3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – It is known throughout the military that the key to planning a successful physical fitness training program is to focus on results. The training used in any fitness program should result in improvements for the unit’s overall physical condition.
The Army measures the progress of a unit and individual’s fitness program through the use of the Army Physical Fitness Test. Although this test is an individual event, leaders have the responsibility to ensure every Soldier maintains a certain level of physical fitness.
The Army Physical Fitness Test will give the unit Commander an indication of the Soldier’s current fitness state in garrison and while deployed.
Depending on the intensity of a unit’s deployed mission, executing physical training can be either extremely stressful on the individual Soldier and the unit commander or it can be the best time for Soldiers to reach certain levels of physical fitness.
When a Soldier is deployed, and they make the personal decision to better their physical fitness level, they normally have a goal they would like to attain. Some popular goals among Soldiers are to lose weight or heighten their PT scores. These goals can be extremely hard or fairly easy.
The facilities on Camp Liberty, such as the 24-hour Dining Facilities and the 24-hour gyms, give Soldiers the opportunity to accomplish personal goals through self-management, allowing them to focus on various workouts and eating habits. The dining facility provides a vast amount of meal options. They have options such as the healthy salad and sandwich bar as well as the not-too-healthy choices of sweets and fatty foods.
Staff Sgt. Jose Sepulveda, a native of Philadelphia, and a Soldier of the 96th Transportation Company, 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade states, “A Soldier must have self control when it comes to eating.”
PT while deployed can be used, not just as a way to improve scores and lose weight, but to serve as a stress reliever as well. Soldiers who are determined to meet goals or in need of a release, find time to go to the gym to lift weights or participate in other activities. Lifting weights is one of the biggest and most popular stress relieving events during a deployment.
Staff Sgt. Arthur L. Mallory, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., and a frequent gym attendee states, “The gym is a huge stress reliever for me. I tend to hit the gym more often while I’m deployed.” He also said that his eating habits change while he is deployed and uses it as motivation for him to work out as often as he does.”
While PT is encouraged, there are times when Soldiers are deployed to areas that can reach extreme high temperatures. Leaders must consider times and locations for Soldiers to conduct PT and mitigate heat risk.
For example, if you would like to improve your run time, running outside may be the best possible way to do so. Before the Army Physical Fitness Test is given, a leader must ensure that the Soldiers are acclimatized to the extreme temperatures. When conducting training in hot weather, the leader must adjust the intensity to fit the temperature and apply common sense progression, while ensuring Soldiers hydrate before, during, and after physical training.
Deployments can be the perfect time for the individual Soldier to improve their physical fitness and reach personal goals. As long as the Soldier is motivated and unit missions are not hindered, Soldiers can set themselves up for success in reaching their goal.