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Helping My Fellow Warriors Lose Weight


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Joined 2013-01-15


I’m currently serving as a non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the US Armed Forces.

About four years ago I began serving as a Physical Training Leader (PTL). The job entails leading a group of 30-50 servicemen in organized Physical Training (PT) sessions about three times a week.

In order to become a PTL, I needed to gain a CPR certification as well as attend a PTL Training Course. I found that the course was thorough but lacked any real verification of knowledge. In the end, there was a test but it was not graded. There was also a hands on portion where we ran through various exercises that the military has used for decades (ie. pushups, situps, planks, low crawls, etc.).

I’ve always been in pretty good physical shape so the military style exercises are very easy for me. The emphasis for the military is on maintaining a slim waist line and being able to perform certain exercises such as situps, pushups and a run. These exercises are the basis of our annual PT Test, a requirement to stay in the Armed Forces.

Two years ago a friend came to me. He was one failure away from being kicked out of military. He had been in for 18 years, he was a fellow NCO and he was a great worker/leader. But his PT issues were going to bring him down. His major problem was his large waist line.

I helped him work out every week day for two months. Daily, we did a set of calisthenics followed by a 2 mile run. He cut the excess calories out of his diet, drank more water and hit it hard when we worked out. In the end, he passed his PT test with flying colors and he had lost 6 inches off of his waist in 2 months.

I felt great. This man was going to be able to take care of his family, continue serving his country and finish out his military career with honor and dignity.

But I felt that the military had failed him in some ways and I felt that even though I helped him get results, the whole ordeal was a little too dangerous being as I was so uneducated in physical fitness. This man was almost forty and I put him through the wringer. I had no idea about his current state of health and I could have seriously hurt him or killed him. At the same time, he was clueless in some aspects of physical fitness that the military should have taught him years ago.

Despite all of this, I’ve continued educating myself on physical education so that I can help others. I’ve helped numerous other service-members correct their PT and physical fitness issues over the years. I’ve never had someone fail on me.

This journey has taught me two things:

1) Sometimes people just need someone to be there for them to help them. Always strive to be a brother to someone in need.

2) You need to take a educated, safe approach to physical fitness. You need to work hard to get good results, but you should never rush things. Be cautious and careful.