By SGT Volkin
Fitness enthusiast Michael Volkin joined the Army only a few days after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. He left his job and family and after he graduated basic training, he was quickly deployed to Iraq. But Sergeant Volkin had an interesting job. Among his other duties, he was assigned to be the company fitness trainer. As one of the first wave of soldiers stationed in Iraq, he found himself having to lead a company through fitness regimens with little to no equipment available. So Sergeant Volkin quickly became an expert with bodyweight exercises.
After redeployment back to the states, Sergeant Michael Volkin’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. “I was living in California and she was in Texas and I just felt helpless. What could I do to help her half-way across the country? “said Michael Volkin. “But then I got an idea, I started drawing bodyweight exercises I learned in the military on cards.” The creation of just a few cards eventually grew to 114 bodyweight exercise cards he now calls Strength Stack 52. He is launching his product on Kickstarter with a compelling video explaining the story behind his bodyweight fitness cards.
“My mom was loving these cards.” Said Sergeant Volkin “I knew they were portable enough for her to take anywhere, and the exercises required no equipment so she could grab a workout wherever she was, in the hospital, at home, wherever. Her energy level went up and she asked me to make more.”
The fitness cards aim to make fitness fun by creating a gaming environment around exercising. All the cards are labeled by skill level, they’re all suited for playing games and numbered in order of difficulty. They’re even color coded by body type, so for example, if you want just a leg workout, you can pull out just the yellow cards. Probably the coolest feature is the QR code. When the QR code is scanned with a Smartphone, a video of the exercise on that card plays.
So with a full deck you can now turn a classic game of war into a fitness challenge, or bring the cards to work and play the coworker drop.
These fitness cards are getting big attention. They were recently featured on NBCs the Today’s Show showcased by the senior fitness editor of Women’s Health Magazine.
“This product was created completely by accident.” says Sergeant Volkin. “It was intended just for my mother, but then I realized the diverse demographic of people who could benefit from them. The busy person that has no time for the gym, or those that go to the gym and want to add variety to their workouts; Military personnel, crossfitters, families can play fitness games with each other, people who want to start working out, or even the advanced exercise enthusiast who wants to break through plateaus.”
You can check out Sergeant Volkin’s Kickstarter campaign between September 19th and October 18th.
By SGT Volkin
A question posted recently on Quora asked, “How much stronger is the United States military compared with the next strongest power?” It was answered by Daniel Kearns, former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. Check out what he had to say and add your experiences in the comments below.
1,000 times. Maybe more.
No other military or combination of militaries could even begin to inflict the slightest numbers of casualties on the United States military in a conventional war.
Consider: The U.S. spends close to what the entire rest of the world spends in defense. $711 billion. Per year. The next closest is China at $143 billion.
The M1 Abrams tank has seen more combat than just about any other tank on the battlefield today. It has never been knocked out by enemy fire. (Completely killed). Ever.
China has less than 500 Type 99 tanks, that have just been developed, and are not even close to being as good as the Abrams. We have 8,700 Abrams.
We have 10 aircraft carriers. The good kind. Everyone else has 10. Combined. And they are mostly small ships that can launch helicopters.
There are 8,400 attack helicopters in the world. The U.S. has 6,400 of them.
The United States has engaged in every type of ground warfare in the last 20 years. From mountains to jungles, and from desert to urban, we have the some of the most experienced warriors in the world. No other country comes close to the amount of combat veterans that we have.
We own all the satellites that guide GPS systems. We have all the advanced stealth technology. The latest sensors? U.S. The latest information systems? U.S. An Abrams tank can see a target, the tank commander can instantly send that target to every tank in his company.
Now you have 14 tanks looking for you. Oh, and it also uploads to every Apache helicopter in the area. Every indirect and direct fire system in the area knows what you are and where you are. Your survivability just dropped to 0. Instantly.
Fighting a conventional war against the U.S. would be like a 3-year-old child playing chess against Gary Kasparov. They wouldn’t even know what they were supposed to be looking at.
*Edit: The purpose of the answer is not borne out of some nationalistic sense of pride, although I am a U.S. veteran and consider myself patriotic, but rather to call attention to how much larger the U.S. military industrial complex is than the entire rest of the world.
