Friday, November 2, 2012

Great Fitness Program for Basic Training

 The Following article was written by SGT Volkin, the creator of the Strength Stack 52 a new workout program which I highly recommend for those of you who are getting ready for Basic Training.
The Plateau Busting Mini Workout Theory Put to the Test
By: Sergeant Michael Volkin (aka: The Volkinator)
A typical workout for an average person consists of about 30 minutes to 1 hour of lifting weights.  If exercises are performed incorrectly, the load on the muscles and stress on the joints of these repeated movements causes both short and long term damage to your body.  Most people continue to work out despite a known injury, aching back, or sore muscles because of the improved appearance of their physique as a result of the working out. However, over time, the improved appearance becomes harder to maintain and a “plateau” eventually occurs. A workout plateau is when someone continues to exercise and sees diminishing returns on the improvement of their physique.
Recently, several scientific studies have been conducted which analyzes the optimal duration and intensity for a proper workout.  Some experts claim high intensity and fast workouts are the most beneficial, others claim slow meticulous movements with heavy loads is the easiest way to maintain a great physique and optimal health.
Mini workouts have proven to be extremely effective to both the health of the individual and improvement of the physique, yet often if the most underutilized form of working out. Three to five workouts a day varying in duration from 10-15 minutes provides a boost in the metabolic rate of an individual throughout the entire day.  Therefore, mini workouts are more effective at burning calories throughout the day rather than working out all in one block.  For proper nutrition, an individual will eat 3 meals a day; the same theory should be applied to working out.
A majority of fitness products largely overlook the scientific studies showing the effectiveness of a mini workout because people usually workout in one block hour.  This principle has been adopted not because of optimal health of the individual, but rather convenience.  Only a small percentage of people for very specific reasons (i.e. competitive bodybuilders) will show consistent gains working out in 1 hour blocks. 
The Test
Typically, I work out at the gym during my lunch hour with three other coworkers.  The three of us decided to give the concept of mini-workouts a try for 2 full months. Before we started, we recorded our weight, body fat percentage and body measurements. We used a fitness product I invented called Strength Stack 52, which concept centers around bodyweight mini-workouts.  Instead of doing one 45 minute workout during our lunch hour, we met 15 minutes before and after work and 15 minutes during our lunch hour to complete mini workouts.  The three of us were still exercising 45 minutes per day and to keep the results as pure as possible, we did not change our eating habits or lift any weights. 
The Result
Each of us saw positive results at the end of the two months performing strictly bodyweight exercises in intervals of 15 minutes 3 times per day.  The three of us averaged 11 lbs. of weight loss with the highest of us losing 18 lbs. Keep in mind, that weight loss occurred with no change in our diet from already active people.  Each of us also experienced muscle gain, reducing our body fat percentage an average of 2.2%.  We all agree, the biggest benefit was our mental stamina and attitude. We all feel better throughout the day and our 2 o’clock “is the workday over yet?” feeling has gone away. 
Whether our success is a result of breaking a plateau or the result of the effectiveness of mini-workouts can’t be determined in just 2 months.  However, the reason doesn’t matter.  The results speak for themselves and the mini workouts were fun.  Instead of looking forward to one large workout in a day, we looked forward to 3 intense and fun workouts in a day. 
Other benefits we experienced as a result of the mini-workouts included:
-Less muscle soreness
-less joint pain
-increased cardiovascular stamina
-more mental stamina and intensity per workout
-more calories burned per day
Although we experienced positive results testing the mini-workouts we all miss throwing a few dumbbells around. We have developed a hybrid program where we now do a mini-workout in the morning and start our lunch hour workout with a mini-workout.  After our second mini-workout (during the lunch hour) we perform a weight training program.
Experiencing the mini-workouts was an eye opening experience for us.  We all subscribed to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy and we now know that no part of that old adage is true. You can in fact gain muscle and lose weight performing small, fun and challenging workouts three times a day.  
This article was authored by Sergeant Michael Volkin, best-selling author and inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to Qualify as an Expert on the Firing Range

The Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy all have badges or ribbons for qualifying as an expert in small arms (rifle and pistol), which can be earned during basic training. The Navy fires shotgun and pistol, and the other branches fire M-16 rifles.  The Coast Guard does not fire live weapons at basic training.  Regardless of what type of weapon you will be firing at basic training, there are a few simple tips to follow that will help you to qualify as an expert marksman.

