To say you hit the ground running when you turn up at CTCRM (Commando Training Centre Royal Marines) would be an understatement. Once you step off that train and through those gates your whole world crashes into new and unknown territory.
Commando basic training being one of the longest and most arduous programmes in the world, means that for the next 32 weeks you live almost entirely outside of your comfort zone. And I think right now it’s fair to say that with COVID-19 we are all living outside of what we are comfortable and happy with.
Let’s be honest it is a pretty grim situation and something that very few of us were ready for, especially the scale and speed of escalation. But they do say that we learn the most about ourselves through the bad times rather than when life is easy. A fact that I discovered to be very true early on in basic training.
Some of my best memories from that time are of things like applying boot polish to pipes in the shower block at 3am ready for a full block inspection at 0600. Not because of the activity, that was most definitely a waste of time! But because collective hardship was the best tool for bringing us together and bonding us from individuals into a troop.
What we are experiencing now is not of our choosing and it is having some devastating consequences on people’s lives. Which in turn can make things feel overwhelming and out of our control. But what you can do is focus on the things that you do have the power to influence.
The Commando Spirit
There is no easy answer to what we are facing but when it comes to overcoming adversity how you frame your mindset is extremely important.
The Commandos were formed during the Second World War, fighting on all fronts from the Arctic Circle to Europe and from the Mediterranean and Middle East to South-East Asia. Their operations ranged from small groups of men landing from the sea or by parachute, to a brigade of assault troops spearheading the Allied invasions of Europe and Asia.
Basically they had a pretty tough job! But something that helped them get through that and something which has helped generations of commandos since is the commando spirit. And I think what it stands for has never been more poignant.
“Courage is more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”
Courage is not being without fear. Life is challenging and sometimes it feels like you aren’t getting anywhere, but taking a step forward, no matter how small is the best way to get through it.
Determination is a positive emotional feeling that we can cultivate and use to our advantage in the face of obstacles. None of us are positive all of the time, and bad days are inevitable. But always we must look for those small wins that enable us to keep fighting the good fight no matter the odds.
At our core, we humans are tribal because we are stronger together. Without strong cohesion, human groups ranging from hunter gatherer societies to modern nation states would not be able to meet the constant challenges we face. And that means we must work together and take action that benefits our neighbours, our communities and the entire of society, not just ourselves.
Cheerfulness In The Face Of Adversity
Make humour the heart of morale! It is the best tactic I have ever known for getting through tough times, and surrounding yourself with the right people makes it a lot easier. Keep smiling, find the laughs where you can, stay focussed on what you are trying to achieve and be optimistic for your outcomes. The work will remain tough but the load will seem lighter. Be cheerful in the face of adversity!
Where To Go From Here
As well as framing your mindset as best you can, being able to adapt to evolving situations will help you maintain sanity in increasingly difficult times. Right now all gyms are out of action but with a bit of space you can still benefit from home workouts.
At TNE we always endeavour to provide the best tools possible to help you forge a strong body and mind and feel at your best. Ed Norman, our head PT, has put together 3 workouts that you can perform anywhere to help you stay active and mobile.
TNE Home Workout Routine
These routines will be based around 5 key principles:
- Reducing Stress: Being stuck at home can be stressful and increase anxiety. Training is one way to reduce stress and improve many other health markers.
- Building discipline: Cornerstone habits are things that we can anchor our day around to provide structure and set us up success in other areas.
- Addressing imbalances: Being at home may allow more time to address the areas of your body you have been neglecting. Those areas that have been the source of continual niggles and perhaps even been the source of injuries. Addressing these now will make you a much more robust individual.
- Maintaining fitness levels: Completing some form of movement is essential to good health and maintaining homeostasis in the body.
- Channeling positive energy: Every day small wins will collectively mount up to add to your positive wellbeing. This is especially important during times when lots of other things are out of our control.
Workout 1: Mobility
Keeping mobile is something we all know is hugely beneficial, but often we don’t really integrate it into our training effectively. We have a generic warm up phase and some light stretching but how can we work on strength and mobility in the same workout?
