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Joining Army Reserves Infantry at Age 46

Truenorth101

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I recently submitted an application to join the Primary Army Reserves as an Infantryman. I am 46 years old, in good physical shape. My questions are: am I crazy to do this at my age? Will the physical training be too much for a person my age? What standards should I be gaging my fitness level against? Any insights greatly appreciated.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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If you are physically fit, I don't think it's crazy. Although take my opinion with a grain of salt because it's been almost 20 years since I was in the army reserves as an infantry officer, but from what I remember doing, I could definitely still do it now at 40 and I am actually in better shape now than I was then because I regularly go to the gym now (whereas as a young man I didn't think I needed to).

Standards to gauge your fitness level against would be at least the minimums required for the trade. I think if you can do at least double the minimum required on the FORCE test you will be in good stead to make it through training without hurting yourself.

I'm not sure what the minimums are and a quick google search does not immediately reveal a nice easy chart. I did find this older/likely out of date page: https://forces.gc.ca/en/news/article.page?doc=canadian-forces-physical-fitness-standards/hnps1vfu

I would say aim for the "incentive" level on that chart and you should be good to go if you can do that.

Also, link to the FORCE programme: https://www.cfmws.com/en/aboutus/psp/dfit/fitness/forceprogram/pages/about-the-force-program.aspx
 

Truenorth101

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Thank you LittleBlackDevil for your insights, information. I, like you, am also of the mind that I am in better shape as a 46 year old than I was as a 26 year old. A healthy sense of mortality I guess. The big unknown is the amount of running in Infantry school - everyday, no rest days, aging bones. The last thing I want is to be the slow guy in a group of 20 somethings.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Truenorth101 said:
Thank you LittleBlackDevil for your insights, information. I, like you, am also of the mind that I am in better shape as a 46 year old than I was as a 26 year old. A healthy sense of mortality I guess. The big unknown is the amount of running in Infantry school - everyday, no rest days, aging bones. The last thing I want is to be the slow guy in a group of 20 somethings.

I trained with some guys in their 40s and they seemed able to keep up alright. It's true that with an older body you may be more at risk for an injury due to wear-and-tear type things.

I wouldn't worry about being the slow guy. The impression I always got was that the instructors were more interested in how much will/determination you showed than your actual results. I never saw anyone get "beasted" for not being the fastest or strongest, only for giving up. Also, there will probably be at least one or two who show up in not as good of shape as they should be. I'll confess that was me at 19 years old thinking I was invincible.

I never did basic training as an NCM. As an officer at Gagetown Infantry school, we did do running almost every morning but I don't recall it being particularly long runs although they were fast pace. You do get some rest days because you don't train every weekend plus sometimes they do obstacle courses or swimming instead of running.

I think being in the best shape you can be going in will help with the wear-and-tear issues. And maybe bring some supplements? I never used to use whey protein for example, but I do now when I workout and I find it assists greatly with recovery. I'm sure there are other options.
 

Truenorth101

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Thank you again LittleBlackDevil, your words are encouraging. I am excited to get going. Everything in the recruitment process is slowed down due to Covid. Using the time to train harder.

Definitely agree about the use of whey powder in aiding recovery.

 

Truenorth101

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A quick note to update this post...
I have spent the last year completing the application process to the Army Reserves which ended in my enrolment last Friday. I join my Regiment for the first time last night. I am officially a Pte awaiting training. Felt great to be there last evening...I was clearly the oldest recruit...by about 20yrs. Greatly looking forward to getting on a BMQ course and hopefully a DPL1 before the summer's end. Fingers crossed. Will update as I progress.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Great to hear the update and that you finally made it through the recruiting process. Do keep us posted.

On the topic of "old guys" joining the reserves ... I myself signed my conditional offer of employment last week (albeit CIC officer, so not that physically demanding) and am now just waiting to be sworn in I guess. I know my paperwork now has to be signed-off on by my CO then goes to CFB Borden for the CIC honchos there to give it final approval.
 

daftandbarmy

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A quick note to update this post...
I have spent the last year completing the application process to the Army Reserves which ended in my enrolment last Friday. I join my Regiment for the first time last night. I am officially a Pte awaiting training. Felt great to be there last evening...I was clearly the oldest recruit...by about 20yrs. Greatly looking forward to getting on a BMQ course and hopefully a DPL1 before the summer's end. Fingers crossed. Will update as I progress.

Congrats! Whatever you do, don't let on that you already know way more than they do about important things... like Advil ;)


will ferrell yes GIF
 

Truenorth101

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Great to hear the update and that you finally made it through the recruiting process. Do keep us posted.

On the topic of "old guys" joining the reserves ... I myself signed my conditional offer of employment last week (albeit CIC officer, so not that physically demanding) and am now just waiting to be sworn in I guess. I know my paperwork now has to be signed-off on by my CO then goes to CFB Borden for the CIC honchos there to give it final approval.
Happy to see you still following this thread...congratulations of accepting your offer of employment.
 

Truenorth101

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Congrats! Whatever you do, don't let on that you already know way more than they do about important things... like Advil ;)


will ferrell yes GIF
Thanks for the comment, and advice...Advil is on the packing list for BMQ for sure. Keep my mouth shut, eyes and ears open. Do the work.
 
