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Answering Your Why: Motivation to Train for Service

military man working out

If you cruise through the Military.com Fitness Section, you will find hundreds of articles covering nearly every fitness level, specific types of training, tactical fitness, fitness testing, and even mental toughness and motivation to train. The most common requests that the Military.com fitness writers receive are mainly concerned with military preparation fitness programming and the motivation to stay committed.  Many of the articles below were written in response to these type of requests:

As you can see in the above articles, there are many reasons why you should train, and those should motivate you to do so.  It is important to find your why now! 

WHY do you want to serve? 

Serving in the military has to be a calling, not something you fall back on because you cannot get into college or a civilian job. Serving your country is not entirely a selfless act. There is nothing wrong with serving your country with the goal of bettering yourself with valuable skills that are transferable to the civilian world, getting college assistance, learning leadership skills, becoming more disciplined, or just continuing to be part of a team if you love being a team player.

But many need a why in order to find the motivation to prepare themselves physically for military service.

Most of the motivation questions come from young, pre-military aged teens who have never really trained hard for anything, so it is understandable that they don’t fully grasp the love for fitness that many current and former athletes may have. Lack of motivation is not limited to the non-athletes however. 

Some power athletes have issues with motivating themselves to run, and by neglecting running and rucking prior to military training, you could be setting yourself up for failure or injury, or both. Some of the endurance athletes have problems motivating themselves to lift and PT to build a foundation of strength needed for PT tests, rucking, heavy equipment carrying, and other load-bearing tasks. Regardless of where you are on the fitness spectrum, difficulty finding the motivation to train is real for many.

But saying, "I just do not have the motivation to train every day like I should before boot camp," is one of the worst things to say – and here is why.

Fitness motivation.

Your Own Survival

Lacking a fitness foundation going into the military will make every day a little tougher on you than it should.  Events like platoon runs or group PT will be gut checks versus stress-relievers.  A 2-3 mile run on legs not used to running that far will be susceptible to injury.  High repetition PT workouts will yield post -exercise soreness that will make the following days very uncomfortable. Failing a fitness test puts you in a remedial program where you will spend much of your "free time" doing extra PT and running.  Failing in fitness may even result in your dismissal from the military after only a few months.

Your Team Needs You

Your battle buddy, swim-buddy, squad, platoon or whatever team you operate in, need to know you are able to help them when times get tough. I say this all the time to express how important fitness is in the military:

"One day your fitness will be a determining factor in whether or not you, a teammate, or other person you are trying to help, will live or die." I continue with this, "If that does not motivate you to start training a little harder, then perhaps you should consider a job outside of the military, law enforcement, or fire-fighting professions." 

We All Need You

Your family and society needs more people who are ready to answer the call. It may be carrying loved ones out of a burning home or swimming across a pond to save a drowning victim. You never know what you may have to do to help yourself or others.

Even if you are not planning to be in a forward deployed combat position, your teammates still need you.  Natural disasters, fire, floods, and unfortunately, random terrorist attacks require us all to be a little more vigilant and ready for unknown circumstances.  Are you ready to help?  Or will you need to be helped?  If you need to be helped, I hope your battle buddy and perhaps the first responder who shows up on scene is ready for service.  Spread the word.

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Fitness Motivation Stew Smith

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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