FHP – Ep. 19 – “Tactical Fitness” feat. author, Stew Smith

FHP - Ep. 19 - "Tactical Fitness" feat. author, Stew Smith

Dr. Barter chats with trainer, Stew Smith about his book, “Tactical Training Over 40”



Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:00:02] Thank you so much for joining us here on the Fearless Health podcast, I’m your host, Dr. Ann-Marie Barter, and today I have Stew Smith on and we’re going to talk about tactical fitness. We’re also going to talk about how to start a workout program if you’re over 40 and you’ve never worked out or how to recover and get back into working out after an injury train like you’re going into the military or getting into the best shape of your life. And how do you use simple at home tricks to figure out if you’re overtraining and if you need a rest day? Do Smith is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL lieutenant and the author of several fitness and self-defense books such as The Complete Guide to Navy, SEAL Fitness, Maximum Fitness, The Special Ops Workout and SWAT Fitness.


Intro [00:00:56] Welcome to the Fearless Health podcast with host Dr. Anne-Marie Barter. Dr. Barter is on a mission to help people achieve their health and wellness goals and help men and women live their best lives fearlessly. Dr. Barter is the founder of Alternative Family Medicine and Chiropractic in Denver and Longmont, Colorado.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:01:17] Hey, Susan, thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited to have you.


Speaker 3 [00:01:21] Oh, thank you very much. I’m excited.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:01:23] Awesome. So I want to know what is tactical fitness? It’s quite a buzz word, and it sounds kind of intense and intimidating, but I know it’s not so. Can you just dove into that a little bit?


Speaker 3 [00:01:36] Yeah, sure. You know, I’ve written a lot about it, actually written the book that’s behind me on it. But I’ve also written a lot of articles about it and kind of explaining it a little better because it’s really not just for military law enforcement and firefighters. You know, people that do these physically demanding jobs where their life and other people’s lives are on the line. So it is, yes, that important, but it’s also really about being a physical asset in your everyday life. It’s kind of a new fitness genre. I’ve been writing about military law enforcement and firefighter fitness for almost 20 years now, just a little bit over 20 years now. And, you know, in about 10 years ago, the term tactical fitness came out and I was like, I called my publisher right there and I said, we have to write a book called Tactical Fitness because I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I’ve been calling the military police and firefighter fitness and just roll off the tongue very well. But it’s really doing all the things that you have to do for your physically demanding job. Sometimes that is sitting for a long period of time and jumping up and being able to move at full speed, which requires a lot of flexibility mobility. It’s also, you know, all the elements of fitness where we think about strength and power and speed and agility, flexibility, mobility, endurance and muscle stamina grip. You know, all of those elements for the tactical athlete has to be good. Now, notice that you have to be great in any of them because, you know, these aren’t world class strength and power and endurance people. They’re just good at everything. So if you were to consider an Olympic athlete an A-plus in endurance, if that guy is a runner, a tactical athlete would probably need to be about to be in endurance if that makes any sense. But we all need to be better tactical athletes.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:03:51] So it’s more like a functional movement. It’s something that you do every single day within your job or that you need to do. Is that is that correct? I explaining that.


Speaker 3 [00:04:01] Well, absolutely. And you know, regular workouts can transfer into those job related skills. You know, a deadlift can, for instance, be very helpful with, you know, picking up somebody and and moving them to a safe place or, you know, getting a heavy person down a flight of stairs. You know, all of those things, you know, are great ways to do some of the. Regular, very challenging elements of the job, but also easy to replicate in a regular gym, for instance.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:04:45] So yeah, that’s great and I. You made a really interesting point in your book, which I really liked. You said there are some people that rescue and there are some people that need rescuing. And so that’s a difference to what your tactical fitness level is or or what your fitness level is based on if you are the rescuer or the rescue. And can you can you describe that or explain that a little bit, because I thought that was a great point.


Speaker 3 [00:05:19] Sean, are you able to get yourself out of certain situations or do you require help? Now there are some situations that are beyond anybody’s control. You know, maybe severe illness or other ailments that can cause these type of issues, but they are also very what? Sorry, I’m getting distracted. What is that noise?


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:05:49] Well, just pours out. My phone went off. Oh, generally it blocks. It, blocks where the phone will go off. But it suddenly just started going. And I don’t know, for some reason the Do Not Disturb, but I’m


Speaker 3 [00:06:02] so sorry because I got I thought it was something in my house that I was like,


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:06:08] That’s totally fine. Go just edit that out and get going.


Speaker 3 [00:06:10] OK. I’m sorry. Where were we?


