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Fitness Tips from a Former Army Ranger

How this ex-combat surgeon, ship’s doctor, fourteener hiker, and aspiring ninja stays strong

How this ex-combat surgeon, ship’s doctor, fourteener hiker, and aspiring ninja stays strong

Former Army Ranger and battalion surgeon Jedidiah Ballard is now an ER doctor. Except he doesn’t work a nine-to-five job. Instead, Ballard flies around the country working back-to-back shifts for a week at a time as a visiting physician. That way, when he’s back home in Boulder, Colorado, he can get outside and train on his own schedule (next up: American Ninja Warrior). “I’m a huge fan of hiking, and in Boulder, everything is right there, whether that’s getting out for a simple day hike or heading up to a fourteener.”

Ballard is also a proficient surfer, rock climber, and all-around outdoors person. And he’s big into giving back. In the years since he was deployed as a battalion surgeon in Afghanistan and along the Korean DMZ, he’s done humanitarian work on four continents—teaching English in Cambodia, teaching kids with HIV to swim in South Africa, training caregivers to use medical ultrasound machines in Peru, and volunteering at Denver’s Children’s Hospital Burn Camp. Between his dynamic work and volunteering schedules, Ballard always makes time for self-care.

How Ballard Stays Strong

Quit Your Day Job: “You give up stability when you pick up work like I do,” says Ballard. “But that gains you freedom. Last year I took a job as a ship’s doctor on a Chinese tourist vessel heading to Antarctica. Opportunities like that are out there.”

Take It Outside: Ballard will train indoors—but only if he has to. “I love running sprints on wooded trails and doing planks in the local parks.” Another total-body workout for Ballard includes those sprints and planks followed by ten burpees. Then he’ll do pull-ups on a tree limb. “At the end of 10 to 12 minutes, you’re gassed. It’s a totally smoking workout.”

Yesterday’s Chores Can Be Tomorrow’s Workouts: Ever push a broken-down car up a slight incline with friends? Ballard does that for conditioning. He also loads up the old military rucksack with weight and heads uphill.

Get Your Protein In: “Supplements are, as the name implies, meant to optimize your health and nutrition as part of a healthy diet,” says Ballard. When he’s pinched for time or looking for a quick recovery drink, he relies on ISOPURE INFUSIONS™, a unique take on a protein drink in that it doesn’t look, taste, or bog you down like a heavy milkshake. “It can be hard to find nice clean protein like this without cooking fresh food.”

Take the Time to Give Back: By volunteering for causes where he can make an impact, Ballard builds strength in another aspect of his life that's every bit as important as his fitness. “I grew up poor. Our family lived in a barn for a year. But because I grew up in America, I was able to jump multiple socioeconomic lines in my lifetime. There are plenty of smart kids in the rest of the world that never had those chances."


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