Military Fitness Evaluations

And on this Veteran’s Day, let’s talk about fitness and the military!

Not to be confused with a FITREP, otherwise known as a performance evaluation of the officer variety. If you care to know. Please note I had to do quite a bit of research for this post due to the fact I have only limited knowledge of fitness evaluations in each branch of the military besides the US Navy.

Oh the days of old

It’s interesting and long overdue in my opinion the military is finally updating their standards of fitness. From sit ups (harmful and ill-advised) to treadmill running (not ideal, but sometimes necessary), there has been a shift in standard (read: old school) training to functional fitness.

NOFFS: Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System. I was offered extensive training and for the better part of 2 years trained other Sailors using this curriculum. The levels and stages of NOFFS prepare Sailors for functional and operational fitness whether on surface ships or submarines.

Changes are being realized within the Navy’s Physical Readiness Test (PRT), i.e. perhaps planks are a more accurate representation of core strength and rowing is a great alternative to cardio conditioning. Testing is ongoing regarding the feasibility, due to limited space most often, of changes to the (PRT). I eagerly await the final outcome of these measures.

The US Army is also on board with updates to their physical requirements. The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) requires soldiers to complete a 2 mile run, 2 minutes of push-ups, and 2 minutes of sit-ups. In October 2020, however, soldiers will be required to complete a six event series titled the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). Parts of this new curriculum will include the Leg Tuck, a Standing Power Throw, and a 3 Rep Max Deadlift, among other exercises. The physical toll of moving gear and their own person across vast lengths is now emphasized and soldiers are being trained to protect, and strengthen, their bodies overall.

Gives new meaning to parasailing

The US Marine Corps is hanging on to their Physical Fitness Test (PFT) which includes pull-ups/push-ups, sit-ups, and a 3 mile run. (Push-ups can be completed as an alternate to dead hang pull-ups.) 2020 is an important year, though, because in January, Marines can replace the sit-ups with planks, previously discussed as a much more effective and safe option. Interestingly, Marines also have a Combat Fitness Test (CFT): 3 exercises of varying difficulty that test an individual’s functional fitness.

Lastly, let’s look at the US Coast Guard. For the Physical Fitness Test (PFT), it includes 60 seconds of push-ups, 60 seconds of sit-ups, 1.5 mile run, the Sit and Reach, and a Swim qualification event. I’ve not seen any updates to the USCG’s PFT, but have no doubt they will eventually begin to modify their requirements.

Under da sea

It is understandable there may be very little interest in what our military branches are doing for fitness. The real importance can be found in what civilians are able to do to train like the military. Functional fitness is well-rounded and encompasses all levels of fitness. This is what we embody at Anytime Fitness: functional fitness. We want you to do your daily tasks with ease whether it be climbing endless ladder wells to reach the top deck of a destroyer or swimming in the open ocean while practicing rescue operations. You may never do any of these things, but you can train for them regardless. Why? Because you climb stairs to get to your desk and many of the same movements you use while swimming translate to reaching above your head to get to the canned vegetables in your pantry.

Need I say more?

_______________________

I ask you –

What does functional fitness look like to you?

Who is the strongest of the military branches?

If you didn’t answer Navy to the question above, we can’t be friends anymore. šŸ™‚

What’s New?

Much like spring cleaning, join me on this exploration of old and new stuff I’ve located in my house (aka mind and body) in no particular order

Pixel-y and beautiful

Book writing: let’s add some more stuff to my fully-loaded proverbial plate and take on the project-in-progress of many years. I began writing a book the year between my undergrad and grad school. As life got more hectic, I put it away and haven’t revisited it since. No better time than the present! In developing myself as a person, a woman, a mom, I decided to begin writing again. There’s no EDC (estimated date of completion), but I plan to maximize effort after December’s training cycle comes to a close. Which brings me to another topic…

Training: is going well! Committing to a plan to run 4 days per week is definitely less stressful than the previous 5-6 days a week. Even knowing I have to run both days of a weekend is somehow easier to accept than I originally thought possible. On other plans, I would dread the weekends. I was a super b-word until I got my one long run in and I would feel like a complete failure if Monday came and it hadn’t been done. Now? I run Saturday and Sunday. It’s a normal part of conversation. The schedule pretty much runs itself (puns for life). I aim for outdoor running – occasionally I can’t make it happen, but usually I’m successful. The only pitfall was the length of the runs. With some slight adjustments, I’m back on the track to success.

First double digit run went smoothly!

