By Jake McCollum
FORT KNOX (June 8, 2015) – Fitness has always been a cornerstone of the American Soldier’s lifestyle. Now the Army is focusing just as much on what Soldiers put into their bodies as how they train and how to aid Soldiers in making proper food choices.
Cadets from the 1st Cadet Leader’s Course Regiment received classes on both nutrition and Physical Readiness Training planning in the Olive Theater taught by cadre certified in military and mountain fitness.
“Becoming a platoon leader, they need to understand nutrition is a key part to physical fitness,” said 1st Lt. Kyler Bakhitiary, a former platoon leader in the 4th Infantry Division. He was the opening speaker for the class. “Once they understand this, they can apply it to PT schedules to help soldiers struggling with height/weight issues.”
The nutrition portion of the class focused on five main points: the Performance Triad, activity, sleep, and nutrition; the Soldier Fueling Initiative; MRE Optimization; and Performance Nutrition. A different speaker presented each portion of the class, showing cadets how to utilize the presented skills in their military and civilian lives.
Also shown in the class was the Nutrition Recognition Labeling System, a new program in Army dining facilities where food items are tagged with green, amber, and red. Green represents the item is “nutrient dense” and should be consumed often.
Amber denotes caution and occasional consumption. Red means the food item is “calorie dense” and should be rarely eaten. Using the slogan “Go for Green,” it is designed to help soldiers make positive food decisions in the limited time they have in the dining hall.
“The better you eat, the better you’ll feel,” Bakhitiary told the cadets.
One of the main concerns for CST this year is preventing heat casualties. Last year, there were 66 heat illness cases. Hydration and the buddy system were stressed during the class to help avoid repeating this number in CST 2015, as well as properly fueling the cadets’ bodies so that they can perform in the hot conditions.
After a short break, 1st Regiment received the second block of instruction which focused on PRT planning.
Physical Readiness Training is paramount to ensure the combat effectiveness of Soldiers. As soon-to-be 2nd Lt.’s, ROTC cadets need to learn how to properly lead PT sessions for both their battalions back home and their future units. The Army PRT model focuses on preparing soldiers for any mission that they may have to complete in combat or when deployed.
“Your body is your weapon system,” said Maj. Craig Halsey, Officer In Command for PRT at CST 2015 and Professor of Military Science at Florida International University. He taught the PRT prep portion of the class.
The class covered main concepts of PRT, from the warm-ups to tips for Soldiers to accomplish maximum gains during workouts. It also stressed planning for PT sessions at least two weeks in advance.
“Back in my unit we had a thing called ‘Monday run day,’” said Bakhitiary. “No matter what, every Monday we were running.”
“Knowledge is power,” Halsey said. “We’re here to teach you a class that will make you a leader for life.”
Equipped with the skills and knowledge that they now have, the cadets of 1st Regiment are better prepared to go forth and lead a healthier, more physically fit Army.