From the Military Times - “Military Muscle” May 24, 2010 Issue
(Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Times)
Retired Marine’s book Coaches real-world fitness
By Bob Thomas
Paul Roarke’s “Corps Strength” rejects the notion that static exercises such as the bench press and barbell squat are effective for real world fitness needs. “While it would be easy to fill up a workout guide with these exercises, I simply think they are overrated to achieve working fitness.” And later, “This program is designed to enhance your movement, not your ability to hold still.”
The overall theme: There’s no free lunch. Once you’ve arrived at your fitness destination, you still have to put in work.
I like this book a lot, Why?
Its objective is “working fitness” whether that applies to you as a military individual, policemen or firemen, a person who works primarily outdoors, an office worker, or a retiree who enjoys maintaining gardens and landscaping around your home.
It proposes a workout structure, but with built in flexibility and opportunities for personal initiative. The approach is simple and based on the reality that the majority of working people have limited time during the week and may not always be able to get to a gym, and having a special diet or eating multiple times a day can be a non starter.
The book itself is a pleasure to read. The message is delivered in terms anyone can understand and the visual that Roarke paints when telling some of his stories or in getting a point across are humorous.
Roarke calls his method the Enhanced Physical Readiness System. The core of which is Stand Alone Training. Its one hour, executed two to three times a week, that consists of a warm-up (five minutes); pre-fatigue (30 minutes); Mission, the strength and power-training portion (20 minutes); and cool down (five minutes).
Why pre-fatigue? Many times especially in three critical vocations – military, firefighter police officer – You have to function at peak level, with lives on the line, when you’re already stressed and tired.
The remainder of the EPRS system architecture, called Support, consists of one to two a week doing a vigorous sport or singular exercise, such as hiking, basket ball or aerobics class and one hour of simply being active – washing the car or working in the yard.
My approach differs from Roarke’s in a couple of areas, such as keeping the exercises in a specific order in the mission cycle. But then you never get total agreement about anything. Bottom line? I’ve started to implement parts of “Corps Strength” into programs I design for my clients. Nuff said.
*Bob Thomas is the director of the Navy Wellness Center
located in Pensacola, Fl
Corps Strength: A Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant’s Program for Elite Fitness
“I would like to introduce my readers to Paul Roarke. He retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Gunnery Sergeant after 28 years. That alone is a pretty good feat but he did it keeping his health and fitness intact. He attributes his success to a system called “Working Fitness” he developed initially to keep himself in shape, and later to help mold Marines in Aviation Ordnance A school. He has been so successful that he now uses this same philosophy to help international students at NAS Pensacola.PJ is the real deal. Soldier Systems Daily sponsor Bates Footwear actually introduced him to me. He runs in their boots and he has enough miles in them to recommend them for others who want to run in boots.A few points about his philosophy that I think will hit home. This isn’t your standard Marine Corps or military physical fitness routine, but rather a comprehensive system that draws the most useful aspects of many different exercise methods together. Meaning, he’s adopted what works. Formally titled the “Enhanced Physical Readiness System (EPRS)”, its main goal is to improve your bodies ability to perform (not just look good), maintain a healthy bodyweight, and stay injury free for life. It is designed primarily for military personnel, firefighters, law enforcement (readers of SSD) and anyone who must rely on their bodies to make a living. the author call these people “working athletes” but recommends the system for any healthy person.
“Corps Strength” is a fun, leisurely read, full of “Sea Stories” that bring the point home. The author is a real salt of the earth guy and has no qualms about telling you how he got it wrong so that you won’t as well. He isn’t about selling you on some crazy fad nor trying to convince you to sign up for some sport that takes a lot of equipment or years of training to get right. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t advocate having a coach. He also provides an extensive appendix providing a framework for various workout routines as well as an exercise guide with photographs. It has been a pleasure working with a fellow military retiree and small business owner and I encourage you to support him.
“Renowned for its rigorous fitness training, the Marine Corps requires every member to be physically fit, regardless of age, grade, or duty assignment. Corps Strength applies the same techniques used to develop and maintain each Marine’s combat readiness to a day-to-day program for top-level fitness. Every aspect of training is incorporated into the program — including warm-ups, stretching, upper body, core strength, lower body, cardio, running, goal-setting, and motivation. The author has trained thousands of people and witnessed time and again the amazing results achieved by these proven techniques. Regardless of current fitness levels, this personalized training methodology will enable readers to begin today and immediately progress in absolute strength, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, and joint flexibility. The workouts in this book are packed with grueling mind- and body-draining tasks that test the mettle of any athlete while bringing him or her to top physical form.”