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    Deja Vu... forever.

    In 2001, Task Force Dagger boldly and courageously invaded Afghanistan, toppling the Taliban in record time by empowering their Afghani allies, eradicating a totalitarian and harsh regime. This victory was a testament to the efforts of the men of the Special Forces Regiment, the operatives of the CIA's Special Activities Division, and the brave Air Force Controllers that rained death onto the heads of their foes. The relationships forged in this brief but intense crucible seemed to forge a real hope for a free and democratic Afghanistan.

    Few could have predicted that some 16 years later, we would be looking down the barrel of another re-hashed attempt to civilize Afghanistan. A country fraught with cronyism and graft, overseen by a government of thieves and outlaws, "protected" by a military and police that are little more than roving marauders in a barren moonscape, and inhabited by fiercely clannish peoples with memories of an elephant. 

    Or, could they? "The graveyard of nations" hasn't proved to be easy to civilize for anyone in history.  Did American exceptionalism draw us to overstay our welcome, or is U.S. Intervention the only thing preventing this powder keg from exploding?

    Our friends at Task And Purpose have written an excellent piece on how Americans are perceived by the people of Afghanistan. It supports the research that now indicates drawn out campaigns of counter-insurgency are rarely effective and are coupled with poor outcomes for not just the dead, but the living as well. Rather than taking another trip through the looking glass, it might be time to develop a new strategy in this "forever war". 

    Click Here To Read the Full Article


    DIE LIVING Podcast Ep 13 - Brooke West

    Click Here To Listen! 

    Aron, Doug and John Dill from Crossfit Sua Sponte sit down with SOFLETE's newest employee Brooke West, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, to discuss her philosophy on feeding the human machine, misinformation in the nutrition world, and why she would choose to work with a crew of miscreants like SOFLETE.


    The Difference between Good and Great for the Tactical Athlete

    One of the many titles used to describe those following SOFLETE Programming is the term tactical athlete. “Tactical,” referring our savoir-faire in oftentimes ambiguous and—more often than not—dangerous situations, and “athlete,” bestowed upon us for our endless quest for physical perfection as required by our chosen profession.

    In sports and war, there are performers and non-performers, hype and legitimacy, good and legendary. The NBA has great players, like LeBron James and Stephen Curry, and legends like Michael Jordan. So does the NFL, NHL and MLB; who can forget people such as Rich Froning Jr., the 4-time Fittest Man in the world; arguably the greatest all around athlete ever.

    While there isn’t a tactical athlete Hall of Fame, we do have legends in our own right, though much less well known than people such as Michael Jordan or Cal Ripken Jr.

    Every sport has their respective arena except the tactical athlete. Our arena is the world and our specialty is war. This fact must remain at the core of our pursuit of greatness and thus makes us more than just athletes. The question still remains, that while sports and war share many parallels, how do we recognize and thus improve our status from good to great; are they born or are they made?

    Author David Epstein discussed a facet of this question in his book, “The Sports Gene,” noting how sports and athletic performance have continued to evolve at an exponential rate despite any significant leaps in human evolution. David’s argument focuses on how major sport organizations essentially weed out people who are deemed genetically unfit. “There are definitely sports genes," he said, with "some cases where just a single gene makes a big difference to someone's athleticism." However, whilst the average height of elite female gymnasts in the last 30 years has shrunk from 5'3" to 4'9" in order to accommodate better spinning in the air, no such case can be made for our tactical athlete.

    While gymnasts, NBA players and NFL players (respective of their positions) all fit a rather similar bill, our tactical athletes still find themselves on both ends of the genetic spectrum, from your 6’3, 225 lbs, corn-fed slab of man-meat out of Wisconsin to your 5’6, 135 lbs (when wet) Skeletor from the Bronx.

    Here’s the catch: both of them are infantryman in the 82nd Airborne.

    Genetics Can Lead to Goodness, But Not Greatness

    When you break down greatness on a genetic scale, those who have the biggest chances of success are, first and foremost, those who are genetically gifted to perform the task. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, and there are certainly exceptions to every rule. For us meat-grinding tactical athletes, the key to success isn’t to change the hand we're dealt, though at times we all wish certain body parts were bigger; our goal is to optimize the cards we were dealt and better choose the games we play.

    In an interview after her victory at the 2014 CrossFit Games, Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet spoke about a place familiar to all people who have pushed themselves to any extreme, that place where everyone goes to visit: the dark place, that place of utter mental chaos where every fiber of your being is telling you to quit and yet you fight back on a conscious level… coaxing yourself through the discomfort until it’s over. The willingness to go to that place speaks to your likelihood for such an achievement.

    Many of today’s tactical athletes have grown up reciting the mantra of “be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” While I agree that is a valuable skill to have for life in general, heaven forbid your “legend-making” moment knocks on your door and you are unable to meet the challenge because you are broken. All the greats both in sports and in war performed optimally during their “on-season.”  While everyone should know their dark place intimately through experience and self-awareness, no one need linger there permanently to where your body kicks you out. No one gets remembered for what they do in the off-season. Well, in most cases.