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:06:13] So we’ll take it from the top. So there are some people that need rescuing, and there are some people that or that are the rescuers. And so how can we determine if we are the rescuers or the rescuers? And what does that look like? Because I think that that’s such a great point. You bring up on fitness level.


Speaker 3 [00:06:37] Well, as I stated in the beginning of tactical fitness definition being, you have to be an asset in some way, whether that is getting yourself out of certain situations, a burning house, you know, saving your loved ones, you know, out of a burning house or a natural disaster, for instance, a flood, you know, or somebody, can you save somebody who is drowning? You know, there’s little things like that that are very big that can be can be fixed by general fitness applications. Now, I’m not saying you need to go and do you know, hand-to-hand martial arts or anything like that. But just being honest, you know, practicing swimming, you know, is a great skill and you are now an asset on 75 percent of this globe because you can now swim and perhaps you can swim to a level where you can actually save someone, you know, that’s that’s kind of like the next level, you know?


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:07:43] So that’s great. So I mean, I think one of the points that I really liked in how I heard about your book, which I thought was quite interesting, was a patient of mine said, you know, your book was fantastic because he was able to perform at such a high level over 40. And so that was that was really great that that he had found that. And so what advice? I think a lot of people get concerned when they’re 40 or approaching 40 or they haven’t worked out, they feel intimidated and threatened when they have to work out. And so what would you tell somebody that hasn’t worked out or hasn’t worked out in a long time? And how could this type of workout really help them and improve their lifestyle and not be intimidated?


Speaker 3 [00:08:30] Right? Well, I would say, you know, my first 20 years of a writer, I have been writing about a very specific young category of of people, people who want to serve in very challenging military law enforcement, firefighter professions. And as I turned 40, I was realizing that and as I got closer to 50, I really realized that things are changing. Personally, I noticed it myself, and I also realized that I was neglecting the very people who started out with me. You know, they were 20 years old when they started out with me. Now they’re turning 40, and they may have done this, you know, a great career in public service and sacrificing a lot, not only just time with their family, but with, you know, their physical abilities and getting injured and still having to work and, you know, kind of suck up those things. And so what I have tried to do with this tactical fitness over 40 series and it starts off with rebuilding the foundation. And that’s probably where he might have started with the first phase of that. And that’s really for beginners. It can be for beginners. It can be for people who were advanced athletes years ago, but have just let themselves go or they just got injured and slowly went downhill. People need to lose significant amount of weight. It’s for that kind of a big group and it’s very gentle. I mean, it is about as easy as a workout program that I can. Then I can create. That is a generic program, you know, not personalized for somebody, but it it does it safely. And some of the new rules over 40 that I put in there are very important because a lot of people who go from, you know, going hard, going hard and they’re still going hard at 40 and then they’re starting to break and fall apart and they spend more time injured than they do able to train. And some of those rules are in, and I’ll be able to answer your question fully when you know, talking to the people who don’t work out and are intimidated by 40. But listen to these rules and they may make that intimidation factor a little less. My my number one rule, as you can no longer outwork your diet, that that is a plain truth. And I’ve tried it for years, probably in my 20s. Not a problem. I could outwork my diet pretty well. You know, I did matter. I was working so hard that I was able to work so hard I could eat whatever I wanted. And this one is very important, especially if you’re used to running in. A lot of military folks are used to running. However, after a while, it it’s very challenging. And after 40, I advise people to not run every day. In fact, maybe even run every other day with non impact activities in between. So if you’re not used to running at all, that’s actually a great way to start running is to try to walk, jog, run, you know, every other day with a non impact activity in between. However, starting off every day with a non impact activity is a great way to get started, as well as a lot easier on the joints, especially if you’re over 200 pounds. A seems to be the magic number for people if you’re under 200 pounds. It’s a little less on your joints. If you’re over 200 pounds, it’s it’s a lot harder on your joints and probably need to do more. Not impact for my folks that like to lift over 40, you might have been you might have been a hard gainer when you were in your teens and 20s and lift so much and eat so much and can never get big. But now all you have to do is look at food and look at weights, and you can get bulky. That’s just I don’t know why it is at 40, but that’s the way it is. We’re just our metabolisms have slowed down to a point where it’s very easy to gain weight. And probably the one of the things that I would say that if if you get nothing else out of this conversation, I want you to add a mobility day to your training every week and a mobility day can be in replacement of a hard workout that you’re used to doing. Just take it out and replace it with a mobility day. And my mobility day looks like this. You do a bike, elliptical row or swim something non impact for five minutes and then you follow it up with a foam roll stretch or some kind of massage tool, even for five minutes. Then you do that five times. And that is my mobility takes 50 minutes to do it. But I tell you, you really work out some of those kinks that we get some of those aches and pains that we get. And learning how to stretch foam roll and use some card or massage tools. I actually use a car buffer and it actually works quite well as a massage tool on my knees and shins. And, you know, just anything that aches. But those are my new rules for fitness over 40. So if you’re kind of new to the game, you can see I’m not really trying to push you hit hard at all. These are little bitty changes that if you’re really active, you’re pulling the reins back a little bit. But if you’re not active at all, it does feel like you’re you’re kicking it up a notch. But it’s not as intimidating as it as it probably maybe is in your head.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:14:20] And in how many days is it? I mean, we have the Mobility Day. How many days do you think it’s important to workout? Kind of for everybody over 40 under 40? You know, seriously, I


