T Nation

Getting Ready for Boot Camp

I ship out next summer. I got 10 months to get in the best shape of my life so that boot camp will be a breeze. So I’d like to hear from anyone who went through any basic training or boot camp. If you could have done some specific preparation before you shipped out that would have made your training much easier what would you have done? Like anything I should concentrate more on than others?

First and foremost, prepare your mind for what lies ahead…

Build up your jogging/running endurance (distance) preferably with a weighted vest and start building up your pullup reps(a stronger back will make everything easier, a fact often overlooked! Plus you are training for the test)…Admittedly, it was way back in the stone age when I went thru, but this only means its easier nowadays, which does not mean it’s not tough…Mental toughness is key!…Some of the younger vets will hopefully sound off as to if they allow supplements (protein, vites, etc)to be brought in these days, or is everything still “contraband gottdammit” not issued by Uncle Sam…

get on my quater deck and dig!start doing lots of moutain climbers

Pushups,Situps,Pull-ups,and run,run,run.Thats most of your PT in a nutshell.Focus on # of reps, then on speed, and maintain strict form. Lifting weights should supplement your workout, your core should be PT based. High speed, low drag.
Grow some thick skin.Learn to focus on the here and now,push yourself now and you won’t be pushed as hard later.Stay motivated because you don’t want them to “motivate” you. Acclimate yourself to functioning on little amounts of sleep.You will be continually tired, but develop a positive mindset.Boot camp is there to break you down and put you back together again.They will find your weaknesses(you will have them no matter how much you prepare) and they WILL fix them.Go with it, your only limitations are those in your head. Bootcamp is 99% mental.
But in the end you will look back at it as a positive experience.

All right thanks for the advice everybody.

As of '98 supplements were still not allowed at boot camp.

Sit-ups were the hardest for me to progress in. Though having a strong midsection will help, a lot of it was due to my hip flexors being tight/weak, I would experience pain right at the front of my pelvis and it would really hinder me…it was irritating to be able to do more pushups than situps.

I noticed a lot of people were able to “cheat” using momentum on the concentric and transfer it to the eccentric portion by rocking a little. It improved my situps dramatically.

It has been said in this thread. Mental Toughness is the key to boot camp.

Running and bodyweight exercises are the things you should focus on.

If you can be one of the leaders in the PT and battle PT, you will be doing yourselves some big favours.

If you can breeze through the physical side of it, you put yourself in a much better place to focus on getting through it mentally. Having to worry about meeting fitness standards is a stress you don’t want to have to deal with.

I also think marching with a rucksack is very important. Maybe ask your recruiter to show you the expected pace. Mental toughness is the key, but stress fractures can ruin your career. The key is smart progression in running and weight-bearing excercise(road marching), like you see in the SEAL fitness manual, which I’ve seen in most bookstores.

A lot of websites have workouts for potential Special Ops (SEALs, Pararescue, etc.) - start now and there’s no reason you can’t get to that level (perfect PT score, able to run, march and swim as far and fast as any mission would require.) Throw in some yoga too or Magnificant Mobility/Inside Out work - your body will be broken down, so any weak points/tightness could turn into an injury.

Oh yeah, and if you are in great shape, they will still take you past your “limit”, so have fun!

[quote]semper_fi wrote:
I ship out next summer. I got 10 months to get in the best shape of my life so that boot camp will be a breeze. So I’d like to hear from anyone who went through any basic training or boot camp. If you could have done some specific preparation before you shipped out that would have made your training much easier what would you have done? Like anything I should concentrate more on than others?[/quote]

Run, run, run. Forget heavy lifting. If you want to lift do pull-ups, push-ups, and crunches. Then run some more. Watch “Full Metal Jacket” and prepare mentally for the worst.

Second, I recommend you drop the “Semper Fi” name until you are a Marine. Marines take that personally. You are not a Marine, yet. That’s like showing up for boot camp with a USMC tattoo already.

Things to concentrate on:

-Ruck marching build up to 50-80 pounds WITH BOOTS! NOT SNEAKERS, you can go to a military surplus store, order stuff online or if you know someone in the military to get you stuff from the exchange.
-Running - Train for 3 miles
-pullups - dead hang full range of motion! bodyweight and weighted
-pushups - bodyweight and weighted
-Gymnastic “ab” exercises and other exercises IMO will prepare you better than doing 500 situps a day…things like L-sits, l-hangs, l-pullups, knees to elbows, windshield wipers.

If you want to lift drop all the fluffy crap and build a good base of strength +GPP/met-con work. By this I mean the basics, squat, deadlift, lunge, pushes and pulls.

Like everyone here has said, it’s a mental game. No need to keep beating a dead horse on that issue.

Will you be going to Paris Island or MCRD? It does make somewhat of a difference on how you should prepare. I went to MCRD back in 89 and what I did prior to shipping out was run 5 miles a day and focus on chin ups and ab excercises. Always run in boots and work up to 25 deadhang chins and then when you can do that go to weighted chin ups.

