Editor-in-Chief’s Note: This post was written by Brett and Kate McKay and originally ran onThe Art of Manliness. Have men these days “gone soft?” Is our generation less manly than past generations? Are we less tough than our grandfathers?
I see guys debate these kinds of questions all the time. Of course it’s hard to quantify “toughness,” but there is one area where we can definitively say we’ve slipped–the Army fitness test isn’t as hard as it used to be.
The Army first introduced a formal fitness test to the troops in 1942. Millions of men were being called up to fight in World War II and not all of them were prepared for the rigors of combat. To get the men in fighting shape, the Army implemented a systematic physical development program as part of the Combat Basic Training course. The Army Ground Forces Test was designed to assess whether the program was having its desired effect. The test included squat jumps, sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, and a 300-yard run. The emphasis was on functional fitness and giving American GI’s the strength, mobility, and endurance they would need to tackle real tasks on the battlefield.
In 1946, a Physical Training School was created at Fort Bragg with the mission of exploring how to take the goal of functional fitness farther. The training program developed at the school and the fitness test were codified in the 1946 edition of FM 21-20, the Army’s physical training manual.
Basically, Grandpa was doing Cross-Fit before it was cool. [Read More…]
I’m not a professional runner by any stretch of the imagination but I do thoroughly enjoy lacing up my shoes and getting some run time in. I find running to be a great stress reliever in addition to the obvious health benefits.
With technology today, most people become obsessed with their stats when they really should be running more like a dog. Dogs are simple. They don’t care when they run. It could be night or day, rain or shine. They are just happy to run.
That said, it is still a good idea to keep track of your running so you can measure growth and performance. There are a number of apps and websites out there that enable you to get more out of your running but won’t distract you from enjoying the great outdoors.
I wanted to talk a little about swimming for fitness today and highlight a tool that’s quickly become mandatory when I’m swimming. I was gifted a SportCount Lap Counter for Christmas a few weeks back and I don’t think I’ll ever swim laps again without one.
I’ve always had issues with trying to remember what lap I’m on when swimming and seem to zone out to the point where I quickly forget if I was on 10 or 11. Typically this isn’t important if you’re not trying to establish some kind of baseline time for your laps or an overall time for swimming a mile.
Zoning out while swimming can be very beneficial and I’ve had some of my best ideas while thinking about nothing during my laps. With a SportCount lap counter it’s made swimming laps much more enjoyable and rewarding. [Read More…]
Here’s a quick video I made going through a simple shoulder routine that I try to do as a cool-down after every taxing shoulder workout; like pull-ups, push-ups and dips. I also go through pyramid workouts in the video and why they’re a great thing to throw into your routines.
Adding in this simple and lightweight routine can not only help you save and strengthen your shoulders, but also help you recover from a shoulder injury!
On New Years Eve, I completed the first ever GORUCK Scavenger in Washington DC. Due to OPSEC, you won’t find a lengthy after action report but I can provide just the most bare bones intel from this classified event.
The first rule of Scavenger: “No talking about Scavenger.”
The only way to find out what you are missing is to do a Scavenger for yourself. Since this is a GORUCK Tough Alumni event only, so you’ll have to complete a GORUCK Challenge first. Trust me, it’s worth the price of admission.
One of the hardest things about the GORUCK Ascent for us has been figuring out how exactly to describe it. It was so much more than simply getting the opportunity to climb multiple 14,000 foot peaks and even more than a field test for the GORUCK GR2 pack.
Hand the GORUCK GR2 to an avid backpacker or mountaineer and they’ll most likely begin pointing out what makes their pack better. It’s lighter, it has a waist belt, it’s colorful… you get the idea. But we assure you, the GR2 was in no way a simple bag. It’s not only capable of summiting 14′ers, but getting you to and from every campsite and trail head in between.
Throughout this article you’ll be reading both of our (Bryan’s and Mike’s) experiences during the Ascent and our journey along the way.
The GORUCK Ascent wasn’t just an event that forged friendships, took us out of comfort zone and forced us to overcome adversity daily, but introduced us to parts of ourselves that we never knew existed. While the Ascent wasn’t billed as a GORUCK Challenge, what we came away with is truly what a “challenge” is all about. Personal growth. [Read More…]
We have all been there: dragging our feet to the gym and trying to get in a decent workout for an hour or so, but somehow always falling short.
The most common excuses are a hard day at work or not getting enough sleep. Every now and then those excuses are true and we do need a day off, but there are times when we use the excuse and truthfully it’s just us being lazy. That’s when things start going downhill. We miss a day, then a week and then we rarely workout.
When we get back to it, the uphill battle starts in order to get back to where we were. By spicing up your workouts you can push those excuses away and avoid losing your hard-won progress. [Read More…]
The air is thin at 14,000 feet. That’s a little over two and a half miles straight up. At that altitude, the oxygen available is only 61% of that which is available at sea level. Breathing and heart rates will be more strained, struggling to find oxygen. That’s why fitness is both paramount and completely irrelevant.
When it comes to altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness), it doesn’t always matter how physically fit you are. Being as in shape as possible is still important and if you don’t do what you can to prepare your muscles for the riggers of non-stop uphill hiking, you’re going to have quite an interesting time.
What Bryan and I have been focusing on are a mixture of physical fitness and gear choice. We plan on arriving to Colorado a few days early for the GORUCK Ascent to try and get a head start on the acclimatization process. In a best case scenario, we would need a good couple of weeks at altitude to truly acclimate but a few days certainly won’t hurt. Also, having quality lightweight gear will make the hiking less strenuous on our bodies. [Read More…]
The first thing that I typically hear when I tell someone about GORUCK, is “what’s that?” GORUCK is definitely not a common word, but neither is ruck to those outside of the military and the UK.
Short for rucksack, ruck is how our ALICE packs (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) were referred to when I was issued mine in the Navy. While a lot has changed since the initial development of the external frame ALICE Pack, they’re still being issued today to our military.
Whether using an ALICE Pack or another ruck, our troops hump weapons and equipment everywhere and it’s from this that the GORUCK Challenge was born.
go·ruck noun [verb go + verb ruck] ruck is a noun short for rucksack (aka backpack), it’s also a verb: to ruck is to move with a rucksack, and implies action, energy, and purpose.
Lately I’ve been going on Ruck Runs to build myself up for the GORUCK Challenges I’ll be doing in Oklahoma and Dallas this year, followed by the GORUCK Ascent in September with Mike.
While I haven’t done many Ruck Runs since leaving the Navy, I still use the construction techniques I was taught at BUD/s to make different weighted “pills” to run with in my pack/ruck.
Pills you say? Yep, that was how we used to refer to the taped up sandbags we’d run with during Second Phase in BUD/s. Primarily because the taped sandbags resemble pills and there’s the whole “take your pills” chant that you’d tell yourself when it was time to go for the Ruck Runs. [Read More…]