In honor of Memorial Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share some inspirational tips from a Marine. My boyfriend spent four years as an active duty Marine stationed in North Carolina. During his time in the military, he completed two tours overseas in addition to extensive training events and boot camp. His training included long distance running and hikes along with intense strength exercises. Many of his missions required a high amount of both physical and mental endurance. Whenever I’m in need of some motivation and encouragement, I always go to him for advice. To celebrate the strength our military instills in our troops, I included a Q&A below with helpful tips for runners and people who frequently exercise to get moving.
- What is your main source of motivation for your workouts?
The main source of motivation in my workouts consists mainly of the ability to do my job to the best of my ability. If I do not keep myself in shape and in the condition consistent of an infantryman, I run the risk of being unable to do my job when it matters. Trust me when it matters…it really matters. So in short my main motivation is job performance, in the Marine Corps infantry, job performance can be the difference between life and death.
- How were you taught to deal with very stressful situations?
The Marine Corps trains you from day one to deal with stress. Our job is all stress in one way or another. In a nutshell, the best way to deal with stress is to put yourself in stressful situations. Along with exposing yourself to stressful situations, one of the best ways to learn to deal with stress is through physical challenges including running, lifting, and hiking. Always push yourself beyond your comfort zone and remember what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
- What was the longest distance you had to run or hike during your service? How did you mentally endure to finish the distance required to complete?
The longest distance I had to run with a rucksack, flak jacket, Kevlar, and rifle (large backpack, bulletproof vest, helmet) was over thirty miles with my total body weight over 400lbs. This happened almost every month to maintain our physical but most importantly mental fitness. The best way to mentally endure long distances and challenges is to build yourself up to your end goal. Your mind becomes stronger every time you complete a challenge larger than the one set before. Start with 100lbs and hike/jog 10 miles. Then add 50lbs and add 5 miles. Add another 100 lbs. and add 20 miles and so on. Nobody runs a marathon by getting up one morning and doing it. They train, work hard, and build their endurance over time by pushing themselves more and more each time.
- What did the military teach you about discipline and working out?
The military taught me how to be well disciplined and how to stay in shape because they are the cornerstones of a Marine. Nothing in the Marine Corps is more important than understanding what has to be done, how to do it, and getting it done, no matter the cost. With running and staying in shape the most important element is discipline. Always getting up every day and doing what you need to do to get yourself closer to your goal. Whether it’s lifting weight, going for a run or even eating that salad instead of that cheeseburger, the sacrifices you make to keep yourself disciplined are the difference between success and failure.
- What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to run or workout?
The best advice I could give someone who is just starting to run or workout is “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. It’s a process and it takes time. One day at a time one workout at a time one clean meal at a time and a whole lot of consistency and discipline. At first it will be hard but as you continue the process and keep putting the work in you will start to see the difference and it will snowball from there. Once you follow that formula and keep the consistency you will become engulfed with the changes and your motivation will only increase as you continue to follow the process. Bottom line starting is hard but once you get going and start seeing changes it will be even harder to stop than it was to start.