    For most of our tactical athletes, especially those in the military, metrics are everything. Metrics, statistics, and numbers in sports are how we quantify and track everything that matters. This also is true for regular athletes; stats are a way to quantify their greatness when standing side by side on the podium. As previously discussed, due to the genetic diversity within our population, we can expect to see a wide range of physical prowess. The greatest aren’t necessarily the strongest in our really; I can out bench both Desmond Doss and Audie Murphy but my highest award is a Bronze Star.

    Greatness is Made, Not Born With

    Am I comparing apples and oranges here? Are physical prowess and battlefield efficacy synonymous? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. I am doing so to highlight that in our field, greatness isn’t reached in the “athlete” part of our title: it’s reached in the tactical.

    Now while the two are closely intertwined do not sacrifice one for the other. In order to ensure your genetic optimization at the moment of your greatness your fitness pursuits should directly correlate to those activities MOST likely to be encountered. The reason we move heavy shit around in different planes of motion is because your buddy, with all his shit on is heavy, and war isn’t conducted in two dimensions.

    If your job is to be an athlete, then be an athlete; if you have a quantifier before the term “athlete” then be that first. The athlete part comes second…a close second, but still second. 

    Greatness is ultimately a compilation of many different factors aggregating at the right moment in time. Most of us are good—really good, even—at what we do, but we will never reach that mystical level of “greatness” or even be seen as a “legend.” The best we can hope for lies in our pursuit of our own holistic optimization in case The Moment arises. The people who we admire for such feats didn’t consider themselves to be such either; they did what they did to the best of their ability, addressed and worked on their weaknesses, and ultimately let the fates decide how they were to be recorded in history.


    DIE LIVING Podcast Ep 12 - Dr Andy Galpin

    Click Here To Listen! 

    George sits down with Dr Andy Galpin to discuss how athletes have become so dependent on technology and yet do not use it to their full advantage. They go on to discuss different tools like HRV and how it can be used in the Tactical Athlete communities to help produce better combat readiness. Finally, they discuss Dr Galpin's newest book, titled "Unplugged: Evolve from Technology to Upgrade Your Fitness, Performance, & Consciousnes."


    Protein - The Truth Behind This Building Block of Muscle


    Protein, often thought of as the building block of muscle, is so much more complex than that. Protein is found in every cell of the human body. Protein is made up of amino acids that help to grow, maintain and repair different tissues in the body- including muscle. Although this macronutrient has earned it’s title as a building block of muscle, not all proteins are created equal in this quest.

    Quantity VS Quality

    The amount of protein we consume each day is very individualized. For example, as we age we require more protein intake to achieve the same level of performance as in our youth. In general, healthy adult athletes, whether tactical, first-responders or recreational athletes, require a higher amount of protein than the average person. We are constantly breaking down our muscle tissue through intense training, and protein and carbohydrates help to repair that muscle and increase it’s size and workload capacity.

    To maintain and increase muscle mass, the amount of protein and the quality of protein both matter. Protein is made up of different amino acids. Amino acids can be essential and nonessential. Essential amino acids are the amino acids that your body cannot produce on it’s own. Non-essential amino acids are amino acids that your body can produce on it’s own. High quality protein, rich in essential amino acids, is the real key to building muscle.

    The Essential Amino Acid Breakdown

    Our bodies are constantly trying to achieve a state of balance. Protein balance or a positive net protein balance means that the body is maintaining and building muscle mass. To achieve balance or exceed balance and shift it in the positive direction, essential amino acids are needed. The essential amino acids trigger muscle protein synthesis, which is a fancy way of saying gains.

    So now that you know that the real magic ingredient for increasing muscle mass is the essential amino acids found in protein, let’s talk about where you find them. Essential amino acids are in animal and plant based foods. Animal proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, while most plant based proteins do not contain all essential amino acids. The four plant based foods that contain all essential amino acids are amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, and soy.

    The essential amino acid content varies in foods, which is why it is so important to vary your diet. We all know someone who has tried to survive off of chicken breast as the main source of protein for virtually every meal. Not only is this hella boring, but you aren’t getting a variety of nutrients. Chicken breast has about 4 grams of essential amino acids per one ounce. But foods like greek yogurt, eggs, cheese, salmon, beans, and nuts also have different amounts and types of essential amino acids our bodies crave.  

    Nutrient Timing

    We need enough protein, rich in essential amino acids, to meet our individual requirements in an effort to achieve protein balance. But what about timing? Does it matter?

    To stimulate muscle growth, high-quality protein should be distributed across all meals and snacks. Studies showed that backloading protein at the end of the day meal doesn’t cut it. The human body can only absorb so many grams of protein at one time. Think of your body and metabolism as a furnace. To keep a steady burn, you have to fuel that fire and be consistent. Your body is the same way. Eating that high-quality protein throughout the day keeps your body in protein balance and triggers muscle building.

    The Take-Away

    Protein quantity does not mean protein quality. Meeting your protein requirements with a variety of protein rich food throughout the day is the way to go to keep your body in protein balance. Essential amino acid types and amounts vary in different foods, which is why we need to keep our meals and snacks differing and exciting.