-Remember to breathe and breathe normally. There is a tendency to hold your breath when shooting in order to keep your site on target. However, holding your breath actually causes you to shake and skew your aim.

-When squeezing the trigger, slowly pull the trigger back in one continuous motion. Quickly jerking the trigger back will move the weapon enough to miss your target.

-Don’t anticipate the recoil (i.e. the kick). There is a natural tendency to jerk your weapon down slightly in anticipation of the “kick.” This is especially true when firing pistols. The best way to avoid jerking your weapon is to imagine there are no rounds (bullets) in the weapon. You can practice this by actually dry firing (pulling the trigger of an empty weapon), and keeping your hands steady. Before going to the firing range you will spend time getting familiar with your weapon, at which time you will have the opportunity to practice dry fires.

-Squeeze the trigger after you exhale and before you inhale. This is known as the natural respiratory pause. This is the point in your breathing cycle where you’re best able to center the weapon on your target.

 PS. I just used these techniques during my annual M4 and M9 qualification and once again qualified as Expert.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Air Force Basic Training Fitness Standards

What are the Air Force fitness standards for basic training you ask?
Every military branch has height and weight requirements in order to join. Throughout the decades these requirements have changed from time to time. Over the past couple of years the Air Force has been tightening it’s belt on spending and in turn requiring it’s member to physically tighten their belts if they want to remain in the Air Force. The same is true for new recruits. In addition to the height and weight requirements, the Air Force now has an abdominal circumference requirement (they measure your waist) and a run time requirement before starting  basic training.
Here are the Pre-Basic Training standards that went into effect as of January 1st 2011.

1.5 mile run in 18:30
Abdominal Circumference no greater than 39 inches or Body Fat of 20%

1.5 mile run in 21:35
Abdominal Circumference no greater than 35.5 inches or Body Fat of 28%

Trainees failing to meet these requirements may be processed out of the Air Force. In the last year, I have personally witnessed two new recruits processed out of the Air Force right before their basic training ship date. One was not able to meet the minimum run time and the other could not get his waist under 39 inches. The best way to insure this does not happen to you is to take the time and start a fitness regimen before basic training. The Ultimate Air Force Basic Training Guidebook has a comprehensive fitness program designed specifically for those preparing for basic training.
Good luck at basic training!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Play to Your Strengths

By the time you complete basic training you will have rolled more shirts, folded more towels and made more beds than you will care to remember. However, there will be some things you wont be able to do right no matter how many times you try. For some people it’s making hospital corners on their bed, for others it’s folding towels into perfect rectangles with every edge the same length. For me, it was getting my duffle bag perfectly folded into a square. No matter how many times I tried I couldn’t make it perfect. On the other hand, rolling socks and shirts into perfect, wrinkle-free tubes was easy for me.

Don’t be afraid to seek help from your fellow recruits. For example, if you can’t role a shirt but can make a great hospital corner, find someone that can roll a perfect shirt faster than a roadrunner on speed, but who’s hospital corners look like a deformed taco. In other words, help each other out. Much of basic training is learning to work efficiently with other people, and the training starts with the little things, such as folding clothes and making beds.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Second Thoughts About Basic Training?

It’s normal for all recruits to think at one time or another that they have made a mistake by joining the military. Usually this thought occurs during the first week of basic training. Some trainees will find it hard to avoid thinking about their cushy civilian life. If you think you may be one of those recruits that lay awake at night dreaming of your family and friends, keep these tips in mind:

Tip #1

Understand the first week of training is the hardest.

Yes, everything is new and no one seems to likes you. Don’t worry, you aren’t doing anything wrong. Everyone is feeling the same worries and fears. At this point, just understand what is to be expected of you and try your best to accomplish those tasks.

Tip #2

Hurting yourself or others will not get you home sooner.

As crazy as it may sound to you now, there are recruits desperate enough to leave basic training that they will hurt themselves to get discharged. Unfortunately this tactic doesn’t work. As a result, the recruits who self inflict an injury spend more time away from home stuck in military medical facilities while the other recruits have graduated.

Tip #3

You’re not alone.

Even though you are living night and day with fifty plus other people, at first you may feel like you are going through hell and you’re all by yourself. That’s because you have not yet connected with the other recruits. After the first week of training, you’ll find that you have built a friendship with the other recruits.

A parent of a military recruit who is currently going through basic training asked me “What will the military do if my son doesn’t want to finish basic training?” My answer to that is – the fastest way out of basic training is to graduate from basic training.