Hello to all,
What follows here is some basic background info on me. I have to say up front even though I’ve written a book, and enjoy writing; I have little desire to write (or talk) about myself, no subject bores me more. But I do so here just to introduce myself and more importantly give you some insight into my background, and how it helped develop my ideas on physical training.
I grew up in upstate New York. We lived in the wooded foothills on the outskirts of the small city of Troy. Which is located just up the Hudson River from the state capital of Albany. Sports and doing things outdoors was a big part of my life growing up. Due to the varied climate and geography of this area, there are an almost endless variety of outdoor activities to participate in. Plus with New York City located just a few hours south and Boston a few hours to the east of where I lived, there’s a huge interest in professional sports, and I remain a die hard New York Yankee, and Jets fan to this day. From all this I gained a life long interest in sports and outdoor recreation, its something that I’ve never lost. Many of my family and friends think this is more due to my ADHD, than anything else. I’ll admit there may be some truth to that.
Right after high school graduation I went to work doing construction
work. For the next few years I worked long hours doing heavy manual
labor (for about $2.00 - $4.00 an hour). This first hand experience with
hard physical work would also have a big influence on my future thinking
about physical fitness. (I witnessed some pretty amazing physical feats by
the older men I worked with.) Even though I worked a lot, I had energy to
burn, so I stayed busy in my off time training, and some competing in
Olympic weight lifting, power lifting, road racing and especially amateur
In 1981 after about three years of it, I became bored with construction work
and being punched in the face every night boxing. So I started
looking around for new and frankly, a tougher challenge and found
the Marine Corps. No big surprise here, the Marine Corps has always
been a home for people like myself. You know the restless, hyper,
general pain in the ass type. In any case I very quickly found the
challenge I was looking for. As you would guess, being a U.S. Marine can
be very tough physically, but it was a completely different type of physical
requirement than sports, or working construction. From the very first day of
boot camp, I loved the hard ass life of a US Marine, I knew right then this
was for me. I ended up staying for the next 28 years and I loved
every minute of it.
I spent my life as a Marine deploying all over the world, and the United States, and visited over 30 different countries by my last count. I served first in the Infantry, and then later in Aviation Ordnance. While both are all Marine these are two different (as to their day to day duties), but both very physical military occupations. I slowly learned through much trial and error how to keep myself in top condition regardless of my location, work schedule, aboard a Navy ship, traveling, in the field, etc. Whenever possible I also continued to participate in sports. I did road races, triathlons, karate, boxing, and bike races to name a few. I also hiked, canoed, lifted weights, played softball, scuba dived, etc, etc. Along the way I became a certified boxing trainer and trained 100’s of Marines to box, running some local boxing teams when I had the chance. I tried just about everything, and anything that caught my interest over the years. From all this I gained a lot of practical experience about PT, and diet. Not just from my own experience, but from the training, and observation of many hundreds of Marines. Well into my forties I was still going strong, maintaining a high Marine Corps physical fitness test all along the way. I ran my last official PFT two days before I retired, and at age 49 I ran a 273 out of the max score 300. Ok not a 300, but give me a break dog, it was pretty hot in New Orleans that morning. Probably a bigger accomplishment was that I remained virtually injury free all my life, which (knock on my wooden head) I continue to this day.
After about 15-20 years of service I started to notice many of my Marine buddies were having a hard time remaining in top physical condition, to include keeping their weight within standards, and staying healthy. Many of these Marines were people I had known for years, and when they were younger they were some serious physical studs. Trust me when I tell you I knew many gifted athletes, and some very tough guys during my time in the Corps. Most were also more athletic than I was. So what was the difference? Luck? Genetics? Maybe, but I also had been experimenting and developing my own personal fitness system and mindset, over the years and had stubbornly stuck with my own ideas, despite some skepticism and much ball breaking from my friends. As time went on, and the longterm benefits of my methods started to become obvious, I started to think that maybe I was on to something.
