Whether you are a seasoned veteran at the Base Gym or somebody just getting into a new battle rhythm of starting a new PT program in an all out effort to improve your score on your next PT Test I can almost guarantee you are (or will be) making 1 if not all of these common mistakes. Falling into these traps can result in lack of body transformation, the dreaded plateau, or simply not seeing enough results and visual change that unfortunately leads you to giving up. The Fit Soldier understands the sacrifice and struggle it takes for you to balance your service duties and find time to stay in shape. Heck, this is even tougher on the traditional guardsman or reservist who is juggling a civilian career, family, military responsibilities, and trying to find time to fit in PT especially in a culture where fitness always comes last in the civilian world. The best scenario is to find a program that you love that easily fits into a schedule and will get results.
Back to my point. Once you do commit to a fitness program, diet, or something to achieve mission success you need to avoid the following land mines that certainly will always get in the way of your PT goals.
FUBAR #1: You stick to the same old routine
Once you find a routine or workout you like and you really commit and hit it hard, initially you get some great results. Unfortunately those results start to taper off. Why? It’s because you body gets used to that routine and adapts to the moves so it can press thru the training. What ends up happening is you feel the need to extend the workout time to get that burn or heart rate up and the next thing you know you are in the gym another hour just to get the same results as to what you may have only needed 30 minutes to achieve. Unless you are a professional gym rat and getting paid to be there, at some point you need to get out of there and get onto other pressing matters.
The Fix: If you are a newbie then be sure to mix it up every few months. If you are a veteran then you should be mixing it up even sooner than that. Alternate Cardio and lifting every other day. Sneak in some Core/Pilates type stuff and Interval training. Don’t just handcuff yourself to the treadmill or elliptical and expect miracles. You will lose some weight and feel better about yourself initially but eventually your body will adapt to tat pace, and unless you want to run on the treadmill while watching an entire season of Generation Kill just to get a sweat on you better take my advice.
FUBAR #2: You train too hard (or not hard enough)
Say what?! Yes you can train too hard. When you get in that groove you want more. You hit it everyday. Like a shark, you smell blood in the water and you attack your fitness goals and really push yourself. Problem with that is your body needs rest to recover and repair. Repair means build. Your body is building muscle to anticipate the next time you attack that area so it can make it thru the stress. If you don’t give it that time then the body is not able to build the muscle and therefore you will stop seeing results. On the opposite side you may not be pushing yourself hard enough. You might think you are but you are not. Result… same ole same ole. Same result different day. Get bored. You quit.
The Fix: You need to push yourself to failure in most all exercise moves to promote gains. This is difficult for people who are working out on their own without someone motivating them and keeping them accountable. Find a workout buddy and set up goals together. If doing cardio figure out your Max Heart Rate (MHR). Determine your max HR by multiplying your age by .7 and subtracting that number from 208. During workout periods, build up your intensity to 75 to 85 percent of your max. During rest periods, let it fall to 65 percent of your max HR before beginning your next round. You should be targeting your MHR for about 20-25 minutes a day. That’s plenty of time to get where you want to be fitness wise believe it or not.
FUBAR #3: You don’t dial in your diet.
I’ve said it a million times and I’m going to shout it out again. “You cannot outwork a bad diet!” If what you are eating is not aligned with your fitness goals then you are wasting your time. And it’s not just about limiting calories either so get that out of your silly head. It’s all about the right mix of proteins, fats and carbs. Macros for you vets with a high ASVAB score. The body needs the fuel to perform. If you put the right fuel in and the right mix then you can successfully reduce the time needed to make gains (or losses if you are trying to lose weight). It’s not all just eat a ton of protein or 5 chicken breasts or whatever somebody tells you. You need to have some of it all. If you are not eating a balanced diet then your body will react and fight back. It will store what it’s not getting to survive your stupidity. You will end up losing energy and then stop pushing thru your workouts. A recipe for defeat.
The Fix: Don’t think you know everything about nutrition. And definitely don’t starve yourself. Don’t do fad diets either and don’t do what some Private learned form some other Private downrange how he lost 25 pounds in 5 days eating nothing but Cliff Bars from the DFAC and 6 cans of Rip It energy drink every day. I recommend following a proven nutrition guide that is backed by real science that does not promote ridiculous calorie deficits. That’s an order! A nutrition guide should help with calculating your calorie intake and set you up with a daily menu guide that incorporates all the essential nutrients that will put you on the shortest path possible to your fitness goal.
FUBAR #4: Not getting enough sleep
With all the demands we face on a day to day basis and everyone battling for your time often we sacrifice sleep. Heck we even sacrifice sleep to get a workout in. Late nights and early mornings are becoming the routine. If you are not getting proper rest I guarantee this will catch up to you quick. Like I said before the body uses the sleep time to recover and reenergize itself. Not to mention you are so angry to be around cause you are tired it also effects your personal life as well. Lack of sleep promotes poor decisions which results in poor discipline and finally poor performance. Not somebody you want to be in battle with.
The Fix: KISS goodnight. No I don’t mean kissing your battle buddy goodnight before hitting the rack. I mean Keep It Simple Stupid and make sleep a priority. There are not secrets here. Just common sense and self discipline.
I hope this info serves you well with your future PT goals. The Fit Soldier can help you with any PT challenges you may have and can provide fitness options complete with nutrition guides, a calendar of workouts to follow, and free online coaching and accountability. Call me your Virtual Fitness Wingman or Battle Buddy. If you would like some help then click on the TAB below. Join my free online military accountability group The B Hut and join others on their mission to be “Fit to Fight!”