Downloading Progress While Deployed


How 13 Weeks even while in the Middle East can be transformative when your client can log on

From Fitness Trainer November/December

Downloading Progress While Deployed

Downloading Progress While Deployed

Life had caught up to Josh Splinter. Like most 34 year olds in the U.S. today, he wasn’t eating that gym membership had went unused. Splinter may have had a long history of dabbling combat sports, doing some powerlifting routines he found online and understood the basics of nutrition; but he wasn’t adhering to a highly focused or guided program. Here’s where Splinter wasn’t like most American’s his age. As an esteemed physician the best he knew his choices weren’t the best and that they would lead him toward a difficult future; yet he still couldn’t commit himself to a program.  “I was pretty embarrassed at how much I had let fitness fall out of my life,” Splinter explains. “I wanted to get back in the gym, but what I really wanted was to just let go. I was suffering from ‘paralysis from analyses. “No matter the program, he would analyze, analyze, analyze be it the exercises, volume, loads, or nutritional component—until a fear of overtraining would set in leaving him cold in his tracks. And then—he got deployed by the National Guard.

Programming a Soldier

It was at this point that Splinter and I had connected. In an effort to get him service ready, we discussed a 13 week program geared at increasing muscle mass while cutting body fat, and in the process honing functional strength. Splinter quickly signed on and entered the ranks of my online fitness training clientele. Luckily Splinter had access to gym equipment since its vital soldiers stay strong and healthy while deployed. In terms of exercise choices, I designed a program based on what he needed to do and on what was needed from him to ensure he was able to do his job as best he could. Honing strength, speed, and agility were all necessary. We decided on a 5 day split with two days of cardio. I incorporated exercises that were functional in terms of strength, speed, and agility. Below is an example of his strength and cardio routine. I also gave him a routine that involved more bodyweight exercises, endurance training mixed with strength training.

“I felt great, kept moving, and energy was good,” Splinter recalls. “This was at all much higher repetitions than I had ever done before. At first, it was surprisingly difficult mentally. The only time I ever felt fatigued was around week 8 when we moved to a couple more days of cardio. Eventually I felt great on those days, even while killing my intensity on lifting. I kept losing weight while improving my lifts.”

Nutrition Rations

While breaking a sweat was no problem, adhering to nutrition did raise a challenge or two. We had to adjust Splinter’s nutrition more than his exercise, because proper food was not as easy to come by. “The nutrition plan was one of the hardest parts of this en-tire process,” Splinter explains. “Remember, I was trying to find the right items while deployed in the Middle East. I wasn’t exactly on the diet for the first two weeks and I had to mail order some protein powder. If I had been home it would have been really easy.” I helped adapt the diet to what he had available, while Splinter learned to prep every-thing ahead of time. One major help was buying several shaker bottles and pre-loading them with dry protein powder each night. Then all he had to do was pour in a bottle of water and shake it on the go. He was eating around 5-6 meals a day. For example three full size meals and 2-3 protein shakes a day. “I was losing a consistent two pounds every week,” Splinter says. “That requires at least a 1000 calorie deficit every day in energy and food. I certainly wasn’t starving myself. The trick is volume! Lots of whole foods like lean meats and veggies, with an adjustment of carbs and fats as needed to keep the weight moving.”

Code of Communication

A big component of online fitness training is communication—clear, consistent communication. In Splinter’s training, I’d of course expect questions to arise around communication—he was located in the Middle East of course. Fortunately, we were able to communicate via email and keep in mind I make sure that I respond to all my clients as quickly as I can. The only difference with Splinter was that when he was on the move, I set him up with a few different plans to keep him going till the next time we were able to link up.13 weeks later and he down-loaded progress while deployed, transforming himself into a whole new soldier. “This started as a personal challenge to try something new. It’s been a total life reset on my approach to fitness and food,” Splinter says. “The biggest les-son has been to just start now and push hard. You can always adjust as you go. I was hesitant in the beginning but you stuck by me. You answered every question I had and anytime I emailed you, you responded right away. Your constant attention and motivation really got me through this, and when things started to get a little tough you were right there with me.”

Justin Tarica

Justin has been in the Fitness Industry since 2001. He holds multiple Certifications from the International Fitness Professionals Association, such as a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Sports Nutrition, Kinesiology, Sports Medicine, Youth Fitness, Special Populations dealing with Chronic Diseases and disabilities, and CPR/AED certified. Justin has experience working with a wide variety of populations through many health and fitness domains including weight loss, strength and conditioning, bodybuilding, contest dieting, injury prevention, wellness coaching, kickboxing, and endurance training. Justin has been involved in many sports throughout his life including ice hockey, wrestling, and is currently an NPC bodybuilding competitor.