I wanted to recommend an article I read in the December issue of Muscle & Body Magazine. They feature an inside look at what it takes to be a member of the military's elite Special Forces. My dad was a war hero in World War II, and I understand the demands and toll war places on the human body. The soldiers who make it into the Special Forces undergo a series of training that tests them physically and emotionally. After they transition from training to part of an active team, they constantly keep themselves in peak shape so they can be ready for deployment on a moment's notice.
The author does a good job of giving the readers a firsthand account from a member of the Green Berets stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. It is a difficult balance for those soldiers because they typically don't know when they may be deployed. That means they have to train extremely hard to stay in peak condition but also make sure they do not over train and become fatigued when they are needed to carry out missions. Their days are extremely long, and that means they need to condition themselves to perform high intensity and deadly tasks without much sleep or rest. Their ability to do this day-in and day-out is nothing short of impressive.
The more you read about these special individuals the more respect you gain for them. In the article, the author interviews a Special Forces Medical Sergeant and expert sniper in the Green Berets who has 18 years of service and six combat deployments overseas. He explains the elements he incorporates into his training regime, how he challenges the men and women under him and how training regimes need to change the closer they get to deployment. The top five elements he considers important for his troops are:
Strength – the Special Forces team incorporates strength training, as they need to carry 90 lbs packs for days at a time. They concentrate on functional power over building mass.
Endurance - often times Special Forces are constantly moving for days and weeks with these 90 lbs packs. As much as strength, they need great endurance to travel difficult terrain sometimes in extremely hot conditions.
Nutrition – they always monitor caloric intake to make sure they are getting the right amount of fuel their body needs. They load up on protein in the form of shakes and nutritional bars and live on MREs.
Supplements – he and his entire team takes a multivitamin daily to supplement their diets.
Cognitive Alertness – all the training and nutrition balance they receive plays a key role keeping them mentally sharp. If the body breaks down, so will the mind. All the hard work they put in combines to help them better concentrate and focus when using weapons and explosives and when in stressful situations.