San Deigo, CA (PressExposure) March 06, 2008 -- Soldiers Getting in Shape with Help from Intense Fitness Program TrainChange Fitness Studio provides unique training program for military
San Diego, CA - Although maintaining a healthy weight is a requirement for members of the military, they too are struggling with the problem of obesity.
The New York Times reported that last year 4,372 members of the military were discharged for being overweight. The Department of Defense has sought ways to prevent this problem and maintain combat readiness through programs like "Operation Be Fit" launched in 1998 to encourage personnel to exercise outside their units' normal Physical Training (PT) regiment. Even so, ten years later, the number of soldiers discharged for failing to meet weight requirements has increased threefold.
A new fitness program, however, called Emergency Responder Training (ERT) offered by the TrainChange Fitness Studio in San Diego has gotten soldiers from the 96th Military Police Battalion eager to exercise on a regular basis.
"It's motivating and something different," said Staff Sergeant Widjaja when asked what he likes about the training.
Unlike traditional forms of PT done in the military where soldiers run laps around a field and perform calisthenics, ERT takes place in an old renovated warehouse.
When you walk into the cardio room the first thing you notice is that the windows, walls and ceiling are painted black. Surprisingly, once class starts and the fluorescent lights are off the room immediately comes to life with an assortment of strobe lights synchronized to music. It's like being at a trendy nightclub in the middle of the day.
But, don't let the ambiance fool you--there's nothing foo-foo about their training.
Workouts begin with 15 minutes of indoor cycling where a TrainChange instructor calls out drills in cadence to music and soldiers maneuver up and down on stationary bikes while calling out cadence.
"The sessions take you beyond failure which regular PT doesn't do," says Sergeant First Class Resto who serves as a Military Police Officer for the 96th. "[Like combat] you will go beyond your abilities."
Once finished the lights come on and they begin a 45 minute weight training circuit consisting of 13 stations where soldiers perform exercises that target specific body parts; new circuits are created daily using a computer application developed by the creator of the ERT program, Al Smith, Jr.
Al is co-owner of the studio and author of the book, TrainChange: Fat Loss. Having served in the Army himself, Al says, "ERT is similar to circuit training recommended in the Army Field Manual 21-20 Physical Fitness Training, but their routines aren't designed to keep soldiers motivated. People like fitness programs that make them want to improve their strength, speed and coordination in addition to improving their anaerobic and aerobic abilities. Our program accomplishes this because we focus on providing workouts that are short and highly intense, but also entertaining."
"The classes also promote team building and tighter cohesion within the unit," says Sergeant Major Markley who attends regularly. ERT also keeps soldiers combat ready because it "keeps your heart rate up while building muscle endurance."
"By making our program challenging and motivating, everyone wants to show up and continue to improve," says Al.