Archive for category Fitness And Combatives

Funny Stuff: Taliban Fitness

Taliban Fitness

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Military News: Most U.S. Youths Unfit to Serve, Data Shows

   Thanks to Doug for passing this one on.  This is appalling, yet not too surprising.  Maybe Codepink or Al Qaeda should change their strategy, and start Operation Twinky?  Operatives could put delicious cream filled Twinkies and Ho Ho’s in everyone’s mail box, and really fatten up America.

     To fat to fight?….(shaking my head)

   On a serious note, our national security strategy has been severely lacking in preparing this country’s youth for service during a time of national crisis.  We should be directly targeting this group of 17-24 year olds, and figuring out ways of getting them off their ass.  Because it is this group that will be drafted in a time of emergency, and at the very least they should be of the fitness level required to meet that kind of emergency.

   Not to mention the life time of healthcare costs for these individuals.  It benefits all of us, and in so many ways, to promote good health and fitness within our nation’s youth.  Yet again, that would take leadership to push this through, along with innovation.

   I also think the government should do more to support youth groups that promote patriotism, fitness, community service and self sufficiency. Groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and numerous other organizations that focus on today’s youth are exactly the type of organizations that prepare young men and women for the rigors of life and for being citizens of their country.

   On that note, I will not sugar coat my thoughts on the real benefit of groups like the Boy Scouts.  I have meet numerous contractors and military folks who were Boy Scouts.  The Boy Scouts lays the foundation for service to country, and they also give you the mental tools necessary for survival.  The camping, first aid, tracking, fieldcraft, leadership, navigation, and numerous other skills taught in that organization easily transfer on to service in the military.  I know this, because I am a Boy Scout and Eagle Scout, and I know exactly how helpful that experience was to me when I was a Smokejumper, Marine, and now a security contractor.

     The founding fathers of the Scouting Movement, Frederick Burnham and Robert Baden-Powell knew this too, and they certainly put together an idea that has benefited our Nation and our Military in a multitude of ways. And if you click on those links to Burnham and Powell, you will also find their histories to be very interesting. These men were legends in their own times, and did some amazing soldiering all over the world.  Something to think about if you have children. –Matt


Most U.S. youths unfit to serve, data show

By William H. McMichael

Nov 4, 2009

U.S. military-age youth are increasingly unfit to serve — mostly because they’re in such lousy shape.

According to the latest Pentagon figures, a full 35 percent, or more than one-third, of the roughly 31.2 million Americans aged 17 to 24 are unqualified for military service because of physical and medical issues. And, said Curt Gilroy, the Pentagon’s director of accessions, “the major component of this is obesity. We have an obesity crisis in the country. There’s no question about it.”

The Pentagon draws its data from the Centers for Disease Control, which regularly tracks obesity. The steadily rising trend is not good news for military recruiters, despite their recent successes, nor for the overall health of the U.S. population.

In 1987, according to the CDC, a mere 6 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds, or about 1 out of 20, were obese. In 2008, 22 years later, 23 percent of that age group — almost 1 out of 4 — was considered to be obese.

The CDC measures obesity by body mass index, a figure calculated from height and weight that is considered a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people. According to the CDC, the body mass index for a man standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds is 21.8; the normal range lies between 18.5 and 24.9. Below that range is considered underweight; a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A person with a body mass index of 30 or greater is considered to be obese.

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Medical: Steroid Use and Security Contracting, Is It Worth It?

   In this post I wanted to highlight a reality of our industry, and that is the use of steroids.  The availability of the substance in places like Iraq, makes it very easy to get into and you see the results of steroids walking around all the time on contracts and at FOB gyms and chow halls.  Steroid use is big in the military and law enforcement communities as well, and it is an issue that we all must deal with.

     Personally, I don’t use the stuff because I am pretty satisfied with my fitness and body type.  But for some guys who want to be big and look more the part of a muscle-bound protector, steroid use and heavy weight lifting is a big deal.  Not to mention the massive intake of supplements like protein powders, energy drinks or creatine, along with plenty of gym time on the various FOBs that contractors live at.  Like I said, you see a lot of big guys walking around out there.

    To me, I could care less about the physical stuff–it is the mental stuff that comes with steroid use that I am concerned with.  Roid Rage is of concern to me, because if you are carrying a gun out there and protecting someone, do you necessarily want an ultra aggressive mental element impacting your decision making process during a shoot, no shoot situation?

