Before military training comes the ASVAB test. The better prepared you are, the more opportunities you’re going to have. It’s that simple.
Some people naturally do well on tests. Others struggle. Not so much because they’re not capable of answering the questions, but because it may be hard to focus or they just get nervous at the thought of a written test.
Luckily, the same thing that help you prepare for physically for military training can help you prepare mentally for the ASVAB.
What is the ASVAB Test for military?
ASVAB – the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery — consists of 10 tests. Scores from 4 of those tests are added up to determine your eligibility for Armed Services this is called the AFQT or Armed Forces Qualification Test.
They are not 2 separate tests, as some may think. It’s one test given for two purposes – overall eligibility and job placement.
You can take the test more than once, so don’t stress out too much if you’re not a good test taker. There is a second chance!
Currently you can take the test the old fashioned way, with paper and pencil, or you can take a computerized test. Some think that the computer version is harder, some think the paper version is harder…and both may be right. Partly because of perception and partly by the way the computer test is programmed.
In the computer version, the questions you see are based on how you answer the questions. If you are struggling on the ASVAB test, the computer will give you easier questions to answer; if you easily answer the questions, then the computer will give you harder questions. So, in theory, the better you are at taking the test, the harder your questions will be and vice versa.
The paper version of the ASVAB test is the same for everyone. Is one better than the other?
Well, many believe that your scores will be similar no matter which version you take.
How to Mentally Prepare for the ASVAB Test
Nutrition, dietary supplements , and exercise, to support your brain.
Nutritional support for your ASVAB test:
Remember back in grade school when your favorite teacher told you to eat a good breakfast before test day? Heck, you may have even had to bring a note home to your mom or dad which instructed them which superfoods to feed you on that morning.
No Sugar Smacks for you! It was all about oatmeal and bananas and a glass of milk, or something similar, right? Well, I guess everything you ever needed to know in life was learned in kindergarten after all!
High sugar foods in the morning could give you a quick spike of energy and then throw you off the deep end, making you drowsy. This will make you lose concentration and focus. Since you want to stay alert and focused, choose foods that give you a steady release of glucose.
What are those? These would be low glycemic foods. Check online for a chart of the Glycemic Index or GI to get an idea of which foods have a low GI count.
Studies have shown that those that eat foods with a more steady release of glucose progressively perform better on tests. As much as 3.5 hours after the breakfast meal, these test takers are still going strong.
The ASVAB test lasts about 3 hours. A quick spike in that situation isn’t going to cut it. I’m not saying to avoid caffeine if that works for you…just know that it’s not enough to go the distance.
In the coffee versus tea debate, the caffeine in each can make you more alert and able to concentrate, so both are good.
However, green tea contains theanine which increases the dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain. Again, all good for improving your concentration without the jitters that some people get with coffee.
You may want to try both as you work up to test day and test which one gives you the better results.
Dietary Supplements for an ASVAB test edge:
However, fortification of your overall brain health can be achieved with the very ingredients that the military has studied to give combat soldiers and fighter pilots an advantage when they are in combat situations and are required to maintain vigilance and focus.
Gingko Biloba, Siberian Ginseng, L-theanine (the protein in green tea), and caffeine are just some of the dietary supplements that have been linked to improved mental functions like planning, thinking, remembering and learning.
The Navy Seal formula from Military Grade Nutritionals includes supplement ingredients like Siberian Ginseng, which focus on brain health. Now, taking the Navy Seal supplement, or any other supplement, on the day of the ASVAB test is probably not going to make a huge difference. It’s too little, too late!
However, adding that nutritional support for several weeks leading up to the day of the exam could give you an advantage. And, when you start that nutritional fortification early, with both your diet and your supplement routine, the benefits are cumulative.
It’s just like working out.
Dumbbell curls, push-ups and pulls-ups are going to serve you better when you make them part of your weekly routine rather than approach training in a one-and-done fashion. You need to build muscles over time for ultimate performance: biceps, brain and heart.
Exercise to support your ASVAB Test:
Some people will roll out of bed, grab an energy drink, and head to the test center. Others will take time to get a quick workout or run in before picking up the pencil.
Which will you be?
Studies have shown that when you exercise, you have less anxiety, tension, depression and fatigue. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the state of mind that you should be in when you take your ASVAB test.
Don’t wait until you pass your ASVAB test before starting a workout routine. You know you’re going to military bootcamp eventually so the sooner you live “as if” you’re already in, the better prepared you’re going to feel about the test and what is waiting for you beyond your scores.
Photo attribution: flickr.com-photos-us7thfleet-6996022841
Ever take a few days off from the gym that turned into a week, then two weeks, then a month? By the time you mustered up the motivation to go back, your body had to start from scratch. You felt sore muscles and fire in your lungs from lack of endurance, and it had you cursing your workout instead of enjoying it. The only reason you pushed through was the pounds packed on around your middle and the giggle in your arms that you just couldn’t live with.
Avoid this scenario and don’t take a vacation from your workout just because you are going on vacation. On my last trip, I ran four miles, took a spin class the next day, did yoga outside the next, worked out to a DVD the day after, and so on.
