Thursday, May 31, 2012

31 May 2012 - Cycle 7 Moderate

TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm Protocol 7 (modified).

Swing Plank
L-Sit Pike
Sit Through Kick Touch
Plank Alternating H/F
Rolling Side Plank H/F

RPE: 6.5

Comment: Limited space.

Monday, May 28, 2012

28 May 2012 - Cycle 6 High

TACFIT Firefighter Protocol 6.

Box Jump Up Squat 50
Pull Up (Double Rings) 50
CB 2H Side Semi 35lb 50/50
KB Jerk 24kg 25/25

RPE: 9.5

26 May 2012 - Cycle 6 Moderate

TACFIT Firefighter Protocol 6.

Trinity Squat - Jump
Swing Plank
Spinal Rock Drop
Sit Through 1/4 Swoop
Plank Alternating Hand/Foot
Rolling Side Plank

RPE: 7

Comment: Done with combat boots on.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

22 May 2012 - Cycle 5 High

TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm Protocol 5.

Box Side Hop Over
Burpee - Commandos (Single Ring)
KB Figure-8 24kg
KB 2H Swing 24kg
Elbow Lever

RPE: 9.5

21 May 2012 - Cycle 5 Moderate

King of Clubs.

Arm Cast Squat 25lb (Round 1), Bent Arm Barbarian/Straight Arm Barbarian 25lb (Round 2)
Clockwork Squat 25lb
Clean to Lever 25lb
Side Mill 25lb
Front Swipe 25lb

RPE: 6.5

Friday, May 18, 2012

18 May 2012 - Cycle 4 High

TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm Protocol 4.

Lunge Jump Switch or Airborne Lunge 21/21
Spinal Rock Drop 13
Tadpole 8
Pull Up (Double Rings) or Commandos (Single Ring) 5

RPE: 9

Comment: The ambient heat prevents me from going faster than 9. :P

Thursday, May 17, 2012

17 May - Cycle 4 Moderate

King of Clubs.

Arm Cast Squat 25lb (Round 1), Bent Arm Barbarian 25lb (Round 2)
Clockwork Squat 25lb
Clean to Lever 25lb
Side Mill 25lb
Front Swipe 25lb

RPE: 6

Comment: Took extra recovery days because of the extreme DOMS from the previous workout.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

12 May 2012 - Cycle 3 High

TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm Protocol 3

Ball of Foot Squat
Quad Hop
Commandos (Single Ring)
Rounds 1-2: 12/8/4 reps, rounds 3-20: 15/10/5 reps
RPE: 9

Comment: Finally crushed this program at Level 3. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

11 May 2012 - Cycle 3 Moderate

King of Clubs.

Arm Cast Squat 25lb (Round 1), Bent Arm Barbarian 25lb (Round 2)
Clockwork Squat 25lb
Clean to Lever 25lb
Side Mill 25lb
Front Swipe 25lb

RPE: 6

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Will The Real Tabata Please Stand Up

What is the real "Tabata Protocol"?

After being pointed by a friend that Protocol 1 of TACFIT is not Tabata, i went to do some reading on the original Tabata Protocol.

Here is an abstract on the infamous Tabata study.

And here are some comparisons between the Tabata Protocol and Protocol 1 of TACFIT. This table is just to present you with the differences between the protocols, and i am not analysing anything.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What Cycling Options Are There in TACFIT

First there was TACFIT 26 in late 2008. Pass forward two years to 2010, TACFIT Commando was released. Since then many TACFIT programs have been released.

This question have been asked several times: How do i cycle in TACFIT? Or how can i put it all together?

Here are some options you can use. Some are "official" in that they are given in the manual(s). Some are just done because i want to experiment with it or due to certain scheduling restrictions.

I create these tables mainly for TACFIT 26, but you can use the principles for any other program.

Standalone programs (eg TACFIT Commando) are plugged-in for examples.

