Archive for the ‘Diet & Nutrition’ Category
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
One of my favorite classic skits from Saturday Night Live was when comedian, Billy Crystal, played Fernando, a superficial and overtly sexual latin night club performer who greeted everyone with the phrase, “Dahling, you look mahvelous.” His character lived by a personal credo that it was always “better to look good than to feel good.” Maybe we all have a little Fernando in each of us with our desire to look good. While I don’t believe we are all vain and self-absorbed like Fernando, could it be that we put a bigger price tag on our outward appearance than our inner health? This month, let’s focus on ways to feel good from the inside out starting with our body composition.
Here is an article from a friend of mine after having this discussion at a conference a few weeks ago on nutrition for military, police, fire fighters — our tactical athletes. The need for more carbs for highly active people but it goes deeper than that:
Nutrition and the Tactical Athlete
As a firefighter understands fire, the warrior must understand war. Maintaining combat effectiveness via proper training and nutrition is a big part of this.
Nutrition is the one factor affecting each person multiple times per day and therefore has the greatest impact on a person’s overall health and fitness level. Scientists agree that 70+% of diseases known to man are caused by lifestyle factors and many can be treated via lifestyle changes. Nutrition being the number one approach.
For the tactical / endurance athlete this fact does not change. Being fit does not mean being healthy and the level of proper nutrition should address both of these factors.
The level of combat readiness literally translates into life and death. This fact makes the tactical athlete an extreme endurance athlete. Long hours of high stress from limited sleep, MRE’s and massive physical demands provide very unique nutritional demands.
Combat is high stress. The modern day tactical athlete often operates night and day for months without rest. This massive amount of stress not only results in mental breakdown leading to PTSD but also physical breakdown leading to physical injury and less combat effectiveness. This high stress results in elevated cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol causes 3 main problems in the warrior. One, lowered immune functions thus making the warrior more susceptible to illness, two, protein breakdown from muscle to keep blood sugar steady which leads weakness and to number three, increased body fat.
The three issues can be offset with proper nutrition in the field. For years ultra-endurance athletes have developed techniques and products for maintaining endurance days on end during a race. Polysaccharide gels, powders and liquids aimed at keeping blood sugar levels steady along with hydration and electrolyte balance are the key. A tactical athlete must maintain steady blood sugar, water and electrolyte balance. MRE’s do not do this and often have the reverse effect of maintaining combat readiness.
How does a tactical athlete maintain steady blood sugar? First, start by figuring your personal caloric needs. Google is full of BMR calculators. Second, plan to eat 65–70% of your diet from a polysaccharide source. (whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans). Third, calculate your caloric intake of starchy carbs. 1 gram of carbs is 4 calories. Finally, use an online resource to calculate the carbohydrate intake from your food.
Example: BMR = 2000cals per day. Add 600 calories per day for moderate activity levels = 2600 calories per day consumed. 2600 x .65% of carbohydrate = 1690 calories from starchy sources. Each gram is 4 calories, 1690 / 4 = 423 grams of carbohydrate consumed per day. Finally to calculate how much carbohydrate is in the food you eat I suggest the online resource myfitnesspal.com.
There is much more to understand regarding nutrition. But, much like a firefighter studies and understands fire those whom wish to become or are tactical athletes must study and understand nutrition. We will further expand on this topic in the next edition.
Dr. Stephen Erle is the training director for the civilian BUD/s program, SEAL Training Adventures, as well as the Strength and Conditioning Coach and team physician for a Virginia University. In addition Dr. Erle instructs tactical athletics, sports medicine, sports nutrition and tactical combat casualty care medicine (TCCC). He can be reached for comment at Steve@SEALTrainingAdventures.com.
I’ve been working on a number of home improvement projects lately. This weekend I tackled the kitchen, walk-in pantry and guest bathroom — Ugh! What astonished me in cleaning out cabinets was all of the stuff I’ve accumulated from wedding gifts, to inherited treasures, to just plain junk. The hardest part of de-cluttering for me is letting go of things. It is a family characteristic to keep things if they pass two basic tests: could it be worth money or will I potentially need it someday. Forget the fact that just a minute ago I didn’t even know I owned it! Maybe you’re guilty of the same behavior especially when it comes to your health. You may not know what your health is worth until you lose it. As we close out April, let’s do some spring cleaning of our own and find out what your health is worth, now and later.
You do not build muscle while you are exercising in a fitness center. The body builds muscle soon after you workout once it can get over your workout routines, using power and size in order to deal with the additional intensity. Typically the ideal time the body has for the purpose of recovery as well as muscle development is actually as you sleep. Using the best bodybuilding supplements at night will certainly actually assist you to develop more muscle whilst you sleep.
Tysen Ober is a 23 year old soldier who recently returned from an overseas deployment to Kuwait. With no job, no school, and no relationship awaiting his return, Tysen knew this was his moment to do something big. And boy is it big! Tysen will be running 3,500 miles from California to Maine to raise money for wounded warriors. His hope is to inspire others to “get out, get active and get involved in giving back to this country.” His drive and vision inspired me to talk about how far we can all go with the right attitude (see the bottom of this article for ways to support Tysen’s quest).
Nutrition bars are increasingly popular. but you may need to take a closer look at the labels. You might be consuming more sugar and calories then you would from a candy bar, you might be surprised to see what else is in them! Check out my Fox & Friends First segment for what to look for if you are supplementing your diet with these bars.
My advice, skip the bar for real, non-processed food like hard boiled eggs, apples, milk, yogurt and almonds. The only bar I lift is a barbell.
It must be a right of passage for most kids, watching classic Disney films like Cinderella, Snow White, Dumbo, and Pinocchio, just to name a few. In true Disney form, there is always a hero or heroine who must overcome his or her fears to defeat the evil witch, monster or various inanimate objects brought to life by overzealous animators. To this day I can’t tell you everything that happened in those movies as my view was inevitably obstructed by the clever hands-over-eyes technique employed whenever something scary was about to happen like the Evil Queen who tempts innocent Snow White to bite into a poisonous apple. “This is no ordinary apple. It’s a magic wishing apple,” says the queen, enticingly. Fortunately, for us, our apple crunching outcome is far more positive. As apple trees begin to blossom, check out the amazing health benefits of apples.
With four rambunctious children in the house, my parents always found creative ways to burn off our endless energy/wear us down in the evening. One of my favorite memories was going to the old fashioned drive-in movie theatre in town possibly because it was the only time we were allowed to dress in our pajamas in public! We cuddled under blankets and watched The Jungle Book. Big old Baloo was my favorite character, a lumbering bear who didn’t have a care in the world and yet was full of wisdom for a wide-eyed jungle boy named Mowgli. One thing for sure about Baloo was his ability to enjoy the “simple bare necessities of life” from back scratches on the bark of a tree to picking “a pawpaw or a prickly pear.” Maybe Baloo was onto something - the right prick can be painless and may just heal what ails you…”You better believe it baby.”