PRMC FAQs

Below are some of the PRMC FAQs that Sean has received about the PRMC/POC. If you have any further questions then please ask via open forums like Facebook and/or Twitter (@SeanLerwill) so that others can benefit from Sean’s answers as well.

And remember: for anyone wanting to train for their Potential Royal Marines Course or Potential Officers Course, Sean’s Pass the PRMC eBook contains all of his recommendations, training methods and an eight week training programme.

Best way to prepare for bottom field?

The PRMC is the POTENTIAL Royal Marines Course. What are the assessors looking for? Potential!You don’t have to be a ninja. You just have to show that you are working as hard as you can and have the potential to be moulded into a steely eyed deliverer of death (Royal Marine Commando).The first 9 weeks of Recruit Training PT is performed in the gym, to prepare you for Bottom Field, so don’t stress.

Perform circuits of bodyweight exercises, press-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups. Do intervals and steady runs. Exercise outside in the cold, wind, rain and sun. Try to work on agility with some plyometrics and stretch to avoid injury. Above all, work on your mind and pushing harder.

How often should I be training? What workouts should I be doing?

Train a minimum of 3 times and a maximum of 6 times per week. I would suggest 4 or 5 sessions. It also depends how you structure these sessions. You could do mixes of CV and resistance on the same day or split them, examples are:

  • Mon: steady run
  • Tue: bodyweight circuits
  • Wed: day off
  • Thu: intervals
  • Fri: bodyweight circuits
  • Sat: Steady run
  • Sun: day off

or

  • Mon: circuit of bodyweight exercises and intervals
  • Tue: Day off
  • Wed: bodyweight circuits followed by a steady run
  • Thu: Day off
  • Fri: Intervals
  • Sat: Steady run and bodyweight exercises
  • Sun: Day off

There are hundreds of ways to skin a cat.

How can I bulk up but keep doing cardio and stay fit?

Try to eat 5 to 6 meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a snack between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner, then something before bed. Try to include protein in each meal and ensure carbohydrate is healthy and low GI where possible, brown rice, brown wholemeal bread, wholemeal pitas, sweet potatoes are all good examples. Fats are NOT all bad, so eat good fats like nuts and avocados. If this doesn’t work, go more in depth and work out the calories you need to get by each day or use a smart phone app like MyFitnessPal.

Any tips to improve the number of RM style press-ups I can do?

I invented something I called “gainers” before I went on a course that required me to redo the Royal Marines Fitness Tests. I was already a Marine PTI, so knew I would be expected to do well. I wanted maximum scores or as near as I could get. Gainers is simple, you gain 1 rep, everyday. No more, no less. So, today I start with 10. I do 10 reps, rest for 1 minute, 10 reps, rest for 1 minute then a last set of 10 reps. Tomorrow, I do, 11reps, 1min rest, 10 reps, 1 min rest, 10 reps. The day after, 11, 11, 10. The day after that, 11, 11, 11. Simple. Before you know it, you’ll have 50, 1 min off, 50, 1 min off, 50. Then, 60 is easy.

Can I run twice a day (am/pm sessions) or will I get injured?

No need. Remember: REST Recovery Equals Successful Training. You encourage/stimulate your body to change during training, but changes happen when resting. Without rest, changes don’t occur. Very important to rest and recover, yes to avoid injury, but also to allow improvements.

How long before my PRMC should I stop training?

Let’s work backwards: The day before you go do a short easy run. Not hard, not killing yourself, easy to wake yourself up and feel confident and fit. The day before that, rest. The day before that, rest, or perhaps a little run. That’s already half a week. The 3 to 4 days before this, start winding down, so make the session progressively easier. Maybe the farthest day out do an interval session. Day after that, a bodyweight circuit, day after that a good 3 mile run, then you are into the last three days. This is a basic taper, everyone is different. The important thing is, that you won’t lose or gain fitness in this time, the hard work is done – or not in some cases. Put it in early, and you’ll be fine. As per the question above: it’s a POTENTIAL Royal Marines Course, they want to see POTENTIAL, not the next Mo Farah.

