Last week I was fortunate to spend a day with my fellow Florida Army National Guardsmen. I have been invited each year to provide physical and psychological training to Soldiers at the FLARNG Wellness Camp. The Wellness Camp is what ultimately inspired me to create Fire Team Whiskey®. The Soldiers at the Wellness Camp are all Soldiers who have failed to meet the physical fitness and/or body fat standards of the military. These Soldiers' military careers are on the line if they cannot meet those standards soon. I absolutely love what the Wellness Camp does for these Soldiers. It brings them in for 2 weeks and spends all day every day surrounding them with the environment and information they need to be successful with their health and fitness. The problem that sparked the development of Fire Team Whiskey® was that these Soldiers get all these tools, but go back into the situations that developed those poor health habits, to begin with. I wanted to be able to step into that environment and help these Soldiers integrate what they learned at the Wellness Camp into their "off-duty lives." To get them on an eating plan that you can follow no matter what your life situation is. To do workouts anywhere, with no equipment, and in a short amount of time. To continue to inform them about health-related issues like stress management, sleep hygiene, stretching, the detriments of eating processed foods, etc. And most importantly, they would have that military camaraderie. No matter how much great information you have, in a good plan or workout, if you don't have someone to believe in you and push you to achieve those goals, the struggle is going to be that much harder. During our 3-hour circuit workout on Friday, I was blown away by the HEART these Soldiers were showing. They were pushing themselves and each other. They were digging deep and doing one more rep, one more sprint, one more effort, even though they had almost nothing left to give. I was almost moved to tears seeing how hard they were pushing themselves and each other. It frustrated me that in this environment, with their military brothers and sisters around them, they COULD DO THIS! But before at home, they couldn't. As I sprinted with them, jumped with them, and pushed with them, I was inspired to show them the way. To go forward and say "Follow me, we are going to do this together!" I was blessed to have Military Leaders in my life to show me the way. They not only encouraged me to meet and exceed the standard, but they did so themselves. I am disheartened that some of these Soldiers may not have someone in their Unit who is doing this for them. Those two intangible things: Esprit De Corps and Leadership are why Fire Team Whiskey® is different from all the other fitness and health programs out there. When you have a former Navy Corpsman calling you every week and seeing how things are going. Or a former Marine giving you tips on how to improve your run. Or a former Army Captain teaching you how to make better choices at the supermarket. Is what will resonate better than some celebrity status trainer yelling at you and telling you to get off your butt and work. We lead from the front because we have been there. We have felt those pressures of life draining away our health. We have worn that Uniform and had to juggle country, duty, family, and life. We have been discouraged and been pushed forward by a Leader or comrade. We also want our Fire Team Whiskey® enlistees to encourage and push each other, and become that Leader themselves. Then they can, in turn, pay it forward and inspire someone to make that change. Who is with me? Are you ready to lead from the front!? I thought so!
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