Soldiers learn total fitness
August 24, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. (Aug. 24, 2012) -- Soldiers from the 75th Fires Brigade and various units assigned to Fort Sill attended the Commander's Total Fitness Course, Aug. 6-10, at the digital training facility here.
The five-day course taught service members different aspects of physical fitness, which ranged from how to plan and implement a unit and special physical training program to understanding basic concepts of human anatomy and physiology.
Soldiers began to fill the training facility at around 8:40 a.m. About 20 minutes later, the Soldiers received a formal introduction from Richard Jones Sr., the course instructor and contractor with Barton Community College, in Manhattan, Kan., near Fort Riley.
The routine course overview was briefed and was followed by a block of instruction covering the Army Physical Readiness Training, or APRT, program.
One of the consistent arguments some service members have throughout the Army is that the APRT program does not put much emphasis on the three areas the current Army Physical Fitness Test measures, which are push-ups, sit-ups and the two-mile run.
The purpose of PRT is to not look fit or to pass a physical training test, said Jones, it is to make Soldiers physically ready to conduct full-spectrum operations.
On the second day of training, the Soldiers were taught the basic aspects of human anatomy and physiology. The instruction covered the structure and mechanics of the skeletal and muscular system.
Trainees also were reintroduced to the proposed Army Physical Readiness Test, which is slated to replace the currently used Army Physical Fitness Test.
The approval phase for the new test consists of three phases, said Jones. Phase 1 is the doctrine phase; Phase 2, the training phase; and Phase 3, the testing phase.
Currently, the APRT is in the testing phase, he said. According to an article, Will We See the New PT?, published in the Aug. 12 edition of the Army Times, once, and if, Gen. Robert Cone, Training and Doctrine Command commander, signs off on the new fitness test, it will go to Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff.
Soldiers also learned the elements of the proposed Army Combat Readiness Test as well as how to create an effective unit and special conditioning physical training program.
The Soldiers were taught about nutrition, metabolism and how the two aid in managing an individual's body composition and energy level.
"It's a discipline to manage your food intake and maintain a physical workout regimen," said Staff Sgt. Mark Middleton, 75th Fires Brigade liaison officer.
Some people can eat just about whatever they want, said the more than 6-feet-tall, 230-pound plus, muscular-framed Soldier. Other people eat food and gain weight easily.
Members of the class also learned the value of the badly stigmatized part of the body known as fat.
Some functions of body fat are: it helps protect body organs, carries fat-soluble vitamins, and it increases the taste of foods. Stored fat is an efficient source of energy. Fat is also necessary for good health, as long as it is not in excess.
Soldiers learned their role as an Army physical readiness leader, how to compute a service member's body fat composition and how to help guide a Soldier who surpasses the allowable body fat percentage according to the Weight Control Program (Army Regulation 600-9).
According to the regulation, the two primary objectives of the weight control program are to ensure personnel are able to meet physical demands of their duties under combat conditions and to ensure personnel present a military appearance at all times.
The students also learned some of the risk factors of cardiovascular disease. The primary factor included hypertension, elevated blood cholesterol, smoking and inactivity. Secondary risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease include: obesity, diabetes, stress, age, family history and gender.
The final day of the course was comprised of practical and written tests. For the hands-on test, Soldiers held a platoon-sized formation outside. Each service member was tasked to give instructions on how to perform either a preparation drill or recovery drill exercise from the Army Physical Readiness Training program. One classmate acted as an assistant instructor, or demonstrator, as their fellow classmate gave their block of training to the rest of the trainees.
The Soldiers were required to memorize their exercise by official title, exercise number, cadence, movements by the number and precautions associated with it. They were tested on their demonstrated ability to train their classmates on how to perform the exercises using formal and informal training techniques.
The written test was an open book and notes exam, which tested the Soldiers' knowledge of the information that was taught throughout the week.
Soldiers who attended the course will return to their units with a sound foundation of knowledge regarding how to manage different aspects of the human body, and how to properly design a unit level Army Physical Fitness Training program, which will help Soldiers remain fit to fight.
The "Tough as Diamonds" Brigade Soldiers will be better equipped to contribute to their commander's guidance: to help improve the comprehensive Soldiers fitness levels of those within their ranks.