After the instructors graduate today, they’ll bring the teachings back to their respective bases to show their troops the new training methods.
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The FFI course is designed to be broad enough to train an entire base, yet customizable enough to fit each Marine’s occupational needs.
“Marines train to carry weight on their back and move artillery cannons,” says Quantico public information officer Capt. Joshua Pena. “[We have] Marines who don’t have a lot of time to work out, so we need fitness plans that keep them up to standard in a short amount of time.”
In addition to tailoring workout regimens to each Marine’s specialty, the FFI course also teaches healthy eating.
While Marines eat in chow halls on base at Quantico, Pena says they’re on their own when they’re off base or ordering food to a barrack. This may be why one in 13 members of the U.S. Military is overweight, according to data obtained by Military.com from the Defense Health Agency in October.
“Lack of education prevents them from reaching maximum potential,” Pena says. “We want Marines to make smart choices about what they put in their bodies.”
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The Marines have also tweaked their fitness philosophy to put less of an emphasis on using physical exercise as punishment-i.e. “Drop and give me 20!”-and more on encouraging Marines to want to work out and live a healthy lifestyle, says Pena.
The next FFI course will include staff sergeant class Marines (one level higher than the current class of sergeants) and the Marines aim to offer at least six courses each year. Fifty Marines are slated to attend each course, totaling an annual baseline of 300 fitness force instructors.