JOINT BASE LANGLEY – EUSTIS, VA. – The New Year is a fresh start and a chance to start new positive habits, and that is exactly what the US Army is doing with its new Holistic Health and Fitness initiative.

The holistic health and fitness system led by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Center for Initial Military Training represents a new approach to building lethality and preparedness by focusing on the physical, mental, and spiritual health of soldiers .

This new initiative gave rise to the new Army Combat Fitness Test, which will eventually replace the Army Physical Fitness Test as the official record test. Although the ACFT is still in the data collection phase, Soldiers across the company have been asked to continue training so that they will be ready to pass once the test is fully implemented.

A new way to train

To apply the new H2F initiative to a wide variety of fitness demographics as well as ACFT performance of soldiers, USACIMT’s team of experts has launched a ten-week training program for Fort Eustis soldiers to implement the new initiative.

The program’s volunteers come from a variety of fitness demographics, including soldiers participating in the Army Body Composition Program, postpartum, post-surgery, or just struggling to pass certain events in the ACFT.

When asked about their program goals, Staff Sgt. Jacob Walker stated, “My goal is to recover from the operation with the new knowledge the Army is applying with the H2F program and to bring that information back to my unit and others to train with it. “

Sgt. Kenya King stated, “One of my strongest goals in this program is to use the knowledge gained to encourage soldiers to adopt a better approach to health while training for the ACFT.”

The training group, coordinated by Drill Sergeant of the Year 2020, Sgt. 1st Class Erik Rostamo, meets three times a week and applies the five areas of holistic health and fitness set out in the FM 7-22 regulation – physical, nutritional, mental , spiritual and sleep-related – are set in order to create individual training plans for each of the participants.

Apply the teaching

Along with the individual fitness plans, Rostamo and his team will support the participants in creating a plan for their nutritional, mental and spiritual health.

Attendees will also work with Command Dietitian Maj. Brenda Bustillos for guidance on creating nutritional plans that are tailored to each individual’s health needs. She will have regular interviews with Army Body Composition Program participants after each physical training session to discuss and promote healthy eating habits.

For mental resilience, the program develops personal readiness through weekly Master Resiliency Training courses that create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based goals, also known as SMART goals, and provide various cognitive challenges during physical training. An example of a cognitive challenge that Rostamo provided was placing playing cards throughout the PT circuit without first informing participants, and then asking them which cards were placed after the PT circuit was completed. This type of training strengthens participants’ ability to remain aware of their surroundings and focus on a specific task.

For the spiritual component, USACIMT’s chaplain, Lt. Col. Paul Fritts, offers lectures to attendees throughout the program to inspire them and help them find their “why” factor.

“The spiritual component is one of the most important, but most misunderstood, components of the H2F program,” said Rostamo.
Rostamos explained that the spiritual component consists of the soldier’s values ​​or the internal warrior factor that drive him to improve himself and be the best version of himself that they can be.

Transform the power

This ten-week program, along with many other similar demonstrations taking place across the force, shows how useful the Army’s new H2F initiative can be when properly implemented by team and squad leaders.

According to Rostamo, this new initiative creates a cultural shift in the army that escapes the “one size fits all” approach to readiness.

“It will take a lot more creativity from team and group leaders than in the past to give soldiers a plan that works for them,” Rostamo said. “Personal readiness is critical, especially when it comes to building cohesive teams.”

Recording date: 01/27/2021
Release Date: 01/27/2021 4:04 PM
Story ID: 387750
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