Military branches are slimming down in a number of ways. Both the Army and Air Force have already seen down-sizing in both their officer and enlisted ranks. But the DOD is also tasking its branches with getting leaner and more physically fit.
As part of this tasking, the Army has taken to a few new programs to help facilitate the process.
The first program is Physical Readiness Training (PRT). Focusing not just on exercise, but also on nutrition and physiology, the implementation of PRT has been considered the biggest improvement in Army fitness training for more than thirty years.
PRT was originally launched in 2010. The program was revamped, and launched again in 2012. Though gaining ground, the program was widely underutilized by individual commanders, who have control on how to train their soldiers.
As part of the PRT program, the Army is in the process of training thousands of NCO’s to become Master Fitness Trainers (MFT). These MFT’s will be the designated fitness experts for their commands. To be chosen to train as an MFT, soldiers are selected by their command, not just for their superior Army Physical Fitness Test scores, but also for their leadership abilities.
At the four week MFT course, participants learn how to properly instruct others by first learning how to do each exercise correctly. There’s no better way to learn than by doing.
While the MFT course is physically rigorous, it also contains classroom lessons on how each exercise affects the body, and how improper techniques can lead to injuries. The course also trains the MFTs on the use of performance nutrition. They learn how to determine the caloric and hydration needs of soldiers in various environments and activities.
Once their training is complete, the newly minted MFTs return to their command. They are ready to lead physical fitness programs, including PT sessions, dietary regiments and training that puts an emphasis on specific fitness areas, depending on that command’s mission and need.
More than 2,000 MFTs have already been trained.
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Military Connection: Army Master Fitness Trainers: By Debbie Gregory