For fitness secrets the Insider turns to Military.com's fitness columnist, Stew Smith. A Navy SEAL and author, Stew knows what it takes to be physically and mentally ready. Here are Stew's tips to turn your morning PT into a stress reliever rather than a stress creator.
1. Practice the physical fitness test (PFT). Regardless of what kind of shape you are in, you should definitely practice daily one or two of the events in your service's PFT. You should make sure you can do the following exercises comfortably:
2. Learn what is expected of you ahead of time. There is a wealth of knowledge out there and people help if you ask -- check out the Military.com Fitness channel.
3. Practice adaptability and flexibility. Learn to roll with the punches. In the military, things are regimented but always subject to change. Change your workouts occasionally and run in boots instead of running shoes. Carry a 5- to 8-pound object or wear a backpack to prepare for running with a weapon and gear.
4. Set goals. Know the PFT standards and always strive for maximum effort. Set military goals, such as becoming a company commander or achieving other leadership positions.
5. Listen to your body. If you are hurt, take it easy and rest. See a doctor if things persist for more than a week.
6. Fuel and rest your body -- properly. Eat good foods -- grains, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins that you enjoy. Drink three-fourths to one gallon of water daily. It's important to stay hydrated! Try to go to bed early and wake up early with at least eight hours of sleep.
7. Lay off the weights. Slow, controlled calisthenics is what you will do in the military. There are no weights in morning PT.
8. Learn to enjoy group exercise. You naturally need the discipline to exercise on your own, but working out with a group of people with similar goals is very motivating.
9. Start waking up and exercising early in the morning. Guess what? Most PT is done early in the morning, so get used to early morning workouts.
10. Start doing push-ups. You will do push-ups. Not only is the push-up an all-time favorite exercise, it is also a punishment exercise you'll do for fun!
Bonus Tip: Remember, it's always a good idea to check with your physician before starting an exercise program, especially if you have been inactive or if you have certain medical conditions. Pick up Stew's book on SEAL Fitness.