Often young men and women ask me about training for the military and police officer professions, but unfortunately most of them (about 60% who email me) have to lose weight in order to meet the minimum requirements for the height and weight / body fat standards. The military refused more than 47,000 people due to not passing the height-weight / body fat standards last year.Typically, those who are overweight are also not meeting the minimum physical fitness standards for the branch of service they choose. Losing weight AND getting fit for duty can be extremely challenging and potentially injurious.I generally respond to these eager men and women with a system that has been working for years.
The goals are effective weight loss through increased calorie burning using non-impact aerobic activities like biking, rowing, swimming, elliptical gliding, and walking. But, we also introduce a progressive fitness gain program that will simultaneously prepare them for the fitness testing and daily events at training. Usually if a significantly overweight person tries to "run off the weight" the overuse injuries occur and will manifest themselves as knee pain (tendons / cartilage), shins splints or stress fractures, and lower back and hip pain. These injuries will stop you in your tracks and often prevents these unconditioned recruits from graduating basic training programs once accepted at borderline weight / fitness standards.
The program that has been working for years AND is FREE is my 45 day plan that slowly introduces daily fitness habits to a pre-recruits life. Adding more water and dropping sugary treats and drinks is also needed to see optimal results. But, learning how to eat properly is a must in order to have the energy required to exercise.
I tend to supplement this FREE routine with a great core routine that will help you with lower back, abdominal region, as well as hips and legs with flexibility and strength. Of course there are many other ideas for great non- impact aerobic fat burning options that can be found here as well as specific training guide at the Fitness eBook Store.
Some of my workouts require finding pullup bars and a way to do situps with your feet stabilized. Many recruits have problems with certain exercises like pushups, situps, pull-ups, and back pack walks. There are a few exercise pieces that I would recommend to beginners that could assist them with building a great foundation of fitness.
If you have to pass a situp test and it is likely you will, you should consider a Solid Situp Bar. I put one up in about 10 minutes and now my kids and I practice situps and leg levers with the bar as our holder. I find this tool especially helpful for those who work out alone and need to see for themselves the difference of situps with a holder versus no holder. All tests will be conducted with a holder so it helps to either have a buddy hold your feet during situps tests / workouts or have another way to sturdy your feet.
See the Lebert Equalizer if you do not have access to low pullup bars for assisted pull-ups as well as other exercises such as pushups, core, and other full body workouts. Personally, I like the assisted pullup / row using this piece for folks who cannot do pull-ups yet. These bars also provide a stable platform to do incline pushups and dips for those having issues with pushups as well. But there are more than 85 exercises you can do with this piece and I have seen it come in handy with making many home gyms more user- friendly. See Lebert's website for more pictures.
The Lebert Dip
The Lebert Dip - Up position
The Lebert Row / Assisted Pullup
The Lebert Row / Assisted Pullup - Up position
I have also seen much success with the TRX and Perfect Pushups. As I perform presentations around the United States and receive emails from folks, many people have doubled pushup scores and increased their core strength and relieved all previous injury back pain using these products. I still use these products with my advanced workouts, but even beginners can use them as they have scalable programs that fit any level. See videos of them in use at the pool and on the running trail.
These programs and devices can help take you from a beginning exerciser to a top level military / tactical athlete. It does take time and determination to do smoothing everyday. But if you are motivated to serve your country and realize that your fitness level can be a determining factor of life or death for you, your partner or a victim you are trying to help, you can do this!
Keep up the work and good luck with your choice of honorable professions.
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 Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.