Rucking update 8/23/11

8/23/11

Rucking update: 6 miles total, 5 lbs, not timed.

8/31/11

Rucking update: 5 miles total, 5 lbs, not timed.

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Regulating Sleep and Nutrition

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not advocate for working out on an empty stomach. If you do not have glucose in your bloodstream you will not have energy and you’ll end up burning muscle instead of fat. The Army doesn’t see it this way. However, I’ve decided if I’m going to make the most of my civilian time before going into the Army then I’m going to eat before I workout. When I’m at basic training and OCS I’ll do it their way. After the training period is over I will again be free to eat before working out.

I wanted to share my meal plan and some lifestyle changes for getting in shape for basic and OCS. I am a perpetual list-maker and I love writing to sort things out. Therefore, it came simply to me how to figure out my nutritional routine: I wrote it out until I got it right. That being said, there is still trial and error that must occur to work out the problems, but overall I think I’ve planned some wise nutritional changes that work for my schedule and my body. Basically, if I don’t switch things up often I will get bored. So, I’ve created 4 weekly menus of all of my favorite and nutritious foods.

Week A (if I number them I feel like I’m keeping track of the weeks, so I lettered them. I know, weird quirk.): Breakfast: Oatmeal with frozen blueberries and a hardboiled egg. Snack/pre-workout: carrot sticks and hummus. Post workout: 1/2 Clif Bar (NO chocolate varieties; this will set off a sweet tooth that can’t be stopped!), and 1 banana. Dinner: Boiled chicken and stir-fry.

Week B: Breakfast: 2 egg omelette with mushrooms and low-fat turkey bacon. Snack/pre-workout: 1/2 Clif Bar and banana slices. Post workout: other 1/2 of Clif Bar and apple slices. Dinner: Chicken and veggie (bell pepper and spinach) hummus wraps (basically just stuffing a whole wheat pita with chicken, veggies and hummus).

Week C: Breakfast: non-fat greek yogurt with 1/2 whole wheat bagel and three apple slices (1/2 an apple). Snack/pre-workout: 1/2 chicken sandwich (whole wheat bread, cucumber slices, tomato slices, lettuce, boiled and shredded chicken). Post workout: Trail mix and orange slices. Dinner: Turkey patties (super-lean ground turkey) with side veggie.

Week D: Breakfast: Cereal (usually Kashi or some granola), 1/2 whole wheat bagel. Snack/pre-workout: hard-boiled egg and apple slices. Post workout: Clif Bar. Dinner: Boiled chicken with whole wheat pasta and side veggie.

Some regular items on my menu are whole wheat bread and pasta, eggs, vegetables, Clif Bars, and chicken. These are things I normally eat and I wanted to incorporate them into my plan. This menu may seem rather mundane, but the goals of this were to be 1) easy! I’m not a cook and I don’t have time to cook, 2) majority can be prepared in advance, 3) able to support “on-the-go” schedule (portable and okay out of the refrigerator for six hours or so). Above all this nutritional plan needed to support my fitness goals and I hope it is doing just that. I will post updates to follow up on how this turns out. (Also, I’m a student so this has to be affordable. After number-crunching the 4 week plan comes out to $30.50 per week).

The lifestyle goal I commented on earlier is sleep. I have posted before about my erratic sleep schedule and I’m sick of it. I need more consistency in my sleep to help my body fall into a healthy rhythm. Therefore, I am committing myself to waking up at 6am on Mondays and Wednesdays (early class) and 7 am on all other days. I may allow myself to sleep until 8am on Sundays, but I don’t want to throw my body off schedule by sleeping in by more than 2 hours. This goal won’t be difficult when I start up with school again. My school schedule motivates me to get up. However, for the last two weeks of summer break, I’m having trouble finding the motivation to wake up so early for no reason. If there is one motivating factor it is working out in the morning before the heat of the day hits. Then, it gets hot outside and hot inside and I don’t want to move a muscle!

Rucking update

8/16/11: 3.2 out/3.2 back, 5 lbs, not timed. (All of these are hikes, really. I live in a mountainous area with very scenic hiking, therefore, it’s simple to find all types of hikes close to home. However, rucking is also called “road marching” so I’m thinking of transitioning into longer distances on pavement, more weight, and timing my rucks. That way, it would be closer to the “real thing” and I wouldn’t tire so quickly from durastic increases and decreases in elevation and uneven, rocky ground that comes with traditional hiking. I’ll probably keep up my once a week hikes, but use them more for foot and body conditioning and add another one or two days of actual timed road marching.)

Rucking update

8/8/11: 4 miles out/4 miles back, no weight, not timed. Another week and I’ll start adding weight!

Why Do I Torture Myself?

Really. Why do I torture myself? I keep reading only bad news about my future in the military. Troop withdraws in the Middle East means less need to commission 2nd LTs. Cuts in defense spending due to the debt ceiling means less money to train and accept officer candidates. Competition is getting stiff. One writer on the Armyocs forum suggested that commissioning is going to be more competitive than it has been in 10 years! What?! I’m not a superstar. I know I’m just average (no sad puppy dog face, I’m just being real). Continually there is a higher and higher PT score one must aim for, a higher and higher standard for who can and who can’t write letters of recommendation, and a higher and higher emphasis on previous leadership and job specific experience. The bar for being branched Military Intelligence has been raised so high, I doubt I’ll be able to reach it.  The Army is no longer “an employer of last resort” as was once lectured to me by a sociology professor. An average person has a breaking point.

So, what can I do? I want these features to inspire a facilitative anxiety, not a debilitative one. I must improve myself to make my goals a reality. But that means stepping up my training and studying. It might be full throttle for the next 6 months to a year. Can I do that? Do I want to do that? What if I get a 4.0 gpa, reach a 300 on my PT score, find three exemplary individuals to write me letters of recommendation and I end up being a non-select? Will I really want to continue to try for acceptance to OCS? Furthermore, what if I in fact reach those goals, get selected to attend OCS, and then end up recycling out?

I guess this is a realization that I have a long and hard road ahead of me. This is more than putting together and essay and some LORs. This is a long-term striving for goals I may not be humanly able to achieve. This is a long-term risk in terms of time, money and dedication. Why do I torture myself, setting my goals so high? Why can’t I be happy in a cubicle, in a small town, overweight and divorced? For many people, thats A-OK. Maybe this is the path to realize that me, as an average person, is destined for that future even though I may set my sights higher.

I think this boils down to fears. Fears of trying and failing (nay, told I’m a failure). Fears of realizing and having to accept I am average. Fears of working so hard and not being rewarded. Fears of being trapped in a life I don’t want. I have to face them…even if the stakes are high.

Rucking update

8/1/11: 2.1 miles out (uphill)/2.1 miles back (downhill), 4.3 lbs (Camelbak), not timed.

The (waterproof) Goretex booties in my Bellevilles seems to be giving me the most trouble. They fold on my heel and are creating blisters even through wool socks!

Rucking training update

Today: 1 mile out/1 mile back, no weight, in 30 minutes