Traditionally speaking, this time of year isn’t great for anyone’s fitness personal bests. We are all moving a little slower, trying to shift from the holiday spirit into the shape we know we can be when we are working at our peak. But one thing January has got going for it is that this is the time when we start working towards our goals, towards making the big changes for the better in our lives. For many of us, that means living healthier, working harder and taking our fitness and health more seriously.


For others, the reason for getting into better shape lies with the fact that we are pursuing a bigger goal. The past year has shown just how important it is to step up and take responsibility, to be a part of something bigger, and that is why many young men and women are signing up to join the military. However, it is not just as simple as signing on the dotted line. You need to be in good shape both physically and mentally, so here are a few things you need to know.


The Fitness Test Is Not Impossible, But It Is A Test

If you’re interested in signing up to join the army, then it will be important to check and see what the fitness test requirements are. In the UK, for example, the exact nature of the test has recently changed (although they note that it is not harder exactly, just more finely tuned to meet the requirements of what you will actually be doing once you’ve passed). There will be details online of what you will be asked to do, which will include running (we all know about the famous beep test), the ball throw and the mid-thigh pull. If you’re serious about your physical fitness then these shouldn’t present too much of a challenge, but it is always important to be prepared.


You Will Need To Know Your Own Limits

Of course, it’s not just about one test. Signing up to the military means committing to a long regimen of training where your physical and mental endurance will be put to the test on a regular basis. This isn’t a charity fun run, this is a career you’re choosing. So, it is very important to know that your body and mind are up to the challenge. There are several different ways that you can assess your fitness, but one of the best ways to gauge it is with a test of your VO2max, the volume of oxygen that your body burns through while exercising. For more information on how to do a VO2max calculation and what the benefits are, Military Muscle has a great break-down on how, why and where.


Remember Your Mental Health

It’s not all about making sure that your body is in the best shape it can be. Joining the military is a test of your mind’s ability to handle incredible pressure as much as it is your body’s, so it’s important to make sure that you are in a strong place mentally before signing up. This past year has been hard on all of us and it is common knowledge that men are less likely to open up about mental health issues, so before you throw yourself into this: remember to work on your mental health while you work on your physical health too.