You can pass your Law Enforcement Fitness Test! You can do this! You have to be realistic though and ensure you start training for your test weeks, if not months in advance. No matter what level of activity you are starting from, it can be done. This is only the beginning of a new you and a new career.
In the Beginning...
Have the end in mind.
The most important thing to start with is to write down your goal. Whether it is to run 1.5 miles in under 15:00 minutes or to bench press 70% of your body weight, WRITE IT DOWN. After you write it down, hang it up where you can see daily. I also recommend going onto websites to find before and after pictures of people with your same body type. Print those out as well and hang them where you can see them. You need to get your head in the game if you want to attain this goal.
Be mindful of your current physical fitness level. If you cannot run for some reason, and your goal is to go an entire mile without walking, you shouldn’t just start to run as fast as you can at the onset. The same goes with lifting weight. Start with lower weights or even body weights (such as pushups) to get you started. A realistic assessment of your physical fitness at this point is essential to your goal. As with any physical activity, you may want to see a doctor to ensure you can participate.
For maximum gain, I highly recommend a mixture of cardio, weight training, and diet. In order for your body to have the quickest and most effective response, you must implement these three things into the plan. I highly recommend reading “Body for Life”. This book is a gold mine for changing your mind set and it has great workout ideas and diet tips for the beginner. Go to the website and print out before/after photos for motivation. Besides helping you pass the law enforcement physical fitness exam, this book will change your life.
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Which brings us to “the plan”. The plan is to get in and get out of the gym in the least amount of time possible. We are all busy people and we have things to do. Not to mention, the fastest you are able to complete this workout plan, the better you will be weeks down the road. This first part of your plan will contain 20 minutes of cardio activity and 2 sets of weight lifting.
For the cardio, choose an exercise that you enjoy, such as, skipping rope, treadmill, bike, swimming, whatever. Here’s the key though – the 20 minutes is INTERVAL training. If on a treadmill for example, you must alternate 1 minute of walking with 1 minute of running (for the entire 20 minutes). You must push yourself because it will not be easy.
It does not matter which weight exercises you choose either. You can go to websites such as Bodybuilding.com to choose the most interesting ones. Please choose one each for the following: chest, shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps (in this order). One type of exercise per body part is the design here. After choosing the exercise, choose a weight that you will be able to lift for 20 repetitions. On the 20th repetition (rep), you should be struggling a bit. You must ensure to use good form as indicated when you choose the exercise to ensure that you do not injure yourself.
So, to recap – 20 minutes of cardio, 2 sets (in order listed) of the 5 body parts. So far so good!
Now, get back to your cardio for the next 10 minutes. Same thing, no slacking here you! Interval train for the next 10 minutes utilizing your chosen cardio exercise. If you really want to step it up, do the first 5 minutes with minimal effort and the last five at a greter intersity.
You know what’s coming. You know what’s next and this is where the time investment really starts to work. We need 2 more sets of your chosen weight lifting exercises. After this and you are done for the day! Great job. GREAT job!
Every other day you will substitute 3 leg exercises and 2 abdominal (abs) exercises in the weight lifting slots. The cardio effort and the schedule remains the same.
After 5 or 6 days of this routine, take a break from the gym. If you absolutely HAVE to go, then do some cardio. Don’t lift weights because your body needs the rest to grow and repair the muscle you just ripped apart the past few days.
Now for the Hard Part !
Take heed of your diet during this time. Your body will crave food. Just don’t over do it. Remember, we are training to pass a test not lose to many pounds. Eat sensibly by ingesting your carbohydrates around your workout. Eat them as close to your workout times as possible. This is to allow us to consume our daily allowance of carbs, but let's the body use them more efficiently and not store them for later use (fat accumulation). All other meals you should be eating one serving of protein and two servings of vegetables. Expecting that you may cheat, try not to. If you do cheat, recognize it and move on to the next meal and day. Don’t go crazy eating cookies all day because you cheated at lunch and had ONE. Just recognize that we cheated, fix it by eating right for the remainder of the day. Remember those before/after photos you printed out? Tape one to the inside of the “snack cabinet” to keep your mind in check.
The End is Just the Beginning...
If you can maintain this plan for at least three weeks prior to the assessment, you WILL kill it! Celebrate your victory, go to the assessment and feel confident that you will pass. Make sure that during your assessment you don’t quit. You’ve worked hard to get here so don’t blow it now! Again, DO NOT QUIT. As a police trainer I've seen too many loose it here. No, you will not have another chance - Don't let your mind screw you like that. You are here now, get it done! How bad do you want this thing anyways? Who are you doing it for? Yourself? Do you have family to support? Prove to a doubting friend or family member? Get it done…
See you at the academy. Who are you eyeballing? Recruit. ;)