Fitness leaps forward
“Soldiers have to be the ultimate athletes because their performance is directly going to indicate whether we win or lose wars - whether people live or die,” said Cory D. Schierberl, who leads a team of certified physical trainers with the purpose of spreading the necessary education and skills to enhance health and fitness across the U.S. Army.
Schierberl and his team molded 47 Soldiers into catalysts of Army Physical Readiness Training after a month-long course that concluded at Gym 3 with Fort Gordon’s first Master Fitness Trainer Course graduation March 14.
“Through this course we can help elongate a career, prevent surgeries, enhance job performance and promote a happier life,” said Schierberl, who has been a part of the MFTC for the entire year the Army has been in contract with Anautics, the company he works for. “It’s really a holistic approach to performance training and overall health and betterment of life.”
The MFTC graduates earned an additional skill identifier after spending their days alternating training between field and classroom environments where they learned exercise science including muscle and skeletal anatomy, kinesiology, exercise physiology and performance nutrition.
“PRT enforces fundamental movement techniques, reduces injury, optimizes performance, builds lean muscle and, coupled with a nutritious diet, reduces excess fat,” said Capt. Evan L. Abramson, the team’s military team lead with the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School out of Fort Jackson, S.C. “PRT increases our Soldiers’ mobility, strength and endurance - making them more lethal.”
There was a need for a change in the program after an increase in noncombat related musculoskeletal injuries that can be almost entirely prevented with the right education. After Army Field Manual 7-22 was published in 2012, all that the program needed was a group of professional leaders to train, demonstrate and enforce the new standard.
“The Army should have the best performance program, and physical readiness training is that program,” said Schierberl who is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. It is a standardized program designed by the highest level performance coaches, athletes, physicians and military personnel.
As ‘clones’ of the dynamic MFTC instructor teams, MFT’s are able to enforce correct posture and movement, instruct and supervise a PRT session to standard, explain why sprinting can be more beneficial than distance running, and shape PRT programs to decrease injury while promoting increased fitness levels.
“Everyone knows their ( military occupational specialty) in and out. They know the Army. They know regulations. They don’t always understand that their body is their direct tool for how they perform in the industry,” said Schierberl. “Your tool is your body no matter what your MOS is.”
The MFTC instructors said they believe so truly in the effectiveness of PRT that they include a lot of the drills in their own routines. It is a guarantee that once Abramson leaves the military this year he will be in Gold’s Gym doing preparation drills, he added.
“This class really boosted my confidence and has made me a better leader,” said 1st Lt. Jordan G. Gelino, network operations officer and newly graduated MFT for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Signal Brigade. “People pay for the knowledge and experience that we were getting paid to receive in this course.”