Motherhood: Some days I amaze myself at what I’m able to show her – my patience knows no bounds. Other days we each need a time out and I consider adding wine to my coffee cup. Your shaming has no place here. As a smaller version of myself, mini-me can push every button I have and create ones I didn’t even know were there. And then she smiles. If she wasn’t so cute… Being her mom is the greatest blessing of my life. Nothing compares. At times I don’t know who I was before her, then I feel a tingle in my heart and I know she and I were created to meet.

We drink coffee together. It’s half caff. Shut it.

Lastly, work: busy is an understatement. Building a brand, a vision, and melding the minds of multiple people is a job not for the faint of heart. It’s time consuming. But creating connections between people with the same goals is awe-inspiring. Daily (seriously, not a day goes by) I encounter people who share their stories with me, a stranger. Some are wilder than others; many settle heavily in my soul. It could be a story of perseverance or a synopsis of loss – collectively, it makes an impact. My goal is to bring out the best in these warriors who have come to me looking for someone to help make a difference in themselves. Every task brings us closer. Anytime Fitness fulfilled a passion within me; I can’t imagine not being the face of another’s desire to do so. Also, I got a green light to begin training. Training others, specifically. It’s a natural progression in my line of work while also adding a few tons to my already heavy plate. However, I’m stoked to begin this path again.

Stay tuned for another episode of Kel’s Crazy Life. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Always,

Kel

Seen it on the ‘gram’ + Are we missing the mark?

“Those damn millennials – all they know is Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat!”

I’m all about perspective

Social media (SM) maybe isn’t the bad guy we make it out to be. SM is a tool to share our successes. We post about our passions. We share the things we love to post. If ‘celebrate your success’ is a phrase literally celebrated, then why is it so wrong to do so? Personally, I enjoy taking a sideline view of another’s dreams. Not for judgment or criticism, but to watch them grow as humans. I follow many people on social media. Newsflash > if I don’t like what they’re about or what they post, guess what I do? I tap the small box that says ‘unfollow’. You won’t find me being a rude, hateful, opinionated asshat on their posts. It’s not worth that much time.

Disclaimer: Many aspects of our lives should not be shared. Situations are private and details are not necessary. Validating our beliefs and choices via SM indicates a lack of decision making and autonomy. SM is absolutely not the place to air your dirty laundry…and trust me, we all have some. End rant.

Have you looked back at your previous posts from years prior and wondered what in the world was I thinking then? Ugh. Cringe. The things I thought were cute or kitsche or would somehow help me blend in with whatever crowd I was trying to be in…who was I? Huge possibility the same thing will happen to me in 10 years. However, I hope I remember what it FELT like to write, post, blog, talk about were things my passionate inner self loved. Running, baking, reading, learning something new, exploring! Legacies are built on the stones of passion.

Social media is this crazy outlet in our world today. If you didn’t write a lengthy post about overcoming adversity or about how much you think you know on a subject – did it even happen? Perhaps some understanding, or even forgiveness, sheds light onto what we see on our feeds. People are being conversational; they’re sharing what’s important to them. Applying fundamental understanding would do a body good. Again, I shall reiterate, if you don’t like it, then don’t follow them. Writing angry remarks is uncalled for and can also lead you down a dangerous legal path if deemed racist, homophobic, etc. Be nice, people!

To show my age: I joined Facebook when it was exclusively available for college students. Seriously. That’s how it started. The registration requirement was a valid college email address. I still remember mine. kelly.atwell.0313@mwsu.edu. Don’t ask how I remember the stupidest stuff, but can’t tell you if I applied deodorant this morning. Somewhere during college, Facebook blew up and now it’s an insult if you don’t provide every living, breathing person you know with a friend request within 3.9 seconds of meeting them. Oh, I did apply deodorant because I have the stain on my black shirt. In case you were wondering. Big shocker here – please make sure you’re sitting. I don’t have a Facebook account. Wait a minute, Kel. You just said you did. Not anymore. Before munchkin was born, I deleted my account because my privacy was invaded by an angry person hellbent on “making right the wrongs others had committed” or some paraphrased version of such. It’s not a pretty story. I was always careful about not sharing too much on SM. I followed all the rules of being a military member who had SM accounts. Unfortunately, family and friends had public accounts and shared every part of their daily lives so it was only a matter of time before I was connected to them. I had it coming. So in order to keep my life and the life of my munchkin private, I hit delete and haven’t looked back.

These days I’m expected to maintain an active SM presence within the Anytime Fitness community. This has come at a bit of a cost. Namely, my comfort levels at what I can access. There’s been a few occasions of searching for people and getting more than I bargained for. This reinforced the belief I am absolutely not ready to have my own account again because if I didn’t have a career I adore, I might have said not nice things and caused the walls to come crashing down. Human, here.