Perfect form sit ups are tough with quantity and speed. Any tips?

No need to do them quickly, do them slow and steady and you’ll build strength and protect your back. Do other abs exercises like the plank, rollouts, saxon side bends and crunches to strengthen your core. Try gainers as per the press-up question above. The same principle works.

Should I use supplements to help refuel and hydrate?

Supplements have come on leaps and bounds in the sports world. Rehydration electrolytes are even found in ration packs now. There are a myriad of supplements that could help while training for a PRMC, from whey protein to help muscle growth and repair, to electorlytes to rehydrate, to zinc and magnesium to help sleep and repair. You don’t have to use any of them, some may help. However, if you drink lots of water and eat the 5/6 meals a day with protein, carbs and fats at each, you should be fine.

Should I use Fat Gripz to mimic the PRMC pull-up beam?

Fat Gripz would mimic the pull-up beam yes, and although specificity is key to fitness gains and success in many sports, you don’t need to buy these to be accepted into the Royal Marines. If you are concerned, wrap a towel around your pull-up bar, but to be honest, this isn’t required either. My advice, yet again, is that the assessors are looking for… POTENTIAL, not the polished product. They don’t expect 16 pull-ups. If you do 10 they’ll be impressed. If you do less than 5 they’ll perhaps be concerned, if you can’t do any, you probably aren’t strong enough right now. The grip on the beam is harder than the perfect grips at your local gym, but you aren’t needing to hold on for too long, just a set of pull-ups. These days they even let you dry your hands of sweat first!

How can I improve my running pace? (Mostly 1.5/3 milers)

Running fitness can be categorised as Stamina Endurance stamina you improve with interval training endurance you improve with longer steady runs specificity is also important: i.e. you get better at something if you specifically strain at it. So, actually do a 1.5 or 3 mile run as hard as you can once or twice a week and time it. Ensure you improve each time. If you don’t improve look at why. Bad nights sleep? Didn’t eat well? Haven’t had a rest day or two? etc. “Know Yourself” (written in every one of my books and SO SO important. Then, incorporate intervals. Tabata intervals are perfect. Start with one set (takes 4 minutes), move up to 2 sets and even 3 sets. Also do some slow steady 3 – 5 mile runs, where you take it easy and allow your heart to strengthen.

Best way to train for PRMC when it’s 2-3 months away?

Simple Train hard and smart. 3 – 5 times a week. Make each session count. Get adequate food and water before and after each session and maximise your rest on rest days. 7-8hrs sleep a night. Don’t drink alcohol often if at all. Avoid rubbishy sugar foods and eat sensibly.

I struggle with leg injuries; how can I get to a good CV level?

It’s very difficult, and completely unsafe for me to prescribe injury advice over messages like this. Without knowing your medical history and watching you run it would be dangerous for me to “assume” (assuming makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”) that I know what’s going on. Get checked out by a doctor/physio and if you get the all clear, one or two tabata sessions a week and one or two 3-5 mile runs will be great.

Should I take supplements to gain weight/strength?

Supplements certainly won’t do you any harm, but they are not the magic powder everyone thinks they are! The most important thing is to eat slightly more calories than you actually need per day and try to make sure you get a good amount of protein everyday. My advice would be to take a protein supplement like Maximuscle Promax straight after exercise and before you go to sleep. Other than that, tryo to eat 5 – 6 meals a day consisting of protein, carbohydrates and fats. If you can eat 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight, this will help you.

How did you go from Royal Marines PTI to Men’s Fitness covers?

Firstly, I didn’t plan to become a Personal Trainer or a Fitness/Sports Model. I joined the Royal Marines and thought that would be my career for life. Royal Marine training is so hard, that if you go into it thinking it will be a stepping stone, you probably won’t make it through. You have to be going into the Royal Marines to become a Royal Marine. If you want to be in the fitness industry and a fitness model, then go and do that. In terms of how I’ve done it, a lot of it is hard work, persistence and being in the right place at the right time. They say there is no set to route to this line of work. Read a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, it will make you realise its not necessarily down to what we do.

