Physical prep for USNA

Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
228
So I am a sophomore female right now with my eyes on USNA 23', and I have the academic piece of my future application in the bag. I am an excellent athlete (not going to lie) and I play a ton of tennis, and competitively swim all summer long, every summer. I do large core workouts every day, bike, run, and go to the gym as often as I can. My parents are skeptical that I am trying to build muscle, and do not seem happy about it. If I want to attend an SA (which I do), should I be building muscle?
 

AF6872

10-Year Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2007
Messages
4,290
Swimming is great as it is an endurance exercise. Concentrating on pull ups is always good for female applicants, check the stats for that. Other than that, Run, Run, Run and Run some more. At AF the altitude will be a factor, At NA the humidity is a big factor and those coming from states without much humidity can have a hard time at Annapolis as humidity can be brutal during Plebe summer. If you have to run up and down to the stadium, that hill at WP will kill (don't know what their runs are like but that hill for football games is hard to even walk). Just remember the muscle between your ears is the best one you have, bulk that up.
 

Capt MJ

Formerly Known As Attila The Hunnette
10-Year Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
13,022
Run on hard surfaces, acclimating gradually. Shin splints are a common problem for Plebes not used to running/chopping (indoor jog) on pavement, bricks, gym floors, indoor hallways, several times a day.
Core strength: pull-ups (get a bar), sit-ups, push-ups, plank-based exercises.
Flexibility and balance, using your whole body in different ways. Pilates. Think future obstacle courses.
Grip strength, important for women.
Overall stamina and endurance.

And - meditation, breathing and yoga techniques to manage stress, attain focus, and visualize performance.

Your goal is overall conditioning.
 

AF6872

10-Year Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2007
Messages
4,290
Overall conditioning is your goal. As MJ says Don't concentrate on one aspect of your physical training. DD played three varsity sports for four years (Field Hockey, Ice Hockey and Lacrosse) and she still said running at Naval Academy during Plebe Summer was the worst. Again Good Luck and Fair Winds and Following Seas.
 
Last edited:

NavyHoops

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
7,102
Getting stronger is never a bad thing. Not sure what your parents concern is, but for some reason when women say "build muscle" people freak out. Unless you are training like a body builder or fitness model that includes extreme levels of lifting, nutrition, etc you will get stronger without looking like a dude. Sure you will gain muscle and get more definition but you won't be looking like Arnold anytime soon. If you are new to lifting ensure it is done with supervision and a plan. Just going in and lifting is not a good approach. Just like training for anything there are cycles of building up, rest, ensuring you have proper form (the most key item), strategies for your goals, etc. Work with a coach or trainer who knows their stuff. Ensure you know the USNA physical standards along with the CFA standards. Push ups, sit ups, pull ups, cardio, core strength. You will spend literally hours during the summer doing push ups, planks, flutter kicks, leg levers, running, pull ups and all kinds of other calisthenics. Anything that builds this is great. Being able to move around your body weight is key. For USNA I recommend someone to be able to run 4-5 miles at a comfortable 8 minute pace on top of 30-45 minutes of calisthenics.

I believe you posted on another thread. Be careful with terms like academics in the bag. Do you really? So you have nailed every AP Calc, AP Physics and AP Chem there is with 5 on the tests and 100% in the class? Do you have a 1600 on the SAT or 36 on the ACT? I don't think you meant what typed, but be careful with terminology like this. The thing a Mid learns early on... you never know who you are talking to. The dude in gym shorts running on the yard to the nice lady at the grocery store could be an Admiral or a spouse to one. You never know who you will run across. The military is a small world. This goes for applicants too. I can't tell you the number of applicants who have run their mouths to me at events because I was not their BGO. I know all their BGOs and sure enough that info immediately gets back to them. Great you are a good athlete. Are you good enough to swim at USNA? Reach out to the coaches. USNA is full of great athletes. The one thing I notice with swimmers is many (not all) tend to break on land. My room mate set nearly a dozen swimming records at USNA, she sucked at land. I am pretty sure she had gills, but that 1.5 mile PRT was not pretty. And she was strong and in amazing shape. I saw many swimmers get shin splints and stress fractures because their bodies were just not used to the amount of pounding Plebe Summer puts on their bodies. There are lots of exercises and techniques to help prevent shin splints... see the cross country coach they will know them. Wear good shoes. If your family has the means go to a running store and get fitted. It can pay dividends when your mileage increases.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
228
Getting stronger is never a bad thing. Not sure what your parents concern is, but for some reason when women say "build muscle" people freak out. Unless you are training like a body builder or fitness model that includes extreme levels of lifting, nutrition, etc you will get stronger without looking like a dude. Sure you will gain muscle and get more definition but you won't be looking like Arnold anytime soon. If you are new to lifting ensure it is done with supervision and a plan. Just going in and lifting is not a good approach. Just like training for anything there are cycles of building up, rest, ensuring you have proper form (the most key item), strategies for your goals, etc. Work with a coach or trainer who knows their stuff. Ensure you know the USNA physical standards along with the CFA standards. Push ups, sit ups, pull ups, cardio, core strength. You will spend literally hours during the summer doing push ups, planks, flutter kicks, leg levers, running, pull ups and all kinds of other calisthenics. Anything that builds this is great. Being able to move around your body weight is key. For USNA I recommend someone to be able to run 4-5 miles at a comfortable 8 minute pace on top of 30-45 minutes of calisthenics.