     Now I cannot say for sure that steroid abuse will lead to incidents, because there are no studies directly involving security contractors and steroid use.  What I am saying is that if you are taking the stuff, and you are getting into fights all the time, or snapping at people, or extremely irritable, etc. (noticeable mental change), then maybe you should take a pause and ask yourself if you are a liability?  During an incident, there is plenty of adrenalin and aggression pumping into your veins to carry you through the fight, and to add even more to that chemical stew is unnecessary and dangerous in my view. You want as much control over your mental processes as possible, and any threat to that control is not cool.

    If you are a friend of a steroid user, and you notice that they are mentally changing, then maybe you might want to approach them and give them a heads up.  What kind of friend are you, if you just keep quite as your friend turns into a roid raging monster? Let’s take care of our people out there and keep this stuff in check.

    I want to be careful with what I am saying too, because I know for some guys, steroids is something they depend upon and are able to use with no side effects at all.  It is not my place to preach on what guys should or shouldn’t do to their bodies. But I think if an individual’s use of that substance has become a liability to the team and a threat to the industry, then that is when we should be taking note and trying to police it.

    Also, a few of the companies out there actually have steroid use policies, but not because of the health reasons per se, but because of the legalities of the stuff.  Anabolic steroids were added to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act in the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990. Stuff to think about, if you are contemplating going down this path. –Matt


In Iraq, Muscle Is a Growth Industry

Security Needs Give Bodybuilding a Lift

By Ernesto Londoño and Saad al-IzziWashington Post Foreign ServiceTuesday, June 10, 2008; A01

BAGHDAD — Younis Imad, 18, started lifting weights at the Future Gym along Baghdad’s Palestine Street a little over a year ago. “I was overweight,” he said, taking a break between sets. “I was very upset about that.” He was also in need of a job.

The gym’s entrepreneurial owner, Ali Torkey, took Imad under his wing, gave him dieting tips and put him on a whey protein regimen. Four months ago, newly buff after weeks of working out, Imad secured work as a security guard at a radio station in Baghdad, a city where improving security is reflected in the revival of everyday activities such as bodybuilding.

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Medical: Hydration Talk–Cera Sport and SaltStick, by Doug

Hyponatremia (British: hyponatraemia) is an electrolyte disturbance (disturbance of the salts in the blood) in which the sodium (Natrium in Latin) concentration in the plasma is lower than normal (hypo in Greek; in this case, below 135 mmol/L).

Severe or rapidly progressing hyponatremia can result in swelling of the brain (cerebral edema), and the symptoms of hyponatremia are mainly neurological. Hyponatremia is most often a complication of other medical illnesses in which either fluids rich in sodium are lost (for example because of diarrhea or vomiting), or excess water accumulates in the body at a higher rate than it can be excreted (for example in polydipsia or syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone, SIADH). There may also be spurious hyponatremia (pseudohyponatremia or factitious hyponatremia) if other substances expand the serum and dilute the sodium (for example, high blood levels of fats in hypertriglyceridemia or high blood sugar in hyperglycemia).

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Training: Security Contractor Fitness-What is the Standard?

     So I wanted to do a little something about Physical Fitness Tests for security contracts.  It’s important stuff, because if you don’t pass these tests, you won’t get the job.  In the Smokejumpers, we called it “running for your job” every year.  And for those of you who were in organizations that required yearly or even quarterly PFT’s, you know how much of a pain in the ass they can be.  So it is important to keep up with your fitness.

   Now with security contracting, you have the same thing, but with a different twist.  You never know who you are going to get a job with, and the standards are always different from company to company. Or sometimes the company implements a PFT out of the blue, do to some new policy that came down the pipe.  So being ready for the various PFT’s out there can be kind of a challenge.

   The best thing to do, is to train to a level that would satisfy any PFT from any company.  And this is what I have attempted to do with the information below.  This is not a complete list of companies by any measure, nor is it particularly current.  But what this does, is give you an idea of what is expected out there over the last couple of years. And as a disclaimer, you need to develop your own plan based on your own research and talking with the companies.  I don’t want to give the impression that if you train to my standards below, that it applies to you.  There are too many factors(age, body weight, etc., location) and all I am attempting here is to show you my methodology.

   From the information below, we can start to see some patterns in what is expected.  What I will do is list those standards for each type of exercise, based on the most stringent requirements of the grouping below. Also, you should keep in mind the location of the PT test’s.  If you have to do a test up in the mountains, and your not ready for that elevation, then that can be a problem.  The SOC test is like that.  Or running body armor on can be a challenge, if you haven’t done that in awhile.

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