T Nation

Muscle Loss and Basic Army Training


Hi. I have a confusing matter. Im latin so please excuse me for any misunderstanding as sometimes i cant express what i want to say. Im joining the military soon and I know we are going to run fasted early in the morning almost everyday for the next 10 weeks of Basic Training. Now I do understand that at this time I will be in a catabolic state that prefers fat for fuel and if intensity is high it will eat my muscles. Now I dont know the duration of the run but the intesity is higher than what is recomended for fasted cardio in relation to body composition.

At what duration/intensity will muscle be used as fuel? Depends on the individual i guess.
Ballpark figure please?

My Stats: 206lb 11% BF 5'9 mesomorph
245 raw bench, 325 raw deadlift for 2 reps
300 raw squat 1" below parallel
55pushups in 53sec 50situps 60s

I dont know exactly when I leave. I want to experience running at least 2miles @ 5am before getting to BT. The duration of my 1.5mi run is 13:27 @ jog pace at 5pm. I dont have any past experience running, all this is very recent. I have lifted on off for the past 3 yrs but never serious or consistently for more than 4weeks.

Ok, What kind of muscle loss ill experience depends on my genetics. I guess i answered myself. Opinions, suggestions, questions, flames??

Anything helpful would be appreciated. Thanks



Hm. A friend of mine just got back from BT and was pretty thin, but he didnt have much muscle mass to begin with. The amount of weight you will lose will also depend on how much you eat there, which i doubt is very much.


I did 3 months basic training in the navy a few years ago, i didn't appear to lose too much muscle mass in that time. I went in at about 210lbs and came out about 180lbs. I did have a bit of bodyfat on me when i began training so that might have helped to spare some of my muscle. I did lose quite abit of strength tho, i was deadlifting about 315lbs before training, when i came out i struggled with 220lbs.


We had a thread that covered my opionon on this before... check it out. I outline my opionon.

Dont worry about things you cant control, like how much food you will get. Worry about what you can do now, and prepare yourself to smoke the PT test. Run, Run, Ruck, do pushups....



Thanks. I also found another post that answered my doubts and fears.


Go join the Marine Corps, if you can.


Seriously, if your ASVAB is low enough, the Marine Corps is the place to be...haha, I kid, I kid.

Prepare to be hungry and tired while running, probably my least favorite part of Basic was always being hungry. You do get to drink lots of water whether you want to or not. Don't sweat the weight loss too much, it's going to be a necessary evil, and most've the guys in the Army will never be in as good of shape as they were when leaving Basic.


I went from a fat 218lb to 166lb (at 5'10") in 10 weeks. I lost a lot of strength, but I had more endurance than I ever dreamed of. And when you come out of basic training you are more cocky and confident than any amount of muscle could ever make you.

When I got to AIT and had more free time to eat, I leveled out at about 176. The first time back in the gym was just sad. The strength and muscle will come back over time.


I went in at almost a 160lbs and left at a little over 135lbs. You're going to lose a lot of weight, there's nothing you can do about that. Look at the bright side when they send you to Iraq there's nothing to do workout. I put on like 30lbs out there.


Yeah, you will never have to think for yourself again.


Im seriously having doubts about joining. The crazy stuff that might happen with Iran makes me double-check if its worth it. People say that the benefits and your family is why i sacrifice but what good father am i if im never there to see her grow or worse dead. I think ill stay a civilian.


So you want to defend your nation in theory, but not in practice?

The Iranians took 241 American lives in 1983, continue to support terrorism, advocate the death of a race, and aim to have/do have WMD.

But they are going to let women attend soccer games now.


Woeful attention to detail on my part.

Your priority as a father is paramount.


Jews are not a race.


Gois are just so mean LOL


If you're at all unsure of your level of commitment, don't join.


Ive been with this confusing matter for the past 4yrs. Im joining ummm nope, and again and again. Im tired of wondering what its like and im going to finish what i started thinking about 4 yrs ago. Im 21, married with a 4mo. daughter. CONSISTENCY is very necesary. I believe the military will provide that and more. I will do my part to serve and protect our way of life. Thanks for everything T-Nation.


Another thing to remember about the Army: In spite of what the media says, only about 1:10 of the soldiers are ever really in danger (combat arms and some trans units). When I was over in Iraq (light infantry, Baghdad), we would make runs over to the airport (which housed about half of TF Baghdad), and nobody there that we talked to had even heard a bomb, much less been next one, MUCH less been next to one when it exploded. I you want to serve, do.

Don't think that you have to be a 'fighter' as only a very small percentage of the total force are.


I went into Australian Army basic training at 190 and came out 170.

I was worried about muscle loss and etc before I got there but when the MP stepped on the bus and gave us the blasting of our lifetime, my priorities changed.

Once you are there, all you will care about is making it through as best you can. Losing muscle and etc will not even enter your train of thought.


The military has about the total opposite of consistency when it comes to families. The only consistent thing will be that the military will use you in whichever way best suits their needs, completely ignoring whatever is best for you. These next few years are very important for your daughter - just being away for training could have a negative impact on her. You already have some doubts, I wouldn't join if I were you. Best wishes.