Tactical Alpha:  Tactical Training Program Manual

Tactical Alpha: Tactical Training Program Manual

If you’re reading this, you have likely taken the challenge of beginning the Tactical Alpha 8 week Tactical Training program. This short manual is meant to assist you in performing the training properly and getting the most out of the program.

This programming has been used for Special Ops candidates, Infantry, Firefighters and high level LEO’s with great success. You can be sure that if your effort is sincere, you will see big improvements.


Tactical Alpha is an 8 week Tactical Training program designed to make you a stronger, more powerful and better conditioned athlete.

It is a conjugate-oriented program, simply meaning that we rotate the big strength movements each week, and perform them heavy (1-3 reps). We also include max effort days (heavy), and dynamic days (speed/power) in classic conjugate fashion.

The reason for this is the essence of conjugate training.. we avoid burnout and endless repetition of the same exact movement, avoiding overuse injuries and continually challenging the body through similar but slightly different movement patterns.

The conjugate influence is present in a lot of areas of this program. We vary our conditioning but still target the same energy systems, building them up over 8 weeks.

The System: Tactical Athlete Pyramid

Tactical Alpha is designed around the needs of the modern Tactical Athlete.

tactical athlete pyramid

You must be good in all areas of fitness: Including:

  • Possess high level of limit strength (think 1 rep max). This is your foundation.
  • High level of power (ability to produce force fast.)
  • Speed: You have to be able to move quickly, and in all directions (agility)
  • Endurance: This includes strength-endurance and general endurance. If you can’t stay in the fight, you’re in trouble.

Great care has been taken to avoid training interference. Each training day will typically be dedicated to similar desired adaptations.


Evolutions are the “warm ups” of this program.

Evolutions are a series of movements that are meant to be done as a continuous circuit with very LIGHT weights.

For example, DB bench press, bent over DB rows and push ups, 3 sets of 25 reps each, done without taking any real rest.

It is critical here that you understand that you must go light. If you aim heavy, you will turn the warm up into a grind and negatively influence your session.

tactical bench press

Work Capacity

The Evolutions serve multiple purposes:

  • Increase Work Capacity: Hitting a ton of reps at a fast pace will serve as a mild form of conditioning and build work capacity: Your ability to handle and recover from more training.
  • Prep the body: By the end of the evolution, you should be warm, Heart rate should be up a bit, and you should be ready to push yourself in the main session.

TrainHeroic App Features

Tactical Alpha is delivered through the TrainHeroic app, the world’s best training app.

Video demos and clear instructions are annotated for every segment of every session.

It is important to tap on each segment to read the detailed instructions and ensure you’re performing the training properly.

This is NOT a beginner, cut and paste program. There are specific training methods at times, so it’s important to train like an athlete and be detail-oriented.

Log Your Training

TrainHeroic gives you the ability to log all of your training. This allows you to track progress, and allows your coach (me) to see your performance and offer feedback if necessary.


The most important take-away here is:

  1. Perform Evolutions quickly and with light weight.
  2. Pay attention to details and read all instructions/videos
  3. Log your training and use the app for all it’s worth.
  4. Have fortitude, push yourself, and be consistent.
  5. Reach out with any issues.

If you havn’t already, come check out the best Tactical Training program out there, and take yourself to new levels.

You can also check out Swole Town, if straight up Gainz is what you’re after…

How to Get Lean FAST.

How to Get Lean FAST.

Got some body fat you want to shed, but not sure how to approach it? Read on to learn how to get lean FAST (no pun intended).


The Dilemma

The biggest thing that held me back for many years with dieting was fear of losing my “gainz,” bro.

Seriously, every time I’d start to diet down, I’d feel flat, psych myself out and go right back to the perpetual “bulking” style of eating for mass.

Did it work? Sort of.. I got pretty big, but I also carried more body fat than I should have.

Essentially, I was choosing to look swole in a hoodie.

Nothing wrong with that… I love the feeling of being big. But there are many drawbacks to that life, including health issues.

Metabolic Inflexibility and Insulin Resistance

Eating excessive carbohydrates is great for putting on size…

It is absolutely not optimal for overall health.

It only took some simple bloodwork to let me know how seriously this can jack you up.

My Triglycerides and Cholesterol were all jacked up, my body fat had gone up (despite training very hard), and my energy was absolute shit without mega-doses of caffeine.

My sleep sucked. I did not feel healthy at all. I was also at my all-time biggest and strongest….

Eating excessive carbohydrates (along with low cardiovascular fitness) can wreck your metabolic flexibility; or, the ability to switch from fat to carbohydrate oxidation and vice versa.

In other words, metabolic inflexibility is an inability to adapt fuel oxidation to fuel availability.

A more ominous term for this is Insulin Resistance.

Insulin Resistance essentially means that your cells cannot respond properly to insulin, and therefore cannot use Glucose in your bloodstream for energy.

This is bad news, as your glucose levels aren’t meant to be elevated all the time.

Check out my training programs for both men and women.

