NEWS

SWEAT a New Initiative for the Vermont National Guard

Soldiers
were
sweating
during
the
two-­-mile
run,
part
of
the
in
processing
for
the
Soldier
Wellness
Education
and
Training
program
(SWEAT)
in
Northfield
Vt.,
May
14,
2016.
SWEAT
is
a
new
program
for
the
Vermont
National
teaching
Soldiers
nutrition,
physical
training
methods
and
master
resiliency.
National
Guard
Soldiers
may
struggle
to
create
a
successful
physical
training
program
for
between
drill
weekends,
this
program
will
give
them
the
tools
to
help
them
succeed.
(U.S.
Army
photo
by
Sgt.
Heidi
Kroll)U.S. Army National Guard Photo by SGT Heidi Kroll

Sweating is what a group of Soldiers were doing as they completed their diagnostic Army physical fitness test (APFT) as part of in-processing for the SWEAT (Soldier Wellness Education and Training) program in Northfield Vt., May 16, 2016. This is a new training initiative for the Vermont Army National Guard. SWEAT consists of several different physical fitness-training styles, as well as, nutritional training for Soldiers that have struggled with weight and passing the APFT. In addition, there will be several in depth classroom sessions focusing on proper stretching, social media, and creating a realistic personal exercise plan. They will also receive all 14 blocks of Master Resiliency Training (MRT) training focused on helping Soldiers push past roadblocks that inhibit their physical training (PT).

MRT will help the Soldiers identify and address some of the roadblocks that are holding them back. For example, Soldiers will change their mindset from “I cannot complete the two mile run,” to “I CAN do this." Creating goals and exercise plans will help the Soldiers realize the impact that a good PT plan can have on their health, shifting the thought process to the positive benefits of exercise and how great they feel afterward.

“I have never talked to anyone in regards to nutrition, I am super excited to talk to someone about it,” said Spc. Chelsea Delphia, administrative assistant, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion.

“Nutrition is more than half of this, how to eat, even purchase food is huge,” said TSgt Travis Voyer, Biathlon Trainer. They will be taught which foods affect their metabolism, assist in weight loss, and increase energy to support PT.

“Two weeks of doing nothing but PT is a great step to start on your path to success. I am looking forward to the classroom portion more, to learn how to make a PT plan,” said Spc Raymond Gratton, truck driver, 186th Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

While National Guard Soldiers only drill one weekend a month, they are responsible for their own physical fitness training to maintain readiness between monthly drills. SWEAT participants will be taught time management skills and how to create a successful training plan that meets their fitness needs.

“We only get to see the Soldier two times a month to do PT so getting two weeks to teach a soldier how to train their bodies is really unique.” said TSgt Travis Voyer, biathlon trainer, Vermont Air National Guard.

While this is the first time the SWEAT program has been conducted in Vermont, the cadre will use the after the after actions reviews to evaluate the program and make changes for the next event. The organizers created this program from scratch trying to meet the needs of the Soldiers in the Vermont Army National Guard. Physical readiness is just as important as mental readiness to the Vermont Army National Guard. Having Soldiers armed with these physical and resiliency skills will enable them to lead those that may struggle in the future, keeping their fellow Soldiers motivated and retainable. The Soldiers will be taking away new life skills, which will increase their health and the readiness.

In two weeks, these Soldiers will be taking the APFT again to see the progress they have made. To some, this may mean a passing PT test and their height/weight screening. To others, the progress shown from two weeks of hard work will be a motivator to keep on the path. Soldiers will be able to take this information and share it with their units, training other Soldiers that might be struggling. “I have 38 trainers that are going to go back to their unit and help out the other soldiers in the organization. They will share and talk with other Soldiers about what they learned,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Toby Quick, Vermont State Sergeant Major.

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