I truly believe that the rest of the world really has no clue just how powerful the U.S. military is. We must begin to question the disparity of lethality between the U.S. and the rest of the world. But we must also question, if not the U.S., who? Who do we want to have the largest military? China? North Korea? Or an ally like the UK?
Do we need to have 1,000 times the lethality of the closest military in strength? Or would 100 times suffice? I don’t have the answer to those questions, nor am I purporting to. But I think it’s important to begin a dialogue.
About the author
“The Question” section brings together user-generated articles from Quora, a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users who are often experts in their field. The site aggregates questions and answers for a range of topics, including the military. The questions and answers featured here on are posted directly from Quora, and the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of M1.
By SGT Volkin
It’s been three months, you’ve been hitting the gym routinely and you can’t see or feel any difference in your physique. So what you do is search the internet for some magical new workout routine that will help break this plateau; some possible workout secret that’s been posted to a blog that has somehow eluded you all these years. Stop what you’re doing right now and pay attention. What I am about to show you may not seem exciting or interesting, but could be the one aspect standing between you and making progress in the gym.
I am about to say a word that you have heard before but haven’t really paid attention to. That word is stretching. I am not talking about the stretching your grandparents used to do; I am talking about dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching before a workout has many benefits such as increased flexibility and range of motion, improved cardiovascular capacity and core strength, and yes even increased strength and power. The static stretching you do is fine after a workout, but before a workout it actually has been proven to decrease muscle performance. On the other hand, dynamic stretching before a workout has been proven to improve muscle performance.
If you are an athlete, pretend to be one, or just want to look good in the mirror, it is essential that dynamic stretching be a part of your workout routine. Your workout should be divided into 4 phases:
Phase 1: Active warm-up (example: 5-10 minutes on an elliptical machine)
Phase 2: Dynamic stretch (example: use Tee Major’s excellent routine)
Phase 3: Workout routine
Phase 4: Static stretching (example: use BuiltLean.com’s routine)
So let’s focus in on Phase 2. Ideally, a dynamic stretch routine should take about 10-15 minutes. However, there is no harm in taking 15 minutes or longer to do dynamic stretching. Tee Majors dynamic stretch routine describes many examples of exercises, but I’ll describe a couple below for you diehards who are on your way to the gym for a tough leg workout.
Monster Walks- Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your knee straight, kick your left leg up reaching with your right arm out to meet it as you simultaneously take a step forward. As soon as your left foot touches the floor, take two steps and repeat the movement with your right leg and left arm. Alternate back and forth.
Spiderman with Extension- Drop into a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders. Drive your right foot up and place it flat on the ground outside your hand. Rock back onto the heel of your right foot and elevate your toes into the air. Walk your hands forward until you are back in a push up position and repeat on the opposite side.
There you have it, two quick examples of dynamic stretches you can incorporate in your workout routine today.
With your new found knowledge of dynamic stretching, grab yourself a deck of my new invention, Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards.
By SGT Volkin
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the movie premier of Man of Steel before the rest of the world. I was shocked to see how ripped Henry Cavill (Superman) got. After some research I discovered his secret for packing on massive muscle in such a short time. Let me share with you my findings.
First, let me state that Henry Cavill worked with a top fitness expert named Mark Twight. He owns a gym called Gym Jones in Salt Lake City. Mr. Twight is the same person who worked with the cast of 300. Guys, if you haven’t seen this movie, ask your girlfriend/wives, I guarantee you they remember this movie fondly. The movie 300 had more six packs in it than Animal House.
Ok, let’s go through Henry Cavill workout routine that got him huge for Man of Steel, then we will discuss his meal plan.
Ideally, you should be on a 2 day on-1 day off cycle.
Monday (Upper body, strength)
- Incline dumbbell press – 4 sets x 5 reps
- Flat dumbbell press – 3 sets x 5 reps
- Weighted chin ups – 4 sets x 5 reps
- Dumbbell/Barbell row – 3 sets x 5 reps
Once done, do the 10 card monte with Strength Stack 52. Deal 10 bodyweight cards at random and complete the cards on each exercise. After you complete the exercise on each card, take 8 controlled breaths through your nose. Do nothing else, don’t check your phone, play with the songs on your ipod or check yourself out in the mirror. Get at least 8 hours of sleep. These exercises will be the perfect burnout to pair those muscle fibers to prepare them for growth during your rest period.
