Just because you plan on enlisting into the Marines, there is no reason to over-hype the physical aspect about being a Marine and especially about boot camp. Anyone can do it if they commit themselves and if they have the heart to push-on when the going gets tough.
It is important that you trust and believe in yourself and do not expect change to happen overnight. Being realistic in what is possible will also do you a lot of good. Do not expect to score a perfect IST or PFT if you are not in that sort of shape. And keep in mind that not everyone will be able to achieve this great feat. The Marine Corps is filled with people who are in shape and this does not mean all of them are PT studs. Like in anything in life, some will be better than others and this applies to PT, so don’t freak out just because you see others who are faster or stronger than you.
You must also understand that boot camp is meant to get anyone into basic shape and it is not a 13 week PT session. The physical training you do in boot camp is not hard. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the toughest, the PT in boot camp is about a 5-6. What makes it hard is that when combined with everything else going on while in boot camp, this will make any event seem harder than it actually may be. I cannot stress this point enough: Boot camp PT is the most over-hyped event in boot camp, so try not to worry about it.
- Here is an interesting fact: Over the years many new Marines have told me that their boot camp PFT stats went down instead of going up. This usually happens because while in the DEP, they are doing much more than what you will do while in boot camp. In some cases you can lose run time, or your pull-up total may go down during the official final PFT. If you are running for miles every day and busting out pull-ups on a daily basis as a poolee, this is great. Just understand that while in boot camp you don’t run every day and you don’t run long distances and you don’t bust out pull-ups on a daily basis. So some of you will lose strength and speed while in boot camp.
- Always remember there is no secret to improving your stats. Do what you can and do it often. And don’t rely on your recruiter to get you into shape. Whether you enlist or not, you can get into shape on your own.
- Understand that lifting weights is not necessary unless you need to gain muscle. Bulking up can slow you down and in the Marine Corps this type of strength is not necessary. You need to be tough from the inside out and not in a very muscular way. It doesn’t really matter if you can bench press 250lbs or 100lbs. Weightlifting strength does not determine how strong you will be as a Marine.
- And there really isn’t a need to buy any fancy workout programs or to drink magic potions and or any crap like that. Just get out there and run, do some pull ups, sit ups, push ups and be active. Hundreds of thousands have made it just fine through boot camp and the USMC with just the basics, so understand there is no need for all the drama when it comes to working out.
- As far as taking classes such as boxing, MMA, Karate and all those other cool courses, just understand that doing things like this is not necessary to become a Marine. If you want to take classes like this, that is fine and they are an excellent way to get your ass into shape, Just don’t get obsessed and end up thinking these classes will make you a better Marine.
- If you are not yet a Junior in high school, there really is no need to start preparing for the Marines. You will be better prepared for the USMC if you forget about it until you reach your Junior year. At 13, 14, 15, and 16 years old, you really shouldn’t worry about your workouts. You can if you want to, but just understand it is not necessary.
- If you play high school sports, you are probably already in shape to pass USMC boot camp, so think about that.
Always remember that there is no “best” routine to workout like Marines do. Each of you needs to figure out a simple PT plan that works for you and then try to stick to it and improve it as time goes by. Chances are very good that you will end up trying many different plans and routines until you finally find one that works best for you.
You want to gain strength in areas that will help you in your: Pulling, dragging, carrying, lifting, and pushing events. The more natural your workout is, the better it will benefit you in most cases. Climbing ropes, bars, walls and things like this do you more good than bench pressing as an example. And always work on your endurance and stamina. Just be in the best shape you can possibly be in.
To give you an example of the PT in boot camp and while in the Marines I will use myself as an example: I never played high school sports and I naturally struggle when it comes to running. I did fine in boot camp and I served in an infantry battalion and it was nothing too hard. Like I said, all it takes is desire and heart
Remember, you are not only preparing for boot camp when you work out. You are also prepping for what comes after that, so don’t forget to do some PFT’s and if possible some CFT’s.
Here is a list of some of the exercises that will help you prepare for boot camp and life after it. As far as how many to do and how far to run: These are things you will need to figure out on your own since we’re all different. Trust me, you will eventually figure out a good workout plan that works best for you.
- running on flat and hilly surfaces
- sprints of distances up to 100 yards
- stretches of all sorts
- jumping jacks
- leg lifts
- mountain climbers
- swimming (not only good to gain confidence in the water, but it is an excellent cardio workout)
- rope climbing
- wall climbing
- bar dips
- bar climbing (monkey bars)
There are plenty of other exercises you can do, but those are the basics to get you started. Remember, lifting weights is not necessary unless you need to gain strength or are a body builder.