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Stay calm about the situation; stress can lead to an even bigger midsection.
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If you're required to do physical training tests as part of your job, then you're probably more than motivated to pass. For those in the armed forces, failing the "tape test" for a maximum waist circumference used to mean you'd lose your job. While passing the tape test is not an absolute necessity, it could still put your job in jeopardy. If you don't pass the tape test, you'll need to be within a certain range for your body mass index, or BMI. If you're close to failing the tape test or the BMI range, it's time to reach into your bag of fitness tricks for ways to lose inches off the waist.
Focus on Cardio
If you're close to the maximum-allowed waist measurement, chances are it's not muscle that's bulking up your midsection, but an excess of fat. The only way to get rid of that is to do fat-burning exercises -- and namely, cardio -- not an excess of situps or other "'spot reduction" techniques. If you're not already doing some type of cardio every day or nearly every day, start. Don't allow excuses such as not having enough time or a gym nearby stop you. Some of the biggest calorie burners out there require almost no equipment. Running only requires shoes, and jumping rope only requires a very modest investment in a fitness rope. Alternate between 20 to 60 minutes of these two exercises every day, giving yourself one day off in which you do low-intensity exercise such as walking. Look for other ways to burn more calories too. Bike to work, take the stairs to your workplace or start walking to the grocery store. Every bit counts.
Rev It Up: HIIT
There's also another form of cardio that can help you burn subcutaneous abdominal fat even faster: high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Instead of continually doing those longer runs or jags of jumping rope, try this form of cardio two days a week. Perform a warmup of about five to 10 minutes of light cardio, and then speed up and jog or jump rope at your maximum speed for about one minute. Then slow down to a recovery pace of about 50 percent of your max for one minute. Cycle between these two intensities a total of eight times. This exercise will keep your metabolism up for the rest of the day, as well as increasing your overall fitness level -- something that will also help you out when test day comes.
Minimize Strength Training
You may think you need to be doing situps, pushups and pullups every day in order to pass your next physical training test, but that's a mistake you should have learned in Fitness 101. Your muscles need time to rest and recover between strength training workouts, to give them time to synthesize new muscle tissue. Also, while doing an adequate number of situps is going to help you pass the sit-up test, doing too many may cause you to bulk up, which can result in a bigger waist circumference measurement. It's still important to train, but limit your pushup, pullup and situp training to two days a week, on non-consecutive days.
What You're Eating
You may think you're already making enough sacrifices by taking this much time out for fitness -- but you should be willing to make one more sacrifice if you're serious about slimming down. Losing body fat should include cardio, but you'll get even more results by cutting calories. It doesn't have to be a dramatic cut-back, either. Aiming to cut 100 to 200 calories a day will help you take in 700 to 1,400 fewer calories a week, which can help you lose 1 pound in as little as two weeks.
Keeping in mind that 3,500 calories equals 1 pound of fat, look for ways to easily reduce calories, such as drinking one beer a night instead of two, skipping the morning scone or dropping the cheese off your sandwich. Each of these options will help you cut roughly 100 to 200 calories a day, which can help you slim down that waist over time. Also try drinking a 16-ounce glass of water just before you eat, which will fill you up and make you less likely to overeat.