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Tactical Fitness: Veteran Fitness after a "Fitness Vacation"

Tactical Fitness: Arm exercise.

We have a large variety of readers here at Military.com from teens to retirees and recruits and veterans, as well as spouses and children.  All seek some sort of advice on a program using many of the free beginner plans listed on the site (and below). Here is an email from an Army Vet ready to get back on the fitness wagon.

Hey Stew,

I'm a veteran of the US Army and I really appreciate all of your information.  I haven't been physically fit since I left, and would like to jump back into physical fitness again after a few years of "vacation." But with so much to accomplish and a predefined deadline, I am having a hard time deciding how to start up again. 

Current plan to get back into it starting today:

  • Stretch before and after a workout.
  • 20 situps x 4 sets throughout the day.
  • 20 pushups x 4 sets throughout the day.
  • 400m x 4 sprints.
  • 2 mile run around 15:30.

Also your suggested lower back exercises.

Those are my current goals to get back into working out safely. Would love to do more but they have to be done with the precision I have been told.  Bad reps will not count toward my federal law enforcement goals. Any tips would be great. I want to make sure I am doing them properly and without risk of injury. Injury would be a setback that I can't afford. Anyway, appreciate whatever starting tips you have and I plan to keep reading your info and incorporating it into my goal. 

Much Respect,
Vincent

Vincent – it is very smart to start off easy. I am a big fan of treating yourself like a beginner if you have not been exercising for quite some time or are recovering from injury.

Check out the links on this page. It has several exercise routines and diet plans that you can start off with that will supplement some of your ideas very easily.

Beginner Fitness Rules and Planning

I'm not a fan of doing daily calisthenics for long periods of time, but with the volume you're at that's not going to hurt you.  Though, I would change after a few weeks into a normal split routine where you do upper body one day and lower body the next. Or do a full body workout one day followed by a cardio-only day the next. 

That way you can truly recover from the resistance training and not overdo it with the running progressions too quickly.  Do not forget non-impact cardio options too.  As you build up your legs to prepare for the impact of running, having a few non-impact options to get your heart and lungs working will help as well. Consider bike, elliptical, rowing, or swimming as a form of cardio to do on days in between running as you get started again.

Then, as you advance, and feel less like a beginner, add in more FBI Fitness based training so you can master the FBI Fitness Test which will be one of your "entrance exams."

Stew

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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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