Speaker 3 [00:14:32] think you should do something. I think you should do something every day, some kind of physical activity every day. Now that could just mean walking your dog for half an hour. I think walking half an hour every day is a great minimum standard for anybody, no matter what level of fitness you’re in a walk for 30 minutes a day, it gets you outside or on a treadmill. And you know, you just get moving a little bit and then you stretch a little bit after that and you’re done. So I would call that a good minimum standard. I, however, I’m 50 years old and I work out probably about two hours a day, six days a week. But I’ve been doing this for decades and I do it. Really smart. You know, I do a split routine where I work a, you know, upper body one day lower body, the next I do a mobility day and then I’ll do it again. So I actually have these recovery days built in. And on one day of the week, I don’t do any workouts, but it’s usually some other activity, whether it’s yard work or walking the dogs or I mean, I walk my dogs also. But, you know, it’s just like I said, that’s my minimum standard. But yeah, you can build yourself up to that. And you know this this program that I sent you was the phase one of that as a 12 week program that just really get you back moving again. But then there’s a phase two. That’s another 12 week program that kind of takes it up a notch. And then there’s a phase three that takes it up another notch drive forward. It takes up another notch, you know? So in the end, it’s a 52 week program where you basically. He changed in one year. Maybe it takes time, it is hard work, I’m not trying to belittle that. Yeah, that’s easier said than done, but you know, you know, if you start exercising, you will change the way you feel. In a matter of days, if you start exercising, you will change the way you look and matters of a month. And if you start exercising, you will change your life in a year. So a year from today, you started working out today, make today day one, you know, not one day. And I promise you, next year, at this time before the holidays, you will be a new person.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:17:02] And when somebody is starting out a workout program at any age and let’s say they have some sort of injury or some sort of something that they’ve been dealing with and they say, Well, I can’t do that. This hurts, that hurts. What would you kind of say? What would you say to somebody that has that complaint?


Speaker 3 [00:17:27] Well, you know, it happens. You know, runners get injured. You know, if you’re going to run, you’re probably going to have some kind of ache or pain might be something with your foot, might be a shin, might be a pulled muscle. You know, all of those things occur when you do these type of activities, when you’re lifting weights. It could be the same thing. You could pull a muscle and tweak something, pull and pinch a nerve. You know, these things happen. You just kind of have to go with them, maybe get in. If it’s serious, you get some treatment. I have a rule personally that if I if it hurts to run, stop running. If it hurts to walk, don’t run. And if it hurts sitting down, doing nothing, go to go see a doctor. That’s kind of my rule on how it is. But what I would do instead, instead of missing that day, would be go to the gym maybe immediately after. If it’s an injury, maybe do with that mobility day. See if I can work things out. So I’ve never really lost the habit of going to the gym and training, even though I’ve had this injury and figure out a way to work around it. You may just have to do, you know, some non impact cardio for a week or so, or you may have to just do upper body activities every other day, you know, and skip, skip to the legs of the knees hurting or things like that. So there are many ways to work around it. The only thing I’ve ever done where I couldn’t do anything and it was a rib.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:18:59] Yes, I heard


Speaker 3 [00:19:01] a rib and I was thinking I was back when I was playing rugby in college and I couldn’t do anything. It hurt to walk, it hurt to breathe. If I sneezed, if I felt like I was going to pass out, you know, so there there are some things, obviously, that you just need to rest and heal and get a good night’s sleep and eat well and do all the right things for recovery that will help you recover faster. But yes, I would say if you can work around it, work around it.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:19:32] Yeah, I think that’s a great point to to really. There are other things you can do. You know, you can’t use your injury as an excuse in our I think the major most common excuse I hear is time. I don’t have time for that. And what do you say when somebody says I don’t have time to work out, I don’t have time to do that tactical training. That just doesn’t work. What do you say to somebody?


