This text was sent to our FitForce Newsletter readers 1 Aug 2016.
Bob probably wasn't telling "fish stories" in this photo, but he loved to tell stories. For all of the years I taught with him, I marveled at both his experiences and his ability to weave them into whatever lesson he was teaching. As many of the readers of this newsletter know, "Hoff" was hugely accomplished: Bobby ran for one of America's great distance coaches, Frank Gagliardi, when both were at Roselle Catholic High School in Roselle, NJ were Bobby grew up; while at RCHS, Bobby and three of his teammates won national championships in the distance medley and two-mile relays in the same year; The United States Military Academy at West Point was the next stop for Bob and a place he would return to often throughout the years to teach, coach, and later to visit. Bob had an illustrious career in the Army: he was a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War; he spent most of his 22 years in the Rangers including a stint as Director of Training at the Fitness School at Ft. Benjamin Harrison and later as Commander of the 4th Ranger Training Battalion at Ft. Benning, Georgia; Bob retired as a Lt.Colonel.
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In Part 2 of our series on Physical Readiness Testing in the December, 2014 edition of Law & Order magazine, Phil Spottswood and I discuss recruit/academy testing in light of recent litigation. Check it out here:
Law & Order Magazine 2011
(Reprinted with permission)
In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the obvious and discreet differences between men and women in many facets of the human body and mind, whether referring to everyday people, police officers, or hardened criminals. Women in law enforcement have to work alongside and get along with their male colleagues; they also must pursue and fight with oftentimes faster and stronger male criminals. Therefore, ladies on the job may want to consider training not only harder but also smarter to earn respect from peers - and more importantly - win violent confrontations with criminals. In Part 2, Kathy provides a workout plan for use if an officer had only 15 minutes each day for exercise, push ups (and variations), pull ups (with assistance and without if possible), a few core exercises, and a 3D Dumbbell Matrix1 would be the activities of choice. Here are some other examples, as well as the 3D Dumbbell Matrix in detail:
Like many of you, I like to push myself. As I noted in the Conan Introduction, I was working at a very fast pace and was juggling multiple assignments. I also had a wife in LE and children. Needless to say and as many of you know, this was a very taxing situation and a set-up for what became a downward spiral of physiological destruction.
I'd like to talk about the science behind my then impending downfall. In order to better explain the situation it's important to have a basic understanding of the physiological systems involved, specifically the endocrine system.
The endocrine system is responsible for just about everything you do. It handles sleeping, both the quantity and quality. It handles your immune response to disease. It handles the day to day ridding of bacteria and viruses in your blood. It regulates your body temperature. It regulates your mood. It regulates your sodium/potassium level inside your cells. It handles how your body processes and utilizes carbohydrates. It regulates inflammation inside your body and your body’s response to it. It regulates the water inside your cells and inside your blood. It helps us maintain mental focus. It handles your body's response to stress at the gym, releasing Testosterone, Human Growth Hormone, Insulin Growth Factor (IGF1). It handles your response to stress, readying you for a fight at a moment’s notice. It regulates your sleep, your digestion, your growth, body temperature. In short, it's huge!
Recently I was driving to the DC-area to conduct applicant fitness testing for a client and I happened upon a public radio station. Before anybody tries to drum me out of the Conservative Men's Club appreciate that this afforded me a break from the ranting NYC sports channels going off on the latest Jets performance the day before. The NPR piece was a discussion about an upcoming Sports Illustrated Cover Article about homeless high school athletes.
After 22 seasons as track coach at a private, Catholic high school, I moved to the public high school, in the same town. We had a great run but I really needed to down shift a little on my responsibility level and this opportunity has allowed me to just focus on coaching the throwing events. One of the first things that struck me about my new home was the stark difference between nature of the kids' needs. It won't come as a bulletin that all kids, especially adolescents, have significant needs: reassurance, guidance, safety, the chance to challenge themselves and to grow. But many kids also need the consistent example of a male figure; they need to understand the value of a high school education (!); they need a good meal.
Needless to say, I was motivated to listen in to the conversation. I haven't read the article yet but one of the points missing in the conversation was this: sports allow a different playing field. For the time you're with your teammates, working with coaches, and putting it out there, it doesn't matter how many parents live at home, what the address is, or how your situation stacks up against the other people on your team. Athletes have a chance to remake themselves, each day they show up to practice, every game, and as the SI article suggests, maybe they can remake themselves for life.
USA Track & Field, the governing body for amateur T&F in this country just announced this year's Hall of Fame Class. Its a great group that illustrates more than achievement. The individuals included overcame adversity in several different forms and in remaking themselves, they helped to remake their sport a little bit. Their stories make for a good read - particularly the two throwers, though I'm a little biased! Have a look.
USA Track & Field - USATF announces 2014 Hall of Fame Class.
Stay Safe, Strong
Phil Spottswood and I have written a three-part series on career-long physical readiness testing for Law & Order Magazine. The first part appears in the October edition: https://www.hendonpub.com/law_and_order/articles/2014/10/physical_readiness_testing
One of my favorite clients, the City of Sugar Land, Texas has posted a fantastic video which details the physical readiness test we helped to develop and validate.
The Sugar Land Fire Department has posted this explanation on YouTube for applicants and others interested in test conduction.
This is a best practice we have tried to get clients to strongly consider. Realistic, video-based depictions of the job have great value in self-selecting candidates, supporting standards, and defending job actions should they become necessary. In the instance of the fire service, where we have suggested an emphasis on job-task simulation testing, such a video serves to inform folks about the demands of the test and of the job.
I ate big, worked big, played big and shit big.
I ate three different entrees for breakfast when I went out with the guys. I played contact sports and loved chasing Thugs through city streets. I liked movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, guns and explosions. I loved big dogs, the bigger and droolier the better. I loved working out. If 200lbs was good for me then 225, 250...300 had to be just that much better (which definitely explains my myriad of injuries over the years).
Throughout my life I played contact sports, not very well, but the more contact the more I liked it. I wasn't a finesse guy. If a hammer worked a bigger hammer worked better. I once attempted to repair a DVD player in college this way. Needless to say that didn't turn out well.
My favorite movie line of all time is when Conan the Barbarian is asked “what is best in life?” and he replies in his German/Austrian accent “To crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And hear the lamentation of their women.” Truly, what could be better?
Law and Order 2011
(Reprinted with permission)
There are both obvious and discreet differences between men and women in many facets of the human body and mind, whether referring to everyday people, police officers, or hardened criminals. Not only do women in law enforcement have to work alongside and get along with their male colleagues, but also with respect to physiological differences female officers must pursue and fight with oftentimes faster and stronger male criminals. Therefore, ladies on the job may want to consider training not only harder but also smarter to earn respect from peers - and more importantly - win violent confrontations with criminals. This article will address some of the physiological differences between men and women, how they can affect physical performance, and how to train to overcome some of the discrepancies.