If you are going to The Basic School, or will be spending time in the field as a Marine Officer the single best way to improve your experience is to purchase a JetBoil and some Mountain House meals immediately.
Finding the right running shoe can be overwhelming; the amount of choices out there is dizzying combined with conflicting philosophies about pronation, supination, heel striking, and other buzzwords thrown around at your local running store.
If you have a Marine Officer in your life, and want to buy them something (maybe for a birthday, to celebrate commissioning, graduation from The Basic School, or simply because you love them) then this list is for you.
It's no secret that Marines love to workout, and while we enjoy running as much as the next guy (not really) we decided to review a pair of shoes designed more for lifting and cross training. So if you like to do other things than simply running long distance, these are the shoes for you.
The Nike MetCon 5.
If you're like us, and have a crippling addiction to caffeine, then this review is for you. Listen up.
If there is one group of people that could benefit from quality coffee at any time and any place, it's Marine Officers. Being a Marine Officer means going to sleep last and waking up first. Your sleep is not the priority. And while the best way to stay energized is to get a good night's sleep, that option is not always possible. Which brings us to the AeroPress.
The AeroPress makes a damn good cup of coffee that can be tailored to your personal taste, depending on how strong you want it. You simply put in ground coffee beans, hot water, let it sit for a minute or two (brewing time depends on how you like your coffee), flip it over, and press the coffee through the filter into your mug.
Five minutes on youtube will give you all the knowledge you need to make a great cup of coffee and you can stop wasting money on burnt sewer water at Starbucks.
Why do we like this piece of gear for Marine Officers?
A few reasons:
1) It makes a fantastic cup of coffee. Plain and simple, it works really well and delivers a strong result. In addition, it takes about ten seconds to clean.
2) It's cheap. For 30 bucks, you have all the tools you need to make a coffeeshop-quality cup of joe (provided the beans you buy aren't trash).
3) The AeroPress is portable. While me mostly use it to make our daily coffee at home, it really shines in the field. The AeroPress is basically unbreakable, weighs nothing, and can easily be packed into the small nylon bag it comes with. This makes it ideal for Marines at TBS (The Basic School) or in the fleet. Bring it to FEX and suddenly the field doesn't suck as much.
4) It's made in the USA. We like that.
Our take? The AeroPress really delivers, and for 30 bucks you can make great coffee at home or in the field. That sounds like a pretty good piece of gear for Marines, especially those at TBS .
For our second review, we decided to continue the fitness theme by discussing a great piece of gear for Marine Officers. The TRX Suspension Trainer.
Originally developed by Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick as a way for him to work out in austere conditions while deployed to Southeast Asia fighting Somali Pirates, the TRX is now used by military personnel and civilians alike.
What is the TRX? It is essentially two straps with handles that can be anchored to walls, doors, and other attachments. By using the TRX, you can significantly increase the difficulty of bodyweight exercises in a gym, home, or outdoor environment. The suspension creates an enormous amount of instability, requiring core strength and activation for every movement. Thus, while normal pushups may not be challenging for experienced individuals, TRX push-ups are a whole different animal.
Exercises are intuitive and easy to learn, and there are countless variations and applications of the suspension trainer. Five minutes of online research will provide you with a fully stocked arsenal of movements that can be done in almost any environment. And "any environment" is the name of the game for Marine Officers.
The number one reason why we love this piece of gear for Marine Officers is the portability and convenience of it. The TRX can easily be stuffed into the small mesh bag it comes with, and takes up minimal room in a pack or suitcase. It weighs next to nothing (about two pounds) and is essentially indestructible.
In addition, it comes with an attachment for a door anchor, which means it can be used in pretty much any room. To use it, you throw the attachment over the door and close it, locking in the straps and creating a firm anchor.
While we wouldn't go as far as to say the TRX can replace a gym, it's an excellent alternative when short on time or unable to access a facility. The TRX is perfect for Marine Officers at The Basic School who have limited time and might only be able to do a quick workout in their room at the end of a long training day. Additionally, if you spend a lot of time on the road, packing a TRX allows you to workout any time any place.
Our take? An essential piece of gear for those who always want the option to get in a good workout.
The TRX isn't overly expensive, however buying a used one works too because it's a high quality product. For those searching for a good deal, Liftr is a good place to look.
The very first thing we are reviewing technically isn't a piece of "gear," but it is definitely something we love and would consider essential. Whey protein powder.
For those training to go to OCS or TBS, whey protein serves as a great way to supplement daily protein intake and allow muscles to rebuild and recover.
For those currently at TBS or in the fleet, whey protein shakes can serve as stand-alone meals in the absence of healthy and nutritious food options . In addition, if you are strapped for time (ie a student at The Basic School) but want to eat clean and train hard, protein shakes are simply the best option or at least a great alternative to whatever is being served in the chow hall. We've tried a bunch, and this one is the king.
Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder.
The first, and most important thing about it is that it tastes good.
We use the chocolate flavor and unlike other brands, it doesn't taste like its full of chemicals. It can certainly be mixed with just water and does not need to be part of an elaborate smoothie to taste good.
The second thing we love about it is the short, natural, ingredient list:
Whey Protein Isolate Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Native Whey Protein Isolate), Whey Protein Concentrate, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Natural Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Sea Salt, Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract
In their words, "Ascent Whey Protein contains zero artificial ingredients or flavors. It is naturally sweetened and contains only 1g of sugar, which is naturally occurring. Ascent is also Certified Gluten Free, and Informed Sport Certified – meaning it’s tested and free of any banned substances."
Third, it's made in the USA. Enough said.
Fourth, "native whey" is the least processed whey protein available and digests easily and quickly. No upset stomach afterwards.
With 25 G of protein per scoop, one scoop is equivalent to 3 full cups of whole milk, 3 (8oz) servings of yogurt, 4 large eggs, 1 small chicken breast, or ¾ cup of almonds.
To sum it up, it tastes like good, real food, it has a short, all natural ingredient list, it's unprocessed and digests easily, and it's made in America.