Military Fitness: How to Be Weak
As we all know, military Physical Fitness Tests (PFTs) standards are something that is supposed to gauge the general physical fitness and combat readiness of the individual. For those of you who don’t know, most military PFTs include: a timed run, some sit-ups, and a body weight push or pull movement. However, as it has been shown numerous times, strength, not endurance, is the number one factor in making a better soldier. Stronger individuals will often times not do as well on these tests (due to the higher bodyweight). Since stronger people don’t do as well on these standards, I’ve come to the conclusion that the military wants weaker individuals as soldiers. As such, I’m here to give you 4 easy ways to ensure that you’re as weak as possible for your upcoming PFT.
1. Don’t Train with a Barbell.
Focusing on key compound lifts with a barbell has been proven to be the most effective method of strength training, so we want to stay away from that. However, we still want a gym membership because, without it, we’d be forced to do bodyweight movements, and those can get us reasonably strong too. When you go to the gym, make sure to only use machines, as these both force your body into unnatural movement patterns and work fewer muscles than barbells. These two reasons are why they cannot be trained as well as barbells, and such are our ideal lifting tool. Make sure to do at least 20 reps of every exercise you do. Being able to do 20 reps means that the weight is light, and light weights don’t build strength. Bonus points if you only work one muscle group per exercise, we don’t want the whole body learning to operate synchronously.
2. Run. A lot.
I have to be very specific when I tell people to run because a few crazies will think, “if I want to decrease my time for the 2-mile, then I should probably do some speed work along with my distance runs.” NO! Speed work often means sprinting, and sprinting makes you stronger in general and as a runner. Seeing as how the military’s high command wants us weak, we should avoid any speed work.
We’re going for that malnourished aesthetic, that’ll help us get nice and weak. In order to do that, we’ll need to run as many slow miles as possible. This will make it harder for us to recover and adapt from any weight training we’ve done. Sure this will build our endurance, but endurance doesn’t make us strong. In fact, ultra-endurance comes at the cost of strength; therefore, we want as much endurance as possible.
3. Don’t Gain Weight.
This one should be obvious. If you’re strength training, and you’re gaining weight, it most likely means you’re getting stronger; therefore, we must avoid gaining weight at all costs. We must make sure our diet reflects our zealous desire to not gain weight. If you’re a male, make sure you never eat more than 1800 calories in a day, and for women, that number gets lowered down to 1200.
Calories aren’t the only important dietary factor, macronutrients are too. You’ll want to make sure that you’re eating no more than 0.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, and a max of 25 grams of carbohydrates per day. The remainder should come from saturated fats, as diets high in saturated fats have been proven to reduce serum testosterone levels. Since testosterone is the most prominent hormone in charge of muscle and strength development, we want to reduce it as much as possible.
Not gaining weight can even help you on your PFT as a result. I mean, we all know that a 120-pound guy can always do more pushups, pushups, and run faster than a 170-pound guy. It’s not like you need to move anything other than your body weight…
4. Sleep for No More Than 4 Hours Per Night.
Remember everyone, you don’t get big and strong from lifting weights, you get big and strong by recovering from lifting weights. Lifting weights are, in itself, catabolic, meaning that it breaks down muscle. As a result, we want to keep weight training, but we want to stunt our recovery as much as possible so our bodies don’t adapt to the stress by getting stronger.
Since sleep is when our bodies recover, and a decrease in sleep has a direct effect on athletic performance, this is an obvious process to minimize. If you want to stunt your gains even more-so, then try sleeping at different points every day. Since a consistent sleep schedule improves sleep quality, we should minimize that too.
As you can see, getting weak takes a good plan and some serious effort. Maybe that’s why the military focuses on muscular endurance so much. So just follow these simple tips, and you’ll be a pathetic weakling in no time!
Footnotes and Recommendations
Most of you have probably gathered that this article was written more-so as a guide for What to Avoid if You Want to Get Strong, as opposed to How to Be Weak. So don’t actually do any of this stuff I mentioned above.
This was also my way of complaining about the parameters of most military PFTs, and how they’re an inadequate method of measuring both physical fitness, and combat readiness. If you want to know why I think that, I suggest you read an article by MAJ Ryan Whittemore, which was referenced earlier in this piece.