Speaker 3 [00:20:00] Well, you know, if someone’s listening to me and say, Yeah, there’s no way I could do that for two hours a day and I get it, I I have it scheduled in my day where I do it an hour before my day starts. And then I do go at lunch and I


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:20:15] know what time is there. Before just that, I start a six.


Speaker 3 [00:20:19] I started. I get up about 5:45 5:30 and then from six to seven, get get some workout done. And then during lunch, I’ll get the cardio component of that done typically. So I spread it out in two different workouts, just it’s just become a habit. And I found personally that I almost needed the the extra cardio just because, you know, I do like to eat and I eat well, but I I it’s for me, it’s portion control. I would say my weaknesses, portion control, because I can eat like I did when I was 20 and just just eat a lot, you know, and just not, you know, clean my plate, clean my kids plates, you know, leaving food on their, you know, I just don’t leave anything for leftovers. And I’ve gotten better at that since I’ve turned 40 and things I could notice that I was gaining weight a lot easier even with these extra workouts. So even with these extra workouts, I have to. Pull back on portion control, because for me, it’s it’s it’s really I need to move and I need to eat less. But for most of us, we all need that. I just happen to do it on a different level of the spectrum, perhaps than most people. But generally speaking, you know, we all just need to move more and eat better food, but less of it.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:21:49] Even so. So when you’re looking at somebody that is just getting started, somebody that’s a weekend warrior, someone that’s an elite athlete, how are you kind of grading these fitness programs like the foundations? How does that? How does that look like? Do you have an example of some exercises versus like an elite athlete, like how you would sort of train them?


Speaker 3 [00:22:19] You know what I typically would make, you know, like today, we had 30 people join our program today all at once, right? And the lot of people and I run a program where all these people are joining us that are either currently serving or they want to serve. So they’re preparing for some job military law enforcement. We have some SWAT team guys and, you know, people that are in high school as well as guys that are 40, you know, and they’re all in the same world they want to do. You know, these type of tactical professions. So there’s a variety of different fitness levels that come in there and experience, you know, so half of it is experience, half of it is fitness levels. And so I usually check out with a really fun warm up. But today was a full body day. We did everything because tomorrow I’m doing it this week I just happen to be doing a double mobility day week. So every other day is a mobility day this week. So it’s just something I’m trying out just testing because I think everybody’s burned out and I think we need to be honest with him. But anyway, so I start off with a a fun warm up where we ran across a football field. And we did 10 push ups and 10 squats, and then we ran back and then we did that again, and then I just watched, you know, slowly started watching people fade. You know, people would turn their run into a jog, they’d turn their jog into a walk. They turn 10, push into five push ups, right? And you know, it just it just evolved like that. And then there are some people that are spreading the whole thing and finishing in five minutes. I mean, it’s ridiculous, you know, so it’s big, different levels. So I had I noticed the folks that were starting to walk and starting to cut the reps, and I said, OK, you’re just doing five sets and that’s good enough. Warm up for you. And then I said, Hey, you guys that are still sprinting do five more, right? So I just pushed, I just extended the warm up below. And that’s a warm up, right? So we’re and then we’re going to go inside and we’re going to go do something else. And so I took the beginners with me. And instead of jumping in on free weights, we did a cycle of what I call five minutes on, five minutes off. I put the those guys on five minutes of a cardio machine where they could walk. They could jog, they could bike, they could elliptical, they could row so they could do a non impact or jog if they wanted to. And then I put them five minute little circuit on the machines and a dumbbell cycle in there. So I had them doing this five minute on, five minute off cycle where I had my more advanced guys doing a lot more higher rep calisthenics. They had some free weights out there doing bench and deadlifts and more kettlebell stuff. So it was a variety of things. They were all doing the same movements and strength exercises to a degree. Just some more doing more repetitions, more weight. And so everything’s scalable. That’s what I like about these workouts is that the long as you’re observant and see that somebody needs to be scaled back or pushed harder, then you know these these workouts are are very scalable for whatever level. And that’s the thing, you know, any book and I tell people this all the time. I write articles and I put workouts in them. I write books with lots of workouts in them, and I said, Look, this is not a personalized program. You know, you need to be the one who personalizes it. Whether that is turning a two mile run that’s written on paper into a one mile run or that’s, you know, doing 10 reps instead of 20 reps. You know, those are things that you have to understand that if you’re not used to doing a workout that has any, you know, pull ups in it, you know, if you’re not used to doing pull ups or you can’t do pull ups. Well, let’s come up with another exercises that resembles that same movement, like a pull down or a bicep curl or a row know something that replicates that polling motion of of a pull up. So that is how we I kind of teach my guys how to scale back when they need to scale back. And we have a big group and I try to write that in and in my programs and in my articles of teaching people how to, you know, personalize of something that is not that is a generic program.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:26:57] Basically, there’s a couple of things I want to ask you. The first one is, I think, one of the major concerns that I see with people is they’re afraid to go lift weights, they’re afraid they’re going to get injured. They don’t know how to lift weights. They don’t know what to do. Do you feel like your books give enough of a. A description on, you know, it’s hard with proper form because you can get injured or do you feel like people need to also consult a personal trainer and combination or what do you think is the best solution to that problem?


