The Army National Guard is bringing in around $35 million worth of equipment for its new fitness test, and they really need you to be ready for it.
Only equipment necessary for the fitness test will be purchased. One lane of equipment will include:
- One 10-pound medicine ball for the standing power throw event
- Pull-up bars for the leg tuck event
- A deadlift bar and weight up to 340 pounds for the max deadlift event
- Two 40-pound kettlebells for the sprint-drag-carry event
- A sled with 90 pounds of weight
Over 5,000 soldiers and non-commissioned officers will be trained to administer the new fitness test, which will become common practice across the Army on October 1, 2020, according to Chief of Special Projects for the Army National Guard Training and Readiness Division, Lt. Col. Brian Dean.
A full lane of equipment is estimated to cost around $2,375.00, and the number of lanes a unit receives depends on its size, Army National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Wes Parmer told Task & Purpose; the lane costs could vary given that some units may not require each piece of equipment listed above. Dean said there are 15,846 lanes total being purchased.
Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa is taking the test himself this month in California, he told Task & Purpose, and he's ready for it.
"I'm the Command Sergeant Major," Sampa said. "I lead out front! I'm highly motivated, excited about it...I feel like it's going to be a positive for the Army National Guard."
He said the focus is on the overall health of each soldier not just for the test but for their everyday lives, meaning proper diet, rest, physical therapy, and fitness.
That overall approach is echoed by the Maryland Army National Guard's 629th Military Intelligence Battalion, which is participating in a program called Fit to Serve in preparation for the new test. The program teaches soldiers about nutrition and fitness, while emphasizing "overall health wellness and resiliency."
Army Maj. Michael Bryant, commander of the 629th Military Intelligence Battalion, told Task & Purpose in a statement that around 50 soldiers are going through the Fit to Serve program, which has "led to a total weight loss of about 210 pounds lost since mid-January."
The North Carolina Army National Guard is also participating in Fit to Serve. And down in South Carolina, soldiers are using a mobile app where workouts they can do at home can be found, along with an ACFT calculator to help calculate what they need to do to pass the test. And the Alaska Army National Guard has started a program called GetFit to prepare their soldiers, which is held during lunch three days a week at the Armory Drill Hall Floor.
"It's all about the holistic health for the soldier themselves," Sampa said. "We focus on soldiers for life."
Sampa said he's not worried about the test dissuading people from joining the Army, and that the service won't "reduce their standards because of quantity." But he said the policies towards soldiers with service-related or other injuries are still being formed as the equipment is being fielded.
The equipment is expected to be delivered to every unit by September 30th this year, giving you a full year to get used to the equipment — and maybe learn to start drinking a little more water and a little less beer — before shit gets real in October 2020.
UPDATE: This story was updated with additional information from the Army National Guard regarding the cost of equipment, on March 13, 2019.