DVIDS – News – I joined Life Fit for a week… here’s what happened

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Early on a Monday morning, I reported to Camp Atterbury, Ind. to observe and partake in the second phase of the Life Fit course. I walked into the classroom completely unsure of what to expect. The students had rapport with one another from participating together in the first iteration of the course roughly two months prior.

I took a seat and waited as the class filled out an in-depth questionnaire that covered topics like the successes and struggles they had encountered the past sixty days, goals they had accomplished, mindset shifts they had been working on, etc..

After the paperwork was completed and the class started to pick up, I quickly noticed how enthusiastic the instructors were and the dialog between the students and instructors was candid and open during the discussion of the sixty-day review.

After everyone was settled in their rooms, we gathered to conduct the Army Combat Fitness Test. For everyone except for myself, it was the second time they had completed the ACFT. While the new physical fitness test was strenuous and took two hours to complete, the encouragement was a catalyst of camaraderie among all the participants. While not everyone passed, everyone had shown improvement from their previous test two months prior.

The following morning started bright and early at 0530 and I woke up feeling highly motivated. After a workout of high intensity interval training on the row machine, I found myself worn out and sore but wide awake and ready to learn. Classes on the second day focused on fitness and workout program development. Discussions centered around reviewing what the students had done over the past two months including their obstacles and solutions while the instructors provided assistance in finding solutions and plans for the students.

I was surprised by the sheer amount of information presented during each class and the knowledge that each of the instructors possessed and the dedication that they showed all of the students in answering their questions.

Despite not having participated in the first phase of the course, I decided to take advantage of some of the resources offered and scheduled a one-on-one meeting with the dietician. This was one of the best investments I made during my five-day experience. She was able to answer all of my questions and proposed dietary solutions to my problems with scientific studies and I was incredibly thankful for her expertise.

The strength coaches developed a series of agility courses for the afternoon physical training session. The students lined up in two separate teams and faced off, sprinting around the course under the blazing sun. The competition was high and there wasn’t any shortage of trash talking. Before anyone knew it, the final workout of the day was complete and everyone was dripping in sweat and smiling.

The third day started bright and early again with a morning workout before the students were encouraged to share their success stories. The students reported losing anywhere from eight to 23 pounds of fat mass and some gained anywhere from three to 28 pounds of muscle.

I was floored by the amount of progress some of these individuals had made. But, it was clear to me that most of these individuals were dedicated to creating change in themselves. Many described the changes they made in their day-to-day routines, meal-prep ideas and workout programs. Some had passed their physical fitness tests while others had convinced their families to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Classes for the day focused on nutrition and behavioral health. Activities included developing a personalized meal plan curated to your personal needs and pallet, understanding the power of emotions and how to control your responses to challenging situations.

Afterwards, guest speaker, Sgt. First Class Chris Landecho, senior manager for the infantry course at Camp Atterbury, spoke to us about overcoming adversity, dealing with identity crisis and coping with the challenges of injury.

The fourth day started with the obstacle course which would have been much more enjoyable if the gnats hadn’t been so determined fly into everyone’s ears, eyes and mouths – as if the heat and humidity weren’t bad enough. However, despite the annoying pests, everyone performed better than they had the first iteration.

Instead of sitting in another class, everyone was instructed to reflect on the knowledge they had gathered and develop their own workout which would be performed later that day. This was one of the most exciting activities for me and executing it later was incredibly satisfying.

The final day consisted of clean up and wrapping up administrative loose ends before being dismissed. Before this week, I had imagined Life Fit being a polite term for fat camp. While I had little-to-no expectation for what I might experience during my time observing the course, I certainly didn’t expect to be exposed to so much knowledge, motivation, encouragement and confidence.

I was surprised that Life Fit isn’t just about whipping someone into shape, it’s about education and developing a holistic and systematic solution to health challenges. It’s about a life change instead of a quick fix. It’s about drive and it’s about power. It’s about developing soldiers to strengthen their weaknesses and take leaders to the next level. It’s a resource that every soldier in the Indiana National Guard needs to use.

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Date Taken: 01.23.2022
Date Posted: 01.23.2022 11:34
Story ID: 413270
Location: IN, US





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