Top 10 Fitness Questions

Top 10 Military Fitness Questions

I have had many emails that ask similiar questions, so I have compiled a list of the top ten questions. Here are the questions I consider my Top Ten. They range in subject, but are all relevant to fitness and health. Feel free to continue emailing me with your questions at

1) Should I lift weights as fast as possible?

Of course, I know to lower them slower, but on the positive portion of the exercise, I am unsure.

Answer - If you are lifting weights to prepare for Physical Fitness Training (PFT) or Bootcamp, then you can stop lifting period, and consult the article "No Weights at Bootcamp."

Otherwise, I like to lift slow on the "down" (should take about 2-3 seconds), and explode on the "up" to build power. There are some workouts I like to do occasionally where you do a 20 second rep - 10 seconds down, and 10 seconds up. Give that a try on your workouts once a week. - Stew


2) How can I pass the Navy PFT swim portion with a better score?

The Navy's bi-annual PFT consists of a 1.5 mile run or 500m swim - usually the swim is a great running substitute for people with bad knees or lower back.

Answer - I would consider taking lessons or watch a swim team practice. Sometimes a picture is worth 1000 words and you can pick up the techniques you need by watching swimmers swim. - Stew


3) I know that I can do the ab routine daily, but what about the pushups/ab superset? I don't want to stunt my muscle growth by doing pushups too often. Is it okay to do pushups daily?

Answer - I would not do pushups daily - give yourself a day off in between big pushup workouts (over 100-200 pushups in a workout). As far as abs - back to back - they are muscles so they need rest too, but they can function on less rest than major muscle groups. Do abs the same way you can run. I like to run on Monday and Tuesday rest on Wednesday, run on Thursday Friday and Saturday, and rest on Sunday. - Stew


4) What do you consider a rest day? Is it a day without weights, cardio, or both?

Answer - I consider rest nothing more physically exerting than chores around the house or walking. - Stew


5) Can you further explain the double crunch?

Answer - As mentioned in the "Resting with Crunches" article and eBooks, it is a mix of a reverse crunch and regular crunch at the same time, so you lift your shoulders and hips off the floor simultaneously - the only thing touching the floor is your middle back. - Stew


6) With the reverse pushups, am I literally raising my arms/hands off of the ground?

Answer - Yes - from the down pushup position, lift your hands off the floor and pinch your shoulder blades together. This is a great upper back exercise - it helps with posture and stretches the chest. - Stew


7) Is it better to do cardio before or after lifting weights?

Answer - I like to warm up with cardio for about 10 minutes / stretch then lift weights, but then I go for my run or swim or bike for 30-40 minutes after lifting. I find that if I lift after running or other cardio, I do not have the power I had than if I lifted first. It is really up to you, though. To burn more calories, I would lift first, run second. - Stew


8) Can or should I add anything to the supplemental Weightlifting routine? I am concerned about muscle gain, retention, and definition?

Answer - You can do whatever you like - the supplemental weight program in the 45 Day workouts are just that: ideas for you to push yourself a little more than in the 45 Day plan. - Stew


9) Also, if I do everything correctly, to the letter, and also do the supplemental PT, weight routine, and ab routines, how much weight should I expect to lose? I am 5'9'' 175lbs. and out of shape.

Answer - It is different with everyone. Drinking water is a major factor to your weight loss too. You must drink lots of water - up to 1/2 to a gallon a day. I have seen people just add more water to their diet and lose a lot of retained water weight fast - up to 20 lbs in one week - but they were seriously bloated. Usually expect to lose 2-3 lbs a week. - Stew


10) Should I do the weights and PT exercises on different days, consecutive days, with a day of rest in between, or on the same day?

Answer - I like to do them on the same day if I have a choice. It is OK to do one but you do not want to do the other involving the same muscle the next day (i.e., pushups on Monday and Bench press on Tuesday) Think about the muscles you are using when lifting, and give them a rest for 48 hours before seriously challenging them again.

Good luck with your fitness program - if you need any help deciding what you should do, please send me an email with your situation and I will help provide some ideas for getting started, pushing harder, or joining the military too.

Thanks for the opportunity to serve.

- Stew

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

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