I received a great email with several questions that many people ask as they are about to embark on a new fitness journey and career that requires a physical fitness test.
This former Marine writes:
"I go to the police academy in June and I am using the FBI SWAT Workout eBook found on the Military.com eBookstore. I used to be in great shape, I was a Marine for eight years and have been out for just over a year, battling illness that has put me out of shape. I was wondering if there is a particular time of day I should follow your workout guide (In the morning after waking up, or at night after work), how much sleep I should get, I mean after being in The Corps for such a long time I am used to being able to operate on little sleep, but do you recommend a certain number of sleep hours per night? And the final question is, how do you motivate yourself on those days when you just don't feel like working out? I want to make sure the Sheriff's Department gets a return on their investment in me, and I also don't want to embarrass myself, or The Corps by just being a mediocre performer at the academy."
With the positive attitude you have going into this new law enforcement career, I doubt you will embarrass yourself or The Corps. Ninety percent of performing at the top of your class is positive attitude and the remaining ten percent is preparing physically with the program you have.
Here is a plan of action before arriving at police academy:
1) Use FBI SWAT Workout
Continue using the FBI SWAT Workout eBooks since it will be very similar to the tasks and exercises you will have to perform at the police academy. This is a six-week course but it can be completed twice for a total of 12 weeks. The additional six weeks will enable you to thoroughly master the workouts, because they will be tough if you have not been able to exercise regularly in the past year.
2) Find Best Time to Workout
Find the time of day that works best for you to train. Many people in the military get accustomed to early morning workouts, but everyone is different. Some are better at early morning, while others like mid-day or evening to train. Statistics say that people are twice as likely to exercise IF they schedule it in the morning that later in the day. When starting out after several months of inactivity, it may be better to train in the morning with the running and other cardio and do the weights or PT in the afternoon.
3) Rest Days Should be Rest Days
Being young, the body requires minimal sleep to recover from long days of work or challenging workouts, but as we age, rest days should be REST days. On a REST day you should do nothing physical but stretch. Everyday of workouts will tire your body and require you to recover for at least 24-48 hours on the particular muscle groups you exercised. As far as sleep, try to get eight hours of sleep if you can. You will grow muscle better when you sleep a minimum of eight hours a night. See nutrition tips in the Military.com Article Archives to see pre and post workout meals that will also help with recovery and muscle regeneration.
4) Use "Warm up With Crunches" to Motivate
And finally, how do you motivate yourself when you just do not feel like exercising? If I had that answer, my name would be in lights world-wide. But I feel I have a solution that does not require you to stand, does not cost a dime, and only takes five minutes to change you from too tired to exercise to ready to go. It is called "warm up with crunches." See the Crunches link and do the following set of easy abdominal to get the internal juices flowing. This will wake you up / warm you up and prepare you for exercise. I like to wake up with:
- Regular Crunches - 25 - Reverse Crunches - 25 - Double Crunches - 25 - Left Crunches - 25 - Right Crunches - 25 - Stretch abs and lower back
See that was not too bad and just a "little bit harder than sleeping."
These tips will help you if you practice these methods during the weeks prior to your PFT. Good luck in your next PFT and your new law enforcement career!
Also read the following Military.com articles found in the Stew Smith article archive for more information:
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.