T Nation

How Much Strength Loss in Boot Camp?


Hi (Not sure where to post this)To start off I have been reading T nation since I learned to read(15 years old)and it has changed my life in a lot of positive ways. I am going to Marine boot camp in March and I have heard that muscular people lose muscle and strength while in. I don't consider myself muscular or strong but people have told me I'm going to lose like 20 pounds in boot camp because of all the running and not eating enough. Is this true?

Even if I do lose muscle I would still be happy to have the chance to become a Marine, so don't think this would impact my decision. I'm just curious and would like to at least try to retain muscle through boot camp. Plus I already swore in. Not sure whats relevant info but here goes...

age: 18 years old
height :5'10"
weight: 190 pounds
dead lift max:425
squat: 335x3(sad)
bench: 295x3
pushups: 65
clean and jerk:245
one and a half mile run time: 9:40

I have fallen out of shape since my last wrestling season so my max pull ups and run time should improve a lot.
Also any advice from anyone who has been through boot camp would be awesome and hugely appreciated.


How Much Strength Loss in Boot Camp?

Most of it. However; once you are able to resume proper training, you'll find right where you left it.



Don't worry about it. Boot camp is a tiny spec of time in the long run. Get through the suck and then kick ass in the gym and on the battlefield afterwards.

Good luck OP and thank you for your (future) service!!!


Ok thanks! Now I know what to expect.


Your biggest concern should be not learning to read 'til you were 15.


Haha yea I didnt read much before T Nation.


Yeah you'll lose some strength....I was sitting at almost 200 before boot camp, not super lean, but with somewhat visible abs....at the end, I was 170ish. Lost most of the fat I was carrying, and a good chunk of muscle as well. But it only took maybe 3-4 months afterwards to get back to where I was before.

Like gregron said, it's just a blink in the long term. Most important thing is to avoid hurting yourself in the process, and not get dropped so that you get to keep your original MOS choice (most likely...needs of the Marine Corps always come first).


Any idea what your MOS is going to be?

Agree with everything written. You might get a chance to lift once at your school house. You may not, it just depends. You'll get your chance once in the fleet though.


Im still an open contract. I meet with my recruiter next week so he can show me whats available. I want infantry.


even though the people that i have talked to that have done infantry tell me not to go infantry.


Nothing wrong with being a grunt. It's not for everyone though. My little brother was grunt (0341) with 2 tours in Iraq. Four years was enough for him.

How'd you do on the ASVAB?

One thing to consider is that if you are interested in a career you should consider other MOS'. The reason being is that infantry is very competitive (as are some other MOS') for promotions past a certain point. If you plan to get out after your first enlistment (I suggest not having this attitude, but many do) than I would pick an MOS (If it fits the needs of the Corps.) that interests you/is what you eventually want to do as a civilian. Getting a job after being a grunt is not an easy task. If you want to be a grunt though, make sure you make that crystal clear to your recruiter or he'll push something else onto you. Now, having not signed, is the ONLY time you will have any leverage in the USMC. Use it.

Quick story, a friend of mine is a F/A-18 engine mech (Don't know MOS #) who, after 11 years, is basically being forced out because of promotion limitations. It took him over 4 years to hit Cpl and 8 to hit Sgt. There's almost no chance he'll get SSgt. That said, he's not some turd, he's a very good Marine (He was NGJ'd once, which is hurting him a lot). On the flip side, I knew 2 year Cpls in other aviation MOS' that shouldn't have been allowed to go to Parris Island let alone wear a Marine Corps. uniform.


I got a 69 on my asvab. Im still unsure of what I really want to do because so many people with experience are telling me not to be a grunt. When they ask me why I want to I just say I want to experience it. They still tell me Im better off with an mos that can get me a job. Im also thinking about combat support if I cant get infantry.


It's your life you should do what you feel is best for you. Assuming you are only on active duty for 4 year that's a very small portion of your life. You'll have plenty of time for college/a career outside of the Marine Corps. if you do decide to get out after 1 enlistment.

Keep in mind combat operations in the Middle East are all but over. That said, "your experience" might be a whole lot of training and no combat. Again, nothing wrong with that at all.


you only get three meals a day, so just eat as fast and efficiently as humanly possible during that time. Only use liquid at meals as a way of helping you swallow; you should be able to get plenty of water throughout the day outside of the mess hall. Granted, my experience is from Navy RTC, and I know the Marines have it tougher, but i was able to keep my size (went in to RTC at 186lb and reported to my new command at 185lb 2 months later) though I lost a lot of strength since all we really did were push-ups, pull-ups(occasionally. I would sneak these in on my own in the laundry room), abs and cardio.

              I just met with my recruiter and I picked combat engineer. It sounds cool. He said he has to make sure he gets me that job in the system then I have to go back to meps to get my vision tested. He also said that i have to weigh under 191 in order to ship! I am currently 200 with abs and im still gaining. I train with very low volume(3x3 or 3x6 twice a week) on the big lifts but ive still been growing.

Any advice on gaining strength without gaining size? I have good endurance i plan to ship with a sub 18 minute 3 mile the only problem is i get shin splints with frequent running so I am starting to train my anterior tibialis*?. I also swim with my friend who is a good swimmer so im not neglecting anything.


Good luck actually getting that job... As for strength without size: eat less food, train just as hard. Mind you, you won't gain strength nearly as fast but it can work. Oh and as a POG reservist I say this: don't do it! Unless of course you enjoy getting talked down to by somebody you know is inferior in just about every way, telling you to do something unnecessary to just to stroke his ego. In that case by all means go for it.


   You mean dont go reserves or dont go combat engineer? Because im going active.


I actually meant don't join at all. I mean 6 hour police calls in freezing temps are fun and all but just thought I would give a warning before you grow to hate everything.


You don't have to be under X weight to ship. They will just measure you (neck to waist ratio) before you ship. Believe me, you will ship with some fat fucks.


If you grow to hate everything, that's on you. Many Marines, like johngalt191 obviously do.