduct around two exercises per body-part. A suggestion would be to do the major exercises for all of these exercises. Exercises such as tri-cep extensions, also known as skull crushers or nose breakers and tri-cep kick backs or pulldowns if you have a gym will do. As far as chest goes, of course, bench press or dumb bell presses (flat and incline) will do.

The second day will be back and biceps. Again, conducting the main exercises for this will be good enough. For back, latissimus pull-downs (lat pull-downs) and single arm dumbbell rows or barbell rows will suffice. Further, for biceps, do barbell and dumbbell curls. They will be enough to build some lean body mass.

Finally, we can go to the third day. For day number three, we will be exercising our legs, shoulders and abdominals. For shoulders, let's start with barbell or dumbbell military presses and lateral raises. To build those powerful legs, squats or leg presses and leg extensions. Last, but definitely not least, for abdominals you can do crunches. Instead of doing three sets of 10 repetitions, do 3 sets of 30 reps. When conducting crunches, lie on your back and make a fist. Grab your fist with the other hand and place it under your chin. This will keep you from straining your neck while conducting your doing crunches. Make sure that you squeeze your abdominals as tight as possible. This should help you when you're "starting from the beginning."

The next couple of issues we'll discuss a couple of different resistance training workouts. Hopefully, this helps you out. Hopefully, this will help you start to build that crucial lean body mass.

Well, that's the scoop from Semper Fitness. Until next time, stay pumped, stay motivated, and OO-RAH!

Semper Fi!

Starting from the Beginning - PART 5

By: Tony Haynes

This resistance training workout will consist of three days. We will be working two bodyparts each day. The first day we will work chest and triceps. The second day we will work legs and back. The third day will be calves and abdominals. You will take between 2 and 3 minutes rest between sets. Important: MAKE SURE YOU STRETCH BEFORE EACH WORKOUT. There?s no more time for chit chat, let?s build some muscle.

Day one will be chest and triceps. For chest and triceps, the exercise will be push-ups. We will do three different variations of them to build the chest and triceps. For each variation of push-up, you will do three sets. One warm up set and two maximum sets, to total failure. First, we will do push-ups with your hands placed a little bit more than shoulder width apart. This will target the mid chest. For this set you will do between 15 and 25 single count push-ups for a warm up. The next two sets, you will do as many as you can do. These will be done to total failure. The next set you will do wide placement push-ups. This will target the outer chest. You will position your hands about a foot away from your chest. This time you will do three maximum sets to total failure. Finally, you will do diamond push-ups for your last set. This will target the triceps and inner chest. Position yours hands together with your thumbs and index fingers touching (forming a diamond in the center). You will do three maximum sets to total failure for this exercise also. You won't believe the pump that you're going to get from doing this. Let's go to day two.

Day two will be legs and back. For legs, we will be doing boot beaters (refer to Semper Fitness archives; Platoon PT cards). Boot beaters are nothing more than deep squats. Stand with your feet Shoulder width apart and your hands to your sides. Squat down until your thighs (quadriceps) are parallel to the floor or a little below. This is a boot beater. The first set will be 25 boot beaters. For the second set, you will do 40 and the third set a maximum to failure. For back, we will be doing pull ups. You will do three sets. These will be done with an underhand grip with the palms facing yourself. We are doing it underhand so that you exercise those biceps a little in the process. The first set will be a warm up set of between 5 and 10 repetitions. The second and third sets will be to failure. Every other week, you may alternate between underhand pull ups and overhand pull ups. Now, let's move on to the third and final day.

Day three will be calves and abdominals. This will be different because for calves we are going to indirectly work several other muscle groups at the same time. The first exercise that we will be doing is side straddle hops (jumping jacks). You will do three sets of them. The first set will be 25 single-count. The second and third set will be 50 single-count. For abdominals, the exercise of the day will be crunches. For crunches you will do three sets. The first set will be 25 single-count crunches. You are going to lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Make a fist with one of your hands and grab that fist with the other hand. Then place your fist under your chin against your neck. As you do your crunches, this will keep you from straining your neck. You will lift your shoulder blades off the floor and squeeze your abdominal muscles as tight as possible. Make sure that you exhale as your squeeze. For the first set you will do 20 repetitions. For the second and third sets, you will do between 30 and 40.

That will complete your three day resistance training workout. Try doing this workout even if you do lift weights. You will find that you may get a good muscle response from calisthenics. You may also adjust the numbers that you do on some of the exercises, depending on your level of fitness. Especially for crunches, boot beaters and side straddle hops.

Semper Fi!

