Doc Grouch on Physical Training


The first order of business in curing disease, is to not have it in the first place.
This includes, but is not limited to: vaccines, public health engineering, general physical fitness, and proper preparation & gear for planned activities.

First and foremost among this group is your general physical fitness. We will CONTINUALLY harp on this. You will get tired of this. It will annoy you.

Once annoyed, you should then go read every single AAR from Max Velocity’s classes, and note with what frequency the reviewer bemoans their lack of physical fitness. Or talk to any other tactical trainer. Then you should straightway stop complaining, man up, and get in shape.

My own personal background in physical fitness includes: 8 years as a competitive swimmer; transition to high school football & track; walk-on to college soccer team; transition to triathlons after college. My typical weekday then consisted of a 12 mile run, followed by 2 hours with the swim team–then going to classes in medical school–and after class I would either bike about 30-40 miles, lift weights (bench 315, leg press 500, chins with 100 pounds on weight belt, at body weight of 155) or both. And on the weekend I would do something hard.  I leave it to the reader to imagine what “hard” meant to someone doing very close to an Ironman triathlon every 2 days.

I suspect I am not the only reader that can claim such feats of athleticism.  I am also likely not the only reader that has to refer to them in the past tense.

So it’s time for you (and me) to get back in the game. And I think that the way to go for physical fitness in the modern era is Crossfit, or something you (and your coach) cook up that is just as intense. It has become the de facto standard for our military, most police forces, and a host of other athletes. And folks, if you are Crossfit, you are very, very fit.

Please note Crossfit does not teach rock climbing, small unit tactics, BJJ, ultramarathoning, rucking, or anything else. It develops general physical fitness, on top of which you stack the training you need for your particular pursuit.

UPDATE: It appears Max has posted new workout plan options.  If your life skill set involves tactical anything, these would be great.

Now, let’s deal with some objections:

1. I’m too fit for your wussy Crossfit program!
–Let’s test this premise, shall we?  Go do the following workout:
(for you Crossfitters, this is Cindy)
5 chinups, 10 pushups, 15 body weight squats–> all of this is 1 set. Do as many sets as possible in 20 minutes.  Post your numbers to the comments; note that 20 is considered good.  If you are above that, you don’t need my advice.  If, however, you are below that threshold…

2. I don’t have money for Crossfit! (or any other gym).
–No, it is not cheap. You can try doing the WOD yourself. Or you can get Mosby’s book, or hit this post from his site. Do something. Just kick the Fugarounditis habit.

3. I don’t have time for Crossfit!
–This is frequently legitimate. Residency and Fellowship training involve at least 80 hour work weeks, and my longest weeks were in the 110 hour range. Every week. For 13 years. In the face of this, I set my goal at 15 minutes per day.  It can be done.

4. I am too old!

5. Crossfit is way too hard!
–Gotta start somewhere. Try PiYo, if you have injuries. Or P90x. Or get your yoga on. Try Starting Strength. Or Convict Conditioning. Couch to 5K. When you and your significant other are feeling frisky, for once get on top and do some work!  Do something!

6. I had my leg/arms amputated!
–Read about this guy. Then find some other excuse.

7. I have bad COPD/heart failure/etc and am on oxygen/need a heart/lung transplant!
–Well, if that is true, you should already be in either pulmonary rehab, or cardiac rehab. Get after it!  You will have to do it before transplant anyway.

8. I have other priorities!
–Life happens, and sometimes you just can’t. You should have other, even higher priorities, such as getting straight with your Higher Power of Choice.

Think hard, however, about why you are reading blogs like this, what kind of life you want for yourself, your family, and your kids.  “Strong people are harder to kill, and more useful in general”. Please reflect on both aspects of this statement.  If, after reflection, PT is so far down on the list you can’t spend 15-30 minutes a day, then as a rational adult you have Thunk fo’ Youseff©, and I’ll not further harass you.

7 responses to “Doc Grouch on Physical Training

  1. I’m looking fwd to studying here….been reading y’all’s other sites. As a 57 year old I PT 4 times weekly at least….it can be done. The crossfit advise is spot on….that’s basically what I do…..look up Scott Sonnen for some awesome clubbell advise. He’s a badass. One thing I’m dealing with, can’t seem to get better is chronic achilles tendinosis….any advice? Thanks, InfidelDoc in Tn.


  2. Not my area of professional specialty, but suffered this 10 yrs ago (somehow doing 100 mile road rides on Saturday and 50 mile singlespeed mountain bike rides on Sunday produced an overuse syndrome!). The research I reviewed described the pathophysiology and a ?Finnish? group had a protocol that worked quite well. Basically it involved doing HEAVY eccentric calf work, 10-15 reps, multiple sets, 2-3 x PER DAY! I would load the machine, use both calves to lift the weight, then slip the good foot off the base, and slowly lower the heel on the bad leg. It has to be built up to, but it worked after some number of weeks.

    I don’t recall the authors or source, but the study was good and it worked. It took time (many weeks) for a full recovery and the layoff finally sapped my desire for racing. But I certainly cycled a great deal after that, shifting to a lot of great tandem rides with my wife. Never had further problems, although I did use a bit of a heel lift pad for a few months in my cycling shoes.


  3. As a chiropractor, I would like to warn readers against going from couch zero to cross-fit hero in one easy step. I have been threatening to open an sports/injury clinic next to a cross-fit “box” for years now. I’d be rich. At a clinic I used to work at had 1 walk-in per week who injured themselves doing cross-fit or similar “boot camp “. Maybe there are cross fit trainers who gradually build up new clients, but none near me.


    • I’ve had the local coach physically take the bar out of my hand and tell me to “sit the F down and get some water” and they have been good about scaling back in light of my residency and fellowship chub rolls. I do think there is quite a bit of variety in the quality of the coaching throughout Crossfit; perhaps I’ve just been lucky.


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