I joined the military for a challenge, and I have a saying to all the young men and women I talk to that have just joined or are thinking about joining. ” The military is not what you think it’s going to be, but it is what you make it.” Of course this could be said for life in general, and I keep that attitude now. I joined the military for a challenge as a young man, and I continue to want to challenge myself.
Since I got out of the military my training has gone through many different changes and it’s been a learning curve for sure. I am 33 but I seem to only be learning more and getting better.
Currently, I do what I would call “Strict CrossFit” but my emphasis within my training changes based on what I’m training for. For example, last month I did a 25k trail run, so obviously I worked a lot more running into my training than I would do normally. I call it “strict” because I am not the biggest fan of some of the kipping movements CrossFit has to offer like pull ups specifically. I get the methodology and the idea behind these kipping movements ( I am a CF- level 1 coach, and it allows you to keep the intensity up). But, I also think if you do them a lot it causes unnecessary wear and tear on the shoulders and neck. So most of the time I keep to strict pull ups, strict overhead press, and use different movements or lower reps to add intensity.
Please, do not misconstrue my words, I like CrossFit, this is just personally what I think is best for me. Before I did this type of training I experimented with a lot of stuff. I always ran a lot regardless of what my training looked like, but I didn’t do things like deadlifts or squats until after I was out of the military. I learned really quick that most of the stuff out there ( like on Instagram) is crap, or at least unnecessary. In my opinion if you want to be strong, or be ” in shape” stick to these basic movements:
Squat: back squat, front squat, air squat, make sure your squat below parallel and research and learn how to move correctly before adding weight.
Press: bench press, overhead press, push ups, push press, all of these movements will make you crazy strong, and always remember overhead press will make you strong in all pressing movements.
Deadlift: This movement is so basic, and will make you so strong. It’s just hard, but we like to do hard things. I always think a person should learn how to move properly before touching any weight, and the deadlift is the most important, it is a high reward movement, but you can get hurt if you don’t do it right.
Pull up: The pull up is the best body weight, strength building movement out there, it’s simple, it’s effective, but it’s hard for many people. Especially for people that have little to no training experience, pull ups can feel like an impossible task. They are not I promise. Get on YouTube and look for pull up progression videos, there is a million of them. Stay the course and you will be fine.
Cardio: This is so important if you want to be in good physical shape. There is a difference between looking in shape and being in shape. And there is a balance to all things, and I believe the right amount of cardio to weight training can balance it all. Also, cardio helps key health markers that squats and deadlifts just don’t help as much with like blood pressure, cholesterol, and hypertension.
These things are so basic, but you can seem overwhelmed looking at social media. How many fat burning or butt blasting workouts do we need. Finding a balance is key too, I personally, want to be able to put a pack on and hike 10 miles if I need too, but be able to pull my body weight off the ground.
Your training should reflect your lifestyle, and make your quality of life and your life experience better. Allow for failures, and don’t focus the amount of reps you do or the amount of weight you do, focus on the effort. If you walk out of the gym and feel like you have gotten better then that’s a good day.
Train hard, make less excuses.