PT, Part 2

"Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general." - Mark Rippetoe

Lots of suggestions for a various other workouts and exercises, which wasn't surprising. Everyone has their own preferences and different things that work for them - from walking to playing tennis to kung fu or whatever. I almost put a disclaimer that I realized there are a huge variety of ways to be active and wasn't surveying the tribe for ideas.

Cardio is of course hugely important...gotta have gas in the tank. I walk 4-5 miles in an average day, but don't really consider that 'real' cardio. Quality time with weights and bodyweight exercises gets the blood pumping. 3-4 hours of yard work a week, too.

...but I need to add in some more focused/high intensity cardio. Have had knee problems in the past which make me apprehensive about distance running at this point. Had a punching bag back in the day that I really enjoyed wailing on...need to set up another one.

Diet. Obviously going to be hard to lose weight if you're eating thousands of calories more than you're burning.

I actually eat pretty well - cleaner than more people that I know. Minimal junk food, avoid mass amounts of carbs, lots of good salads, lots of protein...do drink zero cal energy drinks for daily caffeine fix, which I need to cut. Weight has been stable for years; not decreasing, though.

Have been tracking calories / food using an app called MyFitnessPal for the past several months. It's kind of clunky and mildly annoying, but it helps, especially tracking macro nutrients. I am pretty good of keeping mental track of my calories, but macros (carb/protein/fats) are harder. Recommend the app approach...it's helpful for understanding what you're taking in, and makes you really take notice when you eat crap.

I have been hitting 1700-2000 calories a day, which is a pretty significant deficit over what my "maintenance" intake should be, especially when you factor in exercise. Low carbs (about 15% of my daily intake). Lots of protein. Good stuff. The apps will help you figure out what your calorie intake should be, or there's some simple math (13-18 calories per pound) that you can track down with a Google search.

Another book to check out is Pat McNamara's Sentinel. Pat Mac is an ex-SFO-D (Delta) guy, epic beard owner and in hella good shape. Though it's not the primary focus of Sentinel, he talks a bit about his Combat Strength Training program, which is completely in line with the brand of fitness we want. Mix of strength,  Pat's also written a series of articles in Recoil magazine on the topic that I need to go hunt down.

Had some bills come up this past week that look like they may delay the garage gym I want to set up, but that's life. Lots of stuff that can be done with minimal equipment.

Had a crap day yesterday (see above around bills), got home late and could have easily come up with some kind of excuse to just crash on the couch. But I naa, I'm committed. Can't stop me that easily.

Tomorrow is my big PT day of the week, and I'm looking forward to it. Excited to get in there and crush it. Destroy that sucker.



Big goal for the year had been to get into better shape.

Grew up as more the video game / nerd type (kids these days and their damn video games). Was a regular tub-o-lard through most of my youth, lost about 100 pounds in my early 20s (mostly through diet), got married. Gained 40 pounds of "sympathy" weight during my wife's first pregnancy, and have been pretty stable at that weight for the past six years--5'11 and 225, plus or minus five pounds depending on the season, despite more than a few failed attempts to drop some weight.

One of the reasons: I've not been particularly serious / focused on adding any kind of PT, weights, etc. to the mix. Inconsistent focus on body weight stuff--push ups, burpees, squats, etc. I work an office job, so that's not doing me any favors, either.

I agree 1000% with the importance of being in shape for survival/self defense or anything of the variety...can't help anyone else if you're gassed out, collapsed on the ground trying to catch your breath. Or you're too weak to haul your fat ass over a wall, blow out your knee trying to drop into a prone position or wreck your back lifting a box. Or you die of a heart attack in your 50s because you didn't take care of your damn self.

Yep, I get it. We want to be strong, fit, and hey, look a lot better, too.

But honestly I have never gone down the rabbit hole of how the hell to get myself in shape. Never learned growing up, and hadn't put in the work to educate myself.


Mad Max: Fury Road - Legacy Trailer

Some epic-ness right here.

Have been waiting for this movie ever since the summer after 4th grade, when I caught a re-run of Thunderdome on TBS and fell in love. Spent the rest of that summer building dune buggies out of Legos.

Yep, it'd be better with Mel, but Charlize is certainly an upgrade from Tina Turner.


