View Full Version : Training for Marine Corps boot camp

05-04-2009, 09:03 PM
First post on this forum and i had a few questions about maintaining weight vs. cardio training for Marine Corps boot camp. So for the past 4 years ive been all about heavy weights and never really did cardio. This past October i decided to cut down and I went from 6' 3'' 295lbs down to 225. I was pretty happy with a solid 225 and about 11% bodyfat. But now im joining the marine corps and i ship for boot in october, so i started running about a month and a half ago. I usually ran 5x a week for anywhere from 2-5 miles at a steady non-stop pace. I cut down to about 8% bodyfat and down to 212lbs, but recently ive been noticing my muscle mass and strength has started to suffer. My arms have lost about an inch off of them and ive lost about 50lbs off my bench press. I wanna be in good cardio shape going in but i dont wanna lose anymore muscle mass. Ive been keeping my protein intake to a solid 1.5g per pound of body weight and my calorie intake is around 3700 a day. I wanna be a solid 225 and about 8% bodyfat going into basic. Any suggestions on a good workout/ cardio schedule as well as a good diet for my specific goals???


05-04-2009, 09:33 PM
I just came extremely close to joining the Marine Corp and going to OCS on May 27th. I ultimately decided against it about 2 days ago.

My advice would be to do the CrossFit workout of the day (WOD) every day as prescribed. Alternatively, if your work capacity is very good, then make 1 of 2 choices: do CrossFit Endurance along with the CrossFit workouts if you care more about your cardio, OR do the CrossFit Football WODs as prescribed by themselves if you care more about strength. If your work capacity is extremely good, then you might be able to handle the CrossFit Football WODs + the CrossFit endurance WODs after you wait about 2 months (if you're not sure, then assume that your work capacity isn't that good).

If you want to make your own program, then there's a few things I would definitely recommend:
(1) Do a lot of cardio with weights, bodyweight movements (push-ups, sit-ups..) and in ways other than running (i.e. rowing, swimming, biking)
(2) Conjugate your cardio work. Mix in long-endurance work with speed work, with 3 minute repeats, with 6 minute repeats with 5k's for time and with 6-10 mile runs, all over the course of 2-3 weeks, and all while working in a lot of weights. Don't do a linear progression.
(3) Get over not being able to do as many reps on anything and start being extremely strict about form. Use huge ranges of motion (i.e. push-ups are chest to the floor to arms locked out; pull-ups are dead-hang to touching your chest or abs and not chin). If you can do over 50 push-ups, 20 pull-ups and 100 sit-ups/minute, then start wearing a vest. Work up to 35 lbs. Don't run in the vest.
(4)To build muscle endurance, use the Tabata protocol -- it's incredibly effective at increasing muscle endurance while still giving you some cardio work, too. Take 5 exercises (i.e. push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, squats and back extensions) and do 8 sets in a row per exercise. 20 seconds of "work" then 10 seconds of "rest." The goal is to make the lowest # of reps per exercise as high as possible (so, basically, you don't go to failure).
(5) Do, at the very least, 4-5 heavy (1-5RM or multiple sets at a really heavy weight) exercises per week. And, compliment it with some heavy work (50%-70% 1rm) in your cardio.
(6) As far as diet, I think the best method is always to eat protein all day. Add simple + complex carbs for breakfast. Add simple carbs (or waxy maize) pre and post workout. Add complex carbs for 3 hours after you workout. The rest of the time, eat healthy fats and veggies.

05-05-2009, 01:38 PM
If you're going Infantry like I hope to, (branch is irrelevant if you're joining the ranks of the Infantry)

We gotta get up to running 5 miles in 40 or less minutes,
10 pull-ups (not required, but still) at the least, with you going Marine Corps, you need 20.

We gotta work up to 80+ PU and SU

and rucking with 45-70lbs for roughly 12 miles.

That's what I"m doing. And also working up general weight lifting, to working toward a 350lb bench max etc.

Every Infantryman on a LOT of forums, sites, etc. have all recommended similitary physical fitness levels.

Ryan Hale
05-06-2009, 12:58 PM
I was in combat arms in the Army.We ran,p/u,s/u,and run some more.I believe the Corp does not test for p/u for there physical test,but does pull ups instead.
I would work hard what your going to be tested in.I think your run in the Corp is 3 miles in 19 minutes or so?
How much pool/water work will you have to do in the Corp?
Hope a ex-Jarhead(no offense) can help you more.
The Corp is a tuff deal,best of luck to you.
I wish you the best of luck and than-you so much for serving our country.

To pass basic training everyone in the Army regardless of job will do 3 long road marches with gear min.
The numbers you listed are max numbers,not min numbers to pass your physical test.
You better run,and average around 7 minute miles for multiple miles to have a shot of getting through training.The running gets more recruits in trouble.You don't want to ever fall out on runs in basic training.

Ryan Hale

05-07-2009, 12:41 PM
Take it from a guy who had a weight waiver chit in his record jacket for almost the whole time he was in. At 6'3" and 212 you might be pushing the weight limit. I was 5'9" and 206 and about 12% bf when I went in. I was labled overweight and marked as a diet private because I was supposed to weigh 181. 8 weeks in and I was starved down to 186 and couldn't lose a pound for 3 weeks. Finally got off it when one of my Drill Instructors added an inch to my height so I could make the cutoff. My advice would be to find out what the weight limit is for your height and try to get to that mark. Don't worry so much about how much you are loosing in size and off your lifts. You will have plenty of time to gain that back after boot camp is over. Your main focus should be passing the PFT(physical fitness test). It's been 20 years since boot camp for me but if memory serves correctly the minimums were 3 pullups 50 situps in 2 minutes and a 3 mile run in less than 28 mins. On top of that you do need to meet a minimum swin qualification. I'm hoping some of the younger Devils Dogs here will correct me if I'm wrong.

Good Luck
Sempre Fi

05-07-2009, 01:11 PM
This is coming from an Army guy and the Marines have a tougher basic training from what I understand.

You will not be able to keep the weight that you would like to in basic training. You get run so much and dont have a whole lot of time to eat and are just basically physically moving around doing whatever for most of the day. You will have to come to terms with losing probably something around 15-20 lbs while you are at basic. The Army tapes you to see if you meet body fat regulations if you are over weight which you shouldn't have a problem with and I don't see the Marine Corp being much different when it comes to weight vs. body fat. In the Army myself at 6'1 can only be something like 205 or 210 before being taped. At 6'3 you should be able to get away with a decent weight. Once again though don't count on maintaining that. Training in basic is all progressive so as long as you go in good shape they aren't going to strap you up with a 100lb pack the first day and tell you to walk 10 miles. You do a lot more prep than most so you should turn out fine when it comes down to things related to physical abilities. But yeah do pull-ups. Just remember that it's all a head game.

05-07-2009, 01:17 PM
I don't know about the boot camp standards, but for OCS I was told that at 6'4 226 was the max weight.

05-07-2009, 01:45 PM
Your going to lose quite a bit of weight and prolly a lot of strength in terms of Maxing out lifts. They're going to train you to be an endurance athlete in a round about way. I forgot what basic training food is like but you'll eat it so fast and be so hungry you won't know or care what it is. But the nutrition is different they view it in terms of Meats, and Straches you get 1 meat and 2 starches.

If your training to do well in the Marine Corp and on there Physical Fitness Test, then do their physical fitness test.
In the Army when I wanted to max out mine, I'd train to max out mine, I'd do push-ups different variations and sit-ups and run 2-3 miles as fast as I could.

Best info I can give, Good Luck with the Corp. Have fun while your in.

05-07-2009, 02:58 PM
Get some future devil dog! Yeah don't worry about lifting they will get you where they want you. Main thing is pull-ups, sit-ups, 3 mile run. First and formost condition your mind. They will do everything they can to break you. Don't worry because they will. Its a long 12 weeks it was 14 for me. I went in at 6'3 250 came out a lean and tougher 185.

05-11-2009, 01:30 AM
Congrats on joining the Marines. I was in the Navy for 8 years. I was in what we called the "fat-boy program" since I was 5'10 and 215 pounds. I was in football in high school so I was pretty big, but not fat. You will definately get taped from your weight. They'll measure you out. Try to get your neck as large as possible. They tape your waist and neck, I was barely out of standards when I went in since my waist was 38 inches and my neck was 18 inches.

You'll definately lose most of your bulk. When I left boot camp after 9 weeks, I went from 215lbs to 174lbs. My waist shrank from 38 inches to 32 inches. A huge change for such a short time. Afterwards, I bulked back up, but kept my wais at 36 inches or less to keep me from being anywhere close to the "out of standards" BMI. The military's tool for calculating BMI is terrible. You'll find that out.

Good luck in the Marines and don't get discouraged. From what you wrote, you're in great shape to do well. PT(Physical Training) will be the least of your problems.

05-15-2009, 11:15 AM
To prepare, do this:

1.Make sure you are well below the weight standard
2.Run. I was running 4 miles min daily before I left and it made boot camp easy. Also download some cadence and it will help you to run at a pace so formation runs will be easier for you
3.Crossfit WOD. Nothing will prepare you for getting thrashed on the 1/4 deck or doing the workouts than Crossfit IMHO. I wish I knew about it when I was getting in back in '97. The total body structure will benefit you greatly!!
4.Have fun! They will break you down but if you keep motivated and positive it is a lot of fun.

Good luck and welcome.