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Phrases I have come across way too often in regard to getting “Fitter” and “losing weight.”

“ THAT DUDES FIT AS F@*K, HE USED TO BE IN THE MARINES, SO HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT FITNESS!! ”

“ NEED TO GET 2 MORE STONE OFF, A GUY WHOS AN EX-PARA TOLD ME TO RUN A LOT, THATS THE WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT AND GET FASTER, HE KNOWS, HES SUPER FIT!! “

These kind of statements are killing me inside!

Now, before everyone has a bitch fit, THIS IS NOT A SLAGGING OF MILITARY SERVICES!!! I personally respect the fact that being in the military is far from an easy number. I also respect those whom have made it through the various selection tests of the elite forces, as they are some of the most incredibly challenging, physical and mental tasks of endurance.

This being my point - Endurance!!

Endurance is one single component of fitness, and although the armed forces need to show basic competency in all areas of “fitness,” the main element (for UK soldiers at least) is endurance.

Soldiers are known for endurance, the same way as body builders are known for being big and lean, powerlifters are good at being strong and sprinters being fast etc.

So, let’s understand the training structure for soldiers.

The reason soldiers need to have strong endurance is so they are fit for purpose. When peoples lives are on the line, and a unit must be in location X to provide cover for an operation at a certain time or everyone dies, the fitness component of how much you can deadlift or cover 60 metres at blistering speed becomes obsolete. Therefore, soldiers are trained to cover pretty serious distance over disgusting terrain and weather conditions, as efficiently as possible, carrying everything they require.

Logic suggests that the best way for a soldier to be functional is to use a training system that will provide at least a basic level of body strength and a lot of adapted endurance training. (The civilian equivalent, generally speaking, would be “bootcamps” and running). Military budget dictates that this system must be time and cost efficient, hence the no bull shit attitude towards medical and criminal issues on application, and having a basic tests to weed out people completely unsuitable even if healthy.
The structure is a progressive program of endurance training and skill development in order to pass several tests and standards.

The program and training methods in Newcastle used, are to get an incredibly broad range of people to a certain level of endurance to be operational in the field.

Most would agree this is a logical and fair outlook towards the purpose of military training, yes?

So, at what point is body composition relevant to this role…… EXACTLY, ITS NOT!!!!

SO WHY THE HELL ARE OUT OF SHAPE PEOPLE THAT ARE LOOKING TO IMPROVE THEIR IMAGE AND BODY COMPOSITION PURSUING AN IRRELEVANT TRAINING GOAL AND BEING CONFUSED WITH ITS RESULTS???

IT MAKES NO SENSE??

Im not saying its not enjoyable, rewarding, challenging etc to train that way. What I am stating is, if body composition and improved self image is your goal this is not even close to best way to go about things.

In fact it is actually more than likely detrimental to your goal, and here’s why;

The majority of people do not fuel themselves correctly for their goal, and the majority of people that have came through my door for coaching that have engaged in this type of training to get results UNDER EAT and in many cases, i mean REALLY under eat, and as a consequence, results in regularly overtraining.

Under eating combined with endurance training puts strain on all of the body’s systems making recovery from training poor to non existent. When the body is constantly stressed it gets internally inflamed, hormones and neurotransmitters are disrupted, fat stores as a protection mechanism and you will eat in to muscle tissue to create energy. In this situation the muscles can not recover properly never mind develop.

“Thats ok, I don’t want to be muscular just lose fat!!!”

WRONG I’m afraid. Think of the muscles inside the body as fire and fat as fuel. If you reduce the fuel too much the fire will go out, but, if you make the fire bigger it will burn more fuel. So, increasing muscle density and mass will burn more stored fat, pretty much permanently. This is a way to increase metabolism.

Given the fact that many people attending bootcamps are severely under eating, are not eating for fat loss, causing a lot of stress to their system, and also not educated on what food to eat for their goal and personal body/neurotransmitter type, they are then putting long periods of physically damaging stress several times a week into this mix for months on end and puzzled why they don’t look a great deal different.

If you are one of the people that have been engaging in this type of training, please let this penny drop for a second. Look at your fitness class, how many of them actually look significantly different….. Of the ones that are in good shape, how many of them were actually already in good shape before they started…. How many people in this class are competitive athletes?…….mmm, very few or non??

Yip, the proof is in the pudding Im afraid guys.

This certainly is not intended as a smug dig, but rather a wake up call for people to educate themselves on exactly what it requires for them to achieve their body image goal and for people with serious ambition to get what they want from training and hitting the gym.

Sure classes are cheap and they’re good fun, and if thats what you want then thats great for you, keep going. But for those who are breaking their balls at bootcamp and constantly are frustrated that their hard effort isn’t being justified in their physique and its a financial struggle to get no where…..please take away a few tips.

1- Work out how many calories your body needs to maintain itself then manipulate the number initially by no more than 500 calories to suit your goal.

2- Ensure you have an adequate amount of protein to help the body build, regrow and recover

3- Place health as a priority, the healthier the body’s internal environment is the easier and faster the results will come

4- Eat good fats they are essential to both fat loss, muscle building, cognitive function and general health

5- Place as much if not more emphasis on recovery than you do on training

6- Train smarter, not longer and more frequently - Don’t be a “busy fool”

7- Engage in a positive training program structured to your goals

8- Train intensely and focus on getting reps/form perfect

9- Tax the nervous system at intense levels with correct technique for short periods i.e Heavy resistance training, sprinting, sled pushing

10- Improve sleep hygiene and sleep quality, thats where the magic happens, not in the gym!

Much of the information in this list and more can be found in many other of my articles. So ,please use my free coaching tips to further your development.

If you are not 100% on these points, do your research and find an expert that is. Any coach worth their weight should be able to assist with the above methods to help you improve. Do your homework and quiz anyone you intend to pay for coaching and look into the results they have achieved with others first.

Also on this note. PLEASE, take away from this that just because someone has done a physically demanding job, like soldiering. Or has achieved some respectful levels of endurance or strength does not qualify them to give advice to someone on how to achieve a body composition goal, or any other which does not relate to their achievements or experience.

Ultimately, there are some great coaches out there running classes and bootcamps in Newcastle responsibly in controlled environments with great coaching but they are few and far between. Many facilities use this method to generate easy income and put little or no thought into exercises, classes, progression, clients ability leaving attendees with poor movement patterns, huge muscular imbalances and zero education surrounding training for THEIR specific goals.

Food for thought guys, stay educated.

Keep up the Grind guys,

Coach Chris McClarence

contact me here

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