In the Army National Guard you will find the Fitness Improvement Training Program, also known as FIT-P. This is a program designed to help Soldiers who are overweight and/or cannot pass the APFT get back in shape. The program offers a comprehensive approach to fitness, teaching Soldiers about proper nutrition, dieting, and exercise. The FIT-P Course is normally taught by a Master Fitness Trainer. In many cases, there is also a dietitian or nutritionist on site to assist with the training.
Normally, when a Soldier fails an APFT or weigh-in they are sent to FIT-P. It is up to the Company Commander to refer Soldiers to the FIT-P program when they choose to. In most states, the course is offered at the Regional Training Institute. In rare cases the course is instructed at the unit level, depending upon the mission, staffing, time available and funding available.
The course was formerly known as “Warrior Spirit” and is sometimes referred to by other Soldiers as “Fat Camp.” The course is a six day course, normally taught during three drill weekends. Soldiers attend FIT-P in lieu of attending drill weekend with their assigned unit. During the course, the Soldiers conduct an APFT, get one-on-one fitness counseling and get personalized training to help them make lifestyle changes.
I’ve personally sent several Soldiers to FIT-P. In many cases, the Soldiers did lose weight and improve their APFT Score, but eventually reverted back to their old ways. And in a few rare cases, FIT-P was a real wake up call for some of my Soldiers who decided to take their health and fitness seriously.
Overall, I believe the program does have its merits. The major downside I see is that you lose your Soldier for three IDT weekends while they attend the training. Depending upon what you have on your unit training schedule, this can create some real problems.
If you personally have ever attended the ARNG FIT-P Class, I would love to hear from you. Please tell us about your experience and how it helped you out. Just leave a comment to share your thoughts. Also, if you have any questions about the FIT-P program, just leave them below and I will do my best to provide an answer.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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