T Nation

Training in the Army


Ok first im an ectomorph hardgainer w/e lol I gain very slowly and can eat whatever i want. But I don't im a very clean eater maybe even too clean since the DFAC is free.

I want to bulk but still stay lean and maintain high pt scores due to my job.

I read that if you burn more calories than you take in you'll shrink.

Some days are Leg day but the very next day is a 5k or 10k or even sprints for a pt session.

If my legs are beyond sore shouldn't I not do long runs and sprints? just focus on recuperating.

Since im a grunt E-4 and below i don't have a choice but to do PT :slightly_smiling:

I currently max pt

75 PU 80 SU 12:51 2 mile
Current one rep max's with the most strictest form
Max bench 245 Goal 315
Max Squat 275 Goal 315
Dont deadlift. ( I know bad form though still working on it)
Over head press 140 Goal 225
I also do a 1 rep max pull up but most people do a ROW i beleive.

how can i reach these goals ? and maintain high cardio and endurance ?
Im trying to be bigger...Stronger...Faster.. With only 6 hours of sleep
Currently deployed so food is w.e chicken n rice the DFAC has. Currently bought the arnold encyclopedia which its great but my time schedule and or food options isnt there.
sorry its a long post any help will be greatly appreciated.


There are a lot of service members on this board which can give great tips. From what I remember the biggest rule of thumb is just work with what you can. Obviously being deployed puts certain strains on eating, sleep, and lifting, just adjusting to not burn out for regular PT but also keeping enough calories to make gains helps. Sorry I know this is vague, hopefully someone more knowledgeable about the lifestyle will chime in.


What’s your job? What I mean is, can you afford to be sore all the time? That will help make a decision for how you should train.

I don’t think there’s any reason for you to do deadlifts if you’re not feeling it.

Can you ask a squad leader for a PT schedule? I fully realize there may not be one and they’re doing what comes to mind on a particular day, but may as well try.

When all else fails, do what you can do in the gym, then do what you can do at PT, then do what you can do in the DFAC. It will work out. Rarely is adversity a bad thing in the long term.


You’ll find a way to make it work if you really want to, the oconus DFACs are pretty baller from when I was in, the Sri Lankan dudes that work there will give you crazy sized portions if you want. Like mentioned before, see if you can figure out a PT schedule so you can play accordingly around that. But you run a sub 13 2 mile so your run has a little room to suffer, you can always just train legs on the weekends if you are off from PT then.


Greetings buddy. I know all too well how it is trying to train while being in the Army. I was in the Army also and was deployed. Most of the members have already gave pretty solid advice. I saw someone else said this but I always had to get my gym time in when I could. A lot of times, I had to get creative. The number one thing that I feel helped me is that I was consistent with going to the gym and consistent with eating properly. Conditions were not always optimal for producing the best results (poor eating, lack of sleep) but as long as you treat working out as something you have to do every day then you should be fine.

If I was ever out in the field, and I needed to workout, I would sometimes get assistance from one of my guys. I did a squat day in the field by using my friend as weight by fireman carrying them and squatting. The point I’m trying to make is that you will find a way to do what you have to if you are truly dedicated.

I wish you the best of luck.



When I was in I did 5/3/1 and tried to plan my lifting days around PT. I’m sure you do some form of running everyday for PT which makes lifting heavy suck. I used 5/3/1 and built up my work capacity so I wouldn’t be crazy sore on days after I trained. I usually did squats at the end of the week giving myself enough time to recover.

I would also recommend that you maintain your sub 13 min run time if possible, I use to run in the 12:15-12:30 and once I started lifting heavy and putting on weight I stopped running and it made getting back into running absolutely suck.


Made the best gains of my life in the army.

Just eat enough to gain. PT shouldn’t fuck up your gains just don’t eat like a 12 year old girl.