Utilize the Marine Corps' fitness tests to tailor your workout program.

Losing Weight Fast for the Marine Corps

by Kim Nunley

You’ve got to be physically fit to make it in the United States Marine Corps. All recruits have to pass a physical fitness test, and they must meet body fat percentage criteria. Whether you're in the Marines or are preparing to join, train using activities you’ll be doing while you're in the military and lose the weight at a healthy rate so that you have the energy to meet the Marine’s high performance standards.

1. Body Composition Program

The Marine Corps’ body composition program only comes into play if your body weight exceeds a specific limit value that’s based on your height. If your weight does exceed that value range, then you will be more specifically tested for body fat percentage. This doesn’t mean you don’t pass. According to Military.com, if your body fat percentage value is within the required standards, you are considered passing. If your body fat percentage is too high, you must enroll in the body composition program. If you don't lose the weight through the program, you risk being discharged. Men must be at or below 18 percent body fat, and women must be at or below 26 percent.

2. Losing Weight

Your efforts at losing weight for the Marine Corps should include regular exercise and a healthy eating plan. To lose weight, you’ve got to burn a greater number of calories than you consume. Every time you create a 3,500-calorie deficit, you lose 1 pound of fat. According to the American Council on Exercise, to help ensure you keep the weight off, a rate of no more than 2 pounds of fat loss per week is recommended. This would take creating a 7,000-calorie deficit every week.

3. Exercise Program

To burn enough calories to lose 2 pounds per week, schedule workouts six days of the week. Three days will be dedicated to cardio and interval workouts that will be similar to what you’ve got to do in the Marine Corps. The other three days will be used for strength-training exercises that you’ll be expected to perform well during the initial strength test and physical fitness test.

4. Cardio Workouts

Marine Corps recruitees are required to do a timed 1.5-mile run as part of their initial strength test and then a 3-mile run as part of the physical fitness test once they enter the Marines. On your cardio workout days, switch off between 1.5- and 3-mile runs. The Marine Corps recommends that you begin at a pace that you’re comfortable with, then build steadily as you progress.

5. Strength-Training Workouts

On strength-training days, do a workout consisting of pullups, pushups and situps, which are included in the Marine Corps fitness test, as well as body weight squats and lunges to strengthen your legs and hips. Complete five sets of as many repetitions as you can of each exercise, resting 90 seconds in between each set.

6. Healthy Eating

Even if you’re consistent with your exercise program, you won’t successfully lose weight if you don’t take in an appropriate number of calories every day. Creating a caloric deficit for weight loss is much easier to do if you make adjustments to what you’re eating and drinking. Avoid or severely limit your intake of alcohol and soda, as they provide empty calories. Decrease the size of your meal portions by 10 to 20 percent. Take in primarily nutrient-dense, yet low-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

About the Author

Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.

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