The Solution: Modified Protein Sparing Fast (PSMF)

The endless debate of which diet strategy works the best and/or is healthiest is tiresome.

I do not EVER allow myself to become dogmatic about any of this stuff, and neither should you.

In my opinion (backed up by research and experience), the Modified Protein Sparing Fast is the optimal way to get lean very fast (4-6 weeks), AND improve metabolic flexibility/insulin resistance.

The goal of a PSMF is to lose body fat quickly while preserving as much muscle as possible.

How Does a Protein Sparing Fast Work?

how to get leaner diet

This method of dieting is pretty simple: It should be noted that this is my version of this diet, and may slightly differ from others.

  • Eat very low calories (800-1200cal)
  • Keep Protein very high, at least 1g/pound of body weight
  • All meals should be based around protein.
  • Eat single ingredient, nutrient dense whole foods almost exclusively
  • Cut out ALL refined sugars and processed garbage.
  • Eat minimal carbs, as low as possible
  • Shoot for 3-4 meals/day.
  • If you’re training hard, allow yourself 300-500 additional calories right before or after training.
  • NO cheat days. This is a short term diet, cheat days are not acceptable.
  • 6 week max if calories are very low.

Refining the Details

These are some additional details that can be helpful:

  • A mostly “carnivore” style diet works really well for the PSMF. In particular, red meat is very nutrient dense, high protein and leaves you feeling satiated (full).
  • If you’re used to being full of glycogen and pumped 24/7, you WILL feel and look “flat” for a short time. TRUST THE PROCESS.
  • If you look flat one week in, you didn’t lose muscle. You just didn’t have as much as you thought!
  • Make sure you’re eating nutrient dense food, salt/electrolytes, and a lot of water.
  • Caffeine can help a lot.. being in a deficit, the energy boost will be welcome.
  • If you want to take pictures/peak the diet, spend a day limiting water and salt intake, eat a TON of carbs (no salt), and the next day you should be looking shredded and a lot more “full” when you lift.
  • Being hungry is part of dieting to get lean. Accept it from the beginning, and don’t start unless you’re 100% all-in.
  • If you’re feeling excessively flat and fatigued, allow one “refeed” day, where you eat additional carbs to let the muscles restock glycogen. Don’t overdo it….

Improve Your Cardiovascular Fitness

back exercise big back farmer carry

The other side to this coin is your level of cardiovascular fitness.

As far as metabolic flexibility and insulin resistance, studies have shown that high levels of cardiovascular fitness improve and deter insulin resistance and improve metabolic flexibility.

This is another “dilemma” that a lot of gym bros have. Training your cardiovascular system will not crush your gains, bro… when done properly and in moderation.

In fact, increasing the power of your aerobic system will enhance your training, speed up recovery, and allow you to make additional gains.

Walking, rucking, intervals, and hill sprints can all be pretty simple and effective. Strongman conditioning can be a great compliment as well to a lifting program. Sleds, Tires, Sandbags. ALL good.

Conclusion: Get Leaner!

Taking the time to dial your diet in and get leaner can have far reaching implications on your health and your physique.

Improved metabolic flexibility along with shredded abs is NOT a bad combo!

The Modified Protein Sparing Fast is the best way to get lean fast. It works, is backed by research AND experience, and can cause fast body composition changes that are highly motivating.

As I’ve said before, progress = motivation. That’s why I believe that short term diets like this one are a good idea. Seeing and feeling that progress will resonate long into your future.

Crossfit for Bodybuilding?  Enter The H-WOD

Crossfit for Bodybuilding? Enter The H-WOD

Crossfit for bodybuilding?

Crossfit probably isn’t the most optimal choice if your primary goal is building muscle.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t steal some concepts from Crossfit and integrate them into our hypertrophy-oriented training to build some size.

If you like this article, check out Swole Town, where princples like this one and much more are integrated into a badass high-level training program.

What Is Crossfit?

In their own words, Crossfit is: “Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains.”


Functional” is a term I’ve always disliked in the fitness industry.

Almost anything can be “functional,” assuming it is useful towards your goals.

A Biceps curl is functional if your goal is bigger, stronger Biceps.

“High intensity” is also not something unique to Crossfit, obviously.

Bodybuilders, Powerlifters, Strongmen, and recreational lifters generally train with high intensity, either training to failure or using high percentages of their 1 rep max.

OK, So… What is Crossfit?

Crossfit bodybuilding deadlift

Crossfit is concept, not a system.

There have been many spin-offs of Crossfit, including Crossfit Football (which I loved), Crossfit MMA, etc..

The idea is to be very strong, training big lifts in the low rep ranges, combined with intense metabolic conditioning (which can be just about anything), improving your ability to do more physical work in less time.

Can You Build Muscle With Crossfit?

Can you build muscle doing Crossfit?

Absolutely you can, yes.

You’re performing a lot of work very close to failure, accumulating a ton of lactate/metabolic stress and probably getting in quite a bit of volume using compound movements.

