Archive for June, 2012

Beat the Heat with Healthy Hydration


Living in the northeast, I find that there are times when winter seems to drag on forever. It’s June and temps are still in the 60’s! So, the minute the temperature rises I’m out the door with a tennis racket in hand, running shoes on feet, or getting on a bicycle ready to roll. Based on the weather patterns of late, however, it’s likely that the rest of you are already in the throws of summer heat. Now is the time to make sure that your workouts match the mercury. Here are some great tips to stay active and safe this summer while you beat the heat with healthier choices.

Obstacle Course Races — A Good Way to Prepare for Military Training

Military Obstacle Course

Recently, people of all fitness levels have been getting involved in obstacle course races. One email this week was from a high school student who wants to prepare for the Marines during his last year in school. Here is his email question:

“Stew — I am going into my senior year and play two sports (football /​ baseball) but I want to prepare for the Marines when I graduate. Any advice?”

The fact you are on two sports teams is great. Learning to be a team player is critical for any military, law enforcement, fire fighting profession and will help you more than you realize later in life as well. So keep your workouts focused for football and baseball performance and enjoy your last year of high school sports.

Handstands: Flip Your Workout on its Head — Part 1

Handstands Flip Your Workout

Summer Olympics are just around the corner, so why not add some gymnastics moves to your workout and challenge yourself?

In the next four blogs I will write about four moves from my “The Slimnastics Workout” book and DVD to get you holding your own weight, strengthening your upper back and arms, and improving your posture.  Today is forearm stand, next week will be the L stand, then handstand and flip dog/​rockstar to wheel. You get one new move to add to your workout every week this month!

Forearm Stand:

Move to a wall, turn to face it and get onto your hands and knees. Place your palms on the floor near the wall and line up your elbows on the floor as well, directly behind the hands.

Stress Can Become a Perfect Storm

Stress in the Military

Stress makes us stronger both physically, mentally, and spiritually so not all stress is bad. However stress not dealt with properly or metabolized over time becomes chronic. Consider stress like a perfect storm of events that can hit all at once and break the strongest of wills.

Physiologically, stress wreaks havoc on the body. The same thing happens to your body when you are stressed at work or family issue as it does when you are in an emergent fight or flight situation. However, when in an emergency usually you are able to physically exert yourself to help relieve the stress hormones that are rushing into your bloodstream that some say is equivalent to 5–6 Red Bulls! In a nutshell, Adrenaline and Cortisol are some of the stress hormones that affect our response to a stressful situation, but can also affect our health long term if not dealt with properly. When at a home office or cubical during work, it is difficult to exert yourself physically in order to reduce these stress hormones. Don’t get me wrong, there are good things that come out of stress hormones like getting pumped up for a presentation or competition or the rush of adrenaline before a fitness test. These hormones help you perform better. But after several years of not actively adding in recovery periods, you will break physically or emotionally or both.

Clean Energy

24k Energy Drink

There is so much chatter these days about clean energy: Whatʼs your mpg? Do you use mid grade or supreme? Should you gas up or go electric? With ever-​​rising gas prices, it’s no wonder we spend more time, attention and effort on our vehicles’ performance than we ever do with what’s fueling our bodies. My guess is you wouldnʼt try to mix your own gas, so why should your energy shot come from a gas station?

Energy shots sales have skyrocketed in the past few years. People are looking for a quick boost only to find that most popular energy shots and drinks are filled with caffeine and sugars. Although these ingredients offer a quick jolt of energy, they often cause unhealthy spikes in heart rate & blood sugar leading you to a hard crash.

Fuel For Exercise – Part III: Post-​​Exercise

Fuel for Exercise

Hopefully you have been waiting with baited breath for the third and final installment of this series – and here it is!  Now that you know how to fuel before and during exercise, the only thing left to learn is what to do afterwards.  Regardless of your workout length and intensity, your muscles need hydration and fuel to recover.  The good news for the “everyday exerciser” (meaning you workout for an hour or so three or four times a week) is that you don’t have to stress much about post-​​exercise fuel.  Your regular diet will typically provide enough nutrients to refuel your muscles with glycogen and repair muscle damage. 

The PFT Bible: The Most Common Fitness Test in the World

Military Fitness Test

The most common fitness test used is one you can find in a majority of the military branches and most law enforcement departments. The Standard Physical Fitness Test (PFT) is pushups, situps, sit and reach, and 1.5 mile run.

Here is just a few of the groups who use this test as not only an entrance test to be hired but also a maintenance test performed every six months in order to remain employed:

Naval Academy Summer Seminar 2012

Naval Academy Summer Seminars

It has been a true honor to be a guest PT instructor at the Naval Academy Summer Seminars for the past 15 years.  This year the group of 800+ high school new seniors experience a week of Naval Academy life complete with PT, meals, boating, self defense classes, academic classes introduction, as well as meeting representatives of the many military career options they have upon graduation.

As the Tuesday AM 0530 guest PT instructor we hit it pretty hard.  Hard enough to challenge those who arrived is good physical condition and not too hard so that those deconditioned get injured.  So it is a fine line between too easy /​ too hard for the diverse group of high schoolers from all over the United States.

