Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

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!

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Am I a Good Fit for the Army?

As people go through the recruitment process they often realize the truth in JFK’s famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” Joining the Army is about sacrifice; sacrifice of not being able to choose your living location, working overtime, not being able to choose your jobs, medical coverage, limiting when to have a family just to name a few. Yes, as good of deal the Army seems to me, there is always the other side of the coin and thus a different story behind just what I’m getting into. Joining the Army will take a lot of sacrifice on my part, and this makes me wonder if I am a good fit for the Army–even if I think the Army is a good fit for me.

I’ll be honest: I love sleep. And that will make me a poor fit for the Army. I have had periods of my life where I’ve woken up at 6:00am every morning, and other periods (now) where I’ve woken up at 11:00am every morning. If I am going to be indoctrinated into military style concepts of time, I’ll be rising at 4:30 or 5:00am every morning. Now, I think it is good to eat about an hour before one works out because you need to have calories in your bloodstream. I’ve never worked out in a fasted period (read: skipping eating before my workout) because I feel it’s a stupid thing to do. However, in the Army, after my early wake up, I will be expected to workout for a couple hours before breakfast. There is no buts about this: you will workout before breakfast, no exceptions. Okay, so I can change…I can start getting up earlier and I can (gulp!) workout without any calories in my bloodstream. The more I do to adjust now and changing under my own control will help me when I eventually get to basic training and onwards to officer candidate school.

I am a good rule follower. Although I wasn’t raised Catholic I seem to have about an equal guilt complex of a Catholic. And that will make me a good fit for the Army. I can’t jaywalk without fearing I’ll get a ticket and suddenly it turns into police searching my car and my apartment and then getting sent to jail–all for jaywalking. I know, I know: if I’m innocent I shouldn’t have anything to hide. Well, it’s not that I’m hiding, but I am a private person. I’m an introvert, and while I think that is a good thing and I have the extra talent of being extraverted when needed, I fear I’ll be picked out of the group in basic training for being an introverted O9S. Even though I’m excited to follow the rules and follow them well, I know everyone has a breaking point and they will be looking for mine. They’ll want to assert dominance and control by making everyone watch the female O9S who is submitting to them. Is this an overblown Catholic sized guilt trip or what?!  But, I do think it’s better to fear the worst and go in knowing how you will handle yourself than to try not to think about it and end up being humiliated.

I know myself. And this will make me an…interesting fit for the Army. I think enlisted soldiers are typically young when they enlist and they don’t know themselves very well. This makes them moldable to the Army doctrine and much less likely to question later down the road. Now, I know that’s a generalization; some people enlist when they are older and do know themselves and others enlist when they’re young but they’ve grown up in a military family and are already molded to the doctrine. There are all types. But for me, I think it’s an asset that I have been in the workforce full time for 5 years. And I’ve also gone to school in the civilian world and gotten a Bachelor’s degree. So, I can definitly jump through hoops even if I think it’s dumb and a waste of time. I’m used to the hurry up and wait song and dance.

Lastly, the Army establishment is in the soutern United States. And that makes me a bad fit for the Army. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and have only left the country once–and hated it! It’s not that I’m against moving… I’m an expert at moving. It’s the fact that I’ve never been to the south and I don’t understand the weather nor do I understand the people. Racial tension is something that one doesn’t run into very much living in the PacNw. So, I guess what I need to do (since I wish to go to OCS in Georgia) is study up on the south and try to understand it. It’s not going to change for me just because I don’t like it. And I think that is the takeaway message here; you must change yourself to fit to the Army because the Army isn’t going to change to fit to you.