Any tips for the few days before?

With less than a week to go all the training is pretty much in the bag. You are going to get very little fitness gains, and actually more likely to damage yourself, degrade yourself or get injured if you do last minute “Panic Phys”. Taking three rests days before the PRMC is a great idea, though there are some arguments that a light run on the day before to wake your system up can be beneficial. In terms of eating, carb loading is something some people recommend, however, try anything you do a few weeks before to check it doesn’t upset your stomach! That could really blow your chances. Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

What training kit do you recommend? Kettlebells, TRXs?

Variation is key, as the PTIs will use all sorts of different methods to get you Fit for Purpose. Therefore, if you utilise all sorts of kit from TRX to Kettlebell, to bodyweight to dumbbells, your body will be adept to variation and whatever you’ll have throw at you. Overall though: don’t bulk up too much, get good at pull-ups and press-ups, and make sure you can run!

I want to try MMA to improve me for the Marines. Good idea?

Martial arts training is great pre-military training as it requires dedication and discipline, as well as being able to assimilate information while physically tired. However, equally, be careful with MMA. I picked up a few injuries from it, and that’s not what you want pre-RM training. I would suggest making it part of your training, along with a bit of crossfit style complexes, runs and general weight training. Throw in swimming too if you can. Try not to get concussed!

3 weeks until my PRMC... any last minute preparation tips?

Last minute doesn’t really work, so I wouldn’t see it like that. If you “feel” ready as you say, then you probably are ready. That positive attitude will pay dividends when you get down there as you’ll believe you are there to pass. All you need to do now, is not get injured so you don’t lose that feeling of being ready. I suggest simply eating well, sleeping lots & rest when you can. Just keep your Phys ticking over with runs and Bodyweight exercises but don’t go too nuts. Focus and you’ll pass with ease.

What would you like to know?

Best way to prepare for bottom field?

(back to top)

The PRMC is the POTENTIAL Royal Marines Course. What are the assessors looking for? Potential!

You don’t have to be a ninja. You just have to show that you are working as hard as you can and have the potential to be moulded into a steely eyed deliverer of death (Royal Marine Commando).

The first 9 weeks of Recruit Training PT is performed in the gym, to prepare you for Bottom Field, so don’t stress.

Perform circuits of bodyweight exercises, press-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups. Do intervals and steady runs. Exercise outside in the cold, wind, rain and sun. Try to work on agility with some plyometrics and stretch to avoid injury. Above all, work on your mind and pushing harder.

How often should I be training? What workouts should I be doing?

(back to top)

Train a minimum of 3 times and a maximum of 6 times per week. I would suggest 4 or 5 sessions. It also depends how you structure these sessions. You could do mixes of CV and resistance on the same day or split them, examples are:

  • Mon: steady run
  • Tue: bodyweight circuits
  • Wed: day off
  • Thu: intervals
  • Fri: bodyweight circuits
  • Sat: Steady run
  • Sun: day off

or

  • Mon: circuit of bodyweight exercises and intervals
  • Tue: Day off
  • Wed: bodyweight circuits followed by a steady run
  • Thu: Day off
  • Fri: Intervals
  • Sat: Steady run and bodyweight exercises
  • Sun: Day off

There are hundreds of ways to skin a cat.

How can I bulk up but keep doing cardio and stay fit?

(back to top)

Try to eat 5 to 6 meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a snack between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner, then something before bed. Try to include protein in each meal and ensure carbohydrate is healthy and low GI where possible, brown rice, brown wholemeal bread, wholemeal pitas, sweet potatoes are all good examples. Fats are NOT all bad, so eat good fats like nuts and avocados. If this doesn’t work, go more in depth and work out the calories you need to get by each day or use a smart phone app like MyFitnessPal.

