How to Maintain a Fitness Routine During a Military Deployment For a member of the U.S. military, the need to meet fitness requirements doesn’t stop with basic training. Service members must pass a fitness test every six months after basic to advance their careers. For some, physical exercise is primarily a satisfying free-time activity. Working out with a partner can also be me social and enjoyable. Regardless of the motivation, staying in shape can be especially challenging when deployed, particularly if an individual is stationed in a combat zone. These basic steps can make it easier to stay or get fit and reduce stress while on duty away from home. Respect Your Limits Defining a typical day while deployed is notoriously difficult, particularly if a military member has been assigned to a ship or to a remote location. As a result, many members try to overcompensate by over training or pushing themselves beyond their limits. In both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the #1 cause of medical evacuation of military personnel was non-battle injuries. Most of them occurred during physical training . Using the proper workout form, determining your limits, and not pushing yourself beyond your limits can result in progressive improvements in fitness that occur without any injuries. Get Creative About Workout Areas Many deployed members find themselves almost immediately discouraged by the lack of a state-of-the-art gym when they arrive at their new assignments and they probably won't be able to create their own personal gym . If their duty station does have a facility, it is probably going to be overcrowded with other service members working on improving their chances of passing upcoming fitness tests or simply enjoying physical exercise. Some group creativity here will really go a long way. After a little brainstorming, members might look for space in unconventional areas, such setting up a gym in space in the motor pool area. Foraging for equipment while cleaning various areas is one way to start equipping a gym in the rough. It’s easy to transform camp gear such as sandbags into workout equipment that can mimic things you might have in your home gym like medicine balls. Approaching a service member who also happens to be a fitness expert can lead to suggestions on how to get more equipment as well as some very helpful safety and usage tips. Develop a Repertoire of Bodyweight Exercises Some deployed members find it hard to develop a regular exercise routine because of the unpredictable schedules associated with being on the move. Learning and taking advantage of a bodyweight or equipment less workout routine is a great way to make sure you can work out just about anywhere. Take the Right Gear Talking to a member who has returned from the site to which you’re soon to be deployed is a great way to find out which fitness resources are available there. You can also learn how much room you should expect to have for storing any items you bring. As you put together a list, it’s a good idea to plan on lightweight equipment that’s easy to pack and that works multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It’s also helpful to consider which common supplies at your destination can be converted into workout equipment. Think sandbags for starters. Some of the military services require members to wear their assigned PT uniform. If yours doesn’t, consider the climate at your destination. Be sure to pack workout duds and footwear that will make you feel comfortable. You’ll want to spend your money on items that are breathable, moisture wicking, and stretchable. Deployment can be particularly challenging for service members trying to meet educational requirements or to make the grade on periodic fitness tests. Work responsibilities are often erratic and interfere with scheduling. Sometimes facilities are limited. Creative planning to overcome these challenges can make it possible to come back from your overseas deployment fitter and looking better than ever. Author: Chip Glennon Owner, Chip Glennon Real Estate Experts LinkedIn