T Nation

Balancing Military Conditioning and BBing


As a member of the American Military it's hard to strike a balance between working towards your bodybuilding goals and meeting what the Army considers to be physical fitness standards. To keep myself exempt from the woefully lacking "physical training" program my company offers, I have to max out the physical fitness test. This means I have to run a two-mile in under thirteen minutes, crank out over eighty push-ups in two minutes, and somewhere around eighty sit-ups in two minutes. It seems that the more time I spend working towards this criteria, the farther I get from my bodybuilding goals, but at the same time if I don't max out the test, I won't have half the time I do now to hit the gym and get decent workouts. Moreover, try maxing out an APFT when you've been cutting carbs for a week. It sucks.
What do I do here? Any insight from fellow service members or pros who can advise me on striking a balance would be greatly appreciated. Peace.


I don't know much about this area but maybe these articles can help


Hey thank you very much Spar, I appreciate it. These articles are exactly what I needed to see.


Too many soldiers forget this...

You are NOT a body builder. Train for strength, speed, endurance, injury prevention.


Chad Waterbury's PLP supplemental training for the pushup/situps, with some hill/flat/prowler sprints to build cardiovascular endurance. As for the run, to me it seems like there are people who are born with that part being really easy, others who are born for it to be a death race. For example, my first ever PT test, I maxed pushups and situps, but ran a 15 minute 2 mile.

For that, you'll probably just have to do some damn running. sucks, I know. maybe you should just go to PT, even if you do max the test.


^ This. Just go to PT in the mornings and lift in the evenings.

Btw that article is an awesome read for anyone struggling with the same problem as the OP.


Thanks for the input everyone. Yeah, Valor, I know what you mean when you say soldiers aren't bodybuilders. I think it's less a matter of forgetting as it is of being misled by the movies in which so many bodybuilding icons played the lead (Commando, Predator, Rambo, etc.).
HardWork, I don't know if you have had any experience with this, but the cadre in my company don't have much working knowledge in the arena of effective exercise. I understand that we are severely limited by the need to train large groups of soldiers at the same time with little to no equipment, but some of the exercises we do approach the ridiculous. And as far as I'm concerned, CD1 is snake juice as it applies to injury prevention. There's no way a warm up like that can be effective when you spend as much time on the drill and routine that comes with doing it in cadence as you do on the actual dynamic stretches.
I think that the problem isn't necessarily with soldiers aspiring to become bodybuilders, but rather with soldiers aspiring to do nothing at all.


It's no problem. Here is the latest one.