When U.S. Army trainers at Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst wanted to optimize their workout program for training their soldiers, they turned to the Rutgers Center for Health and Human Performance (CHHP) at the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH). Their initial visit to the Center, located on the Rutgers G.H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick, garnered information via an interactive instructive session.
The session, which took place November 15, 2016, involved instruction on proper exercise techniques and programming, including the order and selection of exercises, and optimizing physical readiness for deployment. Battalion command along with approximately 30 troops with extensive combat experience listened while Center director Dr. Shawn Arent discussed strategies for putting together an effective training program. Director of training and conditioning Michelle Arent covered exercise techniques and sports nutrition considerations for fueling the “Army athlete.” The session was rounded out with a nutritious lunch catered by Harvest, the healthy dining venue at IFNH. The afternoon then included a “hands-on” session where Dr. Arent, Michelle, and the graduate students in the CHHP provided instruction and demonstration of proper form and cueing for a number of different core and Olympic lifts.
The merit of the presentation for the troops was so highly valued that the commanding officer, Lt. Col. Thomas Wilson, Jr., the executive officer, Maj. Josh Hernandez, along with Sgt. Major Shannon Brown and Sgt. First Class Sean Swint returned for a second visit on December 6 for some further instruction and to express their appreciation for the CHHP’s contributions to military health and performance. On behalf of the Army, Dr. Arent was presented with a certificate appointing Rutgers CHHP as a lifetime member of the 3-314th Field Artillery Thunder Battalion. This is the first time the battalion has bestowed this honor on a civilian unit.
Wilson and Brown both identified the benefits of working with the CHHP for their soldiers’ performance and knowledge about nutrition, supplements, and exercise. Proper nutrition and technique for weight training positively affects performance and helps prevent injury. They also appreciated the opportunity to learn and train in CHHP’s state-of-the-art facility.
A training session was provided for Swint and Hernandez by Michelle Arent and Chris Ordway, a doctoral student in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology. Arent and Ordway guided the soldiers through proper warm-up, positioning and weight lifting techniques for a variety of exercises designed to enhance strength and power. Further advice on supplementation and proper nutrition was given through-out the workout session.
Working with military personnel to optimize performance is a natural fit for the CHHP and is part of their mission. As Dr. Arent noted after hosting the battalion and receiving the award “it’s such a huge honor for me and for the Center to be acknowledged for this. I come from a military family, so this holds tremendous meaning for me personally. That being said, it’s almost embarrassing to receive an award for doing what I see as such a small thing for this group of combat-tested soldiers who have done so much for us. I’m looking forward to continuing to build on this relationship.”