Option 1: Straight 4x7 style
Option 2: Straight 4x7 style, one workout per program
Option 2: 4x7 style, Strength on Moderate, TACFIT on High
Option 3: Straight 7x4 style
Option 4: Straight 7x4 style, one workout per program
Option 5: 7x4 style, Strength on Moderate, TACFIT on High
Option 6: Hard Responsible Push

26 days straight of TACFIT 26. Three Moderate Days followed by 1 High Day. Preceed the cycle with 2 weeks of No and Low, follow the cycle with 2 weeks of No and Low.

Option 7: Three Times a Week


No more than one High Day per week.

Option 8: Mixed/Freestyle

If somehow your schedule and your equipment availability is never fixed, you can do any combinations of the above. Insert in plug-ins depending on your equipment availability.

If you choose to freestyle it, keep in mind these principles:

1) Always try to do a straight 4x7 style or 7x4 style for a month before trying out other styles to get familiar with how your body feels with the intensity waving.

2) Follow the pattern of No-Low-Moderate-High.

3) You can add more recovery but not more work. Recovery = No and Low. Work = Moderate and High.

4) If you miss a Moderate or High Day, replace it with No or Low and continue with the cycling. You can even plug-in a few No and Low Days and continue with the cycling.

Some comments from my experience

1) I initially started with straight 4x7 style for many months. But when it comes to the volume based Protocols (those that specify the number of reps) ie Protocol 3, 4 and 6, sometimes i can get severe DOMS for many days. When i started doing a strength workout on Moderate and TACFIT on High, the frequency and severity of DOMS is greatly reduced.

2) For standalone programs, eg TACFIT Commando, take note that because you are stressing the same muscles every workout or every cycle, you can develop more DOMS and residual tension.

3) I like cycling through the 6 protocols, eg TACFIT 26 and TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm, because you can pick up where you left. You can insert plug-ins anytime and continue with the cycling. For standalone programs like TACFIT Commando, you "need" to do a full month of cycling and repeat cycles if you plug-in more than one 4-day cycle.

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But High Intensity Interval Training Ain't for Beginners

Many times in a fitness discussion people will ask "what is the best (training program) way to burn fat" and there will at least be some who recommend "High Intensity Interval Training" (HIIT). And in the same discussions, there would be people who say the contrary, saying that these are not for beginners.

Well, in my own experience, and in the TACFIT approach to metabolic conditioning, i found that the statement "HIIT ain't for beginners" to be not true. I have started many complete beginners with HIIT and they have made great gains in their fitness levels.

Let's take a look at what HIIT workout look like.

As the name suggests, there are intervals of High Intensity bursts/efforts, also called "on". Interspersed by intervals of No or Low Intensity, also called "off".
Image from S-Cool

I want to touch on a HIIT protocol that uses 8 sets/rounds of 20 seconds "on" and 10 seconds "off", making a total of 4 minutes. In shorthand, we write it as "20/10 x 8".

It is a variation of the Tabata protocol.

What's so difficult about training for 4 minutes?

Well, if you have done the 20/10 x 8 protocol as prescribed originally (ie maximum effort for all 8 sets), you know that it can be the hardest 4 minutes of your life.

Due to the extreme intensity that the protocol can induce, an untrained person can and is likely to:

1) Not finish all 8 sets.

2) Deteriorate his/her technique in the process.

3) Or simply give up using this training method altogether.

Note that the key word here is "untrained".

With a little instructions and coaching, however, this scenario can be prevented. These instructions are not new and is presented in all TACFIT programs using the 20/10 x 8 protocol, eg TACFIT Commando.

In fact in the TACFIT system, one of the reasons the 20/10 x 8 protocol is chosen as the first and most primary metabolic conditioning protocol is due to its shortest "on" and "off" interval. With proper coaching, 20 seconds is easier mentally than the longer intervals in the subsequent protocols. And the 10 seconds forces you to recover in the shortest time possible.

The easiest "on" interval because it is shortest and the hardest "off" interval because it is shortest.

The hard part is you just need to do it eight times. But if you can do it once, you can do it eight times. Hehehe.

If you can conquer the 20/10 x 8 protocol, you can conquer all the subsequent protocols.

Without going into the technical details, here are things you want to tell yourself or your client if you are doing HIIT for the first time, or any kind of physical training, whether it is for cardio/strength/mass/metabolic conditioning etc:

1) Always start with a Moderate Intensity workout. Reasons are already discussed in this article so i won't say it again. Okay, so this makes the workout not a "true" HIIT but that is of no concern to us because sticking to the 4x7 formula takes precedence over the "correctness" of a protocol.

