Lt. Gen. Hertling bowling alley
Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, deputy commanding general for Initial Military training, discusses the importance of nutrition in training Soldiers in the "Army Soldier Athlete" video here: To spearhead this ini... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

TRADOC's deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training, Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, discusses the Soldier Athlete initiative designed to ready our Soldiers bodies for the challenges they face in battle. This initiative, already underway, is designed to treat Soldiers as athletes and focuses on three areas of training; physical readiness, nutrition and injury prevention.

What is Soldier Athlete'

The Soldier Athlete consists of three different parts; it's physical readiness, and how you do physical training, it's injury prevention, how you prevent Soldiers from getting hurt or having some type of injury to hinder their performance. And it's also a nutritional aspect to make sure Soldiers get the right food.

Why is it important to the Army'

We are seeing more and more Soldiers entering the service that need better conditioning methods, need better nutritional aspects of their life. So we are trying to inject something not only in physical training to help prepare them in the battlefield but we are also trying to get them the right nutritional aspects to cause them to be better performers and really treat them like an athlete as opposed to just a profession.

What is the way ahead'

We are improving the way we train physically in basic training. We are incorporating athletic trainers within initial military training that can watch Soldiers as they learn or as they perform strength training to make sure they are doing things the right way so injuries are prevented. And the third thing we are looking at is how to change all the dining facilities and the AAFES products we are selling in the food stores and vending machines to make sure we are giving the Soldiers the right nutritional values as they go about their daily lives.

How does this program tie into Comprehensive Soldier Fitness'

Physical fitness is one of the five areas within the CSF program. The physical fitness aspect is just as important as all the other areas of CSF if you are looking for a more resilient Soldier that will withstand trauma and that's better prepared for any kind of challenge he or she might have.

How do you stay fit'

I swam in college and was a water polo player. Since then I've done many triathlons and recently I've been training this summer to do a wounded warrior bike ride with a bunch of Soldiers who are traveling across the country. And in general, I try to keep a variety of aerobic and strength conditioning sports. Is what I like to do and is a part of my background in physical fitness.

What is the Army doing'

1. We're improving our physical readiness program. We just published a new Training Circular 3.22-20 to replace the old physical fitness field manual (FM 21-20) and it shows how to best train the Soldier from initial entry training all the way up to their first duty assignment.

2. We are incorporating athletic trainers in the IMT environment. The medical community is doing an experiment right now where they are showing physical therapists, athletics trainers, and strength coaches how they contribute to better training of soldiers.

3. Fueling the soldier initiative - the right things to eat, ensuring you are feeding your body for the kind of demands it takes on during initial training and combat. We are just trying to get Soldiers to understand that there are a lot of important aspects of being physically fit besides just working out.

Related Links:

'Army Soldier Athlete' video