This workout combines some key movement patterns and will challenge you in lots of ways. You will be building strength as well as working the body through an extensive range of motion. Perfect if you have mobility issues and struggle to fit additional mobility into your routine.
- Perform 3 rounds
- Work continuously
- Rest as needed
- Beginner: 6-8 repetitions for each exercise
- Intermediate: 10-12 repetitions for each exercise
- Advanced: 15-20 repetitions for each exercise
Yoga Press Up
Spiderman with hip lift and OH Reach
Supine bridge and reach
Lying side windmill
Workout 2: The Fitness Leveller
Maintaining your fitness will make you more resilient and resistant to fatigue. These blocks will challenge your cardiovascular endurance, agility and recovery. The 3 levels available will act as a ladder of progression over the coming weeks or months. The session is short in duration but taxing in its intensity so we recommend only perform this once per week.
- Each run through equals a 4 minute block.
- At the end of each 4 minute block rest for 2 minutes.
- Repeat 3 times.
- Beginner: 4 x 20s on 40s off
- Intermediate: 4 x 30s on 30s off
- Advanced: 4 x 40s on 20s off
4 point burpee (Ability dependant)
6 point burpee (Ability dependant)
Plyo press up
Workout 3: Strength By Numbers
Building strength does not require lots of kit and equipment. You can build high amounts of relative strength by mixing up the training variables. This session is about ingraining quality movement patterns and using tempo as the main variable.
When we slow down the speed of the exercise, our systems are placed under greater demand and we increase the lactate response. Maintaining form throughout, even when tired, is really taxing, and by sticking to the tempos laid out, this workout will highlight your weaknesses.
- 5-3-1 Tempo:
- 5 = 5 reps of 5s eccentric rep. 1s explode up
- 3 = 3 reps of 3s pause hold at bottom position
- 1 = 1 rep fast rep
- Eccentric is the lowering phase of a movement when the muscles under contraction are lengthening. So when you’re slowly lowering under control, that’s the eccentric phase.
- Perform 5-3-1 of the split squat on the left leg. Then 5-3-1 on the right leg. Then move onto the press up.
- Once you have completed the split squat (left and right), and the press up, rest for 1 minute before starting all over again.
- Beginner: 3 sets
- Intermediate: 4 sets
- Advanced: 5 sets
Once you have completed part 1 rest for 5 – 10 minutes as needed.
- Perform pyramids using the repetitions 6-8-12-8-6.
- Complete 6-8-12-8-6 reps on the left leg of the single leg hip thrust.
- Complete 6-8-12-8-6 reps on the right leg of the single leg hip thrust.
- Move onto the 3 point plank and complete 6-8-12-8-6 reps each side.
- After completing the full pyramid for both exercises, rest for 1 minute.
- Beginner: 2 pyramids
- Intermediate: 3 pyramids
- Advanced: 4 pyramids
Single Leg Hip Thrust From Bench
3 Point Plank
Hardship comes in many forms in life and right now we are all facing it in one form or another. There are no easy answers but if we can be courageous with stepping forward, determined in finding the small wins, unselfish in our actions and cheerful in the face of adversity we can make it through.
These home workouts are just one tool you can use to hopefully help ease the process in a small way. Remember to also take care to get good sleep and eat as well as you can and you’ll be better placed to face down the stress we are all facing.
But overall don’t be hard on yourself. These are testing times and there is going to be a period of adjustment. Inevitably things are going to go wrong and plans and goals will slip, but as we always say, you are never out of the fight.
Take things one day at a time and reach out for help whenever you need it.
From myself and all of the team at TNE stay strong and stay safe.
The Limitless Challenge
Stressproof Your Mind And Body For Bulletproof Focus, Resilience & Mental Calm In Just 30 Days.
We are running a 30 day challenge to:
- Eliminate chronic stress
- Unlock your mental toughness
- Optimise long-term health
- Build confidence and self-reliance
- Enhance your ability to thrive