Do some coumpound lifts to gain strength but you don’t want to bulk up too much or all the running and climbing will be tougher. You want to be lean and mean. I took this advice from a Marine Corps vet before I went in and it helped me become the company high PFT man and earned me my mosquito wings at graduation. The first time you do a PFT test wearing sneakers after running for months in boots it will literally feel like you are flying. You have a tough road ahead, especially if you become an 03 but you’ve made the right choice and it will change your life forever. Stay motivated and good luck. OoooRaaah!!!

I remember fondly how I thought I was mentally and physically prepared. I don’t think it’s possible. I remember the first night reporting to the Drill he body slammed me on the desk for printing my name instead of signing it. That woke me right the hell up.

Don’t get hung up on your physical fitness, they will take care of that for you. Remember to pay attention to the details and “listen” and keep your pie hole shut. They will own your ass. At times you will never be good enough and that makes you meaner and tougher than you can possibly imagine.

I applaud you for taking this enormous step. You are more of a man for doing so. T-Man in training.

Develop your listening skills and listen to what the DI’s tell you, then do EXACTLY that. When you are provided guidance on how to prepare for inspections, listen very carefully.

Understand that the whole experience is a prescribed course of actions to break you down, and the DI’s are just doing their job when they yell at you and call you names.

Take care of your feet and shins. When marching, you can make it look like you’re digging your heels in to the ground, but don’t use much force.

Don’t stand out by doing stupid stuff.

Don’t volunteer for anything.

For fitness, do as the others posted above. All body weight stuff, burpees, and mountain climbers. Get used to going from the push-up position to standing very quickly. Be in excellent running shape.

When I entered OCS, I could do around 80 push-ups in 2 minutes. When I finished, I could do about 130. No one, not even the SEAL BUD/s instructor who was getting his commission, could match me for push-ups or sit-ups. They all passed also. The point here is that if you can max out the PRT when you go in, you will coast through. None of the “mashing” was challening to me at all, just dirty and uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, they fed me so poorly I weighed 167 pounds by the time I got out. I’m 6’1".

[quote]PGJ wrote:
semper_fi wrote:
I ship out next summer. I got 10 months to get in the best shape of my life so that boot camp will be a breeze. So I’d like to hear from anyone who went through any basic training or boot camp. If you could have done some specific preparation before you shipped out that would have made your training much easier what would you have done? Like anything I should concentrate more on than others?

Run, run, run. Forget heavy lifting. If you want to lift do pull-ups, push-ups, and crunches. Then run some more. Watch “Full Metal Jacket” and prepare mentally for the worst.

Second, I recommend you drop the “Semper Fi” name until you are a Marine. Marines take that personally. You are not a Marine, yet. That’s like showing up for boot camp with a USMC tattoo already.

[/quote]good post you are not a marine yet just a shower shoe,so like the man said drop the semper fi.

[quote]PGJ wrote:

Run, run, run. Forget heavy lifting. If you want to lift do pull-ups, push-ups, and crunches. Then run some more. Watch “Full Metal Jacket” and prepare mentally for the worst.

Second, I recommend you drop the “Semper Fi” name until you are a Marine. Marines take that personally. You are not a Marine, yet. That’s like showing up for boot camp with a USMC tattoo already.

[/quote]

Third, no matter what shape you are in do not kid yourself, boot camp will not be “a breeze”. I hope you haven’t gotten a tattoo yet.

LT
Parris Island - Plt 1086 - Class of 78

Work out hard, but enjoy yourself. No matter how fit you are, boot camp won’t be a “breeze.” It’ll be hard no matter what.

There’s nothing you can really do to prepare. Just don’t get fat. Unless you’re a total pussy, you’ll graduate. So enjoy your time on the “outside.”

[quote]semper_fi wrote:
I ship out next summer. I got 10 months to get in the best shape of my life so that boot camp will be a breeze. So I’d like to hear from anyone who went through any basic training or boot camp. If you could have done some specific preparation before you shipped out that would have made your training much easier what would you have done? Like anything I should concentrate more on than others?[/quote]

Just like everybody has said. Run run run. Also stretch alot because when its time for the rifle range you will be getting into some uncomfortable positions and your body will hurt. So try to be flexible. Use alot of common sense and dont think that you can get away with anything, most likely your DI’s have seen it before.

If you are going to Parris Island prepare for sand and fleas. For MCRD, get use to planes flying over your head and hills when you go “up north” for weapons training. Also learn to eat fast. You are looking at 1-5 minutes for chow. Sometimes less. Well I hope what we have all said helps you prepare for boot camp. God Speed!!

Excellent advice already posted. I echo dropping the semper fi … you have to earn that title.
I was a 300 PFT’er, but entered bootcamp after running a 1:55 800 meters 16 days earlier, so the physical part was a breeze.
I agree that it is 99% mental. Push yourself now in your workouts and focus on endurance, both cardio and muscular.

Do as your told … make wise food choices at the chow hall, write letters home, because getting mail is a huge source of motivation.
It’ll be the longest 13 weeks of your life, but you’ll cherish it for the rest of your life.

Good luck recruit.

Alright I’ll drop the semper_fi until I actually become a marine. Thanks for all your advice guys.