Path to Great Lakes Pt. 2, Getting to MEPS

So I left us off in Part 1 of Path to Great Lakes when I made my decision to join the U.S. Navy.

It was a big decision for me to leave behind the life I had been building to serve my country. It was big, but it was exciting, and I was ready.

Or, was I?

The next time I went back to meet with Pretty Officer C. he brought up the physical fitness assessment or PFA (because the military shortens EVERYTHING). For the Navy, it consists of a mile and a half run, push-ups, and curl-ups (A.K.A. sit-ups). At the time, each gender and each age group within a gender had different standards for the PFA. Being 21 I was in the second age bracket and would need 50 curl-ups, 17 push-ups and a 15:15 run minimumNote: They have changed the PFA standards and recruits must now pass a preliminary PFA within their first week or two at RTC. Male recruits need to finish the run in 16 minutes 10 seconds or less, the female recruits in 18 minutes seven seconds or less. Source and more PFA information

At MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) there is also a medical assessment. The main thing I was worried about with this is the part where they take your height and weight, compare it to a chart and if you’re not within weight they can end your journey (for that day) right then and there. Due to my build, we decided that it would not be safe or healthy for me to be within the weight range for my height.

I am 5’10” and they wanted me to weigh 191lbs or less. I have a lot of muscle and have not weighed 190lbs since I was probably 15 years old. But the thing is I don’t look like I weigh that much.

Side note: my boyfriend recently found out how much I weigh and was floored that I could possibly weigh that much. He doesn’t care how much I weigh but he just couldn’t believe, based on how I look, that I could weigh as much as the scale says.

Anyways, there was an option to be put through based on body fat percentage. This is not the BMI, which is a totally ridiculous test that I will have to save for another post. They take your height, weight, and measure your waist right around your hipbone. When the female recruiter at Burnsville NRS, Petty Officer B. measured my waist, we found that I only needed to lose about two inches from my stomach.

We talked about diet and exercise to make sure I could start doing everything to make weight. I started a Keto Diet similar to the targeted diet found here. I found that carbs are everywhere! The targeted diet was extremely helpful because I found myself losing steam in my workouts. Being able to give my body some carbs soon before and refueling with chocolate milk for the fats and proteins made working out a much more lucrative practice.

I was working as a Lifeguard at the YMCA, so I had free access to the gym facilities and pool, which helped with being able to work out so much. I also had access to some amazing trainers and swim coaches. I have been around water my whole life so I was not worried about the swim qualification at all (more on that in a later Path to Great Lakes post).

I hit a plateau.

I had lost about an inch from my waist and it just stopped.

So Petty Officer C. started coming to work out with me every morning for about two weeks. Here’s what our workout looked like. I was lifeguarding at night, so I would work out in the morning with Petty Officer C. and then go to work early to do it again. This worked like a CHARM! Two weeks and I had lost the extra inch. Note: working in the pool environment had long taught me to hydrate and adding extra workouts and sweat prompted me to drink about twice as much as I had before. This was not water weight loss but fat being burned because of the diet and exercise plan that I had implemented.

I was ready to go to MEPS!

This entire time I had also been studying for the ASVAB. This website has all of the categories that are found on the ASVAB and is an amazing resource. I pretty much needed to maintain the score I had achieved on the practice ASVAB, but I knew it was always better to have a better score.

We set a date (Nov. 18th, 2016) for MEPS and I was told to keep up what I was doing.

Part 3 will be available on March 15th, 2019!

UPDATE: Due to health concerns I was unable to post on March 15th. Part 3 is available April 23rd.

See Part 1 here!

Featured Image found on the MEPS Facebook Page.

Military Readiness Workout

Hello Friends!

Thank you for checking out my military readiness workout. Whether you came here from my blog post about my journey to joining the Navy or found this through a search engine this is sure to be a great way to get fit!

Disclaimer: I am not a professional nor have I attended schooling to do any sort of physical fitness consulting. This is purely from my own experience and it should be known that each individual has there own limits and abilities. This workout should be done at the readers’ discretion. 