Speaker 3 [00:27:29] That’s a very good question, because one thing I’ve tried to do in my books is, and I think I sent you the e-book version of that. So I do have a clickable links for all the the movements that take you directly to a YouTube channel of the video of that activity being done. So whether it’s, you know, a bicep curl or overhead press or your deadlift or bench press, you know those actually have control click links to a video instead of just a picture in a before and after picture and a description. Because sometimes you know a moving picture is worth 10000 words. You know, pictures worth a thousand words about a moving pictures were ten thousand. So for movements like that, for teaching, swimming, for teaching, running, it’s really hard to do it with a static picture. I think you got to have some video. So I’ve tried to do that. I’ve created this one hundred and twenty video library on my YouTube channel to help with that. But you know, if mine isn’t good, there’s plenty out there that you can find of of this movement. You know, you want to learn a very technical version of the deadlift. It’s out there, you know, and I use YouTube for just about everything, whether I’m trying to fix my computer or fix my car. You know, there’s there’s so many videos out there that you can that you can use and learn from. And I think my son uses it for for physics class. I mean, there’s so many different things. It’s amazing. He watches more YouTube than he does television. But yeah, I mean, I think, yeah, that’s a great question. And I want to be honest and say no. A picture and description is not enough for someone who’s not used to training. A video is the next step, but a in person trainer teaching the movements, demonstrating the movements. Critiquing your movement of those exercises is the best way to do it. So I would recommend if you really want to learn how to do it properly and make sure you don’t hurt yourself. I would say get some in-house training.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:29:48] The reason I ask that question is because I’m a recruiter and what a recruiter is, is I cheat every single movement with some other muscle group. And so I am most likely to do things my own way. And so unless someone’s there correcting me, especially initially when I learn and exercise, I will cheat the whole movement. It’s incredible.


Speaker 3 [00:30:10] Yeah, you know, that’s what we do. You know, our bodies, you know, when we’re when we’re talking about moving, you know, when we talk about the go athlete, there’s a lot of movement involved and in the job, right? And we do a lot of recruiting from other muscle groups, other, you know, sections of the body. And next thing you know, you wonder why you hurt yourself, even though you may workout all the time. It’s just a weird bend. You know, while you were straining to pick up 200 pounds, you know, in a weird angle, whereas you could do it maybe three or 400 pounds in the gym. Nice static movement. But yeah, I agree with you.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:30:49] It’s it’s tough.


Speaker 3 [00:30:51] It is tough. But you know, that’s where the gym comes in handy because every time I bend over to pick up something, I, I get a natural like. Like, just in my head, it’s I’ve been down, you’re like, I’m picking doing a deadlift and it’s just a natural movement for me instead of bending over at the waist and picking it up. And you know, if I even if I know it’s light or know it’s heavy. Plus, you know, I tell you one thing, you know, the last thing I’m going to do is pick up something that is super heavy. That’s that’s not in the weight room, just off the ground. Right. I’m going to use a a dolly or something like that. But in an emergency situation which often these jobs require. And when you’re an emergency situation of your own, sometimes you don’t have that luxury, but you do have the luxury of the fight or flight hormones that are rushing through your body and make you super strong from super strong for a little bit. But you know, it does help to have a better foundation because typically that usually accompanies some kind of injury post. Even though you saved your life, you’re probably you’re hurt because you overdid it. But if you have a little bit better fitness foundation, you can, you know, be be less hurt.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:32:15] So you also made an interesting comment. You said, you know, you see people get burned out or people need to take a rest. And so I live in athletic Colorado, and if I tell people the rest, they stare at me with the death stare because everybody over trains, over exercises here, it’s just a part of the culture. And so how important is rest? It sounds like you work out six days a week. You take one day off, for sure. So can you talk about rest just being an important part of the athlete?


