Army soldier loses over 40 lbs using No S and kettlebells

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Army soldier loses over 40 lbs using No S and kettlebells

Post by magus71 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:29 pm

Hello, I'm new to this forum but have been using No S principles for some time, but this is the first time I've posted here and I thought that a testimonial I originally posted on Pavel Tsatsouline's website, StrongFirst. Comments are appreciated. That post, written about a year ago, is posted below.

Hello everyone. my name is Douglas Moore, and I’m a long-time disciple of Pavel’s and an NCO in the US Army who is currently deployed to Afghanistan.

I have a story to tell, so I came here to tell it, knowing I’d find people who’d be interested.

As an Non Commissioned Officer, it’s my job (or one of them) to keep the troops conditioned, strong and otherwise physically capable. One of my soldiers in particular was overweight, and his conditioning was such that he could not run 2 miles in a time that meets the Army’s standard. He was fat, slow, and weak–a bad state for any human being, let alone a soldier. He was on the verge of being forced out of the Army because he could not reenlist while being so fat. He came to me and told me that he wanted to reenlist; his wife was pregnant with their third child, he needed and wanted a job, and this was a terrible time to lose the job he had.

I agreed to help him, but only if he gave me his best effort, not the weak effort he’d given that got him into so much trouble. He agreed. He only had two months, so we’d had to get straight to it.

There was an obstacle in our way: Afghanistan. We are currently deployed to Afghanistan, FOB Warrior in Ghazni Province. Not only is the heat oppressive in June and July, but we sit at 7000 ft above sea level and the soldier would have to pass his two mile run in some seriously thin air.

We weighed him and measured his body fat. 246 lbs, 25% body fat, at 6’2″ . Moreover, his diet was wretched. Cramming in the starches, he tried to stick to a vegetarian diet, assuring me that he heard this was healthy. I told him that if he wanted to keep his job, he’d have to eat as I told him, which meant he’d have to eat a balanced diet, with meat in it. I told him he’d could have three square meals a day, no seconds or deserts except on weekends.

The soldier had lost weight since he arrived in Afghanistan–almost everyone does unless they try to make weight gains. But he was still blubbery and too heavy. Worse still, he was weak, a triad of doom for the professional soldier. I set about designing a program that could meet his needs. I decided that since the Army’s physical fitness test focus on pushups, situps, and running, we’d begin there, then introduce other methodologies. The running would address the bodyweight problem, which would make his pushups and situps easier, at least in theory.

I had the soldier running or doing other cardio exercises, at least 20 minutes every other day, in addition to calisthenics circuits. I made sure to vary the intensity and duration of the training sessions, monitoring the soldiers demeanor and motivation. Mind you, the whole time we’re trying to get him fit and strong, I’m hearing negative comments. “He won’t make it.†“I don’t think he’ll do it.â€

These comments made me want even more this soldier to succeed.

Eventually I introduced the soldier to kettlebells. We have a few of them here at FOB Warrior, a 35, a 44 and a 53 lber. Swings were the order of the day, served on a plate of dust-ridden, low oxygen air. We started with the 44, doing sets of 20, with a minutes rest between. I worked them in after bouts of pushups, dips, and situps, sometimes mixed into a giant, evil stew.

His first physical fitness test since I began training him was around the corner. And he only had three weeks to pass the PT test, and get his body fat down to 22%. It last stood at 24%. unfortunately, all the cardio work had reduced his neck size by one-half inch, which meant by Army calculations (waist to neck ratio, factored with weight), that he’d gained a point of bodyfat despite the cardio blast. I added one minute interval sprints on a stationary bike, ten intervals, and told him to limit the starch in his diet to an amount that would only fill one small section of his tray at each meal, and upped the kettlebell weight and volume. Now he was swinging the 53, sets of 20, up to 160 total reps.

Finally, the day of his test came. The soldier did more pushups than he’s ever done on any other test in his Army career, and easily passed his situps, too. But then the tough part: The run around a dirt track, surrounding a giant smouldering dirt pit (in which the base burned all of its trash), in 90+ degree heat at 7000 ft.

And he failed.

It was back to the drawing board. In two days, I administered another test. This time he did even more pushups than before, breaking his old record–and passed the run with 14 seconds left. No small feet in this environment. Many other soldiers, even well-conditined ones, have failed the run test here.

His body fat was still high. I calculated that he needed to add .5 inches to his neck and lose 1 inch off his waist. Since the PT test was out of the way, I decided to take a different avenue: Barbell training combined with kettlebells and low-intensity cardio ie walking.