The problem from a hypertrophy perspective is that this is simply not optimal if your goal is primarily building muscle/size.

You’ll likely be limited by other factors, i.e., aerobic conditioning, endurance, etc.

When focusing on Hypertrophy specifically, you want to be limited by reaching failure with the target muscle group, not because you can’t breathe and are gasping for air.

The law of specificity is always present, and this is no exception.


In short, if your goal is hypertrophy, training Crossfit is ignoring the principle of specificity.

You’re targeting improvement over a broad range of fitness markers, but not specifically training to build size.

This is OK, of course, as long as that doesn’t conflict with your primary goal.

The more specifically you train for a given adaptation (hypertrophy), the more likely you are to get it.

That means you have to pay attention to the type of stimulus you’re presenting to your body.

Additionally, the emphasis is often on full body movements (snatches, cleans, etc.,) vs. isolating a target muscle group or groups specifically for growth.

If I want bigger shoulders, combining overhead pressing with box jumps isn’t going to be of much benefit for that specific goal.

Again, I’m not saying it’s “bad.”

I’m saying it isn’t optimal for the specific purpose of hypertrophy.

Enter the H-WOD

Crossfit hypertrophy biceps curl

While Crossfit typically uses metabolic conditioning as the “WOD” (workout of the day), we can instead implement an “H-WOD,” or Hypertrophy Workout of the Day.

We’re basically going to use the same concept of training movements “at high intensity across broad time and modal domains,” but we’re going to tweak them to the specific goal of hypertrophy.

In the Swole Town programming, I refer to these segments as the “H-WOD.”

Not something I use all the time, but it’s a nice way to spice things up and really push some deep metabolic fatigue into the target muscle(s).

Read: Can a 3-Day Split be Optimal?

Hypertrophy Workout of the Day (HWOD) Examples:

There really are infinite ways to design these.

The following are some of my favorites, that I think lend themselves well to hypertrophy, and that I’ve used in my own programming.

Death By:

“Death By” is a classic Crossfit WOD, in which you start with 1 rep in the first minute, and increase reps every minute, on the minute, until you can no longer finish within the minute.

This can be death by anything:

Death by Biceps Curls, death by bench press, death by pushups, etc.

These are my favorite “Death By” WODs for building size:

  • Barbell Curls, 45-95lbs.
  • DB Shrugs: Moderately heavy
  • Pull ups, or pulldowns
  • Push ups, close grip push ups, or deficit push ups
  • Back or Front Squat, or leg press

In Crossfit, these WOD’s are typically done with big movements like cleans, snatches, etc.. to make it more of a full body metabolic conditioning workout.

We’re simply choosing movements that will lend themselves better to muscle growth.


AMRAP, or, As Many Reps/Rounds as Possible.

In this set-up, you perform as many rounds of a circuit as possible in a given amount of time.

Some AMRAPs I’ve used in Swole Town:

  • 10 Barbell Biceps Curls / 10 Close Grip Push ups: 8-10 minutes, as many rounds as possible.
  • 15 incline DB curls / 15 DB hammer curls/15 reverse curls: 8-10 minutes, as many rounds as possible
  • 50 Yard Farmer Carry / 20 DB Hammer Curls: 8-10 minutes, as many rounds as possible.
  • 10 Front Squats / 10 lunges: 8-10 minutes, as many rounds as possible.
Crossfit bodybuilding farmer carry


EMOM, or, every minute, on the minute.

You’ll hit a prescribed number of reps every minute, on the minute for a set number of minutes.

Some solid EMOM examples for hypertrophy:

  • 7 lateral raises / 7 upright rows, every minute on the minute for 8-10 minutes.
  • 1-3 deadlifts every minute, on the minute for 10 minutes. 1 rep for heavier work, 2-3 for lighter, faster reps (stick to 80% 1RM and under for this one).
  • 7 Back Squats (or front squat) every minute, on the minute for 7 minutes.


You can also just complete a given amount of work as quickly as possible (for time).

Ideally, the weight is moderately heavy, somewhere around a 12-15 rep max.

This will ensure quality, tough reps conducive to hypertrophy over the course of the set.


  • 50 Bent over DB rows / 50 DB Hammer curls / 50 close grip push ups…. for time.
  • 30 reps with your 10 rep max bench press, in as few sets as possible or, for time.

Nothing New Under the Sun:

Crossfit didn’t really invent anything. People have been training with these movements and concepts for a long time in one form or another.

They just put it together and made it mainstream.

I’m also not the first to use these concepts.

John Wellbourne (Power Athlete) launched Crossfit Football in 2009, which I actually used to participate in and love back in the day. It’s since been restructured to “Jonny Bod,” I believe.

Others have done the same in a myriad of different ways.

I make no claim that this is some superior way to train for hypertrophy, nor is it original.

It is just one of many ways we can spice up training and make it challenging, and sometimes that’s what it’s all about.

I hope this article helped you move a little closer to that best version of you.

Please check out my Youtube channel and programs through Trainheroic.

Thanks for being here!