Speaker 3 [00:32:46] Yes. You know what? You know, that’s a really good point. I take a day off where I don’t do anything. I take a mobility day where it’s very easy. Now it still takes an hour, hour and a half to do, but it’s it’s very therapeutic. I mean, it is basically stretching and massage, you know, time with some very non impact activity where I don’t even break a sweat with intensity. So, you know, that basically is a day off for me because I walk out of the gym and when I’m not tired and two nothing hurts, which at 50 years old to be not tired and nothing hurting, that’s a win. So that’s a big win. So I’m doing what I do, doing it twice this week just because we’ve been hitting some Tuesdays pretty hard for the last month, while we still had some good weather here in Maryland. And now we’re kind of in this lift cycle and everybody’s in the transition of going from cardio and calisthenics to lifting. I can see it after a month or just really starting to burn out. So we’re adding that still have that day off on Sunday, but we are adding to mobility days on Tuesday, Thursday and depending on how we’re looking on Friday, I may add another mobility day on Saturday. So it you really just have to listen to yourself and listen to your body. Are you sleeping well? Are you doing all the right things for recovery? Because I look at recovery as a balance, right? If you’re eating well right, you can work out a little harder. If you’re sleeping well, you can work out a little harder. Right? If you’re actually taking a day off, you can work out a little harder and everything comes back into into balance. Otherwise, you know, you can have a perfectly. You know, perfectly balanced exercise regimen. And, you know, miss out on a night of sleep and still exhibit all the symptoms of overtraining and probably hormonally exempt. You know? You know, experience that same overtraining syndrome that that can occur with all the different symptoms that you can name just by missing out on a good night’s sleep. Or maybe you’ve been on the road for three or four days eating food out of a grocery store and a 7-Eleven. And you wonder why you feel horrible at the end of the week. Are you just not getting enough nutrition and enough energy? You know, when you are eating? So everything’s a balance. And if you’re constantly training, constantly training and not adhering to good food, good nutrition or good sleep, it comes crashing down as it usually hits you pretty hard and some type of illness, some type of injury you get. But I do it this way. I tell my guys, this way you can rest. Take an easy day right now, once a week or take a month off after you’re injured and you’re completely burned out. You know, three months from now.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:36:05] Well said. That’s totally well said. And I chuckle at that because I’m that person that would run. I’ve run through it and regretted it so, so much and then had to take six weeks off or however long to heal a pretty bad injury. But it’s just it’s news that you can’t live off slurpees and big bites and donuts, you know? Go, figure. What a shame. Who would have thought?


Speaker 3 [00:36:30] Well, we’ll say this too, because I get a lot of guys that want to go in to Navy SEAL programs and special ops programs. So their mental toughness, they’re not going to take a day off unless I say take a day off. I mean, and then even then I was like, You sure we can’t do a MERV or something? I mean, just something easy


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:36:51] or


Speaker 3 [00:36:53] easy workout, relative.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:36:55] You know,


Speaker 3 [00:36:57] that’s not an easy workout, or we’re just going to go run five miles instead of lift. I’m like, just take a day off, you know, because I tell them all the time. There’s a fine line between mental, tough mental toughness and stupidity. You know, if you get hurt and you can’t train anymore, you just went past that line. Now, you know, in a life or death situation that that moment, there’s nothing that is stupid. If you at the end of that life or death situation, you are alive. You’ve done everything you can to stay alive there. That’s a completely different animal. You know, when you’re just you have a controlled environment and you’re training and you’re training so hard that you know you’re not listening to yourself, say, you know, I’m kind of sluggish today. Maybe I need to pull back a little bit. But there are some there are some really neat ways to just check to see if you’re overtraining. I do a real simple one. I tell my guys in the morning and wake up where you get out of bed. Before you start thinking of, you’ve got to go work out, just take your pulse and just see where your resting heart rate is if it’s elevated. You’re probably right on that borderline overtraining zone. Now there are some great. Use them for a while. I don’t really use them often, but there are some programs that can actually give you some direct feedback on whether or not you’re resting enough, you know, whether or not you’re getting a good night’s sleep. I think the iPhone or the Watch, the Apple Watch can tell you some of that information, too. How accurate is it might be 10 15 percent off of real accuracy, but it gives you a ballpark of like, Hey, you know, you need to sleep more, you know, listen to it because it means it means a lot. But if you can look at a watch and say yes, I only slept five hours last night, that’s not enough sleep and you need six seven if you can push eight, even better. You know that’s really hard to do is it’s very hard to do. I like I said, I get up at five 30, but I’m a zombie by like nine thirty ten o’clock if I make it past 10 o’clock at night. It’s it’s rare.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:39:19] Same here. Same here. Same exact thing. I think I’m on your schedule. I’ve got about 30,


Speaker 3 [00:39:27] but I can definitely get eight hours sleep like that. But I’ve but I’ve earned it. I mean, I’m tired. I put my head on a pillow and I’m done. Yeah.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:39:36] Sleep is so critical. It’s so boring and I can hear the questions that would be. So how is this workout different than, say, CrossFit?


