T Nation

Prepping for the Army


Hello everyone. New to the forums and such and have a few questions. I'm going to enlist in the United States Army soon and was wondering the best route to take to drop the weight and gain the endurance needed. My goal is to become an MP.

I'm about 215lbs right now so I need to drop the weight. Suggestions on a nice workout to drop the weight, become lean and still maintain enough muscle to do the psychical aspects of training?

I was a smoker for some years (stupid of me, I know). What's the best way to improve my running? I have a feeling that once I start dropping off the fat and losing weight that running will become easier and my distance/times will improve but I'm nervous about actually being able to complete the runs. Right now I can only run about 0.5 miles at a time then I have to walk for about 5 minutes before I can run again. It sucks!

Besides push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and running, is there anything else I should consider doing? I want to be prepared and do my best and succeed within the Army so I'd like to get a head start on everything.

Lastly, what supplements would be recommended for the best possible results before leaving for training to get in the best shape possible. I'm looking along the lines of a pretty nice stack. Fat loss (I'm going with HOT-ROX Extreme. Used it before and I love it) + pre-workout + post-workout + protein.

Any other information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this!


Hey I was in the same boat i was 18 when i enlisted in the Marine Corps never ran I was 225 give or take/

I suggest running and joining the Marine Corps. I have trained with the army and I have seen some soilders that are your weight now, You wont see that in the Marine Corps the only guys that are that big are mostly muscle.

My point and I am serious not just knocking the ARMY because you might have more discipline than the jokers I saw but you should surround yourself with some people like you who want to stay in shape.


He's getting in shape to join the army, not joining the army to get in shape.


Run. When I was running my best times for the 2 mile APFT event I did a long distance run (3-5 miles) 2-3 days per week and did intervals 2 days per week. Start slow and short on the intervals and work up as its an easy way to get hurt when first starting.

A good full body workout 3 days per week to get a good base and mix in some push-ups, and sit-ups just to help for the APFT.

As for the whole Army vs. Marine thing; I have seen just as many fuck-up Marines as I have Army guys. Yes get to where you can work and surround yourself with the type of people who excel, but you can find them in any field of work, including Army MP's (I was an MP for awhile also).

Best of luck to you.


Okay I am an ROTC cadet and I have an APFT every month which is ridiculous. Anyways the events of the APFT whether you know it or not are the 2 minute timed pushups and situps, and the 2 mile run. I am not sure what age you are so I don't know what your standards are but for me this is what I try and do...

If you are training for the APFT why would you train any other way than what you are going to be expected to do? First I do the pushups. I do as many pushups as I can for 2 minutes. After those two minutes are up I pyramid my pushups with 30 as the peak, 12 less than the minimum for that event, until I am pretty much burned out.

Next comes the situps. I do as many as I can in 2 minutes and then do 2-3 more sets with the 52 required for the minimum. As for the run every other day I would run the timed 2 mile to get a diagnostic as the where I am at.

Otherwise on the other days I will alternate between semi-speed training and then endurance running. I find that in regards to the 2 mile it really isn't that endurant of an event as much as a speed one.

I hope this helps but you are going to need to tweak the program to fit your specific standards you have to meet. BTW if you are wondering that is the standards for a 19 year old male, which from reading your post I figure you are a little older than. If you have any questions feel free to ask. HOOAH


I'm 23 so my requirements are a tad bit less than yours. But anyways.

Did you run around the neighborhood or in a gym? If you ran around the neighborhood how did you map out 2 miles? My only idea is drive around in my car for 1 mile, run to that distance then run back. But I don't know how accurate that is. And from what I'm told the running tracks at the high school around here is closed to the public.

By pyramid you mean do 1 rep for the first set then add on +1 rep for each added set until failure then count backwards until you're at 0, right?


