Corps Strength Fitness Program: Initial Review - ITS Tactical
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Corps Strength Fitness Program: Initial Review

By Bryan Black

I recently received a fitness book called Corps Strength from former U.S. Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Paul Roarke, who had contacted us a few weeks back to see if we’d be interested in reviewing his program.

While initially skeptical, I emailed him back and expressed my interest in reviewing the book and offering my honest perspective of his program based on my experience at BUD/s and with the CrossFit Certification I hold.

Since leaving the Navy, I’ve been involved with CrossFit in some shape or form, but have always struggled to find a program that provides what MGySgt Roarke refers to as “working fitness.”

Working Fitness

Working fitness is defined in Corps Strength as a program that’s effective, flexible, and time efficient. Roarke developed Corps Strength as a program that provides a 24/7 level of conditioning that gives someone the ability to do just about anything, at any given time, and do it all pretty well. It also provides a foundation of fitness that, with a short amount of specialized focus, will allow doing something specific (like a sport) really well.

It was developed to provide the ability to “work,” to get the job done, whenever and whatever that may be. Hence the term “working fitness.”

I really love the terminology Roarke defines, and can appreciate the need for a program like this. While I don’t currently specialize in any sport, I pretty much blew this year’s marathon training and triathlons due to a nasty hamstring injury that occurred last year, I’ve been needing something to build myself back up and my current training regimen has become monotonous.

CrossFit for me has been great, but always leaves me wanting more out of the WODs (Workout Of the Day). I had to also integrate my own program for running, swimming, etc. And when I did start to specialize to work towards marathon training and triathlons, the WODs often felt like too much.

Working fitness also parallels what I’ve been preaching about functional strength and the entire program presented in Corps Strength is all about building functional strength.

Corps Strength

I don’t want to get too much into the program before I have a chance to put it to the test, but in addition to a no BS approach to fitness (no fancy fitness products, DVDs, or supplements), Roarke advocates a three-pronged fitness attack called EPRS (Enhanced Physical Readiness System). I found it hilarious that he says “give me a break-I had to call it something, and as a Marine acronyms are what I know.” I know the feeling!

The program is broken down into SAT (Stand Alone Training), Support, and Active Rest. SAT is the core workout including warm-up and cool-down, Support is an activity or sport that is strenuous and “supports” the SAT (like swimming, biking, or even scuba diving), and Active Rest is not just plopping down on the couch after the day is through. It’s getting out and washing the car, mowing the yard, or even walking the dog.

It’s been great to read Roarke’s perspective on fitness and even eating, as I’m in complete agreement with all of it. You don’t need any more than a multi-vitamin for supplements, and eating right is as simple as eating real food from the earth. This in turn leads to weight loss, coupled with a good fitness program. Of course the book goes into more detail, but I’ll get into that once I’ve put it into action.

I really like that the way I eat is what Roarke recommends. He advocates snacking mid-morning and mid-afternoon if you must, but I’m a big advocate of these snacks and feel it’s what I need. This kind of healthy eating is also the same advice I’d personally give to anyone interested in losing weight, or changing their diet. It’s common sense, which is why it works so well.


I’m looking forward to getting started on Corps Strength and will follow up with this review after I’ve put the program through its paces. While I’ve  offered an initial review of the program,  I want to be honest with a complete evaluation, because I truly feel this program has excellent potential.

Needless to say that I’m no longer a skeptic of the program, and truthfully my doubts subsided after reading just a few pages.

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