Speaker 3 [00:39:47] Oh, well, it’s very different. I mean, one, the one that you’re responding to with the fitness over 40, be building for recovery and injury. You know, people who are injured, it’s a very beginner program. I mean, it’s it’s for people who haven’t done anything or are hurt in such a way that they just need to, or they’ve been out for a significant amount of time that they just need to treat themselves like a beginner. You know, I always tell people like, I have this one guy who had pneumonia, you know, and he’s been out for like a month hasn’t really done anything. And I said, the last thing you need to do is come back here and start off where you left off. We are going to treat you like a beginner. I’m going to put you in this group and you’re going to do beginner workouts, you know, and it may even be a week mobility days for your first week. You know, in just five minutes, a non in back cardio, followed by stretching and foam rolling and just, you know, getting some movement going again with, you know, get the rust off you. But yeah, it has more of that in it than, hey, let’s go learn how to do the power clean on day one or do 100 pull up workout when you can’t do 10, you know, things like that. So I mean, CrossFit is, I think overall has done more more good than harm. I mean, it’s got him people out there. It’s turned fitness into a competition, which I’m all about. So a competition for push ups. I’m I’m in it, you know, or pull ups. I love it. I don’t follow a lot of CrossFit workouts, you know, because I’ve been writing my own workouts for 30 years now. And but I do like a couple of them. I like I said, I mentioned the Murph. That’s a CrossFit style workout, but you do 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats. See how fast you can do it with a mile at the beginning and mile at the end, and it’s fun little workout, you know, so calisthenics based workout that I enjoy. I happen to have been doing one of those workouts long before there was a CrossFit


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:41:59] because,


Speaker 3 [00:42:01] you know, they’re just there’s nothing new in it. You know, it’s just I think sometimes when you’re in a group and I see this in my own group that you know, you can push yourself beyond your limits in a good way and you can push it in a bad way. And people get hurt. They, you know, get rhabdomyolysis, you know, or, you know, whatever, you know, they just work too hard. You know, I tell people this all the time. One person’s warm up is another person’s workout. So, you know, you have to you have to be cognizant of that, you know, especially when you get a generic workout program that’s in a book. You know, it may be too easy for you if it’s too easy for you. Add some reps, add some mileage. You know, if you or bump it up a couple of weeks, if it’s too hard for you, cut it in half. I think, yeah, you have to. Yeah, you have to add some common sense to it, you know, and ask yourself, Well, you know, I haven’t done any running in the last five years in this first run and week one of this workout says I need to do a four mile time run. Well, that’s that’s that’s the wrong workout book for you.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:43:18] Sure. Is and is. It’s interesting, you say about the murder, because my I, I I dabbled in CrossFit a little bit, but my very first CrossFit workout was them or my very like. I walked into a CrossFit gym. That’s what I did. I was suffering. I was suffering for sure. I was a that was a self-professed workout for me.


Speaker 3 [00:43:40] I mean, it’s a I. I have guys that warm up with the Murph.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:43:48] They’re so


Speaker 3 [00:43:49] far advanced. I mean, it’s fun to see, you know, it’s fun to see a 20 year old that warms up with a murph and then look out for another hour and a half two hours.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:43:58] It’s impressive. That’s impressive.


