T Nation

Lil Help for a Military Guy


Looking for a little direction from some fellow T-Nation peeps,

Im currently at a training base as a member of the US Army, and looking to get into amateur power-lifting within a year or 2, my problem is my options are very limited to the equipment I have and even more strict with supplement use (can only have a mulit-vitamin at the most!) I would really like to throw on a good 20lbs of lean muscle and also increase my run times (only a 16:03min 2-mile runner)

I'm looking at 2 different programs to help my strength goals first being I,Bodybuilder (used this program before with good success) or perhaps the 5-3-1 program. Any advice/tips/direction would be very much appreciated!


5-3-1 is a very good place to start if you have not done that program already and are not completely new to lifting. There is a version for powerlifting but I would do the basic/original one for the first 6 months or so to get some base strength (less 1RM oriented). What you do for assistance lifts and diet will determine the muscle/weight you gain. Supplements are not really needed, if you have multivitamin the only other I would try to get would be a protein powder, which I consider a type of food not supplement.


1) Thank you for serving. A future military man as myself can't thank you enough.

2) If you have a rack, a bar, and some weights, you'll be completely fine. There's ways to run 5/3/1 very simply. Since you're limited on your equipment, I would suggest running the triumvirate, where you perform the main lift with the suggested rep scheme and pick 2 assistance exercises. Get in, lift, get out. Simple as that. I ran that for a couple of cycles and still got some good gains.

Just prioritize your goals and you'll be fine.



Thanks for the input guys, I still am a little pissed off that TRADOC doesn't allow supplement use (they include protein mixes) for training environments but yet on deployments it is a huge staple. Anyways it sounds like I will go with the 5-3-1 plan since I have very limited time and equipment. Hopefully I can make some good gains even in a training environment until I finish in 1 year or so. Thanks again!


I am not trying to be an asshole, but I don't think that gaining 20lbs of lean muscle and decreasing your run time go in the same sentence. Really for running, your unit pt should take care of most of that, but I am not sure what mos you are (I am guessing eod from the avatar)when I was in (ets'd in 2009) I was in the infantry and we had a 5 mile a day minimum run and 8-12 mile road marche every week. The best advice I could give you is focus on one or the other and take it day by day. Oh and 531 is great by the way.


Came in here to say exactly that.

I'm guessing that you're enlisted, so your PT score is going to have a direct influence on your rate of promotion. Remember, lifting is awesome but you want to keep your priorities straight. It's a lot easier in my opinion to maintain a good run time at a lighter body weight and slowly work your way up than the reverse. This isn't to say that you can't lift, get stronger and get your run time down at the same time but I would really caution you against gaining 20 lbs in the process.

5/3/1 is great because you can easily adjust the intensity. If you just did a 10 mile ruck in the morning, your squat day might not be so hot so you can pick your battles. The Big But Boring template works really well for dips/pushups/pullups as well.