When to start the enrollment process with a recruiter? The correct answer depends on your military objectives. Many make a big mistake by starting the process too soon or not soon enough.
Here is a question from a strong candidate who currently does not meet the physical standards of the military.
Hey Mr. Smith, I’m a strength athlete. Should I wait until I’ve lost weight and be in military shape before speaking with a recruiter or go sit with a recruiter while I’m in the process of losing weight?
Thank you for considering military service. There are two answers to this question, as the answer depends on your branch of service as well as the job you are seeking in the military.
As someone who needs to lose weight while getting into military shape, take the time you need to prepare for the physical challenges ahead. If you do this, the recruiting office will take you more seriously and you’ll be better able to handle running, rucking, and PT tests, as well as meet other standards such as height/weight and body fat percentage.
Every year, hundreds of people will walk into a recruiter’s office and want to join some form of special ops program. These recruits are beginning the recruiting process and have not yet considered preparing for a pre-boot camp fitness test that is required of them.
If you do not pass this initial fitness test, you will not benefit from the special ops program after basic training. These recruits must now spend the remaining days in the Deferred Entry Program solely focusing on the fitness test to get in the training pipeline and are unable to spend enough time on the much harder challenges to obtain through the training pipeline.
This type of recruit is responsible for most of the high attrition rates in training programs such as Navy SEAL, EOD, Diver, SWCC, Air Force Special Warfare, Army Ranger and Special Forces, and Marine RECON.
The problem is rather a lack of specific preparation. If you know you need to prepare for a physical fitness test and your performance will determine the outcome of your job selection, you need time to reach that level of physical ability. The enrollment process may not be long enough.
You must also take into account the physical preparation specific to the future selection of special operations. If you neglect these steps, chances are you’ll be a stat and won’t be able to do your initial military work.
If you need to lose weight, this process may even take longer, especially if part of the weight you need to lose is excess muscle mass and bulk. Often, your athletic performance in qualifying fitness tests will depend on your ability to manage your body weight through high-repetition gym exercises and timed running events. Heavier athletes tend to have problems performing well at these events. Your delayed entry time may not be long enough to fully prepare.
However, if you are joining the conventional army and only have 10-20 pounds to lose, it is very possible to start training during the recruitment process as it takes a few months to get the medical, checks background and other qualifications squared before. recruiters can give you a shipping date.
This can be a lot of time to prepare for physical qualifications as well as height, weight and body fat standards. Also, if you are approaching the maximum age limit and time is a factor if you want to enroll without an age waiver, you may want to start the enrollment process as soon as possible.
Instead of setting yourself an arbitrary timeline for joining and serving, consider a physical performance baseline where you assess your abilities long before you join the military so that there are no undeveloped weaknesses.
I promise you that any weakness will be exposed within the first week of any military or special ops training. Doing this bit of preparation and being patient will increase your chances of completing what you wanted to do when you first considered entering a military recruiting office.
– Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author Certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected]
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