I'd like some feedback on a workout program to support my goals towards a major martial arts competition and possibly re-entering the military. Timeline for both is mid July of 2018.

Current Status

  • 5'10" (1.78 meters)
  • 178 lbs (80.9 kilos)
  • 18 % body fat (Measured 9 fold caliper test, averaged with two different impedance measurements)


  • 168 lbs
  • Functional increase of 15% in strength (So if I can do a 165 lb bench press now, a 190 bench press by goal dates)
  • 40 minute 5 mile run
  • 50% increase in major flexibility (So if I can do a side split to a 90 degree angle now, increase to 135 degree angle. Full side splits would be 180 degree angle.
  • Increase in jump height and lateral speed (No specific %)


  • Access to full gym at work (Usual treadmills and cardio, aerobics room, couple good benches, dumbbells, etc. Not a commercial gym but good for a corporate facility)
  • TRX training kit (Basic full suspension kit)
  • Agility equipment (2 ladders, 2 sets 6" hurdles, 100 cones, 2 step platforms)
  • 8 hour desk job (Constraint)
  • 2 kids under 3 (Constraint and motivation)

Sample workout structure

  • Monday AM: Weight room, focus on upper body. Common exercises with rotation/variation on the theme every 6ish weeks.
  • Monday PM: Forms class (Martial arts), 30 minutes stretching after class
  • Tuesday PM: Cardio, stretching (Including some PNF work for splits increase)
  • Wednesday PM: Cardio, TRX bodyweight exercises (Full body), stretching
  • Thursday AM: Cardio, forms/weapons work, stretching
  • Friday AM: Weight room, focus on lower body. Same emphasis as Monday weights
  • Saturday: Forms/weapons class
  • Sunday: Cardio, stretching

Cardio will be mainly running, initial focus will be a couch - 5k program, followed by the 3:2:1 program I have outlined on here before. I'm not worried about the running, that's just putting in the time.

My current diet is about 80% clean eating, 20% cheat/junk. That isn't going to change much. I currently eat the traditional 3 meals/day.

What I would like is specific feedback on the weekly schedule, with emphasis on points for improvement and possibly nutrient timing.

1 Answer 1


Summarising your goals:

  • Lower your weight (starting at a fairly good 18% bf).
  • Increase strength.
  • Run faster over mid distance.
  • Better flexibility.
  • Improve explosive leg strength.

Because there are a lot of goals here it's definitely worth your training being very targeted in achieving these points.

Running: In terms of running, your 3:2:1 program will be just fine, here is a nice article I spotted about achieving military standards of running through various training methods.

Lower weight: This is going to be very difficult, you should look to weight all your food and be extremely strict in your dieting if you want to continue to lose weight. Your macro-nutritional profile should be tight as well. Neglecting either of these will lead to you becoming very tired, very quickly. Personally, I would reduce that 20% junk to 10%, or move to better junk options: Peanut butter, Nuts, high fat & salt snacks, anything that is low calorie and provides a good amount of protein.

Increase Strength: Speaking of protein, you are going to need a good source to increase your overall strength by 15% as you don't sound like you are coming at this untrained. A untrained individual can increase their max linearly and 15% isn't a impossible target for a novice. Someone at a intermediate level will struggle though and should look to 3-6 days a week strength training.

Explosive movement: Your amount of calisthenics is good to support an increase in jump height, definitely include box jumps in there. In term of other exercises to increase jump height, consider looking at Olympic weightlifting movements: clean and jerk require a lot of explosive, fast movement. However, consider getting a coach to teach you the basics.

Stretching: Every time you are doing a cool-down, do the split stretch and variants therein. With the amount of exercise you are planning to do I believe your flexibility goal is easily achievable.


  • You are trying to achieve too much at once. If you focussed on a specific goal for 3-4 months at a time you would achieve it.
  • Your aim of reducing body-fat (starting at 18%) and increasing strength is aspirational at best.
  • You don't have a rest day.
  • To make good progress against all of your goals you are going to need to spend a lot of time in the gym/running.

Nutrient Timing: For the majority of individuals this does not matter in the slightest, however with training so much you will need to make sure your body has access to the carbs it needs, to provide you with energy. For you carb timing is important and you should look to experiment with your carb timing and running to find out what works best for you. This is highly personal and is impossible for me to specify an appropriate time. As I have said previously...

Under most circumstances and in the grand scheme of things, it's not critical. Of far greater importance is hitting your calorie, macro- and micro-nutrient needs over the course of the day. After that, consistency and commitment should be applied to an appropriate workout plan that suits your performance and/or body goals. If you tend to train in a fasted state, getting your post-workout nutrition in as soon as possible is a good idea, but the first two points (daily diet goals, consistent training) still take precedence.

For a good paper reviewing the literature examining the ideas and research behind nutrient timing and the "post-workout window", check out this meta-review.

For a review specific to protein timing and it's effect on strength and muscle building, check out this review.


Within your question contraints I would recommend:

  • Take Sunday as a rest day.
  • Stick to compound movements for weights: Bench, Press, Squat, Deadlift and Row.
  • Look to add power cleans to your strength work.
  • Add pylometrics (box jumps, etc.) to your calisthenics/agility work.
  • Ditch the TRX for this program, it's a great bit of kit (I have one too) does not fit in with your goals currently.
  • Stretch after every time you do exercise, specifically work on your split.
  • Follow the 3 forward, 1 rest principle and every 4th week back off on all exercise. Keep doing it but reduce weight moved to 60% 1RM, running at a gentle pace, etc.
  • All excellent points - One slight contention is that if the rotation is structured correctly, you don't really need a rest day every week. I really like the recommendation on backing off every 4th week. I probably wouldn't have without the reminder. :)
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 21:21
  • Oh, and as far as the weightlifting, yes, I have trained before, but I haven't really been consistently in a weight room in over 5 years. I consider myself detrained in that aspect.
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 14:13
  • 1
    Definitely stick to a linear program doing those movements I suggested then.
    – John
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 14:53

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