Tuesday (Lower body, strength)
- Deadlift – 5 sets x 5 reps
- Squat – 5 sets x 5 reps
- Front lunges – 3 sets x 8 reps per leg
- Calf raise – 5 sets x 12 reps
Once done, do the 10 card monte with Strength Stack 52.
Thurs (Chest and Back, hypertrophy)
- Incline dumbbell press – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Cable crossover – 4 sets x 10-12 reps
- Weighted chin ups – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Seated cable row – 4 sets x 10-12 reps
Once done, do the 10 card monte with Strength Stack 52.
Friday (Shoulders and arms, hypertrophy)
- Seated dumbbell press – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Side lateral raise – 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Front Lateral raises – 2 sets x 10-12 reps
- Any bicep curl variation – 6 sets x 10-12 reps
- Any tricep extension variation – 6 sets x 10-12 reps
Once done, do the 10 card monte with Strength Stack 52.
Saturday and Sunday (Rest)
Note: You can do some soft tissue work (with foam roller or tennis ball), some stretching, and maybe even some walking but don’t do any high intensity activities.
The Tailpipe meal plan
Consume 5,000 calories a day with as much protein a possible. If you want specific recommendations on meals, check out Jim Stoppani’s meal plan at Bodybuilding.com .
Breakfast: Oatmeal with dried fruit and almond milk. 1 serving of fruit.
Snack: Natural protein bar. Sports recovery drink
Lunch: Salad of your choice but must include chicken breast, 30g avocado and 90g low-fat cheese. Low-fat dressing.
Snack: 60g nuts.
Dinner: 125ml vegetable soup. 180g salmon with lemon sauce, asparagus and wild rice.
Snack: 250ml fat-free cottage cheese. 30g nuts.
Breakfast: Protein shake (blend 1 banana, 50g berries, 1 scoop protein powder, 250ml almond milk).
Snack: Hummus with carrots
Lunch: 250ml vegetable soup. Salad with chopped turkey.
Snack: 1 green apple. 2tbsp almond butter.
Dinner: 180g chicken breast with 2tbsp honey chili sauce, quinoa and snap peas.
Snack: 20g casein protein.
Breakfast: Egg white omelet. Handful of strawberries.
Snack: 225g cottage cheese.
Lunch: Tuna salad with greens. 250ml soup.
Snack: 8 almonds. Carrot, apple, celery and ginger juice drink.
Dinner: 225g swordfish with mango and ginger sauce, wild rice and 1 medium artichoke.
Snack: Fresh pineapple with 225g cottage cheese.
Breakfast: Muesli with almond milk. 1tbsp protein powder. Carrot, apple, celery and ginger juice drink.
Snack: 240ml low-sodium V8 juice. 2tbsp peanut butter.
Lunch: Stir-fry 170g scallops with 250g Chinese vegetables, garlic, onion and ginger in 2tbsp olive oil.
Snack: Protein shake (blend 1 banana, 250ml carrot juice, 1 scoop protein powder).
Dinner: 225g turkey burger with coleslaw (no bun). 250ml gazpacho.
Snack: 20g casein protein.
Breakfast: 250g fat-free plain Greek yoghurt. 1 banana.
Snack: 225g unsalted nuts. Carrot, apple, celery and ginger juice drink.
Lunch: Veggie burger with sautée vegetables and salad. 125ml vegetable soup.
Snack: 20 pistachio nuts.
Dinner: Tuna salad with plenty of greens. 250ml chilled cucumber soup.
Snack: 225g cottage cheese. 30g mixed nuts.
Breakfast: Scrambled egg white or egg white omelette with mushrooms. Handful of strawberries. 170g cottage cheese.
Snack: 1 tomato. 50g fat-free cheese.
Lunch: Soup and salad of your choice (include 2tsp sesame seeds).
Snack: 50g turkey jerky. 280g almonds.
