By Spc. Bradley Archer, 197th Public Affairs Detachment
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Step by step Soldiers run a two mile while gasping for air attempting to pass their Army Physical Fitness Test, or APFT. Most every Soldier has had this feeling, just pushing a little bit harder to accomplish their goal. COVID-19 has taken some Wyoming service members by storm with gyms being closed and drill being conducted virtually.
Pushing through this hard time is Staff Sgt. Kari Brafford who especially felt this challenge. Brafford is the Master Fitness Trainer for the state of Wyoming with many years of experience. She explained what Soldiers can expect for the overall fitness for the Wyoming Army National Guard and the future of the Army Combat Fitness Test.
Soldiers are seeing the ACFT approaching quickly with the roll out being as soon as October 2020. The official rollout of the ACFT is not yet established since the COVID-19 has delayed the original timeline.
“The ACFT will incorporate all our energy systems, using our anaerobic and aerobic system. Doing sprint-drag-carry where it is quite a bit of work to go through that,” said Brafford. The sprint-drag-carry being a new event has combined the use of both systems making it more challenging.
Brafford is confident that Soldiers can prepare for the ACFT at home without equipment and still be successful.
If you are looking for ways to work out at home without spending a lot of money, Brafford posts different workouts on the Wyoming Guard Master Fitness Trainer Facebook page. There are a lot of different workouts for all variety of physical fitness needs including workouts without any equipment. These trying times might be confusing for Soldiers who have never worked out from home. “No question is a dumb question. When it comes to fitness we are all learning and growing,” Brafford explained.
The best way to prepare for the ACFT is to learn the details and the purpose of the exercises. The new exercises can be intimidating for Soldiers who have no experience weightlifting, but through proper form and repetition it can be as simple as a pushup.
In these challenging times with many Soldiers not being able to access gyms and spending more time at home, a failed physical fitness test may happen. Wyoming Guardsmen who have failed two consecutive APFT and/or failed height and weight will be put into the Soldiers Program Enhancing Eating, Activity and Rest or the SPEAR program. This program entails the Soldier attending two IDT weekends with MFTs to learn healthy eating habits and workout plans to fit into their daily lives. Two to three months later, they are contacted to check on their progress.
Motivation is the key to a healthy and fit lifestyle. Members of the Wyoming Army National Guard need to remember fitness is created through self-motivation and dedication to become a stronger Soldier.
“As we are home, life changed a lot this year, you just need to find that internal motivation to get up and do something,” said Brafford. Soldiers and families can reach Staff Sgt. Brafford at 307-836-7742 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can also offer a comprehensive list of online resources that have helped Soldiers work out at home, ranging from YouTube to the YMCA.