With freezing February well into its second week and those fanciful New Year fitness resolutions well and truly fallen by the wayside, it might be time to introduce a more disciplined, military fitness approach to your weekly routine. This is often the month when many of us abandon exercise and swap early morning runs for late nights in the warmth watching the latest Scandi noir while chowing down on some comforting grub.
Well fear not, we’ve got a little inspiration for you from a man who knows a thing or two about achieving your goals and reaching your fitness potential. Personal trainer and former British wrestling champion Keith McNiven is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to improve his clients endurance and keep them motivated all year round. Here he offers his top five military fitness tips that US soldiers incorporate to keep them in peak performance territory. Take it away Keith…
“Fitness fanatics are always looking for ways to push themselves
during a workout. With the introduction of a new fitness test, soldiers are finding
ways of improving their performance and setting challenging goals for
themselves. In terms of motivation and strength, soldiers are a great role model
for anyone trying to improve their look and ability in the gym.”
1. ASSESS YOUR DIET
One of the most common things soldiers want to know is how they can lose excess fat – allowing them to run faster and train harder. Before you even change your training schedule, take a look at your diet. Cut out common culprits such as fizzy drinks, processed carbs and fried foods. Make it easy on yourself and cut out one thing at a time, whilst continuing to train at your usual frequency. Once you’ve reduced excess sugar in your diet, fat build up will be less and you’ll feel changes in your body – inside and out.
2. MIX IT UP
In the army, soldiers don’t spend every day or every week doing the same-old set of exercises. Having variety in your workouts means you won’t get bored and there’s always something new to try. Cardio is an important part of fitness but shouldn’t be the only form of exercise. Incorporate it up to 3 times a week if you can, rotating between running, sprinting drills and an obstacle course. For strength training, give squats, overhead lifts and body weight lunges a go – 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off for 4 rounds.
3. PREVENT INJURIES
As much as pushing yourself and striving for results is a good thing, it’s never a good idea to go so hard that you end up getting injured. Injuries will just hinder your progress and even cause lasting damage if you work through them without resting properly. Minor ones can be treated with painkillers and strapping them up during exercise, but knowing your limits will avoid you needing to take time out.
4. HIIT EXERCISES
High intensity exercises in short, sharp bursts are a great way to improve your stamina and overall fitness. They are really tough when you first get started, but eventually you’ll be moving through them without a problem. When an exercise or set of exercises feels easy, that’s when you need to move on to something more challenging!
HOW TO DO IT: when you’re running on the treadmill, up the ante by sprinting for 30 seconds at full capacity, followed by 30 seconds walking or at standstill. Make sure to steady yourself with the treadmill bars if you are stopping completely. Do this for 15-20 minutes, or for longer if you can.
5. STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE
Your core muscles are the key to a strong and productive workout. Keeping them engaged and working on your abs is something the Army would certainly recommend. A ball push-away is a strong variation on a plank – all you’ll need is an exercise ball. Feel the burn!
HOW TO DO IT: Get into a plank position, resting your arms on an exercise ball. As you hold the position, push the ball away with your forearms, then pull it towards you, maintaining your form throughout.
Keith McNiven is owner of Right Path Fitness, for more information or to book yourself in for a spot of personal training from the highly qualified team head HERE