Dear Coach: Need Help Preparing for Military
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I was hoping you can give me some advice on weight management/control. I am 22 years old and 5'4". Right now I'm between a weight range of 149-154lbs. I believe I have a relatively healthy diet (lean proteins and not much grains) and I exercise on a daily basis. My workout usually consists of 20-30 minutes on both a treadmill, elliptical machine, and stationary bike with some mild strength exercises at least 2-3 times a week.
I'm on a volunteer fire department so lifting heavy objects comes with the territory and being the only woman on the department, I gotta be able to carry my own weight around. At the moment I'm preparing to enlist in the military and the max weight for my age and height is 156.
Do you have any healthy suggestions on how I can maintain my tone and lose the excess body fat/weight I have in order to meet my requirements?
Preparing to Enlist
Dear Preparing to Enlist,
It sounds like you’re already fit and eating a sensible diet. That makes your future efforts a bit easier as compared to someone needing to get in shape and lose a lot of fat-weight.
Here are my suggestions to help you maintain (or improve) your muscle tone and body weight:
Cut that cardio in half, and use those 30 minutes to do serious strength training two to three days per week. I know your job involves carrying/lifting objects, but that does not count. Performing a structured in-the-gym strength program will do three things:
- Improve your muscle definition
- Help in fat loss (muscle burns more calories)
- Make you stronger as a firefighter (a noble profession, by the way)
As I mentioned, your diet seems in order. Just be sure to eat four to six times a day and attempt to have good carbs (your vegetables and fruit) and a protein source at each feeding. This will keep your blood sugar in a reasonable zone and facilitate burning fat as energy.
At your age, height and weight, you need anywhere from 2,000 to 2,600 calories per day, depending on your activity level. On days you are active at work and working out hard in the gym, more calories are required to fuel your efforts and repair depleted and damaged tissues. Naturally, on days that are less active, lower the over-all calorie total.
All other factors being equal, these recommendations should keep your body weight in the desired range. You will lose some fat and build/strengthen muscle - the ideal goal.
All the best to you in your training pursuits and attempt to join the armed services!
Coach Tom Kelso