Maintaining your Strength through the Academy

Q: "I recently ran into your blog and profile. I am preparing to enter the academy for the LASD. I changed my training from a traditional body building approach to a much more high intensity cardio style routine to build my stamina. 

"Now my problem is that I am losing muscle mass. I am 5'10 163. When I started training for this last July I was 174. My strength has gone down also because I cut back the weight training and heavy lifts for more reps. I am being told that I will not see the academy until june. I want to be able to hang with the cardio but also build my strength. Any advice would be most helpful.

"Thank you for your time sir."

My Answer: Sir? Save the formalities for the academy staff, son. As far as strength and muscle mass, you will lose it during the academy. This is inevitable unless you're an endomorph, a.k.a. fat boy. I lost quite a bit of weight during my 7 month academy and during my 3 month field training after that. So why accelerate your muscle loss before you even start?

For one thing, get back into the heavy lifting. Forget the higher reps, because it will do nothing for your endurance anyway. Besides, the higher reps are actually making you weaker and smaller. Stay with the cardio, but follow a 3-5 Program for the weightlifting. The cardio is catabolizing your muscle, so doing a heavy weight training program should stave off some of that inevitable loss of size and strength.

And eat, EAT, EAT! Unless you were in the special forces of the military, the training in the academy will come as a shock to you. The amount of cardio you do and the stress they put you through in the academy will chemically castrate you. If you want to avoid the urge to drop into a fetal position and cry for your mama, then eat enough calories to handle the high volume of physical training in the academy.

Not every academy is stressful, but LASD is certainly no cake walk. Good luck!
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