I believe you posted on another thread. Be careful with terms like academics in the bag. Do you really? So you have nailed every AP Calc, AP Physics and AP Chem there is with 5 on the tests and 100% in the class? Do you have a 1600 on the SAT or 36 on the ACT? I don't think you meant what typed, but be careful with terminology like this. The thing a Mid learns early on... you never know who you are talking to. The dude in gym shorts running on the yard to the nice lady at the grocery store could be an Admiral or a spouse to one. You never know who you will run across. The military is a small world. This goes for applicants too. I can't tell you the number of applicants who have run their mouths to me at events because I was not their BGO. I know all their BGOs and sure enough that info immediately gets back to them. Great you are a good athlete. Are you good enough to swim at USNA? Reach out to the coaches. USNA is full of great athletes. The one thing I notice with swimmers is many (not all) tend to break on land. My room mate set nearly a dozen swimming records at USNA, she sucked at land. I am pretty sure she had gills, but that 1.5 mile PRT was not pretty. And she was strong and in amazing shape. I saw many swimmers get shin splints and stress fractures because their bodies were just not used to the amount of pounding Plebe Summer puts on their bodies. There are lots of exercises and techniques to help prevent shin splints... see the cross country coach they will know them. Wear good shoes. If your family has the means go to a running store and get fitted. It can pay dividends when your mileage increases.

Hi Navy Hoops, thanks for the advice. Are you/were you a BGO? If so, awesome! FYI, by "academics in the bag," I mean that I know the academic portion of my USNA app will be the least of my worries. I am a high achiever and excel often in all of my academics, and I am actually taking all Honors and an AP course at the moment as a tenth grader. I honestly found your critique of my vocabulary very presumptuous, but I appreciate your advice and I will be more careful as to how I convey my strengths next time. As for athletics, I am a tennis player year round and I train with elite groups in my area. I also love swimming and have been swimming competitively my whole life. I have not been recruited by Navy for tennis, but I would love to play there. I know at USNA you have to play sports as much as possible (yay), and I was curious if they accept walk-ons or if they have club tennis? Thanks so much for all of your fitness advice too!
 

NavyHoops

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
7,102
I am not a BGO but have worked extensively with them in my area through the alumni network, sat on MOC boards and worked tons of recruiting events. I have spent time talking to, interviewing and providing advice to candidates for over 10 years now. I have also had many close friends work for admissions that answer the obscure questions for me.

Go ahead and find it presumptuous, it won't bother me. You are obviously a confident young lady, good on you. We need confident leaders who are are humble. You can take it or leave the advice, it was meant to assist you. Just trying to lend some advice on phrasing and how important words can be as you progress through the admissions pipeline when dealing with admissions counselors and BGOs. We often see so many kids write emails like they are texting their buddies (you wouldn't believe how often this happens) and totally screw up encounters with key people. Using a phrase like having something in the bag without full terminology or context regardless of what you really mean could make a massive impact when dealing with someone like a BGO. I have seen 35 ACTs and every stat you can think of get turned down by USNA. Everyone at USNA is driven and excels. It's what makes it unique. You are on the right path, don't let up.

