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The Military Diet 101: Plan, Strategies and Resources For Losing Weight

Updated on March 27, 2014

About That Military Diet

Before you can advance to the rest of your training in the military, you will need to have a certain body mass index or BMI in order to remain in the military. The body mass index is the percentage of fat that you carry and in order to remain in the US Army, men must maintain an 18% body fat while women must maintain at least a 25% BMI. For the Marine Corps the BMI requirements are the same as those in the US Army.

The US Air Force requires its' soldiers to have a body mass of 25% and the US Navy requires its' soldiers should have between 25 and 36% of body mass. Here are some tips on maintaining a healthy weight as a military serviceperson.

Healthy Weight Loss Tips

Lose Weight With The Military Diet

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Exercise Tips

One thing you want to do is run at least three to four times a week because it boosts your metabolism and it prepares you well for basic training if you just signed up for the military and want to stay fit. Since the Army physical fitness test requires you to do a certain number of push ups, you want to do a few push ups per day and you should also do fifteen to twenty sit ups a day. In between the exercises you want to drink water since it keeps you hydrated.

Stock Up On Proteins

Protein is important in building a healthy metabolism rate and this is especially important since many military service persons are physically active. Lean proteins such as turkey, chicken and lean beef or pork are ideal choices. You can also get proteins from vegetables and by taking protein supplements during the week. Another benefit of protein is that you reduce risks of bone injuries.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

You want to consume more fruits and vegetables if you're on a military diet because they contain numerous vitamins and minerals that give you energy and keep your body in shape during after military basic training. You can do this by preparing a fruit smoothie with wheat germ in the morning and then have a piece of grilled salmon with tomato and kale salad and a lemon vinaigrette.

Cut Back on Carbs

You want to reduce the amount of carbs you consume because carbohydrates lead to weight gain and this is not good if you are planning to stay in good shape while in the military. You can have a small amount of carbs as a snack during the week but for the most part you should stick to proteins, fruits and vegetables.

Make Fiber A Part of Your Diet

The reason why fiber is important to a military diet is because it serves as an appetite suppressant and when you eat small meals during the day that is filled with fiber, you will feel fuller and not crave the unhealthy foods that will cause weight gain and loss of energy. You can eat fiber cereal in the morning with fruits that are high in fiber such as grapes, blueberries and strawberries.

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Join A Support Group

While you are on your diet, it is always a good idea to get support from others because with the pressures of training for the military and the isolation from loved ones, you may get tempted to return to your old dietary habits. If there is a support group near the training facility during boot camp, join the group and discuss your struggles in trying to stay in shape with fellow members. You will also build new friendships in the support group and they can give additional military diet tips.

Diet Tips for Military Service persons Who Are Diabetic

If you're a diabetic you should only eat 50% of carbohydrates during the day and the purpose of this is ensure that your blood sugar level stays stable while you're performing tasks in the military.

It's also that you eat the right kind of carbs to break down food easier in the body such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid all carb foods high in white flours since these increase your glucose levels. Proteins are also important for diabetics.

Military Diet for Vegetarians

If you're a vegetarian and in the military, it's still possible to get the best nutrition even without eating meat. You would still exercise daily and drink plenty of water, but you would seek other means of getting proteins in your diet. You can eat more beans and whole grains on a regular basis in order to get the necessary proteins for good health and weight loss.

If you need an extra boost of calcium, you can eat leafy greens as these help you get stronger bones for better performance in training camp and for the duration of your time in the military.

Muscle Building Exercises

Some of the best muscle-building exercises aside from eating on a military diet include push ups, chin ups, sit ups, kickboxing, leg and thigh squats and cardio workouts that put an emphasis on the leg, arm and back muscles. If you are headed to boot camp soon, you can get a head start on the training by purchasing a few DVDs of workout exercises.

Hiring a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist

If you can afford to do so, you can hire a personal trainer and nutritionist to assist you in completing your military diet. Make sure you hire someone who is licensed and who has experience and expertise in working with military service persons.

You want to follow the exercise and diet plan exactly as the nutritionist and trainer asked and you can carry some of these same techniques with you after you're officially in the military.

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Lose Weight With The Healthy Lifestyle
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Good Heart Healthy Diet Foods for Men in the Military

Your weight loss is connected to heart health and if you're a man in the military, here are some foods that will help you lose weight and have better cardiovascular health. One option is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables since the vitamins and minerals in these foods contribute to a stronger heart and digestive system.

Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids such as shrimp, tuna, oysters and halibut also assist with weight loss and good cardiovascular health. You should eat bananas every few days because they are high in potassium and this mineral stabilizes your heartbeat. Finally, oatmeal is a good choice.

Military Diets That Contain No Sodium

A military diet that has no sodium is good for weight loss and maintaining a healthy blood pressure that prevents diabetes and high blood pressure while you are in the military. Start by purchasing salt substitutes in the form of herbs and spices to season your food and you should also cut out all boxed and canned ready-to-eat meals because they are high in sodium and contain unnecessary calories. Instead of canned vegetables and fruits, eat fresh ones instead.

How Women in The Military Can Shed Excess Fat and Build Muscle

Cut your calorie intake to about 2000 calories per day if you're a woman in the military because it helps you shed the excess fat easier when you don't consume too many calories per day. Instead of eating refined flour and sugary carbs, stop eating those and instead eat healthy carbs such as fruits and whole grains.

Eat five small meals a day because this allows you to burn more calories during your physical exercises for your military training. Finally, do daily exercises such as cardio workouts, brisk walking and running, bike riding and swimming.

Buying the Right Muscle Building Supplements

Before you purchase muscle building supplements, you should read reviews of different brands of muscle building supplements to determine which one is the best brand for your needs.

Look at the list of ingredients and see if only natural herbs, vitamins and minerals are used in the supplements because supplements that have additives and other unknown ingredients could harm your body. Ask friends and relatives for suggestions.

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Train Hard, And Even Harder!!!
Train Hard, And Even Harder!!!

Common Energy-Increasing Foods

Foods high in protein are important in a military diet for those who need a lot of energy during the day. These foods include chicken, fish, certain vegetables, whole grains and lean beef. You should also consume complex carbohydrates that are found in many fruits rather than refined flour snacks and snacks high in sugar. You want to increase your intake of vegetables to increase your energy levels.

How A Poor Diet Hinders Success In The Military

If you are in the military, you want to be in the best physical shape possible so that you can your best and live longer well after you retire from the military. If you have poor nutrition and are not exercising,

you risk getting diabetes, heart attacks and even kidney disease. In addition, you could get a cancer of a certain organ in your digestive system such as the colon and pancreas. You experience slow metabolism and it causes a slowing down of daily movements. Finally, your joints suffer because of poor nutrition.

MREs and Other Foods Army Recruits Eat

An MRE stands for meals-ready-to-eat and these meals come in small-portioned packages that generally require the addition of hot water to heat them up. These meals add up to 1200 calories and these meals contain an entrée, dessert and a light snack. In addition to the MREs, the Army encourages its' recruits to eat healthy during the week and to focus on high protein foods and not to eat foods high in trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.

Army PT Exercises

Push ups are common exercises that Army recruits do during basic training and when they first arrive at boot camp, they will start with ten push ups per day then work their way to larger numbers of push ups. The recruits will also complete jumping jacks, squats and sit-ups during basic training. A good military diet based on high proteins, whole grains, water, and fruits and vegetables.

How to Research Different Diet Plans

Talk with your nutritionist and discuss possible ways to get on a healthy diet that will keep you in shape before and after you get in the military. The nutritionist may examine your body mass index and compare it with the Army's required BMI then he would give solutions for reaching the BMI that the Army requires. Another idea is to purchase some books on dieting for military service persons and you can hire a personal trainer to put you on a certain exercise plan.

Organic Food Benefits

If you haven't arrived at military boot camp and you're trying to lose weight and exercise, choose organic foods because give your health a boost and the foods are often free of toxic ingredients or unhealthy additives. You can find organic foods at most supermarkets and natural health food stores.

Length of Training in Marines

In the Marines boot camp lasts 13 weeks and during the first section of boot camp the recruits receive lessons on what is expected of them as soldiers and how they are to discipline themselves in the military. The second phase of boot camp is when the recruits learn how to use firearms while the last few phases deal with establishing physical fitness and dietary habits. In order to prepare for Marines boot camp you should work to achieve the required body mass index through a military diet and exercise.


A military diet can also be used by civilians who never enter the military but who are training for other activities such as a long marathon, a dance competition or a sporting event in football or basketball. When you exercise and eat right, you experience less stress in your life and you set the foundation for a long life.

Talk with your boot camp counselor about ways you can improve your diet and take heed to his instructions carefully so you'll succeed in training. Finally, make sure you are consistent with your diet and that you get adequate rest so your body will be rejuvenated the next day.


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