My Fit Travel Workout DVD was shot around the world to prove you can get a workout anywhere, and my tips include wearing your sneakers on the trip to save packing room, and doubling your pajamas as workout clothes (sleep in your leggings and tank top then work out in them the next morning.) Once you have the gear, do these three things…
Now that I’ve conquered the mini scooter world, I’m upgrading this summer to a Vespa (thanks Mom!). For an Italian girl, it just doesn’t get any better than that! Because it has more power than my little Bajaj, I had to go to scooter school — otherwise known as a mandatory motorcycle safety course. Of course, with more power comes more responsibility so I’m going to have to learn how to handle my classic Italian dream machine from starting, accelerating, maneuvering, avoiding obstacles and stopping safely. If your desire is to upgrade to a better, more powerful body this summer, you’ll need to know the rules of the “ripped” road.
Last summer my dad gave us a scooter he’d had in storage for quite a while. It’s a little bitty thing — think motorized bicycle versus high powered rocket — but man is it fun to ride. We did some basic maintenance on it over the weekend, checking tire pressure, replacing gear box fluid, etc.. You could tell it had been idle for years by the black, sticky fluid that drained off. Now it’s running like a champ. It is amazing what the right fuel will do for a simple engine to help it perform at its peak. If you’re looking for leaner abs and a carved physique this summer, maybe it’s time to give your muscles a tune up too.
Every so often I get an email from a future Special Ops student who is preparing for the challenges of some of the toughest training programs in the world (SEALs, Special Forces, AFPJ/CCT, RECON / MarSOC and foreign groups for SAS, SBS, and the Foreign Legion):
Here is the question: Stew, I have been training pretty hard mixing in weights, calisthenics, running, swimming, and a few non-impact cardio options for additional heart / lungs work. I find myself not keeping up with others in the group or even meeting max repetition / faster times standards in the PST. I am feeling pretty discouraged with the workouts but I stay motivated to train with my buddies. Any advice?
There is nothing wrong with not meeting maximum standards as we all have to start somewhere. Besides, I have never seen any Spec Ops PT stud start off at the max rep / fastest times level. It is all about progressing. As long as you are getting stronger, faster, able to recover from previous workouts, you are doing it right. See the overtraining articles just in case you maybe pushing too hard for your current fitness level. Motivation through these times of growth is critical. SELF MOTIVATION! It is no one’s job but yours to motivate yourself to train and put in the time. There are many reasons why people do not make it through training and getting back up after getting knocked down is a critical skill. Call is Resilience, Mental Toughness, Stubbornness — whatever it is — you have to have it. You get this by Never Giving Up!
Competitive sports training whether it’s on a military sports team or for recreation requires ability and skill. Some argue that skills can be learned; but, ability is something more innate.
This may or may not be true. After all, there are plenty of zero to hero stories out there that tell how someone with little skill or ability was able to overcome the odds and win an event as a results of their desire and passion.
There is no doubt that cross training can build muscle and endurance. But does that transfer to making you better at your sport? In fact, some studies suggest that training programs like the use of weighted objects (such as wearing a weighted vest when you run to make you run faster once the vest is removed) actually do little more than provide the perception that you’re running faster once you’re lighter.
Have you ever walked into a Starbucks or McDonald’s and been shocked to see the calorie count of your favorite item staring you in the face? If so, did this affect your decision to purchase and consume said item? The federal law now requires restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to disclose calorie counts on their food items and supply information on how many calories a healthy person should eat in a day. There have been some questions around this policy in general and about the effectiveness the policy is having.
Unfortunately, many studies have shown that displaying the calorie content of foods has not led consumers to choose healthier or lower-calorie options. A new study sought to determine if it would be more effective to list how many minutes of brisk walking it would take to burn off that cheeseburger rather than listing how many calories the cheeseburger has. And guess what? It was!
Every person has health concerns.
What concerns you most is going to depend on your current level of fitness, your personal goals, your family history, and all those vanity and virility issues that we obsess over.
So what did our readers say when we asked them: What are your top fitness concerns?
Can you ever be too much?
Too fast, too big, too intense, too focused? The being too big bodybuilder heart attack debate is always brewing in the gym and in the lab. Some people wonder if it’s healthy, others wonder how they can get the same results.
However, when a bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast dies a few months after suffering from a massive heart attack…people start to wonder if all the muscle building is worth it.
Okay, I know exactly what you are thinking, “Here we go again, there’s something else I have to give up in order to lose weight.” It’s no wonder the weight-loss industry is booming as fast as our collective bellies are growing — sucking you into the latest diet fad or weight-loss product promising to shrink your belly once and for all. Gismos, gadgets, pills, and powders may have caused more harm than good. They are that “something shiny” that distracts our attention away from a common sense approach to losing belly fat. Let’s see if we can bust a few myths along with a few unwanted inches.
