How to Prepare for Your Military Physical Fitness Test and Meet Weight Standards

It is time to prepare for your physical fitness test and make weight again. If you make simple lifestyle changes and practice them daily, you can achieve your weight goal and maintain optimal wellness over a lifetime.

The wrong way

Rapid weight loss and extremely low calorie diets are not recommended, unless under the care of a physician. However, extreme dieting is not recommended or safe for everyone. If this extreme style of dieting is repeated time after time, it can compromise your health and your metabolism. When weight is lost quickly, the body conserves energy so fewer calories are burned. The decrease in weight is not always from losing fat but rather from loss in water and muscle mass. Loss of muscle means you will burn fewer calories and may find it harder to workout. Although losing weight rapidly may be a temporary fix, it will not translate into a permanent lifestyle change. By practicing good eating and exercise habits, your chances for keeping the weight off will improve.

The right way

A weight loss of one to two pounds per week is safe and realistic for most. To lose one pound a week you need to cut 500 calories a day from your diet and/or through exercise. You can eliminate 500 calories a day through two methods: portion size control and increased physical activity. For example, eliminating one less pat of butter here and a smaller portion of pasta there, you could trim 200 or more calories. By walking a mile at brisk pace, you can burn 100 calories. Check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your nutrition or exercise habits.

Tips for losing weight and keeping fit for life

The following tips can help you losing weight.

  • Establish a vision of what you want to be and strive for it daily. Commit to doing some sort of physical activity daily. Start out with something you enjoy and incorporate a few minutes daily of whatever is recommended for physical fitness test, whether it is running, biking, push-ups, etc. Increase the time/intensity/distance each time until you meet your goal. Try to set both short- and long-term goals for yourself.
  • Eat right. Keep your body fueled with whole grains, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, lean dairy and protein, and drink plenty of water. Avoid processed foods high in fat and sugar. Cook with healthy fats like olive oil or canola oil. Limit eating at fast food or other restaurants and pack lunches daily. Plan/shop for nutritious meals ahead of time. Also, limit high-calorie beverages like soda, fruit juice and alcohol.
  • Eat breakfast. Eating a wholesome breakfast (like fruit, yogurt and oatmeal) has been associated with healthy weight maintenance.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Try to sleep at least seven to eight hours daily. Studies show that lack of sleep contributes to weight gain.
  • Keep track of your weight. Weigh yourself at least once weekly at the same time of day. This will help keep you in control and not let weight gain creep up on you unexpectedly.

Military OneSource health and wellness coaches

Military OneSource health and wellness coaches partner with service members to promote healthy lifestyle changes. This coaching is a forward-looking process where the service member establishes a vision, clear goals and action steps driven by the member and supported by the coach. The coach does not tell the service member what to do or how to do it; the coach helps service members to identify their strengths and use them to create their own solutions.

Health and wellness coaching focus areas include weight management, fitness and nutrition, health condition management, stress management, and life transitions (adapting to lifestyle changes such as deployment, moving, becoming a new parent, or retirement). Coaching is not counseling, therapy or a medical advice hotline.

How to schedule a health and wellness coaching session

Service members can participate in health and wellness coaching sessions by phone or online, whichever they prefer. To sign up for a health and wellness coach, service members can call 800-342-9647 and a Military OneSource consultant will register them and schedule their first session. Alternatively, our online consultation allows the consultant and participant to communicate online in real time. Through any of the three Health and Wellness Coaching Program options - on the phone, online or self-directed - Military OneSource can assist service members in reaching their health and wellness goals. In addition to Military OneSource, the Human Performance Resource Center offers valuable information on nutrition and physical activity.


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