Dinner: 280g halibut with 4tbsp pesto, wild rice and courgette.
Snack: 20g casein protein.
Breakfast: Egg white omelette with spinach. Handful of strawberries.
Snack: Fresh pineapple with 30g cottage cheese. 225g unsalted nuts.
Lunch: 280g steak with salad of your choice (include avocado).
Snack: 1 apple with 2tbsp almond butter.
Dinner: Beef and broccoli stir fry. 250ml miso soup. 1tbsp protein powder.
Snack: 225g cottage cheese. Handful of mixed nuts.
This article was written by military fitness expert Sergeant Michael Volkin.
By SGT Volkin
I have recently received questions from people asking if they can be a vegan and go through basic military training (BMT) successfully. The short answer is yes, but it would be very difficult.
My longer answer is….
A vegan is someone who does not eat any animal products, which includes eggs, milk, or cheese. They must either takes supplements (which are not allowed at BMT), or identify other non-animal substitute foods to make up for the lack of nutrients. Foods such as avocado, beans, legumes, nuts, kale, tahini, are all common ingredients in a vegan diet. However, they are not all very common in a BMT chow hall.
Another consideration is the nutrient content of the vegetables provided at basic training. As a true vegan will tell you, any vegetable that has been processed, such as canned or frozen, does not contain the full amount of nutrients as it does in its raw form. Vegans often closely regulate how much heat is used when cooking their food (if any); knowing that at a certain heat index the vegetable looses much of its nutrients. The vegetables at BMT are processed and often cooked, lessoning their nutritional value. However combined with other foods, such as meats and dairy products they can create a complete nutritional meal. Without meats and dairy, they may not provide the necessary nutrients your body will need.
Because of these considerations BMT is not conducive for a healthy vegan diet.
This is not to say that it cannot be done. The human body is extremely resilient; however you will not feel or perform your best while living in this high stress, highly physical environment. Anyone who has gone through BMT will tell you that physically and mentally you are taxed the entire time. Feeling your best is essential to making BMT as stress free as possible, but if you are adamant about sticking to your vegan diet, just know that it is yet another hurdle you will have to surpass.
SGT Michael Volkin is the author of The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, which helps recruits ace basic training. He is also the inventor of the new fitness product Strength Stack 52. A deck of bodyweight fitness cards designed to get you in shape for basic training.
By SGT Volkin
I was fortunate enough to interview Dr. Brian Wansink, lead author to over 100 academic articles and books, including his best-seller Mindless Eating. Dr. Wansink spent a lifetime studying the reason for the decisions people make when they eat. Whether you are someone who is interested in losing weight, or even a nutrition expert, you will find this interview interesting and eye-opening.
Sergeant Volkin: Your book mindless eating has opened many people’s eyes into what food they put in their mouth. Which of our senses provides the biggest biased on what foods we choose to eat?
Dr. Wansink: Well, all of our senses affect the way we eat but our eyes affect our eating decisions the most. In one study involving chicken wings, a group of students were invited to an all-you-can-eat Buffalo Wing feast. The students were free to serve themselves from an open buffet of chicken wings and were able to go back for more during the game. There were bowls at each table to hold the wing bones. During the course of the game, waitresses collected the bowls and replaced them with empty bowls – but only at half of the tables. At the other tables, the bowls containing the finished wings were not picked up.
Dr. Wansink: After the game, me and my team weighed the discarded bones from each table. The students who didn’t have the leftover bones as a reminder of how much they had already eaten, ate more – an average of seven wings per person; versus five wings per person of the other group. Although a 2 wing difference (at 100 calories each) doesn’t sound like much; that translates to 200 additional calories per day which equals a weight gain of 20 pounds per year.
Sergeant Volkin: One of your findings suggests that nationality plays a role in our food psychology. For example, the French know they are done with their food when they feel full. When asking Chicago residents, your results show they are done when their plate is empty. Do you think this mindset is the reason for the obesity epidemic in America?
Dr. Wansink: There are many reasons for the obesity epidemic but that reason is only a very small part. In my opinion, the greater contribution to the obesity epidemic in this country is the affordability and availability of food.
