Trainer of the Military Elite

In a recent interview with Business Insider (BI), former Air Force Combat Controller and  US special operations forces (SOF) trainer Mark Lauren explains his fitness philosophy. He says, Training for survival like you’re in the military could transform your body and keep you fit for life.” I’ll buy that statement. I was never in better shape than when I was training every day as my life depended on it.

At 50, Mark assumes the “front leaning rest” (or pushup, for you civilians) position. After that, I think it’s time to get serious about working out again—screenshot from YouTube and Mark Lauren.

According to an interview Mark did with “A Shot of Adrenaline,” he spent eight years on active duty as a Combat Controller, the last three of which were spent as an instructor helping to run SOF selection programs for the Air Force. His main emphasis was on designing and implementing new physical training programs. He still holds the record for the longest underwater swim on the Pararescueman/Combat Controller Indoctrination Course. Lauren swam 133 meters underwater while holding his breath for 2 minutes and 23 seconds until he passed out.

Following his time on active duty, he worked as a strength and fitness trainer for the SOF community until 2012. He now teaches the general public what he gained from all of his experience.

Mark’s idea of hanging out at bars. Screenshot from

Lauren explained to BI that the extremely long, arduous training, usually involving heavy loads, often undertaken by SOF candidates didn’t necessarily offer optimal results. He states that they are an “inefficient use of energy” and often lead to injury and burnout. Of course, there is a psychological component to carrying heavy loads over long distances. It sucks and makes you want to quit. That’s what it’s designed to do. Only those who refuse to quit and stick it out graduate from these courses; even then, it’s no guarantee. But that’s a different story for a different day.

Since most of us aren’t going to be humping 80-pound packs over miles of dirt roads anymore, Mark developed a system for fitness using only a person’s own body weight for resistance. There is no need for weights or any other equipment. It’s pretty smart if you think about it. Not all of us have the time, inclination, or money to invest in a home gym. And if you are on the road a lot, you can still get a great workout with nothing other than a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

This is a functional exercise. Mark says,

“When you gain muscle through highly functional training, your body displays your self-mastery, which leads to mastery of your environment, and that is exactly what we need to survive and reproduce.”

Insert Motivational Video Here

Mark titled this video, “Why do you train?” Footage provided by YouTube and Mark Lauren

He started out like many of us do, as a scrawny 13-year-old kid who doesn’t want to be a scrawny 13-year-old kid anymore. Exercising in his bedroom, he worked his way up until he could do 75 nonstop pushups and 600 sit-ups. Then he pushed himself further, becoming a successful wrestler and bodybuilder. We already talked about his military career.

Today, he could probably be one of those “trainers to the stars” or something of the like. But he chose not to go down that path. Instead, he has an excellent quote about why he does what he does.

“Unlike other fitness authors, I haven’t trained celebrities whose livelihoods depend on being fit; I train those whose lives do.” 

Mark Lauren makes his living selling his books and online programs, but I’m not here to sell you a thing. It makes no difference to me whether you buy his stuff or not (sorry, Mark). My intent here is to get you thinking and hopefully get you moving. There isn’t much worse for your health than sitting on your butt all day. Unfortunately, as a writer, that’s a big part of it. We’re all guilty of too much chair-borne time.

What’s that, you say? “I don’t know how to get started.” Fair enough; check out this video for his 9-Minute “Lima” Workout.

Mark Lauren: Former Special Forces Trainer Workout

Read Next: Mark Lauren: Former Special Forces Trainer Workout

Real Life Motivation

I just watched this video, and now I’m psyched. I want to look like that again. Being over 50 doesn’t mean you have to look or feel like a tired older man. Being a busted-up old soldier means I can’t do all of this stuff, but I can certainly do enough to get into better shape…and you can too.

One word of caution, I don’t think I’d be doing my abdominal exercises (his straight leg crunches) in what looks like a parking lot by the highway. Looks quite dangerous.

As we used to say in the Army: “Stay Alert, Stay Alive!!” 

Ready to level up?

Use your military experience and become a fitness trainer yourself. Get your certification from the American Council on Exercise today! Want to get started with building your routine at home? Check out Flybird Fitness’ holistic and affordable home gym equipment for your needs.