• Maj. Gen. Dean G. Sienko, commander, U.S. Army Public Health Command, works out on a wellness center treadmill to determine his exercise metabolic rate and assess his cardio-respiratory fitness level during his initial ramp-up to Performance Triad.

    Performance Triad

    Maj. Gen. Dean G. Sienko, commander, U.S. Army Public Health Command, works out on a wellness center treadmill to determine his exercise metabolic rate and assess his cardio-respiratory fitness level during his initial ramp-up to Performance Triad.

  • (From left) Staff Sgt. Jonathan Silva-Mateo, Sgt. Nelson Woods and Sgt. John Riley role play delivery of Performance Triad to Soldiers in their squads during classroom training.

    Performance Triad

    (From left) Staff Sgt. Jonathan Silva-Mateo, Sgt. Nelson Woods and Sgt. John Riley role play delivery of Performance Triad to Soldiers in their squads during classroom training.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 30, 2013) -- Soldiers from the first Performance Triad pilot course are now teaching their own Soldiers how to improve their health and performance through proper nutrition, sleep and activity -- the three legs of the triad.

Last week, eleven squad leaders completed the two-week classroom portion of the Performance Triad pilot course. Over the next 24 months, they will impart their knowledge on other Soldiers.

Those squad leaders are from 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Two other pilots are planned using the same schedule and instruction. The first is at Fort Bliss, Texas, and will involve Soldiers of 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry. They begin Sept. 30. The other pilot is at Fort Bragg, N.C., with Soldiers of the 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. They begin Oct. 28.

Once all the data and feedback is collected and reviewed, consolidated program recommendations for Army-wide implementation of Performance Triad will be delivered to the Army chief of staff and vice chief of staff in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014, said Barbara Ryan, a registered nurse with the Army surgeon general's office. She is the lead for Performance Triad training, education and communications.

Squad leaders were specifically chosen to become Performance Triad mentors because "the squad leader is the one who knows their Soldiers best," said Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, the Army's surgeon general.

"They can have the most impact on their Soldiers' mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health," Horoho said.

Three squad leaders who participated in the first pilot provided initial feedback Sept. 27, after the two-week classroom portion ended.

"I learned quite a bit from the course," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Oakley, adding that the training he received "reinforced" some of what he'd already learned from Madigan Army Medical Center's "Fit and Ready" -- a two-year research program on weight loss through proper nutrition.

He said he's already lost 15 pounds in three months by adhering to the Fit and Ready plan. With Performance Triad's additional emphasis on sleep and activity, he said he feels well-equipped to improve both his health and that of his Soldiers.

Although Performance Triad was his second course involving nutrition, Oakley said he would have liked to have received even more in-depth information on supplements and special fitness diets. He said there is a lot of advertising for those products, and it's hard to separate truth from hype.

Everyone in the squadron received a "Fitbit Flex" wristband, which measures activity, nutrition, and sleep. The device provides feedback to the user about their progress in achieving a fitness goal. After uploading data from the device to a user's online FitBit account, users can see daily, weekly, or monthly information about their fitness progress over time.

Oakley said he likes the device for activity and sleep but prefers to use an app called MyFitnessPal to measure calories for weight loss.

Now that he's got his weight under control, Oakley said he needs to improve on his sleep. But that could prove difficult because he said he has three young children, including a 2-year-old, who keep him awake at night.

Oakley, 32, has had two deployments to Iraq. He said he loves the Army and hopes to make it a career.

As with Oakley, Sgt. John Riley said he could use some improvements with sleep.

Army duties often contribute to sleep loss, the 27-year-old said, noting that the operations tempo in his unit is high now as they gear up for exercises at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

The Fitbit is useful in counting how far you walk each day and the number of calories burned, he said.

Counting calories is especially important, he continued, because along with nutritious food, there's also "a lot of unhealthy food in the dining facilities."

The Performance Triad classroom training was useful, he said, and he can't think of any needed improvements to the instruction.

Riley has been deployed to Iraq once and twice to Afghanistan. He hoped to make the Army a career because "I like the Army life and the discipline and regimentation."

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Silva-Mateo, now 37 years old, said he is relatively old compared to other Soldiers in his unit. He said that despite being physically fit, he sometimes feels the effects of aging -- aches in his knee and sometimes feelings of being tired and exhausted.

It's part of Army life, he added. "Your body takes hits when you're out doing missions."

He said the training he received in Performance Triad will help him better balance his physical training and periods of relaxation and recovery.

All of the Soldiers in his squad are under age 24 and he said they are often up late at night playing video games and going to the short-order line in the dining facility where hot dogs and burgers are served.

While it doesn't seem to affect their performance now, he said that as they get older it will catch up to them. Some of it already has, he added, as he can see they look tired during early-morning physical fitness training.

Silva-Mateo said he hopes to empower his Soldiers with the knowledge he learned from Performance Triad.

Like the others, he plans to make the Army a career. He's been deployed to Iraq three times.

LEADERSHIP KEY

For Performance Triad to work, all Army leaders, not just the squad leaders, must embrace the program, said Maj. Gen. Dean G. Sienko, commander, U.S. Army Public Health Command. He added that he thinks they are.

Sienko, a medical doctor, said he has personally benefited from Performance Triad and even learned some things he didn't know, particularly about sleep research.

"This is an exciting journey," he said. Performance Triad "is a new approach. I hope the Army can set an example for the nation to follow."

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Page last updated Mon September 30th, 2013 at 00:00