It is Special Ops, not Average Ops

SpecOps Fitness

People often ask about my saying I use with the Heroes of Tomorrow organization — Train to Compete — Not Just Survive. I have been using this one for years — even when I went through training. I found that there is a big difference in going through life merely surviving and trying to compete at everything you do.

My first experience was when I was about to run a marathon — My goal was to just finish and finish under 4 hours (I was in survival mode). I noticed some gentlemen loosening up probably 50lbs lighter than I was, likely from Kenyan descent and their goal was not like mine. They were getting ready to beat a personal best — compete with each other and try to drop a minute off of their best time. They were in Competition Mode!

Spouses Learn Self Defense and Rape Prevention

By Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

Concerning threats to individual safety and security, anyone can be a victim. But the Family Readiness Office of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa is trying to help even those odds by offering Marine spouses a Rape Prevention and Self-​​Defense class at MARFOREUR headquarters, last week.

Along with Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques, that have been modified specifically for the course, the class emphasized situational awareness, planning ahead, and minimizing risk in real-​​world situations, such as in a parking lot or leaving a hotel alone.

New Martial Arts Facility Offers Training for Marines

By Cpl. Thomas A. Bricker

To storm the beaches of Normandy, June 6, 1944, thousands of United States service members had to be trained to assault the beaches without fear.

On the 68th anniversary of the monumental amphibious battle, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow opened a martial arts training facility for Marines so they can continue to be the nation’s ‘force in readiness.’

The facility contains numerous stations to work out; each element is designed to physically condition different areas of the body, and several fighting pits to allow sparring sessions during workout.

Marine Week Cleveland Demo WOWS Crowd

Military Wife Workout DVD

By Lance Cpl. Michelle Piehl

Community members are able to get a unique look into the heart of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program during Marine Week Cleveland, June 11–17.

Techniques ranging from basic punches to complex disarming maneuvers wowed audience members in Public Square during a presentation, June 12.

“It’s nice to see the actual combat they can do with or without weaponry,” said Hillary Duchnowski, a Lakewood native at the demonstration. “It’s wonderful for the community and the city to see what these men and women do every day for their country. It’s very impressive.”

Marines Dominate Joint Service MMA Championships

By Cpl. Christopher Duncan

Service members of all branches faced off in the 2012 US Military Mixed Martial Arts Championships, at Camp Pendleton’s 53 area gym in Camp Horno, May 12.

A total of eight teams, comprised of 112 military members, competed for placement titles and prizes. One team came out on top with nearly every member performing with strength, speed and determination to win.

Fit Travel Workout Moves for Your Summer Travel

Summer Workouts
Don’t let excuses get in the way of your workout when traveling. I demonstrated some no-​​equipment-​​needed moves this week on Fox & Friends First. You don’t even need sneakers!
My Fit Travel Workout DVD was shot around the world, from China to Mexico, Italy to Chicago to prove that you can fit in a workout anywhere you go.

Favorite Pullup /​ Pushup Variety Workout


Here is an open topic for your favorite pullup /​ pushup variety workouts:

My top three are:

Pullup /​ 8 count pushup or burpee pyramid - Start off by doing 1 pullup — run 25yds and do one 8 count pushup or burpee (your choice).  Then continue up the pyramid:

run 25m — 2 pullups — run 25m — 2 burpees
run 25m — 3 pullups — run 25m — 3 burpees

Continue up the pyramid until you fail or you can reach ten and repeat in reverse order.  We did this one today and every 5th set we ran a mile.  So sets 1–5 then mile run, sets 6–10 then mile run, 10–6 then mile run, 5–1 then mile run.

US Naval Academy Candidate Fitness Test

Navy Fitness Test

There are many hurdles you have to go through to get INTO any of the Service Academies — academics, test scores, leadership roles, athletics, community service, the CFA etc…There are even more to get THROUGH the Academy but we can save that discussion for another thread.

Here is a video I made recently on the CFA and will help many of you get better scores in pullups, pushups, situps, shuttle runs, mile run and the oddly used basketball throw from the knees.

Stew Smith Back on Military​.com

Stew Smith

Hello All…

I look forward to getting involved again with Military​.com Fitness.  I have been writing articles /​ blog posts for over 10 years roughly every week or so.  Now I am on as an Associate Editor of the Fitness site and the Kit Up pages.

Look for my posts starting next week — June 11 2012.  We will have some great pictures, videos, NEW workouts, and more to help you prepare for or maintain your fitness level for whatever your goals are.

7 Summer Survival Products

Oakley Sunglasses


Oakley is combining the comfortable aspects of comfort and performance sports sunglasses with the chic look of designer glasses. You can save your eyes while jogging and still look hot too! They are lightweight, with special hidden padding and slip protection around the nose and ears. I like the overtime and urgency lines for women and the scalpel or blender for men. ($130) http://​www​.oakley​.com/​s​t​o​r​e​/​p​r​o​d​u​c​t​s​/​w​o​m​e​n​/​s​u​n​g​l​a​s​s​e​s​/​a​c​t​ive