TORONTO – If the MLS regular season is war, Toronto FC’s Mark Bloom is a bit more battle-ready after spending the offseason training at the Naval Air Station Pensacola.
Bloom recently spoke to MLSsoccer.com about his time training at the Florida navy base, where his wife is stationed as a nurse. Surrounded by fighter jets and tanks, Bloom spent his offseason exploring the 8,423-acre navy base and hitting the gym alongside military personnel in an effort to keep fit before the start of preseason.
“It was pretty cool,” Bloom told MLSsoccer.com. “There’s a lot of like-minded guys there, bunch of meatheads who like to work out. They have a really nice gym, really nice facilities. I found a soccer field right by the water and I spent my winters right next to the beach training in shorts and a t-shirt rather than three feet of snow.”
Very few athletes have a chance to train side by side with US Marines, something Bloom noticed when looking around in the gym.
“It was all military, so you had everyone there,” he said. “The best of the best Marine Corps down to officers and doctors, everyone who works with the Navy. Driving around the naval base, you’ll see their structured training, officers putting them through regiments and such.”
While Bloom didn’t have a drill sergeant in his ear, he did get a first-hand look at how soldiers keep in shape. So how does a soccer player’s training regime compare to that of a US Marine?
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“Both professions have to be at the top of your physical ability,” Bloom said. “They’re kind of all about pull-ups, push-ups, throwing around as much weight as possible. Our workouts are much more specific as far as balance and explosiveness, cardio as well.”
“You look at them and you’ve got to respect what they do.”