The Five Day Workout Plan

By: Gannon Beck & Tony Haynes

Without a doubt physical fitness is one of the key ingredients to the success of the Marine Corps. Whether storming a beach, or carrying 70 lbs of gear 20 miles, it takes an enormous amount of physical toughness to be a Marine. This toughness, as every Marine knows, is the result of hard work, grit and sweat spent at countless pt sessions. The quality of a unit's pt program varies according to who is running the program. Some units that have absolutely fantastic programs, and others are merely adequate. When the pt program falls short, it is the responsibility of the individual Marine to close the gap and remain in that fantastic fighting shape that has been winning battles since 1775.

It's not enough to just go to the gym and throw weights around for an hour or so; you need a battle plan. This week we're going to give you an overview of a five day workout plan that will put lean muscle on your body. If you've worked out with weights before, this overview will be enough to get in the gym and get started.

The workout is broken down so that each body part gets worked once in a five day period. This allows plenty of rest for your muscles between successive workouts, and (with two days full rest) allows you to fit the whole workout into a convenient seven day schedule.

Here is the plan:

Monday - Chest
3 sets of bench press
3 sets of incline bench press
3 sets of decline bench press
3 sets of incline dumbbell flies
3 sets of cable cross overs

Tuesday - Quadriceps
3 sets of squats
3 sets of quadricep extensions
3 sets of leg press

Wednesday - Back and Calves
4 sets of pull-ups
3 sets of lat pull downs
3 sets of barbell rows
3 sets of single arm dumbbell rows
3 sets of donkey calf raises
3 sets of seated calf raises

Thursday - Arms
3 sets of seated double arm dumbbell curls
3 sets of easy bar curls
3 sets of tricep extensions
3 sets of standing tricep pulldowns

Friday - Shoulders and hamstrings
3 sets of stiff dead lifts
3 sets of hamstring curls
3 sets of military press
3 sets of standing dumbbell flies

Semper Fi

Getting Over 20 Pull-Ups
By: Tony Haynes

First of all, the major muscles that help us do pull-ups are the back and biceps. Your back is used more when you do palms outboard and your biceps are used more when your palms face inboard. Either way, here's a surefire way to up those point-crucial pull-ups.

An important piece of equipment that you might want to buy , if your gym doesn't have one, is a dip belt. It looks like a weight lifting belt with a long chain attached to it. What you need to do is attach some extra weight to the dip belt, depending on how many pull-ups you can do without weight. If you're doing between 10 and 20 deadhangs, use 15-30lbs. If you are doing less than 10, use 5-15lbs. When you get to the gym, first do a little stretching, then do one slow warm up set of five (5) pull-ups with no weight. Take a short rest. Add some weight to your belt and do a maximum set of pull-ups until total failure. Try to do between 7 and 13 repetitions (reps). Take a few minutes to rest. For your third set, add some more weight to your dip belt (10-20lbs more). Do a max set with this weight, until failure. Try to do between 3 and 7 reps, then take a nice long rest (3-5 minutes).

Finally, do one maximum set of Marine Corps pull-ups with no weight hanging from you to total failure. This should get plenty of blood going through your back (lats). After you've finished with the pull-ups, move over to the lat pull-down machine. Use the grip you prefer using when you do your pull-ups. Do three sets of lat pull-downs, using the one warm-up (10 reps), two heavy sets (5-10 reps, total failure) method. Ensure that your back stays arched in the fashion of sticking your chest out to meet the bar on the way down. This should have your pull-ups back up to twenty in no time.

I started using this method before the change went into effect. I now do a warm-up of ten, 17 pull-ups with a 45lb plate hanging from me, 7 pull-ups with two 45lb plates hanging from me, and then a max set of 25-32 deadhangs after that.

  Semper Fidelis

Lets get ready for Boot Camp
By: Tony Haynes

OORAH! and welcome. This is Tony Haynes, with another motivating bit of info. Being on recruiting duty gives you a new appreciation for the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) or the Fleet as we call it. Well, before I came to recruiting duty, I never realized how out of shape a lot of kids are. Everyone would be surprised to see exactly how many people have trouble passing the initial strength test. "What is the initial strength test?" you might ask. This is the minimum physical standards that applicants must be able to pass in order to ship to recruit training (boot camp). It consists of pull-ups, crunches and a mile and a half run. Future male Marines are required to be able to do 2 pull-ups, 44 crunches in 2 minutes and a mile and a half run in 13:30 or less and future female Marines must be able to do a 12 second flexed-arm hang, 44 crunches in 2 minutes and a mile and a half in 15:00 or less. That may not seem too difficult for some of us. However, this is a big problem for some of today's kids. I guess it's easy to understand this phenomenon in an age when PS2, XBOX and Gamecube are America's pastime. I've decided to help out some of the recruiters and some of those future Marines by showing them how to pass the Initial Strength Test (IST). In this two part article we'll discuss how to increase your number of pull-ups and crunches and how to cut your time down on the mile and a half run. Let's get ready for boot camp. The first, and I feel the most difficult exercise to build is that all important PULL-UP. Let me take a detour and give you a little Marine Corps history lesson on the pull-up. I know that some of you out there remember when we could do a KIP to help us out with the pull-ups (I'm showing my age again). For those that don't know what a KIP is, it is a way of swinging or jerking your body in a way that makes doing the pull-up a whole heck of a lot easier. If you were one of those poor unfortunate souls that didn't have the rhythm to do a KIP, you started off with the short end of the stick and at the bottom of the food chain (unfairly, I might add). I was fortunate because I could do 20 pull-ups with or without a KIP. The Marine Corps used to be a runner's world. The measure of how physically fit a Marine was depended, almost entirely on how well you ran. Then, one glorious and wonderfully bright Marine Corps day, we were all informed that the Corps was going to the dead hang pull-up. For weightlifters and those that couldn't do a KIP, it was one of the most wonderful days in the Corps. This made the playing field even. Those all important pull-ups are worth five (5) points each on the Physical Fitness Test (PFT). Now, it was time for Marines to start working on strength as well as endurance. Well, this also happens to be one of the biggest problems recruiters face when it comes to the IST. Now that I've let my joy for the dead hang show a little, let's get on with the scoop on how to build them up.