2) Always choose an exercise progression (sophistication) that is suitable for your current fitness and skill level.

3) Start the first two rounds as practice rounds, focusing on a high level of technique. Third round onwards then you start to ramp up the intensity to as high as you can maintain good technique. Quality quantity.

4) If somehow the exercise is too easy, feel free to up the sophistication. On the contrary, if you find that the exercise is too difficult, drop down the sophistication.

Monday, May 7, 2012

07 May 2012 - Cycle 2 Moderate

King of Clubs.

Arm Cast Squat 25lb (Round 1), Bent Arm Barbarian 25lb (Round 2)
Clockwork Squat 25lb
Clean to Lever 25lb
Side Mill 25lb
Front Swipe 25lb

RPE: 6

Thursday, May 3, 2012

03 May 2012 - Cycle 1 Moderate

King of Clubs.

Bent Arm Barbarian 25lb (Round 1), Arm Cast Squat 25lb (Round 2)
Clockwork Squat 25lb
Clean to Lever 25lb
Side Mill 25lb
Front Swipe 25lb

RPE: 6.5

TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm Review

Hello again with another product review. For the same reason, i am writing this review because i would likely use the TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm (TFFA) in my training some time.


TFFA is contains 1 strength program (or 7 depending on how you see it, more on that below), to be done on the Moderate Day and 7 metabolic conditioning programs, to be done on the High Day.

The metabolic conditioning programs comprise of Protocol 1 to 6 and one test program using the Every Minute on the Minute Protocol (Protocol 3).

TFFA requires the use of 1 kettlebell, 1 Clubbell, a pull up bar, and a plyo box.

If you could compare this program with other prior programs in the TACFIT system, it is like a compact version of the original TACFIT 26. And since this program is so similar to TACFIT 26, i would often make comparisons between them.

The Metabolic Conditioning Protocols Carried Over From TACFIT 26

For the benefit of those who do not have TACFIT 26, here are the Protocols in brief.

Protocol 1: ((20/10 x 8) + 1) x 4
4 exercises.
Do a 20 second round for the first exercise. Recover for 10 seconds. Do 8 rounds.
Rest 1 minute between exercises. Repeat for all exercises.

Protocol 2: 4/1 x 4
4 exercises.
Complete 1 round of 4 continuous minutes for each exercise. Rest 1 minute between exercises.

Protocol 3: Every Minute on the Minute (EMOTM)
3 exercises, various number of repetitions each.
Complete 1 round every minute. Repeat for 20 minutes.

Protocol 4: As Many Rounds as Possible (AMRAP)
4 exercises, various number of repetitions each.
Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.

Protocol 5: (90/30 x 5) x 2
5 exercises.
Do a 90 second round for each exercise. Rest 30 seconds. Repeat for all exercises. Repeat for round 2 for all exercises.

Protocol 6: For Time
4 exercises, various number of repetitions each.
Complete 1 round as fast as possible.

New Protocols in TFFA

Protocol 7: Every Minute on the Minute (Test)
3 exercises, various number of repetitions each.
Complete 1 round every minute. Repeat for 20 minutes.

The Strength Protocols: Time Under Tension
6 exercises, 20 sec or 30 sec or 40 sec per exercise.
Go through all exercises in a circuit without rest. Rest 1 minute. Complete 6 rounds.

The strength protocols vary depending on which metabolic conditioning protocol is used the next day.

When you do Protocol 1 and 2 on High, you would do 20 seconds per exercise on Moderate.
When you do Protocol 3, 4 and 7 on High, you would do 30 seconds per exercise on Moderate.
When you do Protocol 5 and 6 on High, you would do 40 seconds per exercise on Moderate.

What i like about TFFA

If you have done TACFIT 26, this program can be likened to a compact version of it. So if you feel that completing 26 programs is a long time (like me), it is less of a mental drag to complete 7 programs.