USNA does not have a club tennis team. If you go to the Navy sports page you can cruise around the women's tennis teams site and their list of club sports. The tennis team was recently elevated to D1 status a few years ago and has done very well. There is also info on how to reach out to the coaches on the site. They are required to follow NCAA guidelines so not sure if they can contact you yet as you are a soph. If they are interested they will pursue you. So it's important to update as you progress in your sport. The whole every Mid is an athlete and they are always playing sports is sort of an exaggerated myth. Yes every Mid must pass the PRT and play either a D1, club or intramural sport. The majority play an intramural and they play 2-3 times a week max and some weeks none. It's probably 50/50 between D1/club and intramural among Mids. Some club sports are extremely competitive and busy and some are more relaxed and less time intensive. One thing I hear continually from new Mids and holds true for when I was there is the surprise of how many unathletic Mids there were.
 
Last edited:

Nav21

Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
18
Hi Navy Hoops, thanks for the advice. Are you/were you a BGO? If so, awesome! FYI, by "academics in the bag," I mean that I know the academic portion of my USNA app will be the least of my worries. I am a high achiever and excel often in all of my academics, and I am actually taking all Honors and an AP course at the moment as a tenth grader. I honestly found your critique of my vocabulary very presumptuous, but I appreciate your advice and I will be more careful as to how I convey my strengths next time. As for athletics, I am a tennis player year round and I train with elite groups in my area. I also love swimming and have been swimming competitively my whole life. I have not been recruited by Navy for tennis, but I would love to play there. I know at USNA you have to play sports as much as possible (yay), and I was curious if they accept walk-ons or if they have club tennis? Thanks so much for all of your fitness advice too!

I think what Navy Hoops is trying to say is that you can not be comfortable with anything less than perfect, because there are always people who are better, so really there is no such thing as, "in the bag." Competitive, yes, but there is always room for improvement.

One of the greatest things I was told was, "You can do well, especially when you're not challenged." It is great that you are an all A student with an AP, but what about the sophomores with 3,4, or 5 APs (there are a lot more than you would expect). Does the academy like 7 AP classes for juniors, with a couple of Bs, or someone with 5 AP and all As? One is challenging them self, but seemingly "less successful" at each class.

Overall you look good, so now it is time to ask yourself, "how can I challenge myself." I think you will do great in the future with the dedication you have, so best of luck and keep up the good work!
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
228
I think what Navy Hoops is trying to say is that you can not be comfortable with anything less than perfect, because there are always people who are better, so really there is no such thing as, "in the bag." Competitive, yes, but there is always room for improvement.

One of the greatest things I was told was, "You can do well, especially when you're not challenged." It is great that you are an all A student with an AP, but what about the sophomores with 3,4, or 5 APs (there are a lot more than you would expect). Does the academy like 7 AP classes for juniors, with a couple of Bs, or someone with 5 AP and all As? One is challenging them self, but seemingly "less successful" at each class.

Overall you look good, so now it is time to ask yourself, "how can I challenge myself." I think you will do great in the future with the dedication you have, so best of luck and keep up the good work!

Hi Nav21, thanks for the insight! The challenge mindset is always what I strive for, at the moment sophomores at my school can only take 1 AP. Competition fuels my brain, and I'm not stopping until I get to USNA; once I at there, I'll just keep going!!! I totally get what you are saying about "in the bag" though, it's just I think Navy Hoops took that too literally. No one really thinks they are going to get a perfect 100 in Calc AB and get a 5 on the exam and in every single other class...
 

landlock

5-Year Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
131
Improving strength now a huge part of junior tennis. Think about going to USNA tennis camp in the summer. Great camp even just to get better at tennis. You can see what life is like there....you will be staying in Bancroft! Last 2 years mens coach has been there and he is awesome, made it very fun,, high caliber kids from all over the country are there. Don't remember women's coach there the weeks my son was there but you can email him. Looks like USNA tennis roster is mostly 3-4 star ranked players on tennis recruiting.net. You can search tennis recruiting even without paying. See how reachable that might be from your USTA section by next year...if you want to play tennis at USNA. 3 star might not be that hard if you are in truly elite program and can get to USTA events.
 

