Tag Archives: fat

Fat Is Not Tactical

I’m sure I have managed to anger a few people with the title of this article alone. That’s not my intention. As the saying goes, you get more flies with honey than with vinegar – although in this case, putting out carb-rich food wouldn’t be the best course of action.

I don’t know you and can’t say what, if anything, you are preparing for. What I can say is that almost anything you might be preparing for by going to carbine/pistol training courses or taking an active interest in blogs like this one will be made substantially easier if you are in good shape.

Part of being prepared for adverse situations is knowing what you are capable of. Knowing how far you can run at certain altitudes, how effectively you can physically fight after moving for six, twelve, twenty-four continuous hours, how clearly you think through problems that present themselves during that same time, and so on.

I know a lot about my capabilities because I’ve gone outside and proved them to myself. As I’ve done so, I have not only improved my mental well-being, but I’ve become more fit. I’ve gone from being fat and out of shape to being proud of myself, not only the way I look, but what I can do.

Andrew-Fifty-Pounds-Ago would not have made it to this point of the 24 Hour Sniper Adventure Challenge. He would have collapsed, sobbing, about a quarter of the way up the first mountain, begging for a cheeseburger.

Now, there are some guys who are really capable even though they’re packing an extra ten or fifty pounds. I’m not saying that they aren’t capable or that they’re bad people or whatever. Some of them might be better than I am at some things. I am saying that they would be more capable if they shed a little weight.

On the other end of the scale are people who are skinny but weak or incapable of physical exertion. If they don’t need to exercise to maintain a certain look, they choose to skip it. This is not good. A lot of the time, this applies to females – something I’ve learned is that if a girl does not have a butt, she probably won’t be able to keep up with me on a hike. I’ve also learned that “LOVE PINK” is shorthand for “I’m a white girl who thinks she has a butt.” But I digress…

If a capable but fat person gets injured…well, it will be easier for their friends or teammates to evacuate them if they weigh less. Because carrying fat people is hard.

In FMSS (Field Medical Service School), one of our final challenges was a dummy drag through an obstacle course. It was done in teams of three, but my two teammates were wimps, so I dragged and carried the ~180lb dummy through the whole course, and did it so fast that my teammates complained that they couldn’t keep up. Naturally, this was a big ego boost to me.

Fast forward to Iraq, where I was practicing emergency procedures with guys from my platoon. One of my Marines was…well, fat. And when he was in full gear, I simply couldn’t pull him out of a “disabled” truck. This was quite a change from my 180lb dummy drag champion days. After this, he lost a significant amount of weight; I don’t know if the two were connected, but it was certainly eye-opening for me.

If you lead an active lifestyle – or maybe if you drew the short straw in the womb – staying fit might be difficult. Injuries and genetics play a role, to be sure. However, willpower is huge. I used lung problems resulting from my Iraq vacation as an excuse to not exercise for a long time.

Then I realized that I had gotten fat. Soon after, I decided to stop being fat. I still have lung problems (if I run too hard, I start coughing up blood), and sometimes severe knee and ankle issues. I can’t do certain exercises because they cause too much pain in my chest and abdomen. I’ve learned to work around these problems – to minimize their impact on my life and the way I exercise.

Your issues might be more or less severe, but there is almost certainly a way for you to become at least somewhat fit. It starts with your personal decision to walk down that path.