STEM, NC, UNITED STATES
Story by Spc. Alonzo Clark
North Carolina National Guard
Fit to Serve is known to be a foundational remedial course that assists Soldiers who struggle meeting Army height and weight standards and have problems passing the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) scores.
Assistant Fitness Contract Manager, Brad Hollingsworth wants to see Soldiers make strides to achieve their health goals.
“A huge part of our program deals with a lot of mindset and goal setting education. A lot of the motivation is creating them to get them to where they want to go, rather than giving them a bunch of ideas on nutrition and fitness,” Hollingsworth said.
Participants attended the initial six-day camp where Master Fitness Instructors and fitness contractors from The Peak, Inc.
This is Peak’s second class contracted through the NCARNG.
On the first day, volunteers are evaluated on their diagnostic APFT, and using an InBody scale where their body fat, body composition, and lean muscle tissue are measured.
During Hollingsworth’s time in service with the United States Marine Corps, he wished an opportunity like the Fit to Serve program exist so he could prevent some of his injuries.
“I have some injuries that I wish I knew how to get rid of, but when I got out the Marine Corps, I decided to study exercise science and coach Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen who want to achieve an optimal level of fitness to successfully do their jobs,” Hollingsworth said.
The participants receive plenty of tools to educate them on the importance of adequate sleep, breathing techniques, making healthy food choices, accountability, and keeping consistent workout plans.
To accomplish such goals, one educational tool Soldiers were instructed to use is a smartphone application called Volt.
This feature gives Soldiers the opportunity to incorporate three weight training or body weight training days, and two conditioning workouts each week to challenge each individual to get a full body workout.
Fit to Serve Participant, Pvt. Andrew Ensley, with the 105th Military Police Battalion, Asheville found the Volt App to be helpful.
“I personally struggle with eating right, but now I have the Volt app to actually help do the exercises,” said Ensley. “I feel that it is going to help me accomplish my goals and get back to the person I want to be.
A common misconception is that Fit to Serve is similar to Basic Training workouts, but Fit to Serve participant, Pvt. Rosy Acosta’s with the 211th Military Police Battalion in Youngsville experienced nothing similar to Basic Training.
“Honestly, when I first came to Fit to Serve, I thought it was like a basic training mindset, such as yelling and screaming,” said Acosta. “But honestly, the instructors were relaxed and they all are there to help you.”
MFTs coach, mentor, and monitor the participants throughout the entire six-month course via text, phone, email, or social media.
“Our first camp session, Class 20-01 in November, we had all but one soldier make significant progress in the APFT and the Inbody re-assessment,” said Rich Moravec, Director of Human Performance with The Peak, Inc.
“But, I’m expecting if we can get a 50% success rate, helping 1 out of 2 Soldiers get within the Army body-fat and body-weight standards, height and weight and pass their APFT, I feel like we are accomplishing something meaningful and I feel like we are saving the Guard some money.”
One of the MFTs, Sgt. 1st Class Brett Schack, a Traffic Management Specialist at Joint Force Headquarters in Raleigh, described how the program isn’t limited only to the enlisted.
“I’ve seen a captain here last cycle, and even higher ranks,” Schack said. “They might feel shame, but you know they are our Soldiers no matter what, we have to help them because they might be struggling the same way we are, and they might have been struggling longer than we have.”
Moravec stressed the importance for those to take advantage of the program before it’s too late.
“I would tell all Guard Soldiers that if you are struggling and can’t pass your Army fitness test on your own and you can’t get yourself in height and weight standards, this program is probably the best thing,” said Moravec.
“This program is where you will not find anywhere else, and it doesn’t cost the soldier anything, just six days of their time.”
If interested in the NCARNG Fit to Serve Program, ask your chain of command for more details. A Soldiers unit is authorized to use annual training days for this program.
The next camp session’s dates are on Mar. 22, May 3, and July 25, 2020.
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