Actually I do believe that your age bracket the standards are tougher in certain aspects. You will have to do more pushups and situps then I would but your run time will increase so that is good. Anyways yes that is what I would do is find some sort of outdoor area and map out a mile and then run there and run back. you have to make sure though that the grade is less than 5% up or down.

For the pyramids you don't necessary have to start out at 1 then work your way up. What i mean by that is an alternating from going up to your peak and then going back down. For instance you can start at 15 work to 30 then go back down to 15 adding one rep each set. You can work it to however works best for you since something set in stone hardly works for everyone. Work hard and you should be good to go.

Also even though you can pass the PT test you have to watch out for your weight. You will get taped if you are too heavy and don't quote me but I think you have to be less that 18% bodyfat in order to meet standard.


I'll agree with this workout. I might throw in some hiking/ruck marching once in a while. Start off light, but maybe work up to being able to walk 6-8 miles with moderate weight (30-40 lbs)

I also agree with the statement about army vs marines. I would add that some who beat their chest the loudest, have the least military experience.


I like how you refer to 30-40 pounds in a ruck as moderate weight...Dude Air Assault standards is 30 pound ruck 12 mile road march. There is no way that this guy as a newbie can complete your 30-40 ruck 8 mile road march. If anything training with the ruck start with 15 pounds and do a 2-3 mile march. Once you start to get more advanced and learn to push through the burning in your shins then move to more advanced weights and distances.


Well, I know air assault is the 10 toughest days in the army but....I weighed my back pack for school and it weighed 26 pounds and I carry it about 2 miles on an average school day. Am I ready to go? I'm just joking, the Bullwinkle badge looks too ugly next to my jump wings :wink:

Of course I never meant to imply that he should jump right into it long fast marches, on the other hand I hardly think that a six mile ruck carrying 30lbs with no time limit can be considered rigorous or seen as an impossible accomplishment before basic. Hikers routinely carry more for longer distances. My wife carried 15 pounds for four miles the last time she trained with me and she is by no means an athlete. He doesn't need to be at an EIB or air assault speed, but he should be able to walk for a long time while carrying a load.

I could be mistaken, I went to basic a long time ago.


OK from my military academy days what I remember is the most important part of training for your goal is not absolute strenght but relative bw strenght. You need to be able to handle your weight plus 30lbs for your rucksack and weapon.

There is no set way to prepare for this as it will be the first time you encounter this. Remember this "upper body strenght and lower body endurance".

Go for AM runs
You say that right now you can only run .5miles...that is bad and will get you into trouble. Make it a goal that you will walk, run, crawl until you make the 4 mile mark (Give yourself leeway and don't do the 3 miles only bc in camp they will run you to the ground 5 miles or more). Do this every other day. In between runs you will do another trip of 5 miles this time walking. Not running but just walking. Your goal is to get to do whis walk with a backpack with 25kg on your back for time. Start only with the empty backpack and work 1lb at a time. Whenever you feel stress in your knees, feet or low-back keep the weight the same for 1 or 2 days but keep progressing on the runs.

Then get some warm shower for your knees and feet.

PM 3 days per week
Work on your upper body strenght. Do only chins, OHP and dips. 5x5 and as soon as you can start adding weight do so. In particular for the chins as they will be done first in the routine. Some other people will say squats, deads and all that, but IMHO when you are holding a rifle over your head running deads don't do much to help.

How tall are you?? MP has minimum height requirements.

Good luck


Agreed. Former Army myself. The best thing to do is run, run, and run some more. In addition to the above throw in some BURPEES as well. One of the best progressive running programs I have seen is done by the Navy SEALS. Go to NAVYSEALS.com for the program.


What is your time frame, that will help people frame their answers better.

Running: Starting out right now try to run/walk 2-3 miles twice a week until you can get a consistent pace where you no longer have to walk. 400m/800m intervals at your goal pace 1-2x per week. So if you are shooting for a 16:00 2 mile, then you want to run your 400m in 2 minutes, and 800m in 4 minutes. Take your rest in a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio when those get easier then lessen your rests.

