Path to Great Lakes Pt. 2, Getting to MEPS

So I left us off in Part 1 of Path to Great Lakes when I made my decision to join the U.S. Navy.

It was a big decision for me to leave behind the life I had been building to serve my country. It was big, but it was exciting, and I was ready.

Or, was I?

The next time I went back to meet with Pretty Officer C. he brought up the physical fitness assessment or PFA (because the military shortens EVERYTHING). For the Navy, it consists of a mile and a half run, push-ups, and curl-ups (A.K.A. sit-ups). At the time, each gender and each age group within a gender had different standards for the PFA. Being 21 I was in the second age bracket and would need 50 curl-ups, 17 push-ups and a 15:15 run minimumNote: They have changed the PFA standards and recruits must now pass a preliminary PFA within their first week or two at RTC. Male recruits need to finish the run in 16 minutes 10 seconds or less, the female recruits in 18 minutes seven seconds or less. Source and more PFA information

At MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) there is also a medical assessment. The main thing I was worried about with this is the part where they take your height and weight, compare it to a chart and if you’re not within weight they can end your journey (for that day) right then and there. Due to my build, we decided that it would not be safe or healthy for me to be within the weight range for my height.

I am 5’10” and they wanted me to weigh 191lbs or less. I have a lot of muscle and have not weighed 190lbs since I was probably 15 years old. But the thing is I don’t look like I weigh that much.

Side note: my boyfriend recently found out how much I weigh and was floored that I could possibly weigh that much. He doesn’t care how much I weigh but he just couldn’t believe, based on how I look, that I could weigh as much as the scale says.

Anyways, there was an option to be put through based on body fat percentage. This is not the BMI, which is a totally ridiculous test that I will have to save for another post. They take your height, weight, and measure your waist right around your hipbone. When the female recruiter at Burnsville NRS, Petty Officer B. measured my waist, we found that I only needed to lose about two inches from my stomach.

We talked about diet and exercise to make sure I could start doing everything to make weight. I started a Keto Diet similar to the targeted diet found here. I found that carbs are everywhere! The targeted diet was extremely helpful because I found myself losing steam in my workouts. Being able to give my body some carbs soon before and refueling with chocolate milk for the fats and proteins made working out a much more lucrative practice.

I was working as a Lifeguard at the YMCA, so I had free access to the gym facilities and pool, which helped with being able to work out so much. I also had access to some amazing trainers and swim coaches. I have been around water my whole life so I was not worried about the swim qualification at all (more on that in a later Path to Great Lakes post).

I hit a plateau.

I had lost about an inch from my waist and it just stopped.

So Petty Officer C. started coming to work out with me every morning for about two weeks. Here’s what our workout looked like. I was lifeguarding at night, so I would work out in the morning with Petty Officer C. and then go to work early to do it again. This worked like a CHARM! Two weeks and I had lost the extra inch. Note: working in the pool environment had long taught me to hydrate and adding extra workouts and sweat prompted me to drink about twice as much as I had before. This was not water weight loss but fat being burned because of the diet and exercise plan that I had implemented.

I was ready to go to MEPS!

This entire time I had also been studying for the ASVAB. This website has all of the categories that are found on the ASVAB and is an amazing resource. I pretty much needed to maintain the score I had achieved on the practice ASVAB, but I knew it was always better to have a better score.

We set a date (Nov. 18th, 2016) for MEPS and I was told to keep up what I was doing.

Part 3 will be available on March 15th, 2019!

UPDATE: Due to health concerns I was unable to post on March 15th. Part 3 is available April 23rd.

See Part 1 here!

Featured Image found on the MEPS Facebook Page.

Path to Great Lakes Pt. 1, Meeting My Recruiter

Meeting the Recruiter

I was so excited and nervous to meet a Navy recruiter that I started Googling “what to wear to meet your recruiter”, well let me tell you that search criteria matters! I got myself all worked up because Google kept telling me I needed to wear a suit and show up with my cover letter, resume, and references…

WHAT!?

After I let my dad calm me down I realized that there are also BUSINESS recruiters and that I should just wear jeans and a shirt.

I showed up 30 minutes before our appointment; Petty Officer C. was ready for me and impressed with my ability to be early. My dad came with to help me soak up as much information as possible, which I HIGHLY recommend. Keep in mind with this though, (unless you are under 18) you are a grown adult who is making a VERY adult decision and bringing someone with you should not interfere with your meeting and you should answer all of the questions for yourself.

I took the practice ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) a fancy term for an all-inclusive test to make sure you know how to read and do basic math. To do really well, having some mechanical, electrical and computer knowledge will help. After I took that test, achieving a 45 out of 99 we talked about what I wanted my rate to be. Rate is what the Navy calls their jobs, other branches call this an MOS. I was very interested in being an LS or Logistics Specialist so we discussed my options with that and the scores I would need on the ASVAB.

My head swirling with new information and the thought that I needed to make a hard decision, I left the office and drove back to my college town which was about three hours away. I talked it over with my roommate and called my mom. It only took me a couple of days to know what I had to do, so I called Petty Officer C. and made another appointment to start the paperwork.

I was excited to start my journey and ready for the hard work ahead.

Part 2 will be available March 1, 2019