Top 10 Fitness Posts of 2017 – Judged by Readers

Lance Cpl. Sandor Cook a financial technician with 1st Marine Logistics Group, pumps out the last repetitions of the 90-pound strongman log press during the Marine Corps Community Service and Semper Fit’s Tactical Athlete Challenge at Camp Pendleton’s 11 Area football field (Photo By: Sarah J. Wolff)

Need some hardcore fitness motivation for the new year? The following fitness articles links and summaries were some of the most popular of 2017. These have proven to become good reference material type articles with many links to click with additional information. Store this one away as it will likely answer many of your training, motivation, mental toughness questions you may have in the future. In no particular order:

1. Ready to Serve: Top Ten Steps To Prove You Are Ready - Often one of my number one pieces of advice to people is to not join the military simply because you have completed high school or junior college or completed your college degree. Join when you are ready! This means that you should not put an arbitrary date in your head to leave -- make sure that date coincides with you being fully prepared to endure whatever challenges that are ahead of you. You may ask, "How will I know that I am ready?"

2. Log PT Simulation with the Sandy Baby Devil’s Murph – Can you say “gutcheck”? Typically, running, running with weight, log PT, bear crawls, fireman carries, and higher repetition PT exercise workouts will be used as tests or group challenges.  Many of these (and others) are even used as punishment for being too slow or other discrepancies among the class of students.

Here is a combination of the Sandy baby Murph, Devil’s Mile and The Murph workouts in an order to challenge many top level students with a 90-120 minute workout.

Sandbaby Devil Murph requires a 40-50 lb weight.  We use sandbags.

3. Ready to Serve?  Make Your Weakness a Strength - Are you ready to sign on the dotted line and serve your country? If you think so, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.  What are your fitness / physical weaknesses?  Have you accepted the fact that you have a weakness?  Are you enjoying the journey of turning a weakness into more of a stronger part of your fitness foundation?  If so, you may be ready to serve. We All Have Weaknesses. This year, we also started a podcast and focuses specifically on many of the athlete histories and weaknesses in training for military selection programs.  Athletes Discussed:  Cross Country Endurance Running Athlete, Swimming Athlete, Powerlifting Football Athlete, CrossFit Athlete, Wrestling Athlete, Rowing Athlete

4. Fitness Testing and Injuries - You may think that the fitness test you are taking prior to joining the military is not that important, nor accurately measures your ability as a soldier. That is true. However, such tests are very important in determining a base line of fitness that will prevent you from a greater chance of failure in training due to musculoskeletal injuries and overuse injuries. This articles has more Related Studies on Military Members, Injuries, and Fitness Correlation

5. Injuries Happen When Training Hard - Nagging injuries and small aches or pains can occur at anytime whether you are cautiously exercises and typically when you lose focus, do not pay attention, or do too much, too soon, and too fast.  Regardless – they happen.  Here is a great emailed question that prompted me to organize an answer that works as a “one stop shop” for information and techniques to use to both prevent injury as well as help quickly recovery from them.  NOTE – This is by no means an excuse to avoid seeing a doctor when you feel you need professional help.

6. Work Capacity Article - So why is Work Capacity important in preparation for challenging military training – from basic training to special ops selection programs?

When you think of preparing yourself physically for any military training program, it will require long days of not just being awake and alert, but actually moving sometimes constantly all day long.  One thing that is certain, the 30-45 minute workout in a gym will not fully prepare you for a day of military training.  You have to put in your time moving as there are no naps at boot camp – unless you count falling asleep standing up waiting in line a nap.

7. Crawling and Fundamental Movement Patterns - One of the best quotes of the day at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s - Tactical Stretch and Conditioning Annual Training was by former Navy SEAL Jeff Nichols of Performance First  Jeff stated, “If you think fundamental movement patterns are not important, try loosening the lug nuts of your car.  Driving slowly, it may not be that noticeable, but pick up speed and you will better understand the need for proper movement.”

Links to More Studies on The Topic

Building Reflexive Strength Through Crawling

8. Recovery Day / Mobility Day Off - When people think of a “recovery day” many take a day off from physical activity.  This is better known as a “rest day” in most circles.  A “recovery day” is still a workout, but arranged in a way to help you loosen the body’s aching joints and muscles with a focus on mobility and flexibility.  As you will see, it is not a day off – nor easy. But feels great afterwards!

9. Classic Week of PT Testing Preparation - Many people who start working out to get TO THE TRAINING by passing fitness tests, tend to do a series of random workouts or perhaps the same workout over and over – even on back to back to back days.  You may find intermittent workouts that lack specifics to your future fitness test not that helpful if you are pushing your limits to max the test or barely pass.  Arranging a recent five part series can be confusing as many people like to either pick a workout of the five and do it every other day.  Here is the article that puts it all together for you.

10. Achieving Goals In Your Future - There are many goals and accomplishments that the variety of personality types around the world have.  From dreams of being a professional athlete, dancer, or singer to becoming a doctor, lawyer, or teacher we all have career goals.  Many also dream of a life of serving their country or community in the military, police, fire fighter, EMT, emergency medical professions. Regardless of your career goals or life goals, there is a few common denominators to accomplishing dreams and they are – Preparation, Desire, Discipline.

Thanks for a great year of reading and sharing these posts.  What do you want to see this upcoming year? Just email me at and ask questions for the Ask Stew Column or general questions for the feature article and workouts of the week.


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