Army Strong

October 17th, 2013 | By Gary No Comments


As part of the Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign efforts, the Army encourages every professional soldier to develop a mindset that drives them to optimize their own health in order to improve their performance and resiliency.  To help soldiers develop this mindset, the Army has developed a program called the Performance Triad. This back- to-basics program focuses on activity, nutrition, and sleep. Here is what the Army has found:

Physical activity encompasses more than just exercise at the gym.  Regular activity throughout the day can improve health by reducing stress, strengthening the heart and lungs, increasing energy levels, and improving mood.  Similarly, quality nutrition and sleep management can serve as key components in promoting health, preventing disease, and achieving or maintaining a healthy body weight.  Chronic poor sleep may increase your risk for stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Across all age groups and medical conditions, the impact of restful sleep, regular physical activity, and good nutrition are visible in both the short- and long-term.  While each component is independently important, optimal performance is achieved when all three are addressed simultaneously. We think better, feel better, and perform better when our bodies are well nourished, well rested, and healthy.

The Army is not stopping at just implementing the Performance Triad within their active duty personnel. They want to truly strengthen the health of our nation by impacting those in uniform who work and live within our communities. For example, an Army Reserve or National Guard soldier integrates the Performance Triad into his or her life, and then influences family, friends, and co-workers to adopt the same principles.

Another example that we see in the Athens area is through programs that local Army recruiters are implementing in our community. As these recruiters work in local schools, they see firsthand the declining health and physical fitness of our youth. According to Captain Hudalla, who leads Army recruiting in North Georgia, “One in four high school graduates does not qualify for military service, due in large part to trends in obesity, medical issues and law violations. We particularly notice the rise in obesity and it is disappointing when our recruiters have to suggest to an applicant that they don’t qualify because they are overweight.” This really concerns Captain Hudalla and his team, not only because of the impact on their recruiting but also because the impact the future of all kids and our community. Typical of good soldiers, they are taking action to battle these trends.

For future soldiers, Captain Hudalla and his team offer weekly training sessions and nutritional classes to help them pass the Army Physical Fitness Test and to improve their overall readiness before boot camp. Only a small portion of applicants are able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test without significant training. Almost every Thursday afternoon, you can find 15 to 25 future soldiers training at the Athens YMCA with local recruiters like Sgt. Smith. Some are already fairly athletic but may need to increase their speed or strength in certain areas. Others may need to lose quite a bit of excess weight. In one case, Sgt. Smith helped a future soldier lose more than 50 pounds.

Captain Hudalla and his team are also working with local schools to provide innovative and informative programs promoting physical fitness and nutrition in PE and health classes. These are not recruiting programs, but are designed to simply help address the obesity and generally poor physical fitness of our youth. With their extensive training and access to unique equipment and assets, these soldiers can make an impact on students that will leave a lasting positive lesson about the importance of activity, nutrition, and sleep (also known as the Performance Triad).

If you would like to learn more about bringing an Army physical fitness program to your school, contact Captain Hudalla at

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