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5 Fitness Lessons I Learned Being In The Military
Can I share a quick secret with you?
You may not know this, but at the age of 30, I'm a war veteran. That's right, I served, sweated and ran (INCOMING!) when necessary in Iraq serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. During that time, I saw first- hand why America is proud to be the land of the free, home of the brave. If there's one thing I've learned about being in the military, it's that military members, no matter what they're background, all serve to better themselves, their country and to fulfill their sense of duty.
Now, when I first enlisted in the military is wasn't all roses - not by a long shot. The first few years were somewhat difficult for me simply because, well, it took some time getting used to. But over the years (wow, 7 years went by FAST!) I've come to realize there are a lot of lessons I've learned that I can not only apply to everyday life, but to training also. Here are few of those lessons I'd like to share with you:
1. Always focus on the goal
In any military unit you participate in whether you're active duty, guard, or reserve, you will be tasked to complete a mission. No good commander will ever send his people out without making sure they understand how important it is they focus on completing the objective. The same should go with your fitness program. Each time you step in the gym, you should know what you're there for. Everything you do during your workout should be to directly affect that particular goal.
2. Never Give Up
Far too many people give up well before they see any results. United States Marines live by, "SEMPER FI, DO OR DIE! HOOAH!!" (gotta love Marines). Although it's a very gung-ho way of looking at things, you shouldn't give up until you achieve the goal. Giving up before you've realized any progress is a sure-fire way to failure and you certainly shouldn't give up before you've actually seen results.
3. Plan your work, and work your plan.
That's a good ole' sayin' that's been around for quite a while. If you want to see what a truly confused individual looks like, just walk into any gym and ask someone who spends most of their time looking around what their workout plan is like.
As a Las Vegas personal trainer, I'm asked to write programs for people often. Now, don't think that a workout is just a "workout" to give you something to do. No sirree. A designed workout is a specific plan of action to help you achieve a particular goal, whether it's weight loss or weight gain. The best way to succeed with a fitness program? Follow it.
4. Take Time To relax and enjoy yourself
I'll never forget the time I deployed to Iraq. It was stressful, long, tedious, and an emotional roller coaster day-in and out. However, since my superiors realized this, everyone was given time off without being charged leave so they could rest and revitalize themselves. Now if you think about it, most of us need some time to unwind and relax after a hard day's work! Now, if you can imagine what that feels like to push your body hard for weeks and weeks on end without rest.
Eventually, your body would break down and that's not what you want. Your body can only take so much stress for so long so you need to take time off and relax. Usually 4-5 weeks into your program is ideal. Take a week off, relax, enjoy your time and come back the next week ready to go. You'll usually find that you're able to lift more and contract your muscles harder! And you know what that means...more results!
5. Make It A Part of your life
Although many people have a hard time admitting it, the military is a part of their life. It's been a part of mine for the past seven years. It hasn't been 'peaches-and-cream' the entire time, but the biggest lesson I've learned is to adapt the military to my way of life. You've got to do the same with your fitness program. Trying to "fit-in-a-workout-when-you-can" is difficult. However, if you make it a part of your life and you're able to always have time to train without thinking about it, you're on your way.
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