The strength protocol gives you more variety than if you did the same program twice in a row for Moderate and High. And in my experience, i would get Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) more often doing the same program twice in a row, especially for Protocol 3, 4 and 6. Doing two different programs on Moderate and High would decrease the likelihood of developing DOMS.

Rings are not required in this program. I always dread adjusting the rings in TACFIT 26 for different heights, especially as i don't have a pull up bar at home so i have to use the rings both for Pull Ups and Rows.

All single equipment required, ie single Clubbell, single kettlebell. No Double Swipes as in TACFIT 26. Not that i hate Swipes, but for coaching purposes, Double Swipes are not one thing i would like beginners to do because of the high skill required, even with a light weight.

Warm up and cool down programs are included with every program. Also included are No Intensity Day and Low Intensity Day programs. The original TACFIT 26 only have 1 warm up and cool down program so it may not be as effective.

All of the weighted exercises can be substituted with a kettlebell (or Clubbell, with a little bit more program design knowledge), which is good news if you already have one. In TACFIT 26, there were some Clubbell exercises which do not have a direct substitute using other equipment, eg the Swipe. Equipment susbtitution examples are also presented in the DVD included. This is good especially if you are new to CST and TACFIT and worry that you have to have all equipment to use this program.

Short and concise instructions. This is good especially if you are new to CST and TACFIT and are not familiar with the exercises. The original TACFIT 26 only have demos of the exercises and not instructions so this is a big step forward.

What i don't really like about TFFA

There are less total number of exercises in TFFA compared to TACFIT 26. So if you are looking for a "program maximum", this is not as maximum as TACFIT 26.

The exercise instructions are short and concise. This can be seen as both good and bad. The good i already mentioned above. The bad is there could be more details in the exercise techniques that could be coached, like what is done in the other standalone programs like TACFIT Commando which would not be apparent to beginners in CST and TACFIT. One example would be maintaining Shoulder Pack in the Pull Up, which are featured in almost every metabolic conditioning protocol in TFFA.

Overall i am very impressed with TFFA much like TACFIT 26. Thanks to the folks at Bellingham Fire Department for this great program.

Click here to purchase TFFA:

Click here to check out the new generation of TACFIT 26.

TACFIT King of Clubs Review

It's been a long time since i posted a product review. Anyway the reason i want to review the King of Clubs (KOC) is that i would likely want to use it in my training some time.


KOC is a strength program to be done on the Moderate Day.

It requires the use of one heavy Clubbell.

It uses a variation of the 90/30 protocol (aka Protocol 5). There are five exercises. Each exercise is done in 90 second rounds: 45 seconds in one grip and 45 seconds in the other grip. Then 30 seconds rest. Repeat for all 5 exercises. After you have finished all the 5 exercises, repeat for one more round.


It only requires one Clubbell. This is a big plus for me because i usually train at home with minimal equipment. The less equipment used, the better.

No rep counting. Each exercise is done for 45/45 seconds. Do as many reps as possible for a Moderate Intensity Effort in the 45/45 seconds. This allows you to focus on the quality of the reps rather than the quantity.

Very basic exercises. If you have done Trial By Fire before or any other Clubbell program, the exercises presented are simple comparatively. However simple doesn't mean easy. If you want to learn basic Clubbell movements this is a good program to start with.

The name of the game in this program is strength. Using a single heavy Clubbell in two hands allows you to focus more on tension than balancing one Clubbell in one hand, or two in two hands.


Because of the 45/45 rounds and 30 seconds rest, if you are using the original Gymboss, it is tricky to program into your timer, as Gymboss only can be set to equal number of rounds for each interval. You would have to device other ways to keep time.

The official Clubbell Buyers Guide at recommends you to start with one or two light clubbells (max 15lb for men and 10lb for women). So if you already have those, you'd have to purchase one more Clubbell. I would recommend men to start with 25lb max and women to start with 15lb max, regardless of your training background.

There is no specific warm up and cool down programs for KOC. However if you are already familiar with CST and TACFIT, it would not be a big problem designing your own warm up and cool down. On the other hand, the included bonus Band Ageless, Atlas Yoga, Strain Prevention and Stress Conversion programs already more than make up for the lack of it.

Click here to purchase King of Clubs:

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