How to Train for the Royal Marines

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Becoming a Royal Marines Commando is to gain entry to one of the world's most elite commando forces, capable of operating on land, sea and air. You need to have a high fitness level, with particular emphasis on upper body strength. Bear in mind that training involves more than just physical fitness--you also need to have the right state of mind and follow a healthy diet when training for the Royal Marines.

  • Warm up properly before exercising. This improves flexibility and reduces your chance of injury. Start by doing some light aerobic activity, then follow by at least 10 minutes of stretching. Make sure you stretch and mobilize the following areas: shoulder, calf, hamstrings, triceps, quadriceps, upper back, chest, hip, abductor and groin.

  • Perform 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise in the morning. For example, run, swim or bike on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Cardiovascular training will improve the fitness of your heart and lungs. Rest on the designated rest days (Wednesday and Sunday). This will allow your muscles to recover from exercise and in turn gain maximum benefit form the exercises performed.

  • Do circuit training, which improves muscular endurance. The exercises are done using your own weight, and can be performed anywhere. Follow the link to the Royal Marines website in the resources box to download videos on how to perform the exercises.

  • Do a bleep test. This involves running as long as possible between two points set 20 m apart. You have to be at the end of the track when you hear the bleep, then turn around and run to the other side. The test starts slow and becomes progressively more difficult, so it’s important to pace yourself. Follow the link in the resources box to download the audio file for the bleep test.

  • Bring your heart rate down after exercising by walking and stretching each muscle used during training.

  • Have the right state of mind. A positive mental attitude and a will of steel to succeed no matter what are essential when training. State of mind is the driving force for Royal Marine Commandos, as they have an inner belief that the mind powers the body’s muscles. Their ethos states, “We are special for what we do and the way we do it, not what we are.”

  • Eat right. Diet plays a very important role when following a tough exercise regime. The main focus is to eat a balanced diet that will provide you with all the nutrients your body needs. Have 5 small meals throughout the day in order to provide the body with constant energy. Have 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, which are low in calories but loaded with vitamins and minerals. Try to avoid or limit foods high in fat and sugars, such as cakes, biscuits, pastry and chips. Half your plate should consist of starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice and noodles, since carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source during exercise (opt for whole grains). Have milk and diary products, but make sure they are low in fat. Yogurt, milk and cheese are good sources of calcium, which is required for healthy bones as well as healthy nerve and muscle function. Choose good sources of protein, like lean meats, eggs, poultry, fish and beans. Protein is important in cell, tissue and organ maintenance as well as in repairing damaged muscles.

  • If, after gaining physical and mental strength from training like the Royal Marines, you strive for more and feel like you are among the select few who have what it takes to become a Royal Marines Commando, then follow the link in the resources box on how to apply.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have a snack 30 minutes before and after training, to raise your blood sugar levels
  • Be consistent with your diet and training program.
  • Don't over-exercise.
  • Concentrate on correct posture when performing muscular exercises; quality counts over quantity.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
  • Consult a doctor before you undertake any training program.
  • Photo Credit jpw_para on Flikr
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