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Old 04-02-2012, 10:02 AM   #21
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Alright, I finally got on a real computer so I can do a full write up on my experience. When I originally left for basic my goals were to survive but also to cut harder than I've ever cut before. I started good with the cut, dropping from 207 to 196 in my first 3 weeks. Unfortunately, I had to cut my cut short because my performance was dropping and my body couldn't keep up with the demands of basic training. At one point I'd estimate I was consuming around 3-4k cals and 3-400g of carbs a day but I never came back above 196 because of the massive calorie expenditure of the second half of basic training.

For anyone wondering, during the second half of basic training there are days on end where you are training or at least on your feet about 8-10 hours a day in what we call full "battle rattle", which consists of a 17lb body armor vest and 10-15lb of other assorted gear. Since we never really got good or consistent sleep, the only way I had to help my body keep going was to take in as much food as possible. Another issue was/is the military's complete love of carbs. a normal plate of food for me at basic would be a dish with noodles or rice and a little protein here and there, some over-cooked veggies, 2 cups of powerade, pasta salad, 2 dinner rolls and 4 pieces of wheat bread. Can you say carb heavy?

My diet now that I'm at ait (advances individual training) is still too carb heavy for my taste, but it suits my new training. Luckily now I get to drink milk (at least 4 cups per meal) instead of powerade, and I get more veggies to replace all the bread I had to eat at basic. All that activity combined with all those carbs do have my metabolism flying though, which is nice.

One thing that didn't pan out as planned was my strength training prior to shipping out. I thought that upping my pushing and pulling strength would help my pushups, but unfortunately I was wrong. After seeing how built I was, people were rather dissapointed to find that I was only getting about 50 pushups for my apft (Army physical fitness test), and I'm still trying to rememdy that short-coming now that I'm at ait. Anything less than 70 is absolutely unacceptable, but like I said, I'm working on it now.

One aspect of my training that absolutely did work out was my heavy training of the posterior chain (hey, I'm a true M&B'er). This didn't make me a star at PT, but I believe it helped me with just about everything else. My lower back and hip strength helped me carry around all my gear day after day, while avoiding injury. When other people were dropping like flies and getting injured, my joints and bones held up incredibly well. I had no problems with the ruck marches (other than the horrible gov't issue boots which I've already replaced). One cool thing was seeing everyone else struggle to get a 60lb ruck on their back. They all needed help from eachother and lots of people fell while trying to get it in. I grabbed it, through it over my head and never had a lick of trouble getting it on my back. Some PT studs didn't have the brute strength to get a fairly light ruck on their back, and to me that's just as important as how many pushups or situps you can do. (actually, I think it's more important, but I don't make the rules)

Here in AIT, it's hard to get time or energy to hit the weights, but even if I can't hit anything else, I'll be hitting my posterior chain whenever I can to try to maintain balance in the face of all the mirror-muscle heavy training we do in PT.

Currently, I'm scoring 249 points in the apft. I may try to go airborne after ait, so its imperative that I increase this. I HAVE to get my pushups and situps up around 70 while also getting my run into the 12's. I also want to maintain a bodyweight under 200lb, and if I can reach my fitness goals quickly I may try to drop some more fat.

As for the gas chamber, it wasn't nearly as bad as 2 hours later when we were taught to low crawl. The way our Drill Sgt's made sure we got it? They emptied a water trailer over a clay parking lot and made us low crawl through the red mud. That's a great way to ruin a set of ACU's quick.

One more observation before I go get me some lunch chow; I've seen a lot of Sgt's who appear at first glance to be out of shape. Some are flat out obese, but they still kill it when they take an apft. Part of this I blame on specialization; they've become VERY good at the 3 things one does for the apft, even if they can't do much else, but this isn't the only reason. We PT really hard in certain parts of the Army, so it's hard not to get good conditioning, but with hectic schedules and weird hours it's hard to keep a good diet. This leads to lots of people who are in much better shape than they look. Unfortunately it doesn't help with things like hypertension and heart disease, and I know personally I'm going to do everything I can to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle while I'm serving.

For those of you who thanked me, I appreciate it more than you can know, and I'm honored to serve you guys. Please know that there are a number of programs to help soldiers, like the wounded warrior project, if you feel called to help those who've sacrificed far more than I have. Hooah!
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:58 PM   #22
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What is your MOS? I'm assuming it's combat related since you're at Benning.
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