How many push-ups are you able to do currently? Be completely honest with yourself, are you doing these push-ups to Army standard?? I've seen way too many people that think they knew how to do pushups.

With running 3-4 times per week I'd limit gym time to twice a week, focusing on total body both days, one pull day(deadlift variations, weighted pullups, rows...etc), one push day(squat variations, bench, weighted pushups, dips, overhead pressing). That is a very general outline and the intricacies lay upon how much time you will have available prior to shipping out?

Supplements: You haven't mentioned nutrition so I'd place a strong emphasis on that aspect before worrying about HOT-ROX, pre workout nutrition, post workout nutrition...etc. Dialed in nutrition trumps adding X number of supplements any day. Flameout or some other fish oil product is what I'd recommend above all else.

Off topic slightly:
Why do you want to be an MP? Not a knock, I'm an MP, but what are you looking to get out of joining the as an MP?


Learn your regs.


Good suggestions here.


I agree. Throwing a ruck on and working up to 6-8 miles with 35 pounds would be a damn good idea. Its been MANY years since I went to basic and I know things have changed, but I do remember walking with a pack.

And it hasnt been that long ago that I walked for more than 9 hours straight (cant remember the distance covered) with just over 100 pounds on my back. He could easily work up to 35 pounds for 6 or 8 miles along with working his runs and building a good base.

I prefer to only use push-ups and sit-ups as an add on exercise. The main reason is that I just hate to do them. But I think you need to throw them in if your going to be able to do the APFT in above a half ass way. That is why I would only do them as an add on and not ass the core of my workout.

BTW, if you are in your 20s and looking at a 16 min 2 mile time that is not a good start. I hate to run and seldom do unless I am being chased. I am also in my late 30s. I also run in just a shade under 16 min. I dont run well, but then I also dont care. At your age and were you are in your budding career, you need to care more.


Well sjoconn, I had a guess about what you did in the military based on your photo. When you talked of surrounding yourself with quality people, it narrowed it down a bit. But when you mentioned 100lbs rucks and running only when chased, I thought to myself "That sounds like some people I know." Either that or you have read some good books :wink:

Anyway, It seems your advice is pretty solid.

audio, if you have any specific questions about how I trained, where I trained, workouts I used feel free to PM me. It has been a while since I done basic, but the army doesn't change all that quick.


Its great work and I do love my job! I dont have a lot of good advise to give, but every now and then I think I can help. I just hope this is one of those times.

And you are right, there are some things about the Army that just dont change.


Best advice here along with ruck marching, especially in boots. A lot of guys I've talked to have said this is the most physically challenging part of Basic (road marching). I would advise doing honest pushups (APFT standards are not Honest Push ups) if you can do 40 Honest Pushups, you'll most likely max the APFT. Look up the grease the groove method for most of your calisthenic exercises(pullups, pushups, dips). There is nothing wrong with weight training either.

Intervals are the best thing you can do for the running aspect. My BF is a captain in the army and when he was a platoon leader his platoon had the highest average PT scores in his brigade along with something like the all of the top 3 or so spots for individuals because he implemented an interval training program in his platoon.

Lastly, look into crossfit stuff. This kind of training is growing in the armed services and it definitely will help with your endurance and calisthenic exercises.


Hi Audio,
Well as an ex member of the australian army let me say what I know, all you are really going to need is some mental conditioning, the army will sort out your fitness levels.

Try not to rely on any energy supps etc as they will not be allowed in training and you will feel their absense if you get used to things like AMP.

practice by staying active all day, sleeping 3-4hrs a day and go around and piss off guys that itimidate you...hehe

but the main thing is total focus on the task at hand, concentration exercises etc.
for the physical side of things go for off road runs through long grass etc, do pushups till you cant lift your chest of the ground then roll over into sit ups til you fail that then back into push ups etc til you cant do either.

Good luck soldier!