Sergeant Volkin: Let’s talk about children. Obviously marketing has got very sophisticated over the years and it is harder than ever to get kids to eat their fruit and vegetables. You did a study and found that by adding fruit to the end of a lunch line, it increases fruit sales 70%. Same with vegetables. You can increase sales 25% just by giving vegetables catchy names. So let’s use the example of a typical mom with a couple of children. This mom is cooking her children dinner, what can she do in her home to get her kids more excited about fruits and vegetables?
Dr. Wansink: It is estimated that 70% of all fruits and vegetables consumed in the home are consumed during dinner. However, only 23% of dinner meals served in the home have a vegetable or fruit option. So always be sure to serve a vegetables or fruit at dinner. Another tip you can do to increase your child’s consumption of fruit and vegetables it to have a bowl of fruit or a vegetable tray within 2 feet of where your child will walk in the house. This will give your child easy access to healthy finger food.
Sergeant Volkin: You’ve made the difficult transition of taking your research and applying it practically to school lunch rooms throughout the country. Can you tell me a bit about the initiatives you are undertaking and where my readers can go for more information?
Dr. Wansink: MindlessEating.org is my main website but smarterlunchrooms.org is an initiative I have with schools across the country. In my new book that will be released in April called Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, I will introduce groundbreaking solutions for designing our most common spaces like schools, restaurants, grocery stores, home kitchens and more.
Sergeant Volkin: You have found that we all consume more food from big packages, whatever the product is. Is it safe to say you do not have a Costco or BJ’s Wholesale membership card?
Dr. Wansink: I have actually been a member of a wholesale club for years. Just because you buy in bulk doesn’t mean you need to eat in bulk. Let’s say you buy a big bag of pretzels at one of these warehouse stores. I suggest portioning out the pretzels in baggies. This method has proven to effectively reduce the amount of food you consume. Now let’s suppose you buy a bag of chips at one of these warehouse stores but the chips are already in individual bags. My suggestion is to just take a few bags and put them in your pantry, then take the rest and store them in a place where you don’t normally store food (e.g. your garage or basement). This method reduces the chance of you grabbing more bags than you want for a quick snack.
Sergeant Volkin: In a recent interview with the calorie lab you stated “Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry. We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.” For someone who hasn’t read your books or your dozens of articles and studies, what one tip can you give them as a takeaway to this interview that will help them instantly make smarter eating decisions?
Dr. Wansink: My tip is people need to be aware of mindless eating, not mindful eating. There are many ways people make mistakes eating, from party binging to mindless snacking. Be conscious of the way you eat then come up with one easy thing you can do to remedy that mistake. Much of the time the correct action is just being conscious that you are making the mistake.
Sergeant Volkin: Dr. Wansink thank you so much for your time today and congratulations on the success of your books. I am looking forward to the release of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life
Dr. Wansink: Thank you for your time and your service Sergeant Volkin
This interview was conducted by Sergeant Michael Volkin, best-selling author of military basic training books and inventor of Strength Stack 52, a unique way to transform bodyweight exercises into fun and competitive workouts.
By SGT Volkin
Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just acquired your gym membership you have most likely scoured the internet for effective exercises to get you in shape. As a fitness enthusiast for over 20 years, there isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t try and incorporate something new in my workout routine. Your body has an amazing ability to adapt. If you aren’t constantly challenging yourself with new techniques and exercises you are not maximizing your workout time. So I challenge you to incorporate all three of these below exercises in your next workout.
1) Body Rocks-Lay on your back with your legs in a vertical position and your arms over your head. Use your abs to rock your body up to almost a seated position. Rock back down. Do these for 30 seconds and your abs will feel like they’ve got the workout of a lifetime.
Video link: bit.ly/body-rocks
2) Shoulder Annihilators-Assume the push-up position with your forearms on the ground. Rotate up and out off one arm ending with your chest perpendicular to the ground. Your shoulder muscle should be bearing the weight of the body rotation. Do 10 of these for each arm and your shoulders will definitely feel the burn.
Video link: bit.ly/shou-ann
3) Scorpions- Assume the push-up position. Move your left leg as far as possible past your right leg and rotate your head and body to the left. Repeat with other side. Do 10 of these on each side and your mid-section will wish you didn’t read this article.