time2

10-Year Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
1,774
If you think you have your academics 'in the bag', there are plenty of other ways to spend your remaining time in h.s. SA's typically recruit athletes who have been successful at the regional/state level by competing and often winning titles for their varsity sport. There are no points on the WCS for working out or just practicing, for good reason. They are looking for top athletes who have EXCELLED in their sport in competition with their peers, those are the individuals you will be eventually competing against for an appointment. Do you participate in other ECA's and have leadership roles to show for these?
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
228
If you think you have your academics 'in the bag', there are plenty of other ways to spend your remaining time in h.s. SA's typically recruit athletes who have been successful at the regional/state level by competing and often winning titles for their varsity sport. There are no points on the WCS for working out or just practicing, for good reason. They are looking for top athletes who have EXCELLED in their sport in competition with their peers, those are the individuals you will be eventually competing against for an appointment. Do you participate in other ECA's and have leadership roles to show for these?

Hey Time2, to answer your question, I am a member of ECA's but the leadership roles go to upperclassmen, so I plan on procuring those in my junior year. Also, I am working on starting a branch of Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots Environmental Club at my school which promotes campaigns for environmental awareness, community service, and many other causes. I am also a member of Model UN and Key Club. Again, leadership roles to come.
 
Last edited:

NavyHoops

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
7,102
Something that we see time and time again from candidates with kids and clubs...having a title of President, Treasurer, etc of a club is one thing. Title does not always equate to leading. You can lead a community service event without being in charge of a club at school. USNA cares about the action more than the tile. When I ask kids on MOC boards what they did as the club (insert any title here) we often hear the bullet points of I did x, y, and z. Every kid who ever held that title did that. That isn't necessarily leading that is doing the job description. As a Plebe you won't have a title, but you will be called upon to lead. You will have a title as a Ensign or 2ndLt, but it doesn't mean you are leading. We want to see kids with initiative. I have seen some amazing leadership from kids that had nothing to do with a club. They organized community service events at animal shelters, group homes, senior facilities, shelters, churches, parks, etc. They were able to coordinate all the activities with shelter leadership, park service, etc. They also coordinate all the labor, donation of money, services, goods from other places to make the event happen. They organized shoe, coat, food drives in communities. They have lead Habitat for Humanity efforts. I have seen alot of athletes use their teams, school facilities, etc for leading camps, clinics, etc with community youth. Its a great way to combine a passion of sports, teaching future kids about that sport and volunteering. You don't have to be a team Captain to approach the team Captains or Coach to put an idea together and execute it. That is the kind of stuff that a SA is looking for.There are tons of opportunities to lead that provide amazing examples for future essays, interview talking points and lessons learned on leading.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
228
Something that we see time and time again from candidates with kids and clubs...having a title of President, Treasurer, etc of a club is one thing. Title does not always equate to leading. You can lead a community service event without being in charge of a club at school. USNA cares about the action more than the tile. When I ask kids on MOC boards what they did as the club (insert any title here) we often hear the bullet points of I did x, y, and z. Every kid who ever held that title did that. That isn't necessarily leading that is doing the job description. As a Plebe you won't have a title, but you will be called upon to lead. You will have a title as a Ensign or 2ndLt, but it doesn't mean you are leading. We want to see kids with initiative. I have seen some amazing leadership from kids that had nothing to do with a club. They organized community service events at animal shelters, group homes, senior facilities, shelters, churches, parks, etc. They were able to coordinate all the activities with shelter leadership, park service, etc. They also coordinate all the labor, donation of money, services, goods from other places to make the event happen. They organized shoe, coat, food drives in communities. They have lead Habitat for Humanity efforts. I have seen alot of athletes use their teams, school facilities, etc for leading camps, clinics, etc with community youth. Its a great way to combine a passion of sports, teaching future kids about that sport and volunteering. You don't have to be a team Captain to approach the team Captains or Coach to put an idea together and execute it. That is the kind of stuff that a SA is looking for.There are tons of opportunities to lead that provide amazing examples for future essays, interview talking points and lessons learned on leading.

NavyHoops, this is super insightful! I love what you say about initiative. My mom always told me about the importance of being a "change maker," and that shines through in your response. Thanks a lot for your advice, I have found it to be very useful and I'm sure others have too! As a new member of SA forums, I am so impressed at the amount of intelligent and helpful people contributing to this platform!
 
Top