So is SM good or bad? I don’t know. It is probably not as bad as its reputation provided it’s used correctly and not as a platform for hatred or blasphemy. Teenagers and young people should still be monitored, in my opinion. Even some adults should be monitored! But if you’re using it as a gateway to share what you love to do, then you’re not hurting anyone. Be safe, be smart, and be kind.

so many options

Shameless tag:

Find us here:

Facebook: @anytimefitnessroanoketx and @anytimelascolinas

Instagram: @roanoke_anytimefitness and @anytimefitnesslascolinas

Twitter: @TxAnytime

_______________________

I ask you –

How many SM accounts or platforms do you actively participate in?

Are you one of our followers?

Advice on staying out of trouble on SM?

Magical Motivation

What if I told you there was a magic weight loss pill? Lies. All lies. Imagine if I told you that magic pill lives inside you. Truth be told…

Living for today

The philosopher in me likes to quote Sir Webster – Motivation is defined as “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.” Unfortunately for us all, motivation is an abstract concept, not a pill or drug to be ingested. Not even an idea to learn and accept. Damn the luck. Life without motivation is a proverbial half squat. You’re literally half-assing your life. Squats, even half, have a place (in life), but you’re not giving it even a good ol’ college try without motivation to complete the full squat. Maybe you have an injury and that’s your reason for being unable to do the full squat. I get it! But does it bode well for you if you’re fully recovered from said hypothetical injury and still only doing half squats? Herein lies the problem.

What does it take to motivate you to begin working on your self? Bribery? Gifts? A new wardrobe? Only you have the answer. I spend the majority of my day eliciting reasons for motivation from members and non-members. Why now? What has changed in your life to bring you here today? Do you have a support system? What results are you looking to obtain? (all actual questions I ask on repeat)

I can tell you I’ve heard it all. From “my wedding is in 3 months” to “my kids are unable to sit on my lap” to “I was recently diagnosed with (insert health condition)”. I share in every reason, every excuse and counter it with the motivational phrase that fits whatever particular puzzle each person is working through. It’s exhausting, let me tell you. But no matter what I say or do, I can only change so much. I can give you the key, the instructions, the time, and the space, but I can’t, as much as it pains me to say, actually MOTIVATE you. I failed the course on miracle-making.

The experts tout a few simple ways to be motivated:

Set a goal.

Get excited!

Commit publicly.

Think about it daily.

Find your WHY!

3 out of 4 isn’t bad! Here’s my advice: find something you love and do it! Think about how whatever it is makes you feel and dive in! It’s perfectly healthy to doubt your ability to complete something; however, don’t let that prevent you from trying. Ask why not instead of telling yourself I can’t. Whether it’s Free By Fifty or going to bed 1 hour earlier than usual, commit with your whole heart!

______________

I ask you –

What goals have you set for yourself?

Did you share those with anyone or keep them to yourself?

How do you self-motivate?

Injury Prevention (not always possible) – Anticipating a Derailment

You can’t expect not to have an injury, illness, or life event during an 18 week training program. Well, you can…but prepare to be fooled. So at week 6, I got a little ahead of myself and prematurely began patting myself on the back for a job well done. Then it happened. Karma. She’s so sweet.

Cracker Stash

After a night of illness that carried over into the following 2 days, I was forced to re-evaluate what training and nutrition looked like. A diet of crackers and 7-Up isn’t enough for any kind of strenuous exercise. Though it may not sound like a big deal, training is very strategic and we don’t want to miss much because this is how we help our body adapt to the weight we’re placing on it. It’s like a second job! A second job that eats away at our time and forces us to pay for it. But, look, a banana and a medal! Score!

Too familiar with First Aid

Nevertheless, the show must go on. More importantly than keeping to a schedule is the ability to let go of the schedule for a short amount of time to focus on recovery. Rest is best! If this is where you say “but rest doesn’t cross the finish line” – I happily disagree. Rest is a rather large building block of performance. Without it, you got nothin’, friend.

Rest is almost considered indulgent nowadays. Who has time for rest? Today, we go, go, go without a second thought to what rest looks and feels like. The guilt of allowing ourselves the luxury to rest is real. How dare we take care of ourselves as if someone else will do it for us? Pshhh. You said it, Kel. No one else will. And when you don’t, many times, it ends in injury to mind or body. Unfortunately there will be times preventing an injury is out of your control. You could have the best plans and have your nutrition completely on par, but still suffer from illness. The body can’t fight everything all the time. So what do you do then?

