Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding a young man joining the military and then advancing on to challenging follow-on training. But my answers apply to anyone seeking to join the military or a law enforcement academy as well. Here are his questions:
1. I have been using your programs for over a year. Will my body be ready if I continue the plan, or should I be easing off before I leave?
I would consider slowing down a few days to a week before attending your training. The long days, extra PT and catching a cold from other recruits will challenge you in the long term, even though you will actually get "out of shape" to a degree from where you are now.
There is no real way to prepare for this, other than having a solid foundation of consistent physical activity for at least a year. Truthfully, if you are prepared for SEAL training before going into Boot Camp, you can consider boot camp as a "taper." Life will be easier for you if you go prepared, of course.
2. If I ease off, how much time should I take? One week? Two?
"Ease off" should not mean to do nothing. You can ease up a bit on your workout intensity and duration, but still you should keep moving and not relax after you reach your fitness goals. Too many times, recruits strive for the minimum standards, and after reaching the bare minimums, they relax and do nothing for a few weeks or a month, only to fail the fitness standards upon arrival. If you like added stress in an already stressful environment, try failing the fitness test when you first get to training.
3. If I should take it easy with lighter workouts, what should I use for maintenance PT for the last week before my indoctrination training?
Focus on the initial PFT that you must take at some time of your training. If you are nursing any injuries (tendinitis, shin splints, etc.), you should try to do some easy warm-ups, stretching and substitute impact aerobics, like running for swimming, rowing, biking and other non-impact aerobics.
Also keep up with the workouts of your pre-training PT program but decrease the repetitions by 25%-50%. Most of the workouts I create have a testing week where you taper before testing. That is a good model to go by if you wish to follow that, or you can read "Taper Before Testing" found at the Military.com Fitness Center.
Keep the emails coming at Stew@stewsmith.com. I answer all of them though it might take 5-7 days for me to get back to you because of the volume for the week.
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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. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to email@example.com.
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