I was just checking through your blog and came across a random photo of Bekele (the 'weak' little long distance runner).
I just wanted to point out a few things and ask a few questions.
1) While Kimbo Slice is probably a better fit for most types of combat I am guessing that Bekele would actually be an excellent soldier physically. Not only can he run 5minute miles for probably around 40miles at a time (really) , but he spends ~3-4hours/week lifting weights and is extremely strong. I don't know his exact numbers, but I can say that I know several far inferior long distance runners who weigh 130-150 and can bench 180-200lbs.
What kind of strength do you think is most important in combat? In your experience do you find a certain type of physique is most useful?
2) 6-0 194lbs is not a long distance runner's build. Many people like to think they are 'strongly built' but they are honestly just fat. Someone who is 6-0 200lbs with 25% body fat would be stronger, have better endurance etc if they lost 40lbs and got down to 160lbs with 5% body fat and the same muscle mass.
Do you find many soldiers have body fat %s above 15% or so? What do you think of this?
3) I am curious about the kind of fitness routine soldiers typically follow, what kind of stuff do you guys do?
- Yes, most soldiers are above 15% body fat.
- In combat, stress burns fat. Fat stores water and helps insulate organs against heat and cold.
- Fat is what the body converts to energy when food becomes scarce (Bastogne), or when the body can't keep food down--like when fighting dysentery.
- I've never had to run one mile in combat, let alone 40. Sprints are often useful in combat, and we try to keep those to 3-5 seconds in length.
- Ever seen a guy who is 130# try to carry 85 pounds of gear? They tend to drop from exhaustion in about an hour.
- A 130 pound encumbered soldier wrestles with 130 pound unencumbered insurgent. Insurgent wins, usually. Hilarity does not ensue.
- Fat has another great quality: it keeps you warm in harsh environs.
- I give a tinker's damn what someone can bench--it's likely the WORST measure of fitness you can imagine.
- The Army has revamped its physical fitness regimen to include a lot more core strength and conditioning vs just distance running.
- 194 is the limit of my "allowable" weight. The target for someone my height is around 175-180. At that weight, I find myself constantly tired and hungry.
- I am not built like a long distance runner, but can run long distances. Doesn't mean it makes any sense to.
- Endomorph, ectomorph, mesomorph, doesn't matter to me if the guy is a good soldier. Best tank driver I ever had was near-obese. Best loader I ever had was skinny as a rail. Soldiering is in the six inches between the sternum and the spine, in the heart.
- Fat people are harder to kidnap.