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Food Is Fuel

stew smith

Questions from all levels of fitness are received at and I answer them all. Here is a great story about a young man getting motivated to serve our country – BUT has to lose over 80 lbs to make the height / weight standards.

Stew, I've got to say your website has helped in a number of ways. You've put together a great source for all fitness and military related questions and problems. In early May, I decided to finally get serious about joining the Army. I never was committed to it until recently and started with the 45 Day Plan you offer for FREE on your site. I had about 85 pounds to lose. Now that it is the end of July I have about 45 pounds to lose. I can say now that even in the 270s I feel great. Over the last 2 weeks I cut down to 1200 calories and started doing pt everyday which has been a big boost. The biggest achievement so far is me cutting my association with food being anything but fuel, and it has helped miraculously. My goal is to be able to become part of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

GREAT JOB! Keep it up add more water to your day - up to a gallon a day, but I would not restrict diet to 1200 calories a day. At least get 1800 - as a man you will burn 1800 calories a day just living. Adding in the workout will burn more calories so you lose weight AND get into better shape at the same time. BUT if you restrict too many calories, you will likely lose the energy to PT / do cardio...

At 270 lbs, you are still heavy to do much running. But I would start walking more. Think of it this way. When you weigh 220lbs, you will likely be carrying 50+ lbs in a backpack and walking everywhere with it – especially if you go to Ranger School. Start walking at a minimum of 4 miles per hour or 15 minute mile pace. Rucking is a great fat burning exercise and works even better if you place it at the end of your workout for the day. So do your weights, calisthenics first, then add in rucking (some jogging without weight but not much until you get below 250lbs) to complete your workout.

Food is Fuel - But the biggest thing I want to congratulate you on is the placement of food in the FUEL category. When you are working out for performance driven goals, you need fuel in the tank. Good carbs for energy and glycogen stores, good proteins for muscle recovery and growth, and good fats for overall health as well as a high calorie energy tool. Limiting calories too much is a delicate balancing act that usually leads to some sort of mal-nutrition. In other words, it is difficult to get everything you need to live, workout, work, etc when limiting to 1200 calories a day. In fact, it is a rule of thumb in the nutrition industry to consult a nutritionist / dietician if considering under 1500 calories a day.

Fat Metabolism - For optimal burning of stored fat, you need to take into consideration nutrition and understand how the body uses the foods we eat for energy. To burn fat at optimal levels, your body needs to be primed with water (not dehydrated), and used up most of it glycogen stores (blood sugar energy - AKA Carbs). So, lifting weights or doing high reps PT workouts is ideal for burning up the glycogen stores as resistance training is metabolizing your sugar stores.

After about 20-30 minutes of resistance training, you should be ready to burn fat at a higher rate during your cardio workout providing you keep the heart rate in fat burning zone (use Karvonen Formula or just keep your runs / rucks at just able to talk with minor discomfort). You have to also consider what you ate prior to exercise. Did you eat a lot of carbs? If so, it may take longer to get into fat burning mode, but you will have plenty of energy to lift weights and PT!

Water Consumption to help lose weight - Take a 10 Day Challenge - Below is a chart that will take you through a ten day extra water consuming process to show you that a few quarts of water a day will make you feel better, make skin look better, make you less hungry, and best of all help you release water that is retained in your body's cells - you should lose some weight as well:


Weigh yourself in the morning after using the bathroom and in the evening after dinner.

Try adding 3-4 quarts a day for men and 2-3 quarts a day for women and see what happens!!!

NOTE - if you are already consuming the above amounts there is no need to try this 10 Day Challenge
or add more water to your diet.

Keep up the work and thank you for wanting to serve your country. We want to help you in any way we can. In fact, our new 501c3 non-profit organization is designed to help as many people as we can nationwide get prepared to serve our country in military, law enforcement, and fire fighting professions. Our motto at Heroes of is “Preparing Americans to Serve.” Thanks for the email and let us know if we can help in any way.

Good luck with your nutrition / performance fitness program and I hope you see improvement soon. Workouts can be easily obtained at the Fitness Ebook Store. Send me an email and I may post it up as an article next week. You can contact me at

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