Rest. Be gentle on yourself. Say it louder, Kel; the ones who just closed their browser at this ridiculous advice didn’t hear you. Be kind to yourself. Let a few sessions go. Eat crackers. Hold out for the day when you’ll feel better and ready to return. Granted, this isn’t permission to say screw the plan and go rogue. Ummmm no. In focusing more on living for today (post forthcoming), I’m not losing sight of my goals and dreams. I’m just re-adjusting to a temporary norm. Very temporary.

But don’t be mistaken. That 12 miler is still calling my name.

_________________

I ask you –

What was the last injury you experienced?

Is rest really best or do you have some other great advice?

How many crackers can you eat without going completely insane? (package 3 and counting)

Family of Outdoorsmen / Saturday in Photos

“Working”

Recently we held an event at the local Farmer’s Market in Roanoke. It was a hot morning! Above: doing what I do best. Supervising.

Mommy’s helper

Munchkin had been so excited for this day because she wanted to learn how to do “jump jacks”. Repeatedly I had explained Coach Ivan would be there to ensure she learned how to do them. She was not disappointed. Above: learning how to lift with her legs, not her back. Goals.

Munchkin + Coach Ivan

Mini-me insisted on helping with every part of setup. And when she bored of helping, she ran around endlessly. To be young again.

10 lb medicine ball

Fun was definitely had by all. Except me. I wasn’t prepared to do this extensive workout before a long run. What was I thinking? Above: that medicine ball is approximately 1/4 of her weight hence the pride in lifting it.

_____________________

I ask you –

Are you an outdoor activity type?

Summer or winter?

Tell me a time your child(ren) were so excited to do something with you!

3 Short Stories

If you know anything about me to this point, you realize my ability to tell a truly short story is impossible. My insincerest apologies. You literally signed up for this. Sorry ’bout your bad luck.

First, the story of the 2 young Sailors I met. In Las Colinas, it’s been rare I meet other Naval personnel. Usually I encounter Army and Air Force. We’re all brothers and sisters in one way or another, but meeting fellow Sailors is a good kind of special feeling. In moving to the area, this couple blossomed under my questioning. Not the intrusive questioning. I’m not a monster. Once I shared I, too, am prior military, they became so animated…sharing how it’s been tough to find a small, quiet gym that feels like home. I knew these people were my calling. They needed to hear what makes Anytime Fitness different. By the end of the night, the handshake lingered and the seemingly uncertain couple I had first encountered at the door were all smiles.

Sailor traversing a flight deck

Next, a story of heartache. In the same day as the above, a wonderful woman approached me in the gym. She inquired about personal training, then relayed to me the story of a past incident with a trainer. She quietly shared her utter disappointment and palpable pain from what she’d been told: her working out 3x a week would never be enough to see the results she wanted and to follow this pamphlet of food guidelines though “no one ever does it”. My heart broke. I felt tears welling up. She looked defeated. Apologies flowed from my own lips. I asked would she ever be willing to try again with someone new, someone who would encourage her, make her a priority, share in her triumphs? She didn’t hesitate when she answered yes. You can’t knock down hope and faith. I offered her a few options and made plans to follow up. She left my office with a smile; I could tell a weight had been lifted.

Finally, a brief introduction to Apolo, head coach at Anytime Fitness Las Colinas. I believe his passion is some of the most incredible I will ever witness.

Coach Apolo

Apolo is a Marine Combat veteran which he rarely shares unless a special occasion arises. He holds an Associateā€™s Degree in Advanced Personal Training from Bryan University. Apolo is CPR certiļ¬ed and is an AF Functional Training Group Coach. But you know what he truly excels at doing? Forming relationships. He is a builder of things personal and tying it into what makes people tick. His clients share their stories of what he’s done for them, but his humbleness prevents me from being anything other than one-sided. He’ll tell you they did all the work; he simply encouraged them and provided the right tools. But really that’s a lot! Not to take away from their progress, but to be fair, Apolo has gone above and beyond in knowing what they need, how to push them, and to do this over and over again. Somehow he finds time to embark on his own fitness journey! Let it be a reminder: he did verbally commit to running the Marine Corps Marathon with me next year.

These connections are what we’re about. Restoring humanity one workout at a time, one conversation a day.

___________________________

I ask you –

Are your stories endless or do they glide to a stop?

Tell me a time you encountered someone who’d had a bad experience and how you tried to turn it around for them.

Will you commit to a marathon with me next year?