Speaker 3 [00:44:00] It’s very impressive, you know, but you know, not everybody’s able to do that. And that’s I tend to write on the full spectrum of fitness. I love writing about the guy that is going to go from 10 pull ups to 25 pull ups and run an eight minute mile, and now he’s running a six minute mile pace for five miles. You know, I love all that too, but I tell you, I get the most reward from people who are 100 pounds overweight. They lose 100 pounds. It might take a year to do it, but they also get fit at the same time. And it’s that year that just changed their complete their life completely, and they’re a different person. You know, after losing 100 pounds and they’ve changed everything that they used to do, all the bad habits are gone. You know, they’ve created new good habits. And that’s really what this journey is all about is slowly, progressively starting to move and build some good habits of movement. And then as you go each month, see if you can knock down another bad habit that may be smoking or some other tobacco product, or it might be drinking or might be eating too much or sugar or, you know, whatever that is, you know, do it progressively where people screw up the most time is they do it all at once. And that’s why the word resolution is no longer used by the time February’s here, because you know, everybody quits using the word New Year’s resolution by usually January 20th.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:45:33] Yeah. And I mean, I think just to your point, you know, what I have seen in practice is a lot of people will write up a workout so fast they get injured. They don’t follow what I call the 10 percent rule, which is increasing everything 10 percent each week versus like, I’m going to run a mile this week and then five miles next week, like, that’s a great recipe for getting injured, hand out grade up like that. And I think it’s really important to the people that I see do the best know if I put them on a diet or I change their diet or I do something. A lot of people are like, I’m just going to eliminate fear, I’m going to eliminate alcohol, and then I’m going to eliminate this thing or that bad habit. I feel like that’s so much more sustainable. Then I’m going to do a juice cleanse for a month, and I’m like, Wow, that seems really, really challenging. That seems really restrictive.


Speaker 3 [00:46:22] That’s that’s no fun.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:46:23] So I mean, I really think there is so much wisdom and just grating up easily and having that be achievable and getting the small wins because that’s just going to keep you going.


Speaker 3 [00:46:36] Absolutely. And it’s a logical progression. You know, you go from zero to 100, you know, you don’t get there like that. You know, it’s a logical progression, doesn’t have to be linear. You know, you can have good steps and, you know, plateaus a little bit along the way. But that’s that’s where you add something new and change things up a little bit and add some variety. Next thing you know, you’re off this little plateau, a weight loss or performance gains or whatever that is. And you know, you can just keep on moving. So it’s a fun journey. You know, if you’re somewhere in there on that, you know, thinking, I need to get started, I just don’t know how to get started. You know, just start walking. And then from there, I promise you, things will start progressing for you and you’ll start adding something new. There might be a 5K in your neighborhood that you’re going, You know what? I think I can do a 5K now, you know, and then it just goes to the next level. You know, it’s a journey. And I tell people all the time, fitness is a journey. It’s not a destination. And I have been living proof of that, and I’ve bounced around from all types of goals and all types of challenges. And it’s been fun. And I still I still do it. And I I try to beat 20 year olds in swimming, and I try to do as the most pull ups in a day. Know whatever, but know it’s fun.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:47:58] It’s awesome. And even I didn’t ask, that’s important.


Speaker 3 [00:48:03] Oh yeah, I guess my big thing is, you know, when you when you asked me about this tactical fitness over 40 program, I guess, I guess a better definition for me when I think about. You know, tactical fitness. You know, yes, it is primarily, you know, the fitness required to get into and remain in the military, law enforcement, firefighter, EMT services But however, you know, the goal of tactical fitness is to create a strong and capable body so you can save yourself or others and any type of situation. Like I said, just be an asset in those type of situations. So that’s the big thing, I think, for, you know, tactical fitness, since it’s not really that much different than any other level of fitness because people who run and swim, you know, if they need to do, they can run and swim in an emergency situation and be helpful. So let’s just think it’s just thinking a little bit. I’m trying to motivate people, you know, especially. Or not being motivated to train when you’re in the tactical professions. And I get it, we’re all human. We’re still not necessarily motivated to train some days. But if you train like your buddies, life depended on it, you might have a little more motivation to go train.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:49:36] Boy, isn’t that true? Is that important? Very true. And where can they find you stew in your book and everything? If they want to get in touch with you, I’m sure


Stew Smith [00:49:46] I’m in Maryland and I. I run a program here called The Heroes of Tomorrow. We train people for free who want to serve or are serving a lot of fun. I talked about a little bit in the show, but if you go to Stew Smith Fitness dot com, you can see my books. And in that in the article section, it talks a lot about the workout program. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, you know, try to do the social media thing as well. But YouTube, I have a lot of videos on YouTube. I actually have my own podcast. I call it the tactical fitness report, and I’ve done 150 podcasts already, and we talk about a variety of things from, you know, training for rangers and seals and firefighters and smoke jumpers, which was really cool because that jump out of planes and put out fires is really cool stuff. So we talk about it all.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:50:40] So that’s a big field. Thank you so much for being with us today. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed learning with us today, please give us a five star review. Comment like and share our podcast with your friends and family. As always, if you’d like to learn more information about today’s guest, please head over to FearlessHealthPodcast.com for links to their site and other educational resources.

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