Video link: bit.ly/scorp-ss52
All of the above exercises can be found in my new bodyweight fitness cards called Strength Stack 52. Whether you choose to do the exercises above or find some different ones of your own, keep in mind that varying your workout is of utmost importance. I see too many people in the gym, like zombies, doing the same exercises week after week. To maximize your exercise time, spend 15 minutes a week searching the internet for new exercises to do the following week. This is the single easiest thing you can do to increase your workout effectiveness.
This article was written by Sergeant Michael Volkin, best-selling author of military basic training books and inventor of Strength Stack 52, a unique way to transform bodyweight exercises into a fun and competitive workout.
By SGT Volkin
A typical workout for an average person consists of about 30 minutes to 1 hour of lifting weights. If exercises are performed incorrectly, the load on the muscles and stress on the joints of these repeated movements causes both short and long term damage to your body. Most people continue to work out despite a known injury, aching back, or sore muscles because of the improved appearance of their physique as a result of the working out. However, over time, the improved appearance becomes harder to maintain and a “plateau” eventually occurs. A workout plateau is when someone continues to exercise and sees diminishing returns on the improvement of their physique.
Recently, several scientific studies have been conducted which analyzes the optimal duration and intensity for a proper workout. Some experts claim high intensity and fast workouts are the most beneficial, others claim slow meticulous movements with heavy loads is the easiest way to maintain a great physique and optimal health.
Mini workouts have proven to be extremely effective to both the health of the individual and improvement of the physique, yet often if the most underutilized form of working out. Three to five workouts a day varying in duration from 10-15 minutes provides a boost in the metabolic rate of an individual throughout the entire day. Therefore, mini workouts are more effective at burning calories throughout the day rather than working out all in one block. For proper nutrition, an individual will eat 3 meals a day; the same theory should be applied to working out.
A majority of fitness products largely overlook the scientific studies showing the effectiveness of a mini workout because people usually workout in one block hour. This principle has been adopted not because of optimal health of the individual, but rather convenience. Only a small percentage of people for very specific reasons (i.e. competitive bodybuilders) will show consistent gains working out in 1 hour blocks.
Typically, I work out at the gym during my lunch hour with three other coworkers. The three of us decided to give the concept of mini-workouts a try for 2 full months. Before we started, we recorded our weight, body fat percentage and body measurements. We used a fitness product I invented called Strength Stack 52, which concept centers around bodyweight mini-workouts. Instead of doing one 45 minute workout during our lunch hour, we met 15 minutes before and after work and 15 minutes during our lunch hour to complete mini workouts. The three of us were still exercising 45 minutes per day and to keep the results as pure as possible, we did not change our eating habits or lift any weights.
Each of us saw positive results at the end of the two months performing strictly bodyweight exercises in intervals of 15 minutes 3 times per day. The three of us averaged 11 lbs. of weight loss with the highest of us losing 18 lbs. Keep in mind, that weight loss occurred with no change in our diet from already active people. Each of us also experienced muscle gain, reducing our body fat percentage an average of 2.2%. We all agree, the biggest benefit was our mental stamina and attitude. We all feel better throughout the day and our 2 o’clock “is the workday over yet?” feeling has gone away.
Whether our success is a result of breaking a plateau or the result of the effectiveness of mini-workouts can’t be determined in just 2 months. However, the reason doesn’t matter. The results speak for themselves and the mini workouts were fun. Instead of looking forward to one large workout in a day, we looked forward to 3 intense and fun workouts in a day.
Other benefits we experienced as a result of the mini-workouts included:
-Less muscle soreness
-less joint pain
-increased cardiovascular stamina
-more mental stamina and intensity per workout
-more calories burned per day
Although we experienced positive results testing the mini-workouts we all miss throwing a few dumbbells around. We have developed a hybrid program where we now do a mini-workout in the morning and start our lunch hour workout with a mini-workout. After our second mini-workout (during the lunch hour) we perform a weight training program.
Experiencing the mini-workouts was an eye opening experience for us. We all subscribed to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy and we now know that no part of that old adage is true. You can in fact gain muscle and lose weight performing small, fun and challenging workouts three times a day.