The two major muscles that applicants need to build are back and biceps. Both of these muscles are critical to helping you increase your pull-ups. If you have access to a gym or some sort of workout facility, it will be easier for you to increase your pull-ups. Let's start with the biceps. The biceps are much smaller than the back and will be easier to do first if you work them on the same day that you do back. If you work them on a separate day, that is fine also. You only need to do two to three exercises to build up the biceps for pull-ups. You can start with either standing easy bar curls or seated alternating dumbbell curls. Make sure that you keep you elbows locked into your side and keep them from flaring out. Also, refrain from arching your body or swinging the weight to get it up. It's best to have a spotter to tell you to straighten up when you cheat. If you don't have a spotter, you must pay attention to your form. You will conduct three sets of curls. One warm-up set of between 10 and 12 repetitions with a fairly light weight just to warm the muscles up. Then do two heavy sets to total failure. Total failure means that you can't do another repetition on your own, but you try.

The next exercise that you want to do is 21s. This exercise targets upper, lower and mid biceps. It's called 21s because by the time you finish each set, you will have conducted 21 repetitions. This exercise is done by standing up and locking your elbows into your sides. You can use an easy curl bar or a straight bar. You will lift the weight halfway up for 7 repetitions. On the 7th rep you will bring the weight all the way up to your face. Then you will do 7 more reps halfway down, stopping when your forearms are parallel to the deck. On the 7th rep, you will go all the way down and do 7 more full repetitions, going all the way up and all the way down. Your first set should be a warm-up and the last two sets should be to total failure. Of course this means that on the last set of 7, you might not make it. But that's okay.

Next, we'll focus on the back for pull-ups. I am going to break this up into two different back workouts; one for those who can't do a single pull-up and another workout plan for those who can do two or more pull-ups. Let's start with someone who can't do one pull-up. Believe me, it's not as uncommon as you may think.

If you can't do one single pull-up, you may not be able to do weighted pull-ups and you need to add push-ups to the workout plan (Just to build overall strength in your arms and chest). In that case, you need to start with regular pull-ups using a spotter. Do three sets of assisted pull-ups (3-5 repetitions). Then you will do three (3) sets of lat pull-downs. One warm-up set of 8-12 repetitions and then two heavy sets to total failure between 6-8 repetitions. The grip that you use will depend on how you do your pull-ups. That is, whether you use an underhand or overhand grip on the pull-up bar. Now, I said you would have to add push-ups to your workout if you can't do a single pull-up. Sometime during the day that you workout, it can be directly after your back workout or when you get home later that night, it doesn't matter. You will do a total of 200 push-ups. At first, try finishing this in an hour. As your workouts progress, try finishing the push-ups in less time. Now, if you can do pull-ups, you need to add weighted pull-ups to your workout and subtract the push-ups.

For those who can do two or more pull-ups, you will start with weighted pull-ups. You need a dip belt to do this. Most gyms carry one or you can buy one from some of the sport equipment stores. If you can't find one at either of those places, check online. When you start your workout, do the first set of pull-ups with no weight to warm-up. The first should not be to failure. Next, add between 10-45 lbs, depending on how many pull-ups you can do with no weight, and do two sets to total failure, using a spotter. After that, do one more set with no weight to total failure. Next, you will move on to Lat-pull-downs. Do one warm-up set of 8-12 repetitions and two heavy sets to total failure of between 6-8 repetitions. Conducting this workout plus the bicep workout should help you build up those pull-ups in no time.

That's the scoop this week from Semper Fitness. Next issue, we'll work on those crunches and the mile and a half run. We'll have you ready for boot camp in no time. Until then, stay pumped, stay motivated and oo-rah!

Semper Fi!