These past few weeks, I've received emails and a blog comment asking about what is my work out routine and how do I accomplish scoring high on the APFT. Thanks to C Riggs (shout out, girl!), I wanted to dedicate an entire post to this topic.
I hear it all the time that guys complain that the female standards on the APFT are too weak. I kind of want to call BS. The female body is made completely different! I have an extra layer of fat, breasts, and hips (well, I wish I had hips) so I can do what no man ever can, push a baby the size of a watermelon out of me. APFT standards are too weak? Buddy, I think not.
This being said though, there's no reason I shouldn't score well. Lady curves aren't holding me back from being fit and toned. It's up to me to be self-motivated enough to stay in optimal physical shape so that I can exceed the standard the Army puts before me.
How do I do it? I work out. (cue LMFAO song)
I run 5-6 days a week. I run because it relieves all the stress from the day. I run because I can push myself. I run because I love the feeling of exhaustion when I finish. It's addicting. Right now, I average 6-7 miles a day with a long distance run on the weekend. I had to work up to this point though. Crawl-walk-run, as the Army saying goes. I also sign myself up for races. And my husband, then tell him after the fact (sorry, Mark!). Sign yourself up for a 5K then go from there. I'm running a half marathon this weekend in Dallas, and I am so excited! This kind of motivation to achieve a goal keeps me fit. Plus, running works your entire body! My legs are leaner, my stomach is flatter, my back is stronger. I also reward myself too. I download new podcasts to listen to during my run (current favorites are architecture lectures from iTunes U or episodes from This American Life on NPR). When I finish, I drink a strawberry protein shake that is crazy good (thanks, Brother, for the tip on the orange juice instead of water). It also helps to have a reward system to speak to what you love. For example, I enjoy shoes. My latest reward for running 40 miles in one week was a brand new pair of running shoes. New shoes, new need to run more.
Running does a number on my poor, permanently injured right hip (thank you, Army) and my knees so I try to balance it out. I am a member of my local YMCA where I take yoga classes for flexibility and relaxation. Because I think I was a fish in a previous life, I swim laps at the YMCA pool. Swimming is perfect for the days when my knees are too sore to take another pounding on the pavement. It works your entire body the same way running does without the damage of running on concrete.
I rarely do push ups to be honest. I built that muscle up during basic training and it's never really gone away; however, swimming and the occasional Pilates class keeps my strength up. I never had arm strength before joining the Army so when I saw muscles while combing my hair a few weeks in, I was so amazed and so proud of myself! By the end of basic training I was maxing out my push ups so it can be done.
That's about it. I don't to the 30 day Shred of whatever it's called. I don't do P90X or Insanity. I found that running works for me and I went from there. I think that's the key, find what works and motivates you to excel and then push yourself. It's also important to note that I don't put junk food into my body. Ever. No caffeine. No fast food. No processed food. Very minimal dairy (Greek yogurt). High on protein. Low on carbs and sugars. Good fats (think avocados). Tons of veggies because I can pig out on them without guilt. No smoking. Daily multivitamin. Water and more water. And because I'm a rather tightly wound individual, I've started listening to meditation exercises at night to calm me down and help me sleep (it works!).
I hope this helps give you an idea of my work out routine. Scoring well on the APFT is easy if you work hard for it.
To quote one of my favorite movies, "No excuses, play like a champion."