Doing the right warm-up drills at the right time can improve your performance. (MC3 Kenneth Abbate / Navy)
Homemade protein bar
Tara’s Perfect Power Bars:
5 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 cup regular oats
1½ tablespoon honey
4 tablespoon "PB2" powder mixed with 2 tbsp. water
1¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup fat-free milk
Mix everything in a bowl. Spread into an 8- by 8-inch pan lined on the bottom and sides with wax paper. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into 8 equal bars. Nutrition per bar: 151 calories, 25 fat calories, 14.4 grams carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugar, 18g protein.
About the author
Bob Thomas is director of the Navy Wellness Center in Pensacola, Fla. Click here to email him.
A proper warm-up is critical to good performance not only in competitive events but also in your daily workout. This warm-up sequence is modeled after a routine for high-level competitive racers and modified to the time constraints of a PT test.
My source is Jennifer McGranahan, an extremely talented cross-country coach at Virginia Tech. Note that she begins with "active warm-up" and allows the body temperature to elevate prior to the stretch. Sound familiar?
The intent is to raise the core body temperature and lubricate the muscles, allowing them to contract and relax more efficiently, as well as preparing them to fire in the specific way they will be asked to in the event exercise.
Military services may differ on warm-ups, the amount of time allotted between events, number of events and where the run event occurs, so plan accordingly. You can also use this prior to a competitive run, but lengthen the pieces to total about 45 minutes.
After the test, refuel with a homemade protein bar. I've had other trainers try these, and they are good.
Pre-test active warm-up
The military services — command fitness leaders, unit PT instructors, etc. — are onboard with this for the most part. Do squats, jumping jacks or march steps. The Navy uses the pillar preparation and movement preparation sequences from the Navy Operational Fitness & Fueling Series. If you have a few extra minutes before the first event, start to jog.
Time allotted between events 1 and 2
Split the time between jogging (up the pace slightly) and stretching the hamstrings, quads, ankles and hip flexors.
Time allotted prior to the run
1. Take a minute to jog and get the legs loose.
2. Perform a series of basic drills 20 meters out and back, such as walking marches, high knees, skipping or backward running.
Think light and quick.
Three to four minutes from the start of the run
Do "strides" at the pace you're planning. I tried this on a 25-meter area: Walk 5 meters into a jog for 10 meters, stride for 10 meters, turn around and repeat.
You can get about eight sets, building up the pace so that the last four are where you want to be for the run.
By the time you get to the start line, you should have a good sweat going.