Any tips to improve the number of RM style press-ups I can do?

(back to top)

I invented something I called “gainers” before I went on a course that required me to redo the Royal Marines Fitness Tests. I was already a Marine PTI, so knew I would be expected to do well. I wanted maximum scores or as near as I could get. Gainers is simple, you gain 1 rep, everyday. No more, no less. So, today I start with 10. I do 10 reps, rest for 1 minute, 10 reps, rest for 1 minute then a last set of 10 reps. Tomorrow, I do, 11reps, 1min rest, 10 reps, 1 min rest, 10 reps. The day after, 11, 11, 10. The day after that, 11, 11, 11. Simple. Before you know it, you’ll have 50, 1 min off, 50, 1 min off, 50. Then, 60 is easy.

Can I run twice a day (am/pm sessions) or will I get injured?

(back to top)

No need. Remember: REST – Recovery Equals Successful Training. You encourage/stimulate your body to change during training, but changes happen when resting. Without rest, changes don’t occur. Very important to rest and recover, yes to avoid injury, but also to allow improvements.

How long before my PRMC should I stop training?

(back to top)

Let’s work backwards: The day before you go do a short easy run. Not hard, not killing yourself, easy to wake yourself up and feel confident and fit. The day before that, rest. The day before that, rest, or perhaps a little run. That’s already half a week. The 3 to 4 days before this, start winding down, so make the session progressively easier. Maybe the farthest day out do an interval session. Day after that, a bodyweight circuit, day after that a good 3 mile run, then you are into the last three days. This is a basic taper, everyone is different. The important thing is, that you won’t lose or gain fitness in this time, the hard work is done – or not in some cases. Put it in early, and you’ll be fine. As per the question above: it’s a POTENTIAL Royal Marines Course, they want to see POTENTIAL, not the next Mo Farah.

Perfect form sit ups are tough with quantity and speed. Any tips?

(back to top)

No need to do them quickly, do them slow and steady and you’ll build strength and protect your back. Do other abs exercises like the plank, rollouts, saxon side bends and crunches to strengthen your core. Try gainers as per the press-up question above. The same principle works.

Should I use supplements to help refuel and hydrate?

(back to top)

Supplements have come on leaps and bounds in the sports world. Rehydration electrolytes are even found in ration packs now. There are a myriad of supplements that could help while training for a PRMC, from whey protein to help muscle growth and repair, to electorlytes to rehydrate, to zinc and magnesium to help sleep and repair. You don’t have to use any of them, some may help. However, if you drink lots of water and eat the 5/6 meals a day with protein, carbs and fats at each, you should be fine.

Should I use Fat Gripz to mimic the PRMC pull-up beam?

(back to top)

Fat Gripz would mimic the pull-up beam yes, and although specificity is key to fitness gains and success in many sports, you don’t need to buy these to be accepted into the Royal Marines. If you are concerned, wrap a towel around your pull-up bar, but to be honest, this isn’t required either. My advice, yet again, is that the assessors are looking for… POTENTIAL, not the polished product. They don’t expect 16 pull-ups. If you do 10 they’ll be impressed. If you do less than 5 they’ll perhaps be concerned, if you can’t do any, you probably aren’t strong enough right now. The grip on the beam is harder than the perfect grips at your local gym, but you aren’t needing to hold on for too long, just a set of pull-ups. These days they even let you dry your hands of sweat first!

How can I improve my running pace? (Mostly 1.5/3 milers)

(back to top)

Running fitness can be categorised as Stamina Endurance stamina you improve with interval training endurance you improve with longer steady runs specificity is also important: i.e. you get better at something if you specifically strain at it. So, actually do a 1.5 or 3 mile run as hard as you can once or twice a week and time it. Ensure you improve each time. If you don’t improve look at why. Bad nights sleep? Didn’t eat well? Haven’t had a rest day or two? etc. “Know Yourself” (written in every one of my books and SO SO important. Then, incorporate intervals. Tabata intervals are perfect. Start with one set (takes 4 minutes), move up to 2 sets and even 3 sets. Also do some slow steady 3 – 5 mile runs, where you take it easy and allow your heart to strengthen.

