U.S. Army focuses on the "tactical athlete"

With Americans eating worse than ever, it's no surprise that recruits in our nations armed forces are just as clueless about nutrition as anybody else.  To combat (pardon the pun) this attack (ditto) on the physical readiness of our troops, the U.S. Army is rolling out a new "Fueling the Soldier" initiative.

Mess halls that were once filled with processed, simple carbs like white bread, soda, and pasta are beign replaced with their whole-grain counterparts or removed altogether to make room for other, more healthful, options.  In a prepared statement, Lt. General Mark Hertling said "The Army must treat our soldiers as tactical athletes to improve not only physical training but also trying to get them to adapt the right nutritional aspects to help prepare them for the battlefield and for their life."

This coincides with a complete revamping of the Army's traditional PFT.  The old test of physical fitness focused on push-ups, sit-ups, and a timed run, which led to a rampant "train for the test" attitude.  In a tactical environment, however, a soldier must execute any number of complex movement patterns, under distress, in full battle-gear, and in the most efficient way possible.

The new training regiment reflects these real-world needs and is therefore a functional, periodized training system that will require our soldiers to be agile, mobile, and explosive.  It more closely resembles the type of training personal trainers and strength and conditioning specialists develop for professional athletes.

I actually had the good fortune to attend the NSCA's TSAC Symposium several years ago.  The focus was on tactical strength and conditioning and several members of the military were in attendance.  We practiced "casualty drags", "soldier carries", and a variety of other non-traditional functional movments; all at altitude at the NSCA's Human Performance Center in Boulder CO.

It is encouraging to see that our nation's armed men and women will be given the type of nutrition and training that our sports superstars have enjoyed for years.  They even have their own iPhone app!
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About Tony Fed

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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