T Nation

Shipping Out


well, ive been reading the articles and lurking for a bit, figured i would get signed up to become part of the community. been training for about 2 or 3 years, learned most of my stuff from this website, and for that i wanna say thank you to the T-Nation team.

ive always been a fitness buff, and have always tried to keep myself in the best shape possible. a life long dream of mine has been to enlist in the United States Marine Corps, and after a bunch of headaches and jumping through hoops i finally got a ship date. March 26 i start my journey as a recruit at MCRD san diego.

any and all veterans with advice, stories, or words of wisdom would be much appreciated. thank you all in advance.


Welcome to T-Nation! Glad you could join us = )

You haven't really mentioned what your objectives are when it comes to training. Are you going more for general fitness, bodybuilding, powerlifting, mma or maybe something sport specific?

Information pertaining to what you're trying to accomplish with your training will give the community a sense of what you're going for and should yield you with more pertinent responses.

Oh and as always, try the search function first!


1.) Just remember boot camp is a big mental game and enjoy the process. It's really not bad once you figure out the rules and learn to enjoy the "torture" they put you through. If you let the "games" frustrate you you're going to have a crappy time. Hell when else will you get to run through obstacle courses and shoot for free, while being paid, and getting free meals!

2.) Help the recruits that struggle, it'll go a long way with your squad mates and DI's.

3.) Don't sweat the small stuff and don't count the days. They'll be over before you know it.

4.) Learn to love the Quarter Deck and the sand pit!



  • oh and I went to real boot camp :slight_smile: so I can't talk much about MCRD San Diego, but I hear there are some rather big hills to walk up, have fun with that.


hahaha we may be hollywood marines, but we have some big fucking hills dont we? thanks for the advice brotha, cant wait to meet the DIs.


thanks for the welcome man, basically right now, general strength and endurance is my goal, seeing as how im going to boot camp soon. no use in bodybuilding for a while. i have tried to some degree, bodybuilding, powerlifting, oly lifts, and bodyweight training. no where near as strong on any of these as most people but i enjoy lifting, and always will.


Congratulations on your first steps to becoming a Marine.

From what I hear from people now-a-days its tough to get in for some. When I enlisted in 2002, because of the war/s, it was easier I think. None the less, usmccds has some great advice up there.

My advice to you:

-Don't EVER forget why you enlisted. Never. Don't lose that eagerness you have today, because you will at some point (maybe not in boot camp, but in the fleet) have doubts and frustration.

-Boot camp is the easy part, in my opinion and experience.

-Always do what you think is right, and never second guess that.

-Always be a stand up Marine. Be that model Marine that you envision, and be that till the day you die. But don't be over the top, don't forget to have fun and make jokes (not in front of your DIs of course).

-Marine DIs are some of the most special people on the planet, when you graduate and get some experience, you'll realize their importance to Marines and America.

-REMEMBER THIS: Character is built when no one is watching. Think about that.

Best of luck to you man.


Navy guy here, not Marine, but thought I'd weigh in.

Try to learn something from everyone you work with. Even if it is how not to do things(just remember, sometimes you might be the guy who teaches that lesson).

Always be working toward the next step(rank, qualification, leadership position, whatever), and always be training the guy below you to take your job.

SAVE YOUR MONEY. You are most likely going from typical minimum wage type work, to actually getting a decent paycheck every two weeks. You will want to spend it. Either take advantage of TSP, or find some other way to save money. I was told that when I was coming in, now 17 years later, I wish I had listened.

Learn to give results, not excuses. If you screw up, own up to it, fix it, and move on.

Good luck bro.


A lot of good advice so far.

I was in the Army, so my lessons learned may not be 100% in line with what's in store for you. The Army combines basic and AIT for the most part.

Anyone who wanted to be infantry, a ranger or SF went to the same basic and AIT together. Most drill sergeants are dickheads. It is their job to be dickheads. With that said, pay attention, follow directions, do your best, and only ask questions pertinent to the training you're doing at the time. Don't be the guy who asks the drill sergeant (drill instructor in your case) about lifting weights while you're in the middle of running sprints and doing push-ups. That didn't go over well at Fort Benning. Stay focused on where you are and what you're doing. When you have downtime, then it's okay to think about the future or other things, but don't get too carried away.

As far as your training between now and 26 March goes, strength, endurance, sprint speed, and jumping explosiveness are great to have. It is difficult to be a decent distance runner, which the Army expected and still be strong and explosive in your lower body, so all you can do is try your best because the Army would not let us pick one and ignore the other. Upper body strength is pretty easy to maintain even with the distance running and ruck marches, provided you have time to eat enough.

Excess fat is terrible. The Army hated fat people. Too much bulk, even if it was muscle, did not do men much good while they were in basic/AIT because the drill sergeants gave us anywhere between 30 seconds and 4 minutes to eat each of our three meals a day. After 8 or 9 weeks, they lightened up a little at chow time. If you have a short time to eat, be sure to pick the most nutrient dense foods. There's no sense in eating bread and cereal first. I wish I would have known more about nutrition before I joined the Army. It would have made a lot of things easier.

Everybody has weaknesses and the drill instructors will find at least a few of everyone's weaknesses, then they will exploit those weaknesses, so don't obsess about training to prepare for everything and don't get discouraged when you discover a weakness you never knew you had courtesy of the drill instructor.

As far as your time in the Marines after boot camp goes, don't think about it too much yet. Focus on the present and take one step at a time. Best of luck to you.



once you're done with boot, don't be afraid to bodybuild if that's what interests you


thanks to everyone for all of the great advice. Turns out my ship date got moved up to march 19th with a possibility to ship as early as feburary 14th. i finally got my MOS nailed down, and by damn, its a cherry job. 0311 with a security forces B-Billet. i have been looking into security forces as much as possible, and it looks like its right up my alley. anyone have any experience with MCSF?