Discussion on Gear Evolution - Battle Belts, flexibility and plans

Last week, MVT posted up a video talking through his current fighting gear / load bearing equipment, which includes a new chest rig made to his specs. It also includes a pretty cool first person run through a shooting scenario - worth paying attention here to pick up on some of the tactics/techniques that Max teaches.

The set up that Max shows here - a light battle belt and midweight chest rig is interesting in that it is a pretty significant shift from the heavy British Para-webbing style battle belt that he used to be a big advocate for--here's the most recent example that I can find:

Image via MVT.
10-12ish mags, handgun, 4x canteen pouches on the back and a couple handgun pouches to round it out. We'll call it a "British-style" battle belt for lack of a better name.

I toyed around with a British battle belt, similar to Max Velocity's, through part of last year. Went cheap on the belt - got a Condor knock off and their harness, bought a few surplus USGI canteen pouches and used pouches that I had lying around to cobble one together.

Found a lot to like about it - way better load carrying ability and generally more comfortable / better mobility than a comparable weight of chest rig. Gives you the ability to carry a decent amount of food, a canteen, survival gear and a big IFAK, which can be a challenge using other load carrying gear. Good place to put your sidearm and good access to it. Easily adjusts to different weights of clothing, too.

After a bit of T&E, I ended up giving up on a British-style battle belt for my purposes, at least for the time being. Why?

The big deal breaker is operations in/around vehicles, and to a lesser extent moving through structures/room clearing. Canteen/utility pouches on the back and triple-thick mag pouches on the hips extends your width pretty significantly and you start having to turn sideways to get through doors, can't sit in a normal car comfortably, etc.

Image via BPRE
There's also no lighter/low threat profile to choose from with just the heavy belt. A lighter battle gives you the option of operating with just the lighter, more comfortable, lower profile belt on. Options and flexibility are good.

Of course, this isn't exactly a revelation--Max's heavier weight battle belts were a bit of an outlier in the tactical gear world. Folks have been running lighter battle belts in conjunction with a lighter chest rig or plate carrier mounted pouches for a while.

It looks like Max has arrived at a similar conclusion and ditched his big ol' battle belt, at least for general use. In his recent write-up on the new chest rig featured in the video above, Max says:

I have most recently been settling on using a light battlebelt, which is comfortable enough to wear most of the time, augmented by a chest rig. I feel that this is the most practical application across operational environments; it works well for both dismounted operations, vehicle operations, and with or without armor.

This matches my own personal assessment after running a variety of gear - plate carriers with pouches directly attached, stand alone chest rigs of a variety of sizes, 'British' battle belt, etc.

I'm currently mid-process of re-building my kit to incorporate three different layers - light battle belt, chest rig and slick plate carrier. In conjunction with concealed carry/daily carry gear, these standalone pieces give you the flexibility of different profiles to address different situations. Slick plate carrier and CCW if anticipating potential trouble but need to maintain low profile. Light battle belt for running drills on the range or hunting. Throw it all together if the Nazi Zombies are at the front gates.

Chest rig and carrier are sorted out - HSP D3CR and a Velocity Lightweight Plate Carrier. I may down the line drop some coin on a custom rig from Extreme Gear Labs, designers of the D3CR, but generally the stock D3CR does what I need it to do. Looking forward to a couple of the enhancements HSP has in the works this year. The ability to directly attach the D3CR to the carrier, or run it as a standalone rig is money.

Battle belt is a work in progress - ideally want pistol, pistol mags x2, 2-3 rifle mags, dump pouch, IFAK, H2O of some variety, flashlight and multi-tool. Maybe comms, too. Not sure if I can manage all of that with the given real estate, but we'll see.

Follow up posts/reviews are incoming.

In my experience, most people are continually tinkering with/adjusting their gear. Trying new things, incorporating new ideas or revisiting old ones. Travis Haley makes a big emphasis on preaching the importance of staying dynamic and adaptive...and at worst, adjusting and evaluating what you're doing exposes you to different ideas and keeps you on your toes.

Interested to hear from the tribe - are you tinkering with your battle rattle? What gear ideas have you tried out recently and left by the wayside?


Still alive...

Not dead, in jail or abducted by aliens. Busy busy with life and other projects. 

Have more than a few things that I need to get wrapped up and posted -- stay tuned.


The Walking Dead - Season 5 Finale

Spoilers after the jump.