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Preparing for the PFT

Preparing for the PFT

I received an email from a Soldier who writes:

"I have been in the military for 17 years and am currently serving as a reservist. This weekend they informed me that I would be running the PT test in one month. I don't have any problem with the crunch or push-up portion, but the running and especially the waist circumference could use some work."

"The best way for me to get more points would be to shave off 2" from my waist, and possibly drop a minute or two from my run time. Is it possible to do that in four weeks?"

The good news to you Soldiers out there who may have let the six months in between PFTs to slip by with very few workouts in between is that it's possible to help yourself in one month's time. Of course you cannot do it by diet alone, BUT if you mix in the following, this month of PFT training could also work for you in the long run:

Drink Water

1 gallon a day for men or 3 quarts for women. If you are not drinking enough water, your body cannot burn fat as efficiently, and you will also have unnecessary weight gains due to water retention. It may not make a lot of sense, but you need to drink more water to allow your body to stop retaining water. Limit salty food intake as well.


Swim, bike or run/walk. Do this 4 times a week for 30-45 minutes. Obviously, I would spend this time running, since you will be tested in a month. Try the workouts listed for running in the Stew Smith Article Guide.

PT or Weights

2 upper body workouts/2 lower body workouts and abdominal workouts. Refer to link above.

These workouts will cause you to build muscle while simultaneously losing fat and inches. This should place your body fat within standard, making the circumference around your waist 2-4 inches smaller. Some people gain weight in this month due to muscle gains over fat loss BUT will still lose inches. Muscle weighs more than fat, so do not expect a huge weight loss. Inches lost will be much more noticeable in the first month. Permanent weight loss tends to really pick up after the six-week mark, once your muscle growth has stabled. Weight loss will be slight, maybe 8-10 lbs. in one month. This is the healthiest way to lose weight - limiting it to 1-3 lbs per week.

More Military PFT Prep

The workouts in the articles and eBooks on the Fitness eBook store will help you lose weight, get faster, and score higher on the PFT. By combining all forms of exercise: strength building, cardio vascular activity, and flexibility as well as food intake prior to the PFT, you will be better prepared for the EVENT.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

Related Topics

Military PFT Prep Military Workouts Army Workouts Army Fitness Requirements Stew Smith
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