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Wow. I just logged on today to ask a similar question and this thread pretty much answered all the questions I had. I myself am even older, just turned 50 but my application process started back in September 2019 when I was 48. Had a minor complication with my medical but was declared fit a few months back. Just completed all my expired application items last week along with another force test which I passed at bronze level for my age. My result would have been a solid 'Met standard' for a 20 year old.

The last hurdle for me is the security clearance then hopefully receiving an offer of enrolment.

My concern, like TrueNorth101, is that I'd be holding up the younger recruits. I have no doubt that I'm capable and will be for many more years but If I'm slowing down the rest of the group that would be an issue for me (and them I'm sure).

Is the Force test any indication of how I'll hold up in training? I'm regularly running 5 km several times a week as well as trying to do whatever strength training I can with the gyms being closed...
 

mariomike

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My concern, like TrueNorth101, is that I'd be holding up the younger recruits.

Hello BoomerRecruit​


As this forum is Recruits Only:
Open discussion for new members ONLY. Board is unmoderated, any advice given here may be inaccurate or incomplete. Once you hit 250 posts you will no longer have access to this board!

You may find this discussion regarding your concern informative,

( Sorry for the bold type. That's my computer. )






 

Truenorth101

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Hello...a quick update to my progress in the CAF.
I just returned last night from my 5 week BMQ course. The main takeaways for older recruits...
1. I was more than fit enough...I was definitely one of the more fit candidates. Many of the much younger guys were not able to match the standard. If you want to test you fitness level... run 5 KM under 30 mins. Ruck march (55lbs) 5km at 10 minutes / km. Push ups - 30. Plank holds 1-2 minutes.
2. Recovery - being older means needing more time to recover. The military doesn't really care how old you are as long as you can do what is asked / expected of you. Expect lack of sleep, a change in diet, and higher stress. To compensate bring protein powder, multi vitamin, omega 3, good ear plugs, a small pillow, and ibuprofen. Anything that you can use to speed you body to rest.
3. Being older was an asset. Many candidates are young - 17-25. Their life skills are still developing. Many are still living at home with their parents. Military life comes as shock to a lot of them. I found myself taking over the father figure to most of the younger kids. Be a positive example of hard work and perseverance. Get them thinking..."this old guys is doing it..."

Please feel free to DM me if you have any other questions, happy to help.
 
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Hello...a quick update to my progress in the CAF.
I just returned last night from my 5 week BMQ course. The main takeaways for older recruits...
1. I was more than fit enough...I was definitely one of the more fit candidates. Many of the much younger guys were not able to match the standard. If you want to test you fitness level... run 5 KM under 30 mins. Ruck march (55lbs) 5km at 10 minutes / km. Push ups - 30. Plank holds 1-2 minutes.
2. Recovery - being older means needing more time to recover. The military doesn't really care how old you are as long as you can do what is asked / expected of you. Expect lack of sleep, a change in diet, and higher stress. To compensate bring protein powder, multi vitamin, omega 3, good ear plugs, a small pillow, and ibuprofen. Anything that you can use to speed you body to rest.
3. Being older was an asset. Many candidates are young - 17-25. Their life skills are still developing. Many are still living at home with their parents. Military life comes as shock to a lot of them. I found myself taking over the father figure to most of the younger kids. Be a positive example of hard work and perseverance. Get them thinking..."this old guys is doing it..."

Please feel free to DM me if you have any other questions, happy to help.

Thanks for all info! Good to know that I’m not going to be left in the dust by the younger recruits. I can already meet the physical standards you’ve laid out here but I hear you when it comes to recovery. The lack of sleep will definitely come into play

I think I may have it a little easier than you as well, at least at first. I’ll be doing BMQ over the weekends since I can’t get away from work for more than 3 weeks at a time. I have also heard a rumour that BMQ-L may also be offered over weekends soon, probably to catch up on the training backlog caused by COVID-19. If that is true then the only summer course I’ll need to take will be my gunners course, 3 weeks in Gagetown.
 

daftandbarmy

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Hello...a quick update to my progress in the CAF.
I just returned last night from my 5 week BMQ course. The main takeaways for older recruits...
1. I was more than fit enough...I was definitely one of the more fit candidates. Many of the much younger guys were not able to match the standard. If you want to test you fitness level... run 5 KM under 30 mins. Ruck march (55lbs) 5km at 10 minutes / km. Push ups - 30. Plank holds 1-2 minutes.
2. Recovery - being older means needing more time to recover. The military doesn't really care how old you are as long as you can do what is asked / expected of you. Expect lack of sleep, a change in diet, and higher stress. To compensate bring protein powder, multi vitamin, omega 3, good ear plugs, a small pillow, and ibuprofen. Anything that you can use to speed you body to rest.
3. Being older was an asset. Many candidates are young - 17-25. Their life skills are still developing. Many are still living at home with their parents. Military life comes as shock to a lot of them. I found myself taking over the father figure to most of the younger kids. Be a positive example of hard work and perseverance. Get them thinking..."this old guys is doing it..."

Please feel free to DM me if you have any other questions, happy to help.

Dude... if there isn't a medal for what you're doing, there should bloody well be IMHO ;)
 

Truenorth101

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Infantry DP1 starting in two weeks...a six week course....42 days. I expect that to be a challenge. Will update this thread after.

Also...have heard that BMQ-L has been cancelled. A lot of other trades on my BMQ had theirs cancelled. Apparently a restructuring is going on. Anyone officially know what is happening ?

"Better to be a warrior in the garden than a gardener in the war" - Sun Tzu -
 
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