Today I want to offer some food for thought on how you can win your own battle of the bulge. During a recent training session I was asked by a client the following question."Who has the best fitness program going today?"
After taking a moment to think I replied "the military". When the client stopped smiling, I explained to him that all of the elite military forces around the world apply the same methods for nutrition, physical training, and mental conditioning. For more than fifty years these methods have produced a success rate of over 70% on average. If you are looking for the highest success over the longest period of time then professional militaries win the prize.
So what methods do professional militaries apply to achieve such outstanding results in such a short period of time? How do they take an overweight recruit and an underweight recruit, feed them the exact same food, exercise them the exact same way, and turn them both into lean mean fighting machine's in less than two months? Can we apply some of their methods to help us win our own battle of the bulge? Lets start with the first question.
Nutrition - The military approach to nutrition is very basic. Professional militaries follow a strict program of well balanced meals served in moderate portions. Food from all of the major food groups are offered at every meal. All professional militaries rely on natural nutrition, pills and supplements are prohibited during the initial training period. Recruits are given three square meals a day and are fed at the same time and in the exact same portions. Foods would include red meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, and cereals high in fiber. Alchohol and junk food are not allowed during the inital training period usually six to eight weeks.
Physical Training - Professional militaries typically exercise twice daily. The first session is before the first meal of the day, the second session is late afternoon. Again, the exercise is done the same time everyday. During the initial training period, there is no weight training involved. The first session of the day includes 30 to 45 minutes of stretching, followed by push-ups, sit-ups, arm circles, jumping jacks, body and trunk-twist, squat-thrust, leg lifts, windmills, and running in place. The first training session of the day is finished up with running one to two miles and the pace is quickened as the recruits go through the training cycle. The afternoon training session usually involves playing sports such as softball, basketball, flag-football, swimming etc... and the training is almost always done outdoors.
Mental Conditioning - Professional Militaries place a lot of emphasis on the mental aspect of the training, using methods that build discipline and mental toughness. The tecniques applied would be firm corrections both positive and negative, issuing challenges, and rewards when objectives are met. The "buddy system" is a common feature of the military. The "buddy system" places responsibility on each recruit for the success of their assigned buddy. Recruits are not permitted to let their buddy fail. This technique is very powerful and is part of the overall team concept of professional militaries.
So can we learn and apply some of the methods that have been used by militaries so successfully for so long to help us achieve our fitness goals? You bet we can! Here are some ideas for you to consider.
1) Do your level best to get your body on a timeclock. Eat, exercise and sleep at the same time everyday. This keeps your metabolic rate at even keel so that the food and exercise you do will give you maximum benefit.
2) Eat three balanced square meals a day and go natural. Avoid diet pills and supplements other than a multiple vitamin. If your eating from the right food groups you should be getting the nutrition you need and the energy you need to power your body. Avoid alcohol, but if you must then do so in moderation.
3) Dont waste your money on every new exercise machine or contraption that comes along. You can get fit without using machines. If you can afford a health club membership or personal trainer then do that, however do not allow this to be an excuse for you not to exercise if you dont belong to a gym. I suggest you listen to some of your favorite music (something up-tempo with a good beat) and dance. Dont worry if your not a good dancer, just jump up and down, flail your arms, play some air guitar, do something to move your body. The military doesn't use weight machines and they produce great results in less than two months.
4) Avoid any program that promises you that you will get in shape by taking a pill and doing nothing. there is no substitute for exercise.
5) Find a buddy who shares a commom fitness goal. Do Not let your buddy fail and ask them to do the same for you. Keep each other motivated.
6) Get control of your mind. Counter all negative thoughts with positive affirmations. if you dont feel motivated then say to yourself out loud and with conviction "I feel great" or "I feel fantastic" repeat these types of phrases 20 to 30 times or until you arrive in the desired state. Remember, thoughts are things. Long held thoughts become beliefs and your beliefs are who you become.
Well, hopefully these ideas will help you win your battle of the bulge. If you are a bodybuilder or someone who is really serious about getting fit using natural foods or if you have problems with motivating yourself then you may want to check out the guy who is Tony Robbin's fitness motivator.