Effectively using a program off the shelf that is not designed with your fitness level in mind requires you to know how to alter repetitions, running miles, and times to suit your goals and current fitness levels. Here is a very common email when people purchase books, ebooks, or other programs that are not specific to them, but generic in relation to the course they are training for.
First off, I'd like to say how much I have enjoyed your "Tactical Fitness" book so far. I am currently in the middle of week two of the beginner tactical athlete regimen, and I'm loving it. I do have a few questions, however.
Do you have any recommendations on how to alter the workouts to specifically train for a police academy? (I will start applying next summer after I graduate from college.)
The workouts in the book have many optional exercises. I would take out things that do not apply to what is required of your academy. For instance, you will likely not have to do much swimming unless you are in a coastal town. You will likely not need to ruck, but learning how to walk around in your body armor and gear is something that requires practice. Replacing the rucks with a weight vest and weight belt walk is not a bad idea. But the running, weights, and calisthenics build general strength, power, and muscle stamina needed for testing and will even prepare you for obstacle courses. These you need to keep. If the reps are high for you, just do what you can. If the miles of running are too high for you, pull back a notch (say 25-50%) depending upon your fitness level. Replace running with non impact options if you need to lose weight. There are many bike, elliptical, and rowing workouts in the plan to replace running and rucking if needed.
How long should these workouts be taking? Should I limit myself to certain times each day?
Most of these workouts are 60-90 minutes in length, but you can reduce that time if you’re not putting emphasis on the swimming or rucking workouts. I tell people all the time: you have to do your time. There is no 30 minute gym workout that is going to prepare you for a day of military or law enforcement training.
How do I know if I am overtraining?
See this article on the topic and learn the symptoms of what happens when you neglect recovery. Usually over-training is more lack of recovery and happens because something is out of balance with your rest days, sleep, nutrition, hydration, and electrolytes. If any one of these are out of whack, you can exhibit many of the symptoms of over-training. But if you are doing too much, you should realize it. Never run a 10 mile run out of the blue having not run in months. And, never do a 2 hour weight room workout having not lifted in months.
Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.