FORT KNOX, Ky. -- Nearly 400 Soldiers participated in the Army Reserve's pilot Performance Triad program Nov. 1-14 here.
Sponsored by the 200th Military Police Command, the Performance Triad is a comprehensive plan to improve readiness and increase resilience through public health initiatives and leadership engagement.
The focus of the Performance Triad is on Sleep, Activity, and Nutrition - key actions that influence health in the "Lifespace" of time that isn't spent with a health care provider.
For two weeks, Soldiers assigned to Nashville, Tennessee-based 290th Military Police Brigade, spent more than 14 hours a day on the fitness, nutrition and other health-related educational instruction.
"We want them to leave better Soldiers," said. Col. Malcolm McMullen, the 290th MP Brigade commander. "The Army Reserve wants to ensure our Soldiers have the education, resources and tools to succeed and lead a healthier lifestyle on and off duty."
McMullen said he was excited to host the Army Reserve's pilot program, and he hopes to see future Performance Triad opportunities for citizen warriors.
"This program is focused on the Soldier and his or her health," he said. "As a leader, that's my primary focus."
Throughout the two weeks, Soldiers kicked off each day at 5 a.m. with two hours of Physical Readiness Training conducted by the Army Reserve Master Fitness Trainers assigned to the Fort Knox MFT Course.
Sgt. 1st Class Cassidy Moore, from Richmond, Virginia, said during the two weeks, MFT instructors emphasized precision, progression and integration.
"It's important to have precision in PRT to do the exercises correctly, because if you do not have precision you run the risk of injury," she said. "Whenever you have an injury as a Soldier, you usually end up being out of the fight and on profile."
Sgt. Courtland Harris, from Savannah, Georgia, said he quickly learned he was doing many thing wrongs when it comes to fitness training.
Harris, who is assigned to the 450th Military Police Company, said he used to run for long periods of times preparing for an Army Physical Fitness Test, only to realize that 30 minutes is the maximum amount of time an average person should be running to prepare for the APFT.
"Never knew that anything over 30 minutes would increase the change of injury," he said. "We are here with the professionals who know what they are doing and are taking time to answer our questions."
Another pillar of the triad is nutrition and the importance of healthy foods for performance activities.
During the two weeks, the only nearby dining facility was modified to meet the nutritional needs of Soldiers going through the program.
"We are helping our Soldiers eat healthier by taking away sodas and desserts," said Army Reserve Col. Rene Jacob, a nutrition specialist from San Antonio, Texas, who is assigned to the 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support). "The hardest part for some people was transiting from sodas to water."
Jacob said the program educated Soldiers about healthy eating habits to enable top-level training, increase energy and endurance, shorten recovery time between activities, improve focus and concentration and help leaders and Soldiers look and feel better.
Pfc. Kayla Fillyaw, a 26-year-old military police Soldier from Port Wentworth, Georgia, said she has struggled with her weight on both extremes and now she battles to maintain a healthy weight to stay in the Army.
Standing 5 foot 2 inches, Fillyaw said she used to weigh more than 160 pounds.
"People kept telling me to eat, eat and eat again," she said when she was told she needed to gain weight because she was too skinny. "Before I knew it, I looked down at my body, and I changed for the worse. I eventually lost the weight; too much weight."
Fillyaw said it's important that everyone is educated on the value of good, balanced nutrition no matter what his or her size is.
"The consequences you may face won't always show in your size but as medical problems that can and will arise," she added.
The last pillar of the triad program is sleep.
Army Reserve Maj. Doug Lyle, a physical therapist assigned to the 4010th U.S. Army Hospital, based in New Orleans, said sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle.
"Many times, we forget about the importance of sleep," he said. "People need a good eight hours a day of sleep for their bodies to recover and heal from the day's activities."
He said having proper sleep is a key element to help reduce injuries. "We want Soldiers to know how to properly care for their bodies," he said.
Lyle said as Soldiers attend the on-site triad program, he wants them to understand that it's a yearlong program, and they must continue to exercise, eat healthy and have proper sleep.
"Personal accountability is critical for this performance triad to be a success," he said. "We've armed them with mobile apps, Fitbit Flex armbands, websites, books and knowledge to succeed. Hopefully in a year, we will see a return investment in Soldiers who have continued with the program and learned to live a healthier life."
At the end of the day, after Soldiers returned back to their families, Maj. Gen. Phillip Churn, commanding general of the 200th MPCOM, said the mission is not done here.
"We have some amazing Soldiers who were doing great things during the past two weeks," he told the Performance Triad staff. "We owe it to them and their families to ensure they are successful. We all need to learn to live a healthy lifestyle."