Running and situps at home were just not enough to lose the weight I needed to. I needed to drop weight around my waist, and I had never had that as a goal before. I had no idea where to even start! The first thing my recruiter told me was that running wasn’t going to help me right now.

???

So we got off the track and headed to the weight room. We used three pieces of equipment: the elliptical, the stair stepper, and the treadmill. Now, don’t stop reading because of the equipment. I hated all of those things before I knew what I know now!

Attire: Petty Officer C. recommended that I wear sweatpants and a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt. I don’t know about anyone else but my goal for workout attire had always been cool clothes so I don’t overheat. I will also be the first to admit that this made me think about how I had tried my best in the past to work out but not sweat. 

What were you thinking Jade?

Sweat is how our body knows to grab those extra energy stores (ie carbs, fat, and sugars) and burn them. Which, in the end, is the goal.

Wearing warm clothes will make you sweat, which also means you NEED TO HYDRATE! Bring water with you, a bottle, don’t rely on the fountains. Drink water BEFORE your workout, and I would always end with finishing whatever was left and drinking a pint of chocolate milk (this has fats and proteins to help replenish your energy and build muscle).

Finally what you came here for: The Plan!

Total Time: 30 minutes

Warm Up: 10 minutes

We always started with the elliptical. It’ slow impact, but with different resistance and grade settings can be adjusted to each individual and each workout. We would always aim to go a little further than the day before, this helped it not become something to slack off on or feel like a waste.

Main Event: 20 minutes

The stair stepper. Before this, I had, admittedly, been TERRIFIED of a stair stepper. I wasn’t partial to treadmills either, because I had seen a friend (yes, she was being stupid) break her wrist by getting it sucked under and into the mechanism. Well, if you’re an adult who knows how to properly use these machines that operate in a circular motion, that won’t happen.

Play around with the speed of the steps, sometimes slow can be harder than fast and vice versa. We set a goal for the number of steps to complete within the 20 minutes and gradually increased it to reach an end goal for the two weeks. By the end of the two weeks, I had surpassed our original goal and was ready to run a mile and a half without even stepping foot on the track or even running on the treadmill.

Warm Down: 10 minutes

I don’t like to call this step “cool down” because, again, it can lead to laziness or having it feel like a waste. You should still be warm when you leave the gym, but you shouldn’t be completely out of breath or unable to walk. We would spend 10 minutes gradually slowing down the treadmill speed to get the lactic acid moving through our muscles and to stop it from staying put. We would also talk, this was important because we could judge how efficiently we were recovering from our workout and if we needed to slow down or speed up based on how our breath was.

Because I was trying to lose weight quickly and I had the time, I was doing this same thing twice a day. After my evening circuit, I would spend some time stretching and making sure my muscles were staying happy with me.

 

I follow a similar pattern day to day still, but I only go once a day (if that, let’s be honest) and I add in weight lifting. It is important for me and my goals to have strong muscles and keep healthy knees so I have some very specific and some prescribed activities.

 

Xoxo, Jade

 

Why He Waited

He propped his foot up on his knee.

He checked that his bag was still between his feet. He only had a small backpack anyway.

His eyes were heavy, and he nodded off to sleep every few minutes before his head bounced back to attention. These airport chairs are nowhere to sleep.

He put his backpack on his shoulders and started to pace up and down the windows.

He had walked in with a few others, but they didn’t seem to know each other.

He took off the University of Minnesota sweatshirt to reveal a t-shirt reading “America’s Navy, Honor, Courage, Commitment”.

After an hour he sat back down, in a different chair this time, and took out a folder.

There was a ship on the front, and he was muttering quietly to himself.

 

He sat down in the window seat.

He didn’t seem to have a cell phone, odd for a teenager in 2018.

The trip from Minneapolis to Chicago, but he went straight to the food court.

The employee he asked gave very vague directions to the USO, but the boy found it regardless.

 

The last words I heard before I kept on my way were, “They’ll be here in 45 minutes, get ready for the yelling Future Sailor”.

 

Image from yelp.com provided by Sarah N.