Multitasking is the way to save time and lifting is the way to sculpted arms. If you don’t have a lot of time, my 6 count combo move will hit your biceps, triceps and shoulders simultaneously! Bonus exercise — adding a squat targets quads and gluteus too! All you need is a pair of weights heavy enough for you to lift 15 times and feel challenged. I use 12 lbs weights.
Here are some photos from a segment I did on WCBS The Couch in NYC.
As a teenager, I had my share of traumatic moments…haven’t we all? My most devastating moment came was when I asked my mom for my first 2-piece swimsuit. My ultra-conservative father would only agree to it with his prior approval. There I stood in the glare of fluorescent department store lighting awaiting a thumbs up or down. Finally, my over-inflated teenaged humiliation was replaced with jubilation when I was approved for my first bikini. Unfortunately, for most of us, men and women alike, the burgeoning summer season creates its own grown-up trauma when a slip into our swimsuits reveals more belly than brawn. This week, we’ll explore some surprising ways to banish our bellies.
Change is good. How good? Well, since becoming a marine spouse, resigning from my government career, moving to Okinawa and becoming a first time mom all in two year’s time– I’m here to say from experience “Change is REAL GOOD!” I now have a beautiful husband and daughter AND work from home. My work is so rewarding! I get to help people realize their true potential. I help them peel back the layers to unveil their inner beauty and fierceness! However, this is not an easy task. The “C” word can make ‘em or break ‘em. Fear and apprehension of change can really F things up for a person. I can’t even imagine my life any other way and would have none of this– NONE– if I had let anxiety over CHANGE hold me back.
Sooo, why is change such a scary thought when it comes to health and fitness?
Are you just sitting stagnant with your results? You know the feeling. You’ve been going to the gym for the past few years, yet little to nothing has changed on your body. Well, that shouldn’t be the case. Are you doing these four things? If not, that might be a good indication as to why you are still the same person as you were two years ago.
Military training is the key component for military readiness. It includes physical preparedness and being mentally fit, which you have complete control over through your workouts and nutritional choices.
The part of military training that you don’t control is that training provided by your military unit.
These are the training exercises you do – both “old school” and now with simulations using the latest technology. This advanced training using the most modern technology is something that many at the top of the food chain fight for when budgets are being decided.
But this is not a political blog, so we’re not going to go into what’s right or wrong with that whole system. While support for our front line soldiers is a priority for most, the ongoing investment in the military training of soldiers of the future is always under pressure.
Mother’s Day Workouts To Put Your Health First
Military Spouse Appreciation Day is Friday, May 10th. If you live near or are visiting the NYC area and want to be on national TV, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fox & Friends is doing a segment with my Military Wife Workout DVD, and if you participate, you get one for free after the show! (Get more info on the 30 minute multitasking toning and cardio workout at http://www.nikkifitness.com/dvd-military-wife-workout.php)
If you are ceelbrating Mil Spouse Day and Mother’s Day this weekend, but can’t join me in NYC, here is a Fit Minute workout you can try to put your health first while being pampered this weekend (even if just for a few minutes).
I recently did a prenatal workout from my (Baby Bootie Camp DVD i shot with my baby) on a NYC show called The Couch. Here is a link to the video so you can try this move. It is save for any trimester (works abs when you can lay on your back anymore), works your back, arms, balance, core, chest and more. Its also a great move to include in your every day workout if you are not with-child. It supports good posture, and tones your back and abdominal muscles. I do it every week.
Are you one of those perky morning people who wakes up refreshed and ready to take on the day with a smile on your face, a head full of ambition, and a can-do attitude? If you had met me several years ago, you would have agreed that I was the polar opposite: grumpy, crabby, sleepy, sneezy…my own little version of the seven dwarfs! My family and co-workers knew to keep their distance until I came to life, which was usually around 10am. If you make more enemies than friends in the morning, maybe it’s time to look at better ways to fuel your day which may lead to a sunnier disposition and a slimmer you.
Before Columbus, the world was flat. But that crazy Italian just didn’t buy it. He went against “common” knowledge of his day and sailed unchartered waters…literally!
Well, just like any solid idea it sometimes takes a little bit of time for “common” knowledge to be overturned and then for it to rock established guidelines. It seems like the value of sports training being embraced by our military. In a recent news article it was reported that Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Madigan Healthcare System have begun setting up a clinic that will enhance the care of soldiers.
I’ve always been a fan of clever marketing — you know those commercials that get your attention with funny lines, edgy graphics or memorable characters? My favorite spot lately is the guy who goes around telling people to feed their lawns. The hook is that he’s got a really cool, thick Scottish accent that gets your attention when he says, “Feed you’re lawn, Feed et!” Now, instead of the mundane spring task of seeding and fertilizing your lawn, you feel like Braveheart rallying his troops to slay the enemy in an epic battle of grass versus dandelions. With that image in mind and summer weather on its way, maybe it’s time we “burn the fat…burn et!”
The world of the internet. Everybody is an expert, and they all can bench 300lbs. The internet is a great tool, but it has done some damage to our industry. People assume the cover of a magazine or the headline of an article is the truth, and nothing but the truth. I am here to lay out five of the biggest myths in our industry, both in training, and in nutrition.