Today I have something different to my usual interesting information surrounding fitness topics!
I am fortunate enough to have insights today from Robbie Cryer, an officer of the British army who has much experience in how to keep very high levels of fitness.
I hope this to be the first of several guest posts from Robbie who I have learnt a great deal from about fitness and in particular the psychological aspect that so many of us ignore. And of course, if you are at all interested in joining the army this is a must read as you will be gaining first hand insights from a current serving officer.
My experiences of military fitness
We’ve all seen films with horrific montages of military basic training with recruits being shouted at by angry Sergeant Majors as they struggle over the assault course, but the realities of military training are somewhat different. In a profession where your very survival can hinge on your level of fitness, it should come as no surprise that the military is somewhat of an expert when it comes to getting people fit.
Contrary to what films might have you believe, military training is more than just running around in boots with green uniform on! Crossfit, HIIT and steady state runs all form integral parts of military training. In fact, the most basic British military fitness test is as follows below:
2 minutes: push ups (maximum);
2 minutes: sit ups (maximum);
1.5 mile run (best effort)
From my point of view, the key aspect of military fitness is in the mentality and the development of the appropriate state of mind to achieve more than you thought possible. This is often achieved through a healthy competitive spirit and by using aggression to generate power, speed and energy during physical activity.
The fitness test mentioned above is an excellent example of this. The two minutes of push ups are completed together as a group and individuals aim to earn the maximum possible score (rather than stopping when the minimum is achieved), likewise the sit ups.
The mile and a half run is generally run outdoors on a designated course. While it is not technically a race, the ability to compete against other runners is often quoted by people who score a low time as a key technique in maximising score, the mentality where you look at the person stood to the left and right of you and aim (in a healthy, friendly, competitive way to better their score – remember, most military operations involve a high degree of team work).
Military fitness has taught me the true meaning of best effort. While training your body, aim to train your mind to be more robust, more aggressive and more competitive. Meditational techniques, kung fu and yoga can all play a part in achieving this, but essentially visualising success and shrugging off the discomfort of giving 100% is the aim. The pride which will come from giving your all is something which can further drive you on towards an even firmer, tougher mindset, which will go a long way to helping you achieve your fitness goals.