One reality on which just about everyone can agree, regardless of where he or she falls on the political spectrum, is that national discord and partisan rhetoric often feels mentally and emotionally draining. As the news alternates from one story to another, a rare common bond that supporters from both primary parties share is a mutual appreciation for members of the U.S. armed forces.

The excellence exhibited by these brave men and women requires top-notch physical conditioning, of course, and the prescribed workouts tend to shift as philosophical approaches change over time. New information helps inform leaders who dictate optimal goals for both soldiers and non-commissioned officers alike. The Army National Guard recently announced altered protocols for training, according to an article last week from Task & Purpose.

Story author Haley Britzky detailed some of the highlights, writing:

Over 5,000 soldiers and non-commissioned officers will be trained to administer the new fitness test, which will become common practice across the Army on October 1, 2020, according to Chief of Special Projects for the Army National Guard Training and Readiness Division, Lt. Col. Brian Dean. 

Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa told Task & Purpose that they’ve estimated each lane of equipment to cost $2,500, and Dean said there are 15,846 lanes being purchased. …

He said the focus is on the overall health of each soldier not just for the test but for their everyday lives, meaning proper diet, rest, physical therapy, and fitness.  

That overall approach is echoed by the Maryland Army National Guard’s 629th Military Intelligence Battalion, which is participating in a program called Fit to Serve in preparation for the new test. The program teaches soldiers about nutrition and fitness, while emphasizing “overall health wellness and resiliency.”

Army Maj. Michael Bryant, commander of the 629th Military Intelligence Battalion, told Task & Purpose in a statement that around 50 soldiers are going through the Fit to Serve program, which has “led to a total weight loss of about 210 pounds lost since mid-January.” 

The North Carolina Army National Guard is also participating in Fit to Serve. And down in South Carolina, soldiers are using a mobile app where workouts they can do at home can be found, along with an ACFT calculator to help calculate what they need to do to pass the test. And the Alaska Army National Guard has started a program called GetFit to prepare their soldiers, which is held during lunch three days a week at the Armory Drill Hall Floor.

“It’s all about the holistic health for the soldier themselves,” Sampa said. 

However military leaders determine which methods are best for service members to stay in shape, civilians across the country remain grateful for the protection they provide.

To read Britzky’s full writeup, click here.