Tactical Tailor

Corps Strength – Mindless and Mislead


Here on NAS Pensacola, the International Training Center where I work, is located in the same building as Navy API. Which is the Aviation PREFLIGHT Indoctrination for new Navy and Marine aviation officer students. Every once in awhile we have a new Ensign assigned to us that is on Med hold for an injury. They’re assigned to help our staff with admin stuff while they heal up. To me they’re just kids, right out of OCS, or the Naval Academy. They’re always very bright, motivated and to me; fun to be around as I always like to hear their fresh (if not sometimes naive) perspective on things. Plus of course as the old Master Gunny, I feel responsible to help them out with what ever advice and guidance I think may help them going forward.

This last month we had a young Ensign who was with us because of an ankle injury. So he was sent to me to PT with. I told him he could PT with me, but PT goes at 0545 and he had to follow my routine. He was game and surprisingly (unlike most) he showed up on time and ready to go the next morning. We started off easy, as the point was to help him get back in shape, not break him again. He was in ok shape, but a little chunky, so over the next few weeks we slowly ramped it up. He made good progress, his ankle was fine and he could pass the PRT with no trouble. However, I told him that he needed to get his diet in order so he could drop the excess 10-15 lbs he was carrying.

At that, he proudly stated that he had just purchased a delivered meal plan (over $500, including supplements) that says he could lose that much weight in 30 days. I asked him, “Huh, don’t you have a degree in Systems Engineering from the Naval Academy? “Yes”, So you must be educated enough to realize that plans food is just over priced, processed crap? Don’t you think you can figure this out better yourself.” “Well” he said, “Your’re probably right, but I want some fast easy results, without having to think about it.” “Ok, so using that mindset, later if your squadron CO asks you to provide him with a 30 day training plan for his pilots, your go to answer is to provide him with the plan that requires the least amount of thought? The thought process here being that something mindless works best?” Blank stare, “Well I never thought about it that way? Not thinking at all was your mistake, as you were looking for something easy first, sorry to say life doesn’t work that way pal” The right answer to any problem is rarely the easiest. Now that doesn’t mean some effective can’t be simple, many times simple is the best answer, but in any case only the right thinking will get you there.” Mindless as a plan, isn’t a plan, it’s a disaster in the making.” From this I got the “Buy in” look I wanted and we went from there. As we say in the Marine Corps: “Never miss an opportunity to train.”

However, this was really no surprise as there is a whole industry built around this fantasy that you can get real lasting results from something mindless. These 30-60-90 day plans are very popular, they all tout great results without meal preparation, thought or much effort. You just send us money, follow our plan (eat the cardboard we deliver) and you’ll wake up 30 days later and be awesome. To bad it’s almost all just marketing Bullshit. You wouldn’t think that smart people would fall for this stuff, but they do to the tune of many millions of dollars a year. Does it work? For some it does, but I’m pretty sure for most it doesn’t for the simple reason is that its not sustainable for the long term. Like I always ask people, are you going to eat (take) that stuff for the rest of your life? The overwhelming majority of people can’t and because they didn’t learn anything from that “mindless” process, will soon be overweight and out of shape again.

The fact is maintaining an effective long term exercise and eating plan does require some thought and planning. Relatively speaking it’s not that much, but some. Certainly much less than to takes to work a job, serve in the military or raise a family. In my book “Corps Strength” I not only lay out a simple and effective plan, but I go into all the necessary detail on developing the right thought process and planning that you need to make this work long term. You don’t have to be a new Ensign to learn something from the old Master Gunz; Mindless never works.

Be safe always, be good when you can.

Semper Fi




7 Responses to “Corps Strength – Mindless and Mislead”

  1. Brent says:

    At least he didn’t spend his $500 on a bar tab at McGuire’s.

    • Joe says:

      10 points to the man who’s actually been there!

      • Forrest says:

        I go there about once a month. I live on the coast in Alabama and the wife and I drive out there for supper fairly often. I’d take a $500 tab there and never touch the bar. The only issue I have ever had there is that the 45 minute drive home is near suicidal with a belly full of sheppards pie. McGuires may not have invented the food coma, but they perfected it.

    • MK262 MOD1 says:

      At least I remember most of my nights in McGuires. Some at Trader Jon’s I can’t say that about. I really miss that place.

  2. seth says:

    Diet is the weak point in my plan, I just bought your book and look forward to reading it!