I discovered that this soldier was incredibly weak. All the cardio and calisthenics had done virtually nothing to enable him to contract his muscles harder. I don’t care what someone scores on an Army PT test, if they are as weak as this soldier was, at his weight, they’re not very useful on a battlefield. He struggled with 135 for 5 reps on a barbell, but he managed. The first session, he did 20 half squats with 225, for one set. And then 6 sets of 5 rep shrugs at 315, in order to increase the girth of his neck and give him some overall strength.

His second session was kettlebell swings, kettlebell military presses, and 3×5 squats.

Today, went pulled out the measuring tape and scale. He’d lost over an inch on his waist and gained that needed half inch his neck and lost another pound. In other words, he passed. He was at 22% bodyfat, no boasting rights to be sure, and he’d have to get taped again because he was so close to being over, but a success nonetheless. Over the two month training period he’d lost 11 lbs and 3% body fat.

If I had to do it over again, I would have started the barbell training and the heavy kettlebell swings earlier. Still, it was a tough call knowing how tough the run would be up here. But the weight training changed his body much faster than did the running, and the running sapped him of his strength.

We’re not stopping here. He’ll get stronger–the iron and steel will ensure that.

A lesson learned is, if you’re StrongFirst, you’re “Good t go!â€

To our strength, health, and families,

SSG Douglas Moore

2-22 Infantry, 1BCT, 10th Mountain Division

FOB Warrior, Afghanistan

Good to go.

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no S boot camp

Post by tlingit » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:02 pm

Thank you for posting. I was really moved by how much time, knowledge and work you put in to help a fellow soldier help himself. You gave him tools that could change his life and then made sure he knows how to use them. Too often people tell someone something potentially life changing, and then don't put in the time to help them incorporate it. Great success story. I love kettlebells, but I do the lightweight version. Your training routine sounds pretty intense. Again, great posting. Very inspirational.

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Post by reinhard » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:30 pm

Thank you for this thoughtful, detailed post! And the generous actions behind it. Most posts here merely describe people helping themselves, and here you are using No-s to help a fellow solder (and by extension, our country).

I'm also impressed and gratified to hear that no-s is useful even in what some might consider extreme circumstances -- not just for Joe and Jane Schmo at the mall, but for a member of the U.S. Army overseas in a "precarious security situation" (wikipedia's perhaps euphemistic assessment of conditions in Ghazni Province). If moderate No-s is powerful enough to get troops combat ready, we civilians have no business reaching for more extreme solutions.

Of course, no-s was just part of the solution in the case you described. The exercise component was at least as important, and substantially more intense. But interesting to hear the role kettlebells played (a distant relation of shovelglove's, I like to think!). We actually have had some posts from shovelglover's in the armed forces -- let me see if I can dig them up.


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NO S Army

Post by magus71 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:51 pm

The soldier eventually lost 48 lbs. I realize that most of this post is about physical training, however I believe the eating habits employed were vitally important to the soldier's success. The reason I write mostly about the physical training here is:

1) the original post was intended for a weight training site, thus the audience was taken in to consideration.

2) No S is simple in its application--that simplicity is its strength.

I now use No S myself even though I've never had a weight problem. Every 7-10 days I fast 16 hours or so.

I believe No S taps in to the heuristic common sense that Aristotle and Buddha would be proud of.

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Post by eschano » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:16 am

Delighted to read such a great testimony to NoS and great to hear you're adopting the principles despite being a healthy weight.
eschano - Vanilla rocks!

July 2012- January 2016
Started again July 2018

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Post by MerryKat » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:41 pm

Wow!! Well Done to your colleague on his fantastic achievement and I hope he will continue to stick to all you have taught him.

Congratulations to you for your part in his transformation!!! Was a great read & hugely inspirational!
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Post by oolala53 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:24 pm

Wow! That soldier must have ended up looking fantastic! And feeling it, too. I hope he never forgets how bad it felt before.

I'm grateful to hear that you feel No S supports even intense training regimes. Many members here wonder if they can work out hard without the pre- and -post workout snacks so often recommended. You've proved once again that that body will adjust to the difficulty, draw on its reserves, and build what it needs when fueled with three quality meals.

And I'm very glad to know I don't have to adopt running to continue to slim down at age 60. I'm on another site for mostly female maintainers and it wears me out to hear how many are training for half marathons and such. I'd much rather perform shorter intense bouts and enjoy some walks to get somewhere or peruse the neighborhood as my fitness routine. I'm even more grateful today for the pleasant environment I live in!

Thank you again for posting and for your service.
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Mar/13-24.9 Stayed at +/- 8-lb. for three years Sept/17 22.8 (but more fluctuation)
Mar/18 22.2

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