Best way to train for PRMC when it’s 2-3 months away?

(back to top)

Simple Train hard and smart. 3 – 5 times a week. Make each session count. Get adequate food and water before and after each session and maximise your rest on rest days. 7-8hrs sleep a night. Don’t drink alcohol often if at all. Avoid rubbishy sugar foods and eat sensibly.

I struggle with leg injuries; how can I get to a good CV level?

(back to top)

It’s very difficult, and completely unsafe for me to prescribe injury advice over messages like this. Without knowing your medical history and watching you run it would be dangerous for me to “assume” (assuming makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”) that I know what’s going on. Get checked out by a doctor/physio and if you get the all clear, one or two Tabata sessions a week and one or two 3-5 mile runs will be great.

Should I take supplements to gain weight/strength?

(back to top)

Supplements certainly won’t do you any harm, but they are not the magic powder everyone thinks they are! The most important thing is to eat slightly more calories than you actually need per day and try to make sure you get a good amount of protein everyday. My advice would be to take a protein supplement like Maximuscle Promax straight after exercise and before you go to sleep. Other than that, tryo to eat 5 – 6 meals a day consisting of protein, carbohydrates and fats. If you can eat 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight, this will help you.

How did you go from Royal Marines PTI to Men’s Fitness covers?

(back to top)

Firstly, I didn’t plan to become a Personal Trainer or a Fitness/Sports Model. I joined the Royal Marines and thought that would be my career for life. Royal Marine training is so hard, that if you go into it thinking it will be a stepping stone, you probably won’t make it through. You have to be going into the Royal Marines to become a Royal Marine. If you want to be in the fitness industry and a fitness model, then go and do that. In terms of how I’ve done it, a lot of it is hard work, persistence and being in the right place at the right time. They say there is no set to route to this line of work. Read a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, it will make you realise its not necessarily down to what we do.

Any tips for the few days before?

(back to top)

With less than a week to go all the training is pretty much in the bag. You are going to get very little fitness gains, and actually more likely to damage yourself, degrade yourself or get injured if you do last minute “Panic Phys”. Taking three rests days before the PRMC is a great idea, though there are some arguments that a light run on the day before to wake your system up can be beneficial. In terms of eating, carb loading is something some people recommend, however, try anything you do a few weeks before to check it doesn’t upset your stomach! That could really blow your chances. Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

(back to top)

Variation is key, as the PTIs will use all sorts of different methods to get you Fit for Purpose. Therefore, if you utilise all sorts of kit from TRX to Kettlebell, to bodyweight to dumbbells, your body will be adept to variation and whatever you’ll have throw at you. Overall though: don’t bulk up too much, get good at pull-ups and press-ups, and make sure you can run!

I want to try MMA to improve me for the Marines. Good idea?

(back to top)

Martial arts training is great pre-military training as it requires dedication and discipline, as well as being able to assimilate information while physically tired. However, equally, be careful with MMA. I picked up a few injuries from it, and that’s not what you want pre-RM training. I would suggest making it part of your training, along with a bit of crossfit style complexes, runs and general weight training. Throw in swimming too if you can. Try not to get concussed!

3 weeks until my PRMC… any last minute preparation tips?

(back to top)

Last minute doesn’t really work, so I wouldn’t see it like that. If you “feel” ready as you say, then you probably are ready. That positive attitude will pay dividends when you get down there as you’ll believe you are there to pass. All you need to do now, is not get injured so you don’t lose that feeling of being ready. I suggest simply eating well, sleeping lots & rest when you can. Just keep your Phys ticking over with runs and Bodyweight exercises but don’t go too nuts. Focus and you’ll pass with ease.