I’ve been asked more than a few times for my exercise plan, or as we call it in the Marines, “PT Plan.” I don’t do anything crazy, strenuous, or even difficult. In fact, it’s very basic and easy. Before I post the actual PT Plan, I want to put out some of the things I wanted to ensure with my PT Plan:
- I didn’t want to be sore. I am not a “Pain is good” kind of guy when it comes to exercise (or any pain, really, for that matter!). I don’t believe in workouts that require pushing to failure. I’ve never had good luck with them.
- I was not looking to make fast gains. I’m okay with slow, more organic gains.
- I thought about how they transformed us soft kids into hardened, fit Marines in boot camp at MCRD, and I recalled that we did a day of running followed by a day of rest (sometimes two). By the end of boot camp, we were running 8+ mile runs as if they were a walk in the park.
I started with push ups. Before I ran, jogged, or even distance walked, I started with the basic, plain, boring push up. I was only able to do around 10 without feeling like I was going to have to exert myself to failure, so I stopped when the arms started burning. This accomplished two things:
- I wasn’t sore the next day. This is important because I have a life, and I need to use my arms for more than just push ups or exercise.
- I was able to get back to push ups again without dreading them. When I know something is going to hurt, I’m less likely to do it. Since I was able to do push ups without pain, it was easy to drop and knock ’em out.
The result is that within 6 months, I was up to 120 push ups WITHOUT FEELING SORE. EVER. That’s a big deal. Could I have gotten there faster? Sure! But I couldn’t have gotten there with no pain or soreness in the same way I did.
I remember starting an exercise plan in the Philippines while I was stationed there, and I worked out hard with a Gunny who pushed me the whole way. I didn’t make it past the first day. My arms were so sore I couldn’t raise them to wash my hair in the shower the next day. Some people see that as a sign of success; I saw it as the opposite. If I can’t perform basic life tasks and function like a normal person, then the workout is counter-productive to me and to be avoided.
With all that said, here’s my PT Plan:
- Monday: Max push ups and run
- Tuesday: Rest day
- Wednesday: Max push ups and run
- Thursday: Rest day
- Friday: Max push ups and run
- Saturday and Sunday: Rest days
I run 3 times a week. That has gotten me into good enough shape in three months to pass my Army/National Guard PFT, and within 6 months, I was running sub-8 minute miles and doing over 120 push ups in two minutes.
My weight is 160 lbs and my body fat is around 10-11%. I am no longer diabetic, my LDL cholesterol levels are normal, I no longer suffer from fatty liver disease, and my blood pressure is normal. I got there through a Paleo diet and my moderate fitness plan.