Developing a regular workout routine while deployed can be tricky with the constant unpredictability of where you’ll be sleeping or what you’ll be eating while on the move. However, staying in shape is essential to keeping your physical and mental health in check. Deployment can be a stressful time, and exercise is an excellent avenue for releasing tension and anxiety. Keeping yourself in top physical condition is also extremely beneficial for the work you’ll be doing while overseas, and it can help you transition back into your life upon your return home.

 soldier doing pushup

Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes eating beneficial foods, but your deployment diet may not be up to your standard of health. To help fuel your body before training, order protein powder and make protein shakes a part of your daily diet. Then, try these five workouts that can be done anywhere for just a few minutes each day to keep yourself in the best shape possible.

Pull-Ups

While deployed, finding the proper equipment to give your body a true, challenging workout can be difficult, but if you get creative, you’ll find that you get the same results as you would when using expensive gym equipment. Purchasing a pull-up bar is a good investment before deployment as it’s not very big and can be packed up and carried around easily. Even if you opt not to bring your own pull-up bar with you, you can still work this routine into your day by using any overhead object that can support your full body weight. Try starting each morning off with three reps of 20 pull-ups to build and maintain muscle strength.

Cardio

An excellent way to get in a quick sweat, cardio activities will keep your body in shape and help maintain a strong and healthy heart. Regardless of your fitness goals, you need to integrate some type of cardio into your regular routine to promote overall health. Many people look to cardiovascular exercises like running as a meditative as well as physical activity to help distract from the many complications of everyday life. Deployment is often a stressful, chaotic time for soldiers and having a beneficial activity that helps relieve tension is a great way to manage stress.

soldier doing PT

When most people think of cardio, running is typically the first activity that comes to mind though there is a range of cardiovascular activities you can try while deployed. If you’re trying to build muscle, sprints are known to help boost muscle growth and shed fat. Distance running can help calm your mind and burn calories, but longer, slower runs build less muscle and result in a more lean appearance.

 Jumping rope is a favorite activity for athletes of all types, particularly boxers and fighters. This exercise is a high-intensity cardio workout, allowing you to burn a lot of calories in a very short amount of time. While deployed, you may find it difficult to develop a regular workout routine, so incorporating quick but intense workouts is an excellent way to maintain your physical fitness. Jumping rope can increase your short-term stamina, help you to move more quickly and strengthen your heart so it doesn’t need to work as hard to pump blood through your body. One of the biggest issues with trying to work out while deployed, aside from an irregular schedule, is lack of equipment, making a jump rope the perfect accessory because it’s easy to transport, very compact and can be used nearly anywhere.

Sandbag Training and Water Jug Rows

When training your body on deployment, you’re going to have to get innovative with your workout equipment. Transform some of your camp’s gear into the machinery you need—sandbags and water jugs are the perfect replacements for weights.

Sandbag training is an extremely popular form of exercise for soldiers on deployment because it requires nothing more than a few easily accessible materials and is known for major results. The ideal all-over workout, sandbag training conjointly develops your core and upper and lower body. You can incorporate sandbags into almost any exercise, including bicep curls, overhead military presses, flyes, weighted squats, shoulder-to-shoulder presses and deadlifts.

Water jugs are another common item soldiers will convert into weights. Using full water jugs for rowing exercises is a great way to gain upper body and back strength. Bodybuilder.com suggests using water jugs for one-hand water jug rows while drinking some of the water in between repetitions to slowly decrease the weight. Water jugs can also work well for weighted squats and single-leg deadlifts.

Bodyweight Training

It’s a common misconception that you can only gain muscle mass by utilizing weights in your workouts, but training with exercises focused simply on body weight can be both effective and challenging. In order to see results from bodyweight training, you need to continually increase the difficulty of your workouts because your muscles require tension in order to break down and re-grow stronger than before. Squats are a very common and beneficial exercise that can be made more challenging as you perfect your form. Once squats become easy, instead of increasing your reps, make the exercise more strenuous by practicing pistol squats—a variety of squats using just one leg. Other common bodyweight exercises include push-ups, which progress into one-arm push-ups, as well as different variations of a plank. 

couple doing pushups

HIIT Workouts

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a common exercise method for people looking to get big results in a short amount of time. HIIT doesn’t need to incorporate any specific exercises—select your favorite workouts and try performing them with this type of training. The key to HIIT is pushing yourself to work as hard as you possibly can during every exercise for a specific amount of time (for example, you can do each workout for one minute) before allowing yourself a short rest period (30 seconds following every one minute of intense exercise).

HIIT is extremely beneficial because the intensity of the workouts increases your internal body temperature quickly, which causes you to continue burning calories even after you’ve finished the workout. Should you decide to try HIIT, drinking protein shakes post workout post-workout is a highly effective way to replenish your body and start to rebuild any muscle you’ve broken down during your workout.

Not a part of the military but looking for a way to support the troops? Ice Shaker has teamed up with Troopster Military Care Packages to provide our brave men and women with a top-of-the-line protein shaker to keep them energized and healthy. Donate today to send a care package with the Gronk Ice Shaker to our military personnel overseas.


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