This article was authored by Sergeant Michael Volkin, best-selling author and inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards.
By SGT Volkin
The Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy all have badges or ribbons for qualifying as an expert in small arms (rifle and pistol), which can be earned during basic training. The Navy fires shotgun and pistol, and the other branches fire M-16 rifles. The Coast Guard does not fire live weapons at basic training. Regardless of what type of weapon you will be firing at basic training, there are a few simple tips to follow that will help you to qualify as an expert marksman.
-Remember to breathe and breathe normally. There is a tendency to hold your breath when shooting in order to keep your site on target. However, holding your breath actually causes you to shake and skew your aim.
-When squeezing the trigger, slowly pull the trigger back in one continuous motion. Quickly jerking the trigger back will move the weapon enough to miss your target.
-Don’t anticipate the recoil (i.e. the kick). There is a natural tendency to jerk your weapon down slightly in anticipation of the “kick.” This is especially true when firing pistols. The best way to avoid jerking your weapon is to imagine there are no rounds (bullets) in the weapon. You can practice this by actually dry firing (pulling the trigger of an empty weapon), and keeping your hands steady. Before going to the firing range you will spend time getting familiar with your weapon, at which time you will have the opportunity to practice dry fires.
-Squeeze the trigger after you exhale and before you inhale. This is known as the natural respiratory pause. This is the point in your breathing cycle where you’re best able to center the weapon on your target.
This article was written by SrA Nick VanWormer, author of The Ultimate Air Force Basic Training Guidebook. SrA Van Wormer earned the small arms expert marksman ribbon for both the M16 riffle and M9 pistol at basic training.
Be prepared for basic training and pick up a copy of The Ultimate Air Force Basic Training Guidebook.
By SGT Volkin
Tom Hardy’s Bane character, in the new Batman movie, has been making headlines not just for his role, but for his muscles. Hardy stacked 30 pounds of muscle in 4 months for his role as Bane. He has yet to release his workout routine, but I have a good guess that it included what I call the D-C-N of fitness.
The upcoming release of my Strength Stack 52 incorporates an important component of the D-C-N, so let’s briefly discuss what I believe the Bane workout routine consisted of.
D-C-N stands for Diversity -Consistency and -Nutrition, without all of these 3 components, it is impossible to pack on 30 pounds of muscle in 4 months.
Diversity- You must constantly be searching for ways to confuse your muscles and keep your muscle fibers activated. Your body has an amazing ability to adapt. Once your body adapts you hit whats referred to as a plateau. A plateau is when you complete a workout but the effectiveness of the workout is minimal at best. If you find yourself going to the gym and not getting sore the next day, then you are probably in a plateau. To break this plateau, try different exercises, different weights, or even try lifting weights at different speeds. Anything you do to keep your workouts diverse will minimize plateaus. My new fitness product, the Strength Stack 52 was designed for this very purpose, to keep your workouts diverse and prevent plateaus.
Consistency- Ever go to the gym after new years? That’s right, it’s packed. Then, by about mid-February the population of the gym returns back to “normal” levels. This is because most people lack consistency in their workouts. They get inspired about a symbolic date (i.e. new years) or a new fitness product they saw. Once they do a few workouts, they return to their normal lives, just a little bit poorer as their gym membership card collects dust in their wallet. To pack on a lot of muscle in a little amount of time it is crucial that you are consistently going to the gym. My main tip is to schedule time at the gym, if you don’t do this, there will always be something else that takes precedence.
Nutrition- After a good workout your body is craving serious nutrients. Even the day after a workout, during the recovery period, your body needs to absorb thousands of different essential nutrients to foster muscle growth and trim fat. Eating cheesecake, sugar, and white foods (like bread) isn’t going to give your body the nutrients it needs to get the results you want. It’s like buying an expensive car then not being able to afford the gas. Doing a workout without fueling your body with the proper nutrients is a results killer. My recommendation is to always take a daily vitamin and load up on protein. Someone looking to pack on muscle should be eating at least 1.25 grams of protein for every pound they currently weigh.
Sign-up now to be notified when my Strength Stack 52 becomes available and as always, if you’re going to military basic training, check out my best selling Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook.