The Marine Corps is creating a new fitness job to pad their ranks and protect Marines from injury via prevention, something we’ve enjoyed in SOF. It made a huge difference to me. I think this is a great new trend in the conventional ranks.

What’s your fran time? What’s your bench? These are couple of my favorite of my crossfit and meathead questions. They aren’t really relevant to performance on the field. A high bench press hasn’t helped anyone in selection for a Special Mission Unit.

But, your ability to bench press your own body weight ten times does say something about your overall fitness. As does your front and back squat compared to your body weight. Your ability to row and run and at what level matters, too. You’re ability to carry weight and traverse distance is paramount.

THOR3, Tactical Human Optimization Rapid Recovery and Rehabilitation, which I’ve written of in the past – is a great resource in Special Forces Groups. For me, once I tapped into it – it changed my experience at Group. It did a lot for me. It gave me a sense of support, and community.

My favorite was that I could have deep fitness discussions. Most important, they kept me healthy and my training in line with sanity.

Many of us in SF tend to overdo things, whatever it is. That might be why I endorse and enjoy training under the tutelage of Rob Shaul. He began Military Athlete, which has blossomed into Mountain Tactical Institute. It requires a lot of time, even more effort – but well worth if you have the time and inclination.

I eventually migrated from Military Athlete to our trainers at THOR3 for a few reasons. Our trainers were professional, had trained professional athletes, and were there at my disposal. Their careers were tied to the unit and they did believe in what we did. They were there to help. I both appreciate and respect it. They also reeled me in and stressed a foundation that kept me healthy. I was able to discover similar results as I did under Rob Shaul – but in a differently measured and scientific way. We also used state of the art equipment.

The Marine Corps is adding a similar function and job speciality to their ranks. In the same way THOR3 kept me in a more balanced approach – the Marine Corps intends to do the same for their units.

It’s set to be a military operational speciality, an MOS, a job in the Marine Corps. According to, “The Marine Corps prides itself on being the leanest and toughest of the fighting forces. But as force fitness instructors join units throughout the fleet for the first time, they’re hoping to show Marines a different, less severe side of fitness.

The Corps will graduate its first class of 43 force fitness instructors Nov. 4 after a five-week program of instruction at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.”

What’s cool is that these new graduates might create interesting training methods in unorthodox situations. It’s always been a challenge to maintain your fitness in harsh conditions abroad without equipment. We’ve become dependent on the luxury of a gym stateside. But, when we deploy or travel, as we often do, we’re gymless. If you’re lucky there’s a gym. Sometimes you’re confined to a hotel in a city where it’s not safe to run freely, nor do you have the go ahead to do so. Every situation, place, and security situation can and will be different. It’s something to look at because fitness is a paramount, to not only the military life but any life lived. Service members can set the example for the rest of society and find ways to maintain their health and fitness regardless of their surroundings, work demand, and situation.

The Marine mentality from the few I’ve known can be every bit as obsessive and zealous as any SF soldier. They can definitely overdo it and take themselves towards an injury. It’s a good thing they’ve created this new specialty. It’s best to ‘train smart, not stupid’. I hope a vision of a well rounded, healthy and athletic military comes to fruition. Instead of an incomplete image we have now where we take snapshots of push ups, sit ups, maybe some pull ups, and a run to judge one’s fitness. The military and war itself is evolving, becoming more complex, and I hope the same can be said of our standards.

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