FORT KNOX, Ky. – The U.S. Army Recruiting Command is seeking more than just future Soldiers these days. As part of a recent accessions overhaul, it is looking for elite athletes already in the ranks who would like join the new U.S. Army Warrior Fitness team.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth and Command Sgt. Maj. Tabitha Gavia, the USAREC commanding general and CSM, respectively, recently launched this initiative as part of the Army’s desire to increase outreach and recruiting efforts and create a more personal connection with the American people.
“As we change our recruiting models from industrial to digital-age systems and implementation techniques, we recognize that youth operate on a variety of different planes,” Muth said. “Two of those realms are functional fitness and e-sports.”
Functional fitness is a classification of training that prepares the body for real-life movements and activities. The areas of emphasis include strength, balance/coordination, power, range of motion and mobility.
CrossFit is one type of workout classified as functional fitness training. According to a recent report from CNBC, “By the numbers, CrossFit is possibly the biggest fitness trend in the world. It has approximately 13,000 gyms in more than 120 countries, up from 13 in 2005.” There are several other popular physical training regimens that fall under functional fitness training as well, including High Intensity Interval Training and Total Body Resistance Exercise.
USAREC wants to establish its presence in this fitness demographic with the U.S. Army Warrior Fitness team. The group will represent the service at fitness competitions and health expositions that help bring awareness to the Army and the recruiters at those events. The team will be part of the USAREC Marketing Engagement Brigade at Fort Knox.
First Sgt. Glenn Grabs, a certified functional fitness coach, is leading the initiative. His areas of knowledge include gymnastics, power lifting and sport-specific training. He has been doing functional fitness for six years and coaching for four of them.
“Having a functional fitness team in national competitions gives the U.S. Army an opportunity to interact directly with the fittest people in the American population,” Grabs said. “That’s why we are looking for dedicated, driven Soldiers. We want individuals who are excited about the opportunity to perform, develop and assist in the recruiting mission.”
Grabs has been working at USAREC headquarters as part of the Commander’s Initiative Group to develop a plan for the new outreach effort and begin recruiting Soldiers for the 10-member team.
“I have the utmost confidence in (the first sergeant) and the team he will be leading,” Muth said. “I cannot wait to see the results.”
Soldiers interested in applying should visit the U.S. Army Warrior Fitness webpage at recruiting.army.mil/functional_fitness. The deadline for applications is Dec. 14.
Soldiers identified as the most competitive will visit Fort Knox for a fitness evaluation and formal interview by the selection committee. Those selected to the team will be stationed at Fort Knox for three years and, in addition to fitness competitions, will participate in outreach engagements and will regularly interact with the public as an Army ambassador.
The team is expected to begin competing on behalf of the Army by March 2019.