Practical Tips For Military Families Trying To Eat Well And Stay Fit

Health & Fitness
Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke J. Kitterman

Life can be hectic when you’re working, taking care of kids, and running the house. Staying in shape as a military family may not be a priority. However, there are ways you can stay healthy and fit without having to sacrifice too much time.

Task & Purpose spoke with two certified trainers: Christina Landry, founder of DumBell Fitness, and Nicole Glor of NikkiFitness. Both have worked to create fun, daily fitness regimens for military families that don’t require major time commitments. Landry, a Navy veteran and Navy spouse, runs the DumBell Fitness program out of Hawaii. Glor is a former college athlete who began making fitness DVDs, including one aimed at military spouses: the military wife workout.

Here are their tips for how to stay fit.

How to find motivation:

NG: Find something that you love. Try a lot of different things. You might be a solitary worker-outer, where you just want to do something by yourself. You might be motivated to get up and dance around. Some people are more into yoga or into cardio. If you start working out, you become addicted to it, and it’s fun and it gives you endorphins. [The hardest part] if you’re still in that stage where working out is hard … is just scheduling it in.

CL: Starting from square one really comes from the kitchen. It’s false for us to say that exercise is the way to start getting healthy. My biggest advice to military families trying to start getting healthy again is really to start in the kitchen and to not overwhelm yourself. It’s just a small change. Don’t overhaul completely. Make smaller changes that gradually add up to a cleaner lifestyle.

What your diet should look like:

NG: Nutrition and diet are probably more important than fitness. It’s really about calories in versus calories out and eating healthy foods that aren’t going to bloat you, foods that are high in fiber, vegetables, only lean protein  — fish and chicken and eggs. I don’t really like detoxes where you’re just drinking liquids all the time. It’s not sustainable. Work in a “meatless Monday” here or there. Working out and nutrition works together.

CL: I’m really passionate about the military family being in the kitchen, learning to become healthy. Instead of buying another bag of chips, finish what you have now, and next time make kale chips or buy a healthier version of those chips. Have a very fully stocked refrigerator. If your cabinets are full, and bursting at the seams, you’re not eating a healthy, clean lifestyle. We want your refrigerator to be completely packed.

See Nicole Glor’s Military Wife Workout demo.

How to exercise:

NG: As long as you find something that is going to not feel like work and make you happy then that is the best workout for you. When I had my first child … I created a baby workout, it’s called “Baby Booty Camp” and that is a 15-minute workout [where] you can use your baby as a weight. My son really liked little shaking movements and jiggling movements to settle him down when he was fussy — he liked me doing lunges and squats with him. So it was great.

CL:  Whether you’re a working mother or a working father, I think a morning workout really sets the tone for the rest of the day. A program I really like is called Stroller Warriors. It’s free; it’s predominantly military spouses. They put their little ones, toddlers, babies, in a stroller, and they walk or jog. And workout first thing in the morning.

Where to work out:

NG: If you find something that you like, it could just be that you really want to be in a class or getting to the gym … or maybe working at home is the best for you. Maybe you’re traveling a lot and you’re doing a workout on your phone, or going to the park with a local trainer.

CL: Stay away from big gyms and head over to “Mom and Pop” gyms. It’s kind of called the anti-gym movement. It’s not just about weight loss, there’s also a really huge social element to fitness. Trying to stay connected is about being accountable, and not just another number [like you can be at a big gym].

Watch Christina Landry talk about turning your diet around.

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