T Nation

Advice for a Deployed Soldier


Hi, I'm new to this site. Just stumbled upon it last night after I got back from a mission and wondered if I could get some help from some guys that have been doing this for a while. I'm paratrooper from the 501st deployed in Iraq right now.

I have been working out consistently since february and have made some good gains. My back, shoulders and legs are improving great. I'm finding it hard though to get a larger chest and arms. I know eating right is probably one of the biggest things I need do right.

Which can be a problem sometimes because I spend anywhere form 8 to 10 days at a patrol base. Where all we have to eat are MRE's. They are filled with everything you can imagine. I try to make sure I watch what I eat from them and usually end up opening a couple of different ones to make sure I'm getting what I need and also watch my calorie by fat intake. I also bring out tuna packets, protein bars, and take a multi vitamin.

My workout at the patrol base is pretty good we have been able to build up a good free weight gym over the last 11 months there. I workout on a five day routine.

Day 1 chest and abs
Day 2 legs and calves
Day 3 shoulders and traps
Day 4 back and abs
Day 5 biceps, triceps and forearms
Day 6 cardio (long distance runs or rowing)
Day 7 cardio (speed intervals)

My cardio days get tossed around till I get back to the FOB
due to lack of being able to do cardio at the patrol base.

I'm taking a few supplements as well. NaNo vapor for a pre-work out and Muscle milk for my protein. I've not really taken a creatine supplement yet because of the excessive temps 130 degrees and and at times. With the gym being outside and no relief from the heat as well as conducting missions a couple of times a day. I don't want to fall out as a heat casuality.

But I'm thinking of starting to take one because of the gains I'm seeing some of my fellow soldiers making and the only difference is the lack of my creatine.

Do you think I should adjust my routine or is this just how it goes sometimes that mabey I'm making larger gains in certain areas because I end up using those muscle groups after I workout on a daily basis????


I'm still not sure your getting enough protein in your diet. If you can, try and eat 2g or at least 1.5g of pro per lb of body weight. You might also look at your technique on your chest exercises. Are your shoulders back?, are you feeling the weights working your chest or your shoulders? Since I don't know what your chest workout looks like, its hard for me to comment, but I'm guessing with a chest and abs day, your over doing it on day one. You might also want to add a light chest workout on day 4.

What are your stats? bd weght, hight.


Thank you for all you do over there.

I think that with PT, your work, the heat, and the stress of your job, it's going to be a tremendous challenge to gain weight right now.

I would scale back things a bit - you're doing too much IMHO. You might try doing an upper body - lower body split and working out 3-4x/week and limiting things to heavy compounds like rows, presses, squats, DLs, etc. You might find that you have more energy and make better gains. Sometimes, less IS more.


I'd also say drop the muscle milk and NaNo Vapor, the NaNo stuff will hurt you more in the heat then overdosing on creatine will, theres so much caffeine in that and I don't really think they work personally, many people here would also agree with that. the vapor will dehydrate you more than creatine.

Muscle milk is just a bunch of real low grade stuff, its just protein powder and canola oil. Stick with protein like Metabolic Drive, some BCAAs and EFAs, as I don't think there are many in MRE's.


First, thanks for your service to this country.

Since you are making good gains on legs, back and shoulders I don't think you need to change your nutrition. I suspect you would make improvement if you prioritized on chest and arms. I suggest you add 3 sets of bi and 3 sets of tris on day 1 after chest.

Use different exercises and rep ranges than you use on day 5. On day 4 add 3-4 sets of chest. The nice thing with combining chest and back on 1 day is you can alternate sets between chest and back with half the normal rest and not degrade performance.

Example, if normal rest between back sets is 3 minutes then do 1 back set, rest 1.5 min, do 1 set chest rest 1.5 min, repeat. Again use different exercises and rep ranges than your other chest day. If this additional volume seems like overall recovery is slowing then you could remove some volume on your strong body parts.

Stay safe.


Parachuting is bad ass.

I would also suggest a change in training style. Getting an upper lower split would be the first really good idea. This way you can train your chest and arms every second training session.

For arms I'd make sure you train them specifically at the end of you upper day. and be sure to get lots of forearm work in because your upper arms will refuse to grow if your forearms are weak or small.

For chest look up thibalbeus chest training articles. they show you to try and slide your hands together on the bar when you push up in bench press. You obviously don't actually slide the hands together but you try to to create pec tension. you'll see when you read it.



Yo Airborne,

I really don't have any words of wisdom that others above haven't already mentioned.

Just wanted to say welcome T-Nation and thanks for putting it on the line for us.

Watch your six.


Thanks guys for all the help. I'm gonna make some adjustments to the routine and diet. I'll let you know how it goes.


Dude I do not have any advice you probably have more axcess to good advice than me, but I just have to say you rock. Thanx man


My advice is:

Keep your head down, eyes and ears open, watch your 6, keep up comms, and put out security. Do what you can to keep your PT up, but you have a lot going on right now, so don't stress if you're not growing as much as you want or miss a workout or two. Get through deployment, get home safe and bring your buddies with you. Once you're back in the rear, your schedule will normalize and it'll be much easier to monitor your progress and diet. Just make sure you don't go nuts on the beer and wings when you get home!!