FORT EUSTIS, Va. – The Army Sergeant Major has a message for senior officers and unit commanders: It’s okay to do physical training at times outside of dawn and you better to read the new health and fitness manual.

sergeant. Major Michael Grinston told an audience of over 200 at the second annual Holistic health and fitness conference and exhibition that leaders need to be creative in planning, scheduling and managing training.

“Imagine a world where you do PT, do other things, and then go to the range,” Grinston said. “Mismanagement of training means, ‘I have to stick to a 6:30 training schedule because I can’t think beyond tomorrow.'”

This creative thinking, along with adherence to new Army fitness standards, are steps the service officials say they are taking to revolutionize the physical, nutritional, mental and spiritual health of every soldier through the Holistic Health and Fitness program. , also known as H2F.

The service has hired mental health specialists and engaged civilian physical therapists and occupational therapists. These positions, rather than being housed solely in medical facilities, now reside at the brigade level.

Since the inception of the H2F program in late 2020, the Army has sent teams and equipment to 28 brigades with plans to field 110 such teams across the force by 2030. The equipment includes equipment used for fitness testing, such as hex bars for deadlifts, powerlifting training stations, kettlebells, and medicine balls.

The Army Sergeant Major discussed the H2F program at the Center for Initial Military Training, part of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, on Tuesday.

An audience member said that team members see heavy use of their equipment, coaches and facilities between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. in units that have these items available to them.

But not so much the rest of the day.

Grinston said he works at the 82nd Airborne Division, which maintains an all-day firing range for use by its various subordinate units. Sure, this range has an element of marksmanship, but soldiers also face mental puzzles before and after firing. They also do physical training as part of their visit to the range.

“Some units have done exceptionally well with that,” Grinston said. “And you have to be creative.”

The top enlisted soldier set his own example from his days as a first sergeant many years ago. He remembers meeting with his brigade commander to get his training plan approved. Later, Grinston’s own senior sergeant major told him to add another formation.

Grinston “kindly declined,” he said. And after he did his push-ups, he repeated to his sergeant major that he had a training plan approved by the brigade commander, and until that changed, that’s what he was. would stick to his soldiers.

“We all have to do better with training management,” Grinston said. “We need to manage our time better and the leaders need to be comfortable training outside of this window.”

But first, soldiers must know what to train.

This discrepancy was revealed when another retired soldier, also a member of TRADOC’s H2F team, shared that he and his colleagues saw little to no unit leaders, enlisted and officers, who read the FM 7-22, which is the Army H2F Manual.

Grinston said he would address this issue in full force to reinforce that leaders read and implement the material in the manual.

“Maybe I have to do better,” Grinston said. “It starts with the senior sergeant majors of the army, maybe we start with a conversation on FM 7-22”

He saw the same thing himself when, on an unannounced visit to do PT with a unit recently, the soldiers started their session with a stretch that had been removed from Army regulations about 15 years before – a calf stretch with toe pull, to be exact.

Six months after the release of version 3.0 of the Army Combat Fitness Test, Grinston observed a unit that had not performed the plank exercise as part of their session.

“We told you to do this for six months,” Grinston said. “How do you not know that? »

The sergeant major also said that if forced to choose, he would devote more resources, focus and funding to more regular use of mental resilience training.

“The mental aspect is where we miss the most,” he said.

Grinston began his speaking session with a one-minute focus on breathing – a mindfulness exercise in the 7-22 manual.

“We don’t practice mental resilience until something breaks and we move on to behavioral health,” Grinston said.

The sergeant major said behavioral health is good and should be encouraged when a soldier needs it.

But a focus on regular mental resilience training can be preventative and help build individual resources for the stress and mental health issues that everyone faces, soldier and civilian alike.

Todd South has written about crime, the courts, government and the military for several publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer Finalist for a co-authored project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Navy veteran of the Iraq War.