1. Be a Professional Soldier Athlete!
As a Soldier, you are a member of the Profession of Arms. This means when you sign on the dotted line you became part of an elite group—less than 1% of the US population earns the privilege of military service. And, as a Professional Soldier Athlete, you must always maintain your arms, your equipment and YOURSELF! Do this not only to optimize your performance and improve your health, but because you are called to serve your country in defense of our nation, our constitution and our people. Be a Professional Soldier Athlete!
2. Challenge and motivate your friends and family!
What do you and your family and friends do for fun? Is it screen-time with popcorn, potato chips and soda? As you get your P3 on, why not involve your family or friends? Being social is more fun and as the going gets tough, having someone to keep you on track of your goals can be the motivation you need to keep on going! Use the P3 Challenge and work on some challenges in the guide together. Or if you have your family use the P3 Family Guide and work through some target goals together. It’s always better with friends and family!
3. Set a S.M.A.R.T. goal and do it!
Just because you want to get stronger, faster and fitter, doesn’t mean you can do this by will alone. Did you know that you will complete your goal 75% of the time if you make a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based (S.M.A.R.T.) goal, tell someone about it and then give them weekly updates? The P3 Challenge modules have numerous weekly challenges to help motivate you to perform at your peak. Challenge yourself to pick one target a week and if the going gets tough, don’t quit—seek out other resources! Army Wellness Center personnel have certified health coaches to help determine your baseline fitness, your metabolic rate, and how to incorporate P3 goals into your daily life. Also, your unit Master Resiliency Trainer has tools to help you set and achieve your goals. Leverage technology and social media to assist you in meeting your goals. Posting your progress on Facebook and/or Twitter and using the P3 App can help you monitor and track your progress and motivate you to success. So, what are you waiting for? Make a S.M.A.R.T. P3 goal, download the app, and go tell your battle buddy!
4. Sleep-for more brains, brawn and beauty!
The majority of adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per 24 hour period. There is no “badge of honor” for operating on less sleep. Did you know that you are mentally sharper, a better athlete, and even look better to other people if you get good sleep? Brains, brawn and beauty—you can’t buy that in a supplement! Try it out, sleep longer, and get an average of 8 hours a night for the next 2 weeks and see if you have more energy and feel better!
5. Fuel for performance - Eat at LEAST 8 servings of fruits and vegetables EVERY DAY!
“8 is great!” Making ½ your plate fruits and vegetables can go a long way in reaching this goal. Why should you do this? For your performance and health, of course! Fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses and studies continue to show the fruits and vegetables help you build physical, cognitive, and emotional strength! Love fruits but can’t stand the taste of green stuff? Spice it up—you’ll be surprised how delicious vegetables can be if they are prepared the way you like them. Read more in How to Get 8 Daily Servings of Fruits and Vegetables. Even better—did you know that after eating something for 6 weeks you will naturally start to crave it?
6. Include 2 or more days of resistance training and 1 agility training session per week!
Strength training is essential to being a tactical athlete, yet only 60-70% of Soldiers properly strength train! Build strength and toughness by focusing on the Essential Seven movements, seven foundational movements to strengthen all your major muscle groups. As an extra challenge throw in an agility workout to tax your neuromuscular system like box jumps, burpees, Olympic lifts, cleans, jerks, snatches, sprints, shuttle runs. Trying these explosive agility workouts can release powerful hormones to amplify your gains and train your muscles and nervous system to work more effectively.
7. Aim for 10,000 to 15,000 steps per day!
Have you heard that sitting is the new smoking? That is because our body is meant to MOVE! If you work-out in the morning and have 5,000 steps by 0900, you still need to get 10,000 steps during the rest of the day = try to reach 15,000+ steps/day! And did you know that spending over 10 hours sitting each day is associated with a 34% increased risk of dying early? That’s even despite doing daily physical training. This is important to do but your performance will suffer if you sit at a desk and pound away at online training, memos, and monitor your email account for the rest of the day! To combat the sitting disease, get up and take a walk—10 minutes every hour is best. Other tips include parking at the back of a parking lot, stand-up meetings, or if need to talk with someone—walk and talk! Also, try this great higher octane work break during the day—10 minutes of pushups, squats and calisthenics to keep your performance at its peak!
8. Sleep is ammunition for your brain! Your brain needs 7-8 hours of sleep EVERY night to perform at your best!
Although Soldiers crave more sleep they struggle with sleep more than the average American. Only 37% of Soldiers get optimal sleep to perform at their best! You wouldn’t go to war without ammo, so why do so many of us start the day with a half-empty “sleep magazine”? Many Soldiers don’t realize that caffeine can stay active in your body for up to 6 hours and can disrupt your sleep by keeping your brain stimulated. Set a regular bedtime and Go Caffeine Free 6 hours before bed—you’ll be glad you did! Read more about sleep.
9. Re-fuel 30-60 minutes after strenuous exercise like a tactical athlete!
Always re-fuel 30-60 minutes after exercise! Sound easy? Only 25% of Soldiers re-fuel after exercise! Top athletes think about fueling before and during exercise and use top quality fuel for peak performance! You wouldn’t put 87 octane fuel in your high performance sports car, so why would you fuel your body with junk food after a tough workout? Use the simple formula of 4:1 grams of a “high octane” carbohydrate to protein to refuel after your next strenuous workout. A hot dog in a white bread bun is NOT an optimal choice—it has 22 grams of carbohydrates & 5 grams of protein. A better option would be a banana and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter—27 grams of carbs & 7 grams of protein! How about chocolate milk—26 grams of carbs & 8 grams of protein! Check out Choosing the Right Foods for many more choices.
10. Get 150 minutes of moderate exercise + 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week!
Does this one sound easy? Check again—only about 60% of Soldiers meet this goal weekly! 75 minutes of vigorous exercise includes those heart pumping intense full body workouts that get your heart beating and gives a metabolic “after burn” while 150 minutes of moderate exercise is the foundation for sustained performance and personal health and can include a brisk walk, jogging, or light cycling! Turn it up with 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week—running, fast cycling, swimming, and high intensity training. Check out
Aerobic Activity Goals for more information on what counts as “moderate” vs. “vigorous” exercise. Are you meeting these exercise targets?