Path to Great Lakes Pt. 1, Meeting My Recruiter

Meeting the Recruiter

I was so excited and nervous to meet a Navy recruiter that I started Googling “what to wear to meet your recruiter”, well let me tell you that search criteria matters! I got myself all worked up because Google kept telling me I needed to wear a suit and show up with my cover letter, resume, and references…

WHAT!?

After I let my dad calm me down I realized that there are also BUSINESS recruiters and that I should just wear jeans and a shirt.

I showed up 30 minutes before our appointment; Petty Officer C. was ready for me and impressed with my ability to be early. My dad came with to help me soak up as much information as possible, which I HIGHLY recommend. Keep in mind with this though, (unless you are under 18) you are a grown adult who is making a VERY adult decision and bringing someone with you should not interfere with your meeting and you should answer all of the questions for yourself.

I took the practice ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) a fancy term for an all-inclusive test to make sure you know how to read and do basic math. To do really well, having some mechanical, electrical and computer knowledge will help. After I took that test, achieving a 45 out of 99 we talked about what I wanted my rate to be. Rate is what the Navy calls their jobs, other branches call this an MOS. I was very interested in being an LS or Logistics Specialist so we discussed my options with that and the scores I would need on the ASVAB.

My head swirling with new information and the thought that I needed to make a hard decision, I left the office and drove back to my college town which was about three hours away. I talked it over with my roommate and called my mom. It only took me a couple of days to know what I had to do, so I called Petty Officer C. and made another appointment to start the paperwork.

I was excited to start my journey and ready for the hard work ahead.

Part 2 will be available March 1, 2019

A Capsule Wardrobe

How I Made a Capsule Wardrobe Work.

Getting dressed in the morning is sometimes a challenge for me. All of the jobs I’ve held up until now required some sort of a uniform. When I worked at Subway and a small grocery store I basically got to pick my pants. When I was coaching gymnastics I had shirts that I got to pick from and workout bottoms for safety and comfort. So again I got to pick my pants!

Now I’m in what I call a “real pants job” where I have SO MUCH fashion freedom that I don’t know what to do with myself!

I’ve basically always worn a capsule wardrobe, but have kept the other clutter of the unflattering and out of date clothes that I knew I would never wear just to make it FEEL like I had a closet full of clothes.  When I moved in with my boyfriend I realized how unimportant the amount of clothes I had was and how important it was to have clothes that made me feel good!

Some important questions to ask yourself before you throw out all of your clothes:

1. Do I like options or procedure?

If you prefer a lot of options a traditional “Capsule Wardrobe” may not be for you, but everyone’s will be different anyway!

If you prefer procedure a capsule wardrobe may be the perfect solution to streamline your morning routine.

2. Where do I live?

I personally live in Minnesota, for those of you who don’t know about our weather here’s a fun example…

In January 2019  we went from -30° F (-50°F with windchill, yes we have to factor the wind here) to 40°F IN THREE DAYS! If you’re counting, that’s a 70°F difference without windchill in three days.

In the summer it can easily get over 100°F. Again, if you’re counting that’s a 150°F difference over the course of the year, so one set of clothes would NOT be appropriate here in Minnesota. But that is up to each and every person and may be by trial-and-error decision to make over time.

3. Why am I doing this?

If you are doing this purely to make more space, you may not succeed.

If you are doing this to make your life more simple and consume less you will probably be highly successful.

If you “fail” that’s ok! This is just something that has worked for me and is a little trendy at the moment so I figured I would help others out with my take on it.

4. Are you a minimalist or a maximalist when you dress?

Do you have to wear a necklace and bracelet set with every outfit?

How many scarves do you have that you actually wear?

This will be an important consideration in building your Base Wardrobe

Spring/Summer

I broke the year into halves for simplicity and because in Minnesota most of the seasons end up blurring together anyways so we need a little bit of everything all year round.

Each of my wardrobes contains 24 pcs. not including shoes or accessories.

For summer I would also choose brighter colors based off of the denim that I’m working with.

