T Nation

Going to Boot Camp


Im about to go to boot camp. was anyone here in the army?

Did it help or hurt your goals for size and strength?


For the time being, forget about size and strength. At best, you won't have time to lift and eat for size. At worst, you will be overstressed, overworked, and undernourished for the next 8 weeks and about to experience some major catabolism. Don't worry though, in time, it will come back and you'll have a job where you get payed to work out for an hour a day.

Really, the best thing you can do for yourself is work on your pushups, situps and runs, and general endurance. It is a weak man's army, but they appreciate somebody who can run all day. Also, figure out if you have weak spots, imbalances, or injury prone areas. Work on those the best you can, a little time now might save you a lot of misery down the road.
We can talk all day about this if you want, let me know specific questions about boot, or army life in general.


Huh? It's a weak man's army? You do realize there's a war going on? Were you a combat medic?


weak man as they don't care if you can bench 500lbs as long as you can run 3 miles your good

Strong men have to give up strength and size in order to do boot camp.


Shizen, thank you for clearing that up for me.
Horatio, trust me, I know these things, yes, I am living that life.


I spent five years in the Army. My time was spent in the 82nd airborne, a year in Korea and then on my second enlistment I went into the Ranger program and was in the 3rd batallion at Benning. I can only tell you from my experience above with where I served that size and strength like we are talking about here on this website is out of the question.

It's all about endurance training. In the Rangers, if you have any size to you it's frowned on because they think you will slow everybody down in many ways. They want you skinny and fast. Your physical performance is how fast and how far you can run. Sure, they want you to carry lots of weight in your ruck sack but that is also endurance training.

If you want to prepare yourself for boot camp and other adventures you would be better off working on your pushups, situps, flutter kicks, lots of running, pullups and overall athletic drills without weights for what you will do in the Army.

I guess there are those that would have access to a gym and the time and energy to go there depending on what your MOS (job) is. If you are going to be a grunt you might as well give up the idea of being big and strong like you are thinking about. To try to do this or maintain what you have will be impossible. When I got out of Ranger training I looked like I had been in a WWII German concentration camp. Even then they thought I was still big so my reward when getting to Ranger BN was being assigned the ammo bearer for the automatic weapon, carrying the 60 and then being the breach man for compound assaults.

I was still constantly hauled into the medical clinic for "pinch tests" (skin fold measurements for bodyfat analysis) periodically just because my weight/height didn't measure up with their charts. This started at the MEPS station upon entry to the Army and continued all throughout. If you have any serious amount of muscle mass now you can plan on having the same thing done. They just simply don't like men who are muscle bound.

If you are going to be a medic in a cushy hospital assignment, a supply or office clerk or some other job where you might have a regular schedule with no time in the field or other strains on your body you might be able to pull of having the time to go to a gym, have access to more food and be able to recover from your training to have noticeable goals.

Good luck and have fun!


my mos is 68 whiskey. ( medic)

A lot of people are telling me they gained weight in when they were done with boot camp. I just couldn't believe that. I have been running and doing calisthenics as part of my every day routines. I feel that I may benefit from some of the endurance work though. For example , when I was doing 300-500 push ups almost every day I could bench more than I ever have. I'm a little over 5'9 and 150 pounds, I could bench 240.

Now that I don't do any push ups I can't bench that much. SO I think there is some carry over from the calisthenics to raw strength. Maybe not though.

Im by no means a large guy and I have lots of experience running, I ran track. Right now I am trying to gain as much fat and muscle as possible. Im following the see food diet, I eat 3000-4000 calories during the day , then at night before I go to bed I et another 1000-2000. Other than doing my cardio/endurance work I only do the basic compound movements heavy for low reps. Im hoping to be in good cardio shape , but still be as fat as I can. That way hope fully just a lot of fat will get burned off first and maybe I can save soem of this hard earned muscle.

On another note I just don't know what to say to all these people saying they gained " a bunch of muscle" in boot , some say upwards 20 lbs . I just don't believe it.


also i'll be in the guard, not full time when I get done with training, so I will have plenty of time to train and recover unless I get deployed


My friend just got done with boot camp and by no means was he a big man. He was rather small, but with as much running as you do, and you don't get to eat much either: He was just shredded!


Fair enough - I guess we've had different experiences. The whole getting paid to workout an hour a day just seemed glib/inaccurate for a lot of MOS's.