In 2001 (at age 41) I was transferred to run the Aviation Ordnance “A” school in Pensacola, Fl. This is where new Marines learn the very basic’s of the Aviation Ordnance field before going out into the Fleet Marine Corps. The course is about four weeks long. While these were for the most part young Devil Dogs (17-21 year olds), many were showing up in relatively poor condition after being out of boot camp for several weeks. Our school had a PT (physical training) program in place, but it was a weak program that had yielded little real improvements. As I was the new senior Marine I was determined to fix that issue. I also saw this as a opportunity to test out some of my own ideas on a larger scale, and compare the results to the standard program.
So we got some heavy logs, sandbags, and we started doing most of our PT in boots like I did myself. I kept detailed records of student progress, and from the very start we noticed a rapid improvement in the PFT (Physical Fitness Test) scores of our students and the staff.
Over the next two year time span, roughly 1200 Marine students increased their PFT scores an average of 24 points in only about 30 days. That was with only on average 12 PT sessions of one hour each, with the first and last of those being just a PFT! Ask any Marine you know if this is a good improvement? This is a big jump for that short a time, and low actual number of PT sessions. Some did much better, but 24 points was the average. Now I will admit, at times these were some pretty intense sessions, In fact I still have Marines come up to me about the PT we did back then. Yes they were tough, but not impossible. The key to the program success was not balls-out mindless intensity, but the structure, makeup and focus of the program. We also made good improvements in weight control and experienced very few injuries.
Not long after that I deployed to Iraq for a year. I’m no war hero by the way, but I did serve with many. My duties had me traveling to many parts of Iraq and one of the things you quickly noticed, was it’s very diverse group of people serving there. Even in very remote spots you’d see every branch of the military to include all the reserve branches, older National Guard folks and civilian contractors of almost every occupation. Besides all the obvious combat related tasks, I observed almost every conceivable type of physical work being done by all different levels of physical fitness, and ages (men and women). As I’m always curious about what people are up to PT wise, Every chance I got, I questioned people about their physical conditioning. How it effected their job performance, what were the hard parts (physically) of what they had to do? How were they holding up to the long hours, the stress, the heat? What they did (if anything) to stay in shape, what foods did they feel helped them best? I learned a lot, and to be honest much of it just confirmed some of my own ideas on physical conditioning.
I also had many friends who were fireman, and working in law enforcement. I asked them for input on their physical requirements, and had them try out my system. They gave me great honest input and recommendations. So from all my years of personal experience, and tons of gathered data I started to formally put together my system. The end result was that in 2010 I published my book “Corps Strength” to tell my story and explain my PT methods.
In August of 2009 I retired form active duty as a Master Gunnery Sergeant, and went right to work as a PT and Leadership instructor at the U. S. Navy’s International Training Center located here in Pensacola. During the last four years I’ve had the opportunity to train many hundreds of active duty military personnel from all over the world, and we’ve used my PT system with great success to improve their own physical readiness and help them design PT programs for their own military.
On a personal note; I have been married to the same wonderful woman for the last 28 years, and have two great boys. We live near the ocean in Pensacola, Florida. If you’ve never been there, Pensacola is one of the best kept secrets in the United States. Beautiful beaches, great year round weather and wonderful people. I do have to get my New England fix, and we normally spend at least two weeks there every summer.
On my site is a link to my email to contact me. Please contact me with any questions or comments about my system, physical fitness, training, weight loss, diet, outdoor gear, the Marine Corps, whatever. I will personally answer all emails ASAP. I’ve already answered too many to count and I greatly appreciate all the support on my book and especially the honest input on my program. Some of the personal stories I’ve gotten from readers have been amazing and have been an inspiration to help more people with their fitness, weight loss and health goals. Connecting and helping people has been the absolute best part of this whole experience. So whether you’ve purchased my book or not, if I can help you in anyway with your fitness goals please contact me. In any case thanks again for your interest, and the time you took to visit my website, good luck and be safe.