Modern Warfare Week

“Anyone Who Relies on Their Body for a Living is an Athlete”

“Anyone who relies on their body for a living is an athlete.” -CPT Nicholas Barringer, US Army, 75th Ranger Regimental Dietitian

Unlike “professional” athletes who talk about being “warriors” and participating in “combat” while they play games on any given Sunday, service members really do those things for a living and have really earned the title. In fact, the only thing American service members really have with those in “pro” sports is that they are both athletes.

For several years now, the 75th Ranger Regiment has undertaken an aggressive physical training program called Ranger Athlete Warrior. It recognizes that the Ranger is an athlete but a special type that we are just now coming to recognize and understand.

According to the Army, the Ranger Athlete Warrior program addresses four objectives through the components of functional fitness, performance nutrition, mental toughness and sports medicine:

– Achieve a level of physical fitness that is commensurate with the physical requirements of Ranger missions.
– Understand and choose sound nutritional practices.
– Employ mental toughness skills to enhance personal and professional development. The regiment’s occupational therapist and psychologist coach Rangers on the mind-body connection in order to optimize performance.
– Receive screening, education and skills for injury prevention and “prehabilitation” that prompt effective and thorough treatment through “rehabilitation” of injuries if and when they do occur.

The quote that was used as the title of this article is significant for two reasons. First off, it sums up the very root of the issue. The point now is to increase recognition of this fact across all services and to tailor training for the occupational requirements of all service members based on duties. Secondly, it came from a Dietitian assigned to one of this nation’s most elite military organizations. A Dietitian. Let that sink in.

We find it refreshing to find industry coming to this realization as well. Vertx has begun to develop products for the Operational Athlete, Mayflower engineers their load systems for the Military Athlete and New Balance as well as Under Armour are bringing their considerable experience in athletic equipment to bear on the tactical market. Even our own “Corps Strength” correspondent PJ Rourke, MGySgt, USMC (Ret) espouses occupational fitness and has taken his military experience and is using it to help others develop themselves physically.

Learn more about RAW and CPT Barringer in a press release from USASOC.

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