Tops

  • 3 T-Shirts (short sleeved)
    • Chose different necks and levels of “fancy” based on your style
    • I chose 1 v-neck, 1 scoop neck, and 1 loose fitting shirt
  • 3 Tank Tops
    • 1 to layer, 1 loose fitting, and 1 floral
  • 3 Sweaters
    • It’s always useful to have something warm to layer with, these can be any length sleeve
    • 2 Cardigans, and 1 sweatshirt
IMG_0207

Layering a Tank Top and Cardigan

  • 1 Button Down
    • I would add another if I can find a denim button-down that I like
    • Otherwise one should do in a color that can be worn with the other style choices you have made
  • 3 Dresses
    • 1 summer dress (think flowy and floral), 1 t-shirt dress, and 1 LBD (more on that later)

Bottoms

  • 3-4 Pants
    • 1 pair of skinny-jeans or boot-cut, 1-2 pairs of capri pants, 1 pair of khakis or colored jeans
    • I shake this up a little bit based on what jeans fit me and if I find new jeans that I like. I have long legs and a skinny waist so it can be a challenge to find jeans that fit how they are supposed to
  • 3 Leggings 
    • 1 pair capris, 1 pair 7/8th length, and 1 pair full length
    • Some people can take or leave leggings but for me, they are a necessity
    • Substitute these for something else that you might wear more often
  • 1 pair of jean shorts
  • Anything you might wear for a day at the beach!
    • This may include a swimsuit or two, a coverup, and towels

Fall/Winter

These things will be warmer and meant to layer to stay warm!

Tops

  • 3 long-sleeved t-shirts, and 3 short sleeved
    • I chose 1 v-neck, 1 scoop neck, and one decorative (floral, graphic, your choice)
  • 2 button downs
    • long sleeved for sure this time
    • I once included a jean jacket, it’s a button down right?!
  • 2 layering tanks
    • I usually choose one white and one in a color that goes with the other things meant to layer
  • 4 sweaters
    • 2-3 cardigans and 1-2 sweaters/sweatshirts
IMG_0012

Sweater with button down and one of my three necklaces

  • 3 dresses
    • 1 tea-length, you decide how fancy, I’m still looking for one that fits the rest of my style, 1 t-shirt, and 1 LBD

Bottoms

  • 3 pants
    • 1 pair of skinny jeans or boot cut jeans, 1 pair of jeggings, and 1 pair of khaki or colored denim
  • 2 leggings
    • 1 pair of full length, and one pair 7/8th length
  • 2 skirts
    • I’m still searching for skirts that I like to wear
    • When I find skirts they will have to work for both Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter

Base Wardrobe

This includes things like shoes, intimates, and accessories.

When deciding your colors for accessories and shoes you should take into account all of the other pieces in your wardrobe.

If you have/want brown shoes, your belts should also be brown. Black leggings do NOT count as “black” but simply a neutral piece of clothing.

Intimates: socks and underwear, there I said it! Everyone wears them so why shouldn’t they be part of our base wardrobe. I am personally VERY bad in this section. I have at least 50 pairs of socks not including the socks that I have for different holidays…

Anyway, this is where you need to decide your personal style. What kind of shoes are you going to be wearing? Pants? Do you want your socks to match your shirt? Can you see a panty line through your pants?

I don’t have the right number for how many you should have but I do know that you should decide on what you want to be seen or not seen.

Accessories should be based on your current sense of style which we considered earlier when asked if you are a minimalist or maximalist. I am definitely a minimalist. Like, I’m lucky if I remember to put earrings on in the morning! I have a few necklaces I wear and exactly two scarves that I wear to “fancy things up a little”.

IMG_0042

Outerwear with a long sleeve and black leggings. 

Shoes should also be picked based on where you live. For Fall/Winter in Minnesota, I choose:

  • winter boots
  • tennis shoes
  • ankle boots, and
  • nice winter boots (Uggs, Bearpaws)

For Spring/Summer I choose:

  • casual sandals (White Mountain, Birks)
  • nice sandals (to wear with dresses)
  • adventure sandals (Teva, Keen, Chacos, Crocs (don’t hate me))
  • flats (Tieks, Toms)
  • tennis shoes

To conclude! Happy minimizing, and please don’t throw anything away until you know that you can do the Capsule Wardrobe that you designed for yourself.

Featured Image belongs to Home Depot.

All other images are my own.