JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ, UNITED STATES
Story by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Exercise isn’t always enough to keep Soldiers fit to fight; nutrition is also key to maintaining proper weight and good health.
When Spc. Victor Toledo signed up for the U.S. Army Reserve’s new “Double Eagle” Fit for Life pilot program being hosted here by the 99th Readiness Division, nutrition education was his top priority.
“Nutrition classes – those were one of the main things I was expecting, and they’re giving us very important classes,” said Toledo, a seven-year veteran who serves with the Army Reserve’s 388th Engineer Company in West Palm Beach, Florida. “They’re helping us with everything – we’re getting food assessment, food training, how you can get your meal preps done, and how to shop smart.”
“If you tried to find a nutritionist on the civilian side, you’re going to spend a lot of money; here, it’s free,” added Toledo, a Brazilian native who works for the U.S. Postal Service.
Toledo is one of the first Soldiers to take part in the Fit for Life program, which is designed to help Soldiers who are not meeting the Army height/weight and/or physical fitness standards. Along with nutrition, F2L offers training in physical readiness, fitness, finance, and Soldier skills such as first aid, land navigation, marksmanship, and resiliency.
F2L also gives Soldiers access to subject-matter experts such as master fitness trainers, master resilience trainers, drill sergeants and Department of the Army civilians.
“Everyone here is struggling a little bit, everyone is hurting, but we try to have fun with it to make the pain go away and push to the next day, to the next step, to the next exercise,” said Toledo, who served in Afghanistan from 2013-2014. “In the afternoons, our cadre are taking us to the field in little groups and doing certain workouts that can be done in your living room – those are perfect.”
Toledo hopes the training he receives during the two-week F2L event helps him pass his Army run event and learn life-long techniques to stay healthy and fit.
“I’m glad they called me to do it because on the civilian side I don’t have time,” he said. “I’m doing my best to get it done and pass.”