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NEWS | April 2, 2024

Holistic Health and Fitness

By Staff Sgt. Starla Lewis 80th Training Command, 100th Training Division, 83rd ARRTC, 21st Civil Support Team

Fort Dix, NJ – Instructors from the 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Command, under the 100th Training Divisions, certified 26 soldiers with the Holistic Health and Fitness Integrator (H2FI) additional skill identifier (ASI).

The H2FI course was formerly the Master Fitness Trainer course. The biggest difference is the H2FI course combines all aspects of physical and non-physical human performance to improve soldier health and fitness for combat. These aspects have been broken down into five domains: mental, sleep, spiritual, nutritional, and physical readiness.

“Most people come here thinking we are going to focus on the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test), and how to pass it or improve their scores, but this course is so much bigger than that,” said Master Sgt. Kimberlee Hilliard, H2FI course manager at Joint Base Dix McGuire. “A huge aspect of this course is why do we do what we do, and how do we get better. If we focus on the five domains, and what needs to be improved in each area, then you will get better at your ACFT by becoming a better soldier.”

Another misconception about the H2FI course is that spiritual readiness is about religion; yet it is not. For the spiritual portion of the course, they take the soldiers on a nature walk. During the walk, they just talk. “People that didn’t talk during the first week of class really come out of their shells during these walks and end up creating real bonding conversations,” said Hilliard.

“One thing I want the individuals that come through this course to take back with them is to add spiritual services to their training schedule. I want everyone to have the opportunity to connect with what gives them purpose, even if they aren’t religious. During this time, they can meditate, they can do yoga, take a walk, they can attend religious services, whatever serves their spirit, they would be able to do during this 30-minute block,” Hilliard said.

The H2FI course is led by Army instructors, but it is not just for soldiers in the Army. The course is open to all service members like Staff Sgt. Alex Potts, an E-5 in the United States Air Force.

Staff Sgt. Potts is an Emergency Management Specialist (3E971) in the 21st Civil Support Team, a Joint Unit at Joint Base Dix McGuire. His training non-commissioned officer (NCO) had previously attended the MFT course and thought it would be a good experience for him if he attended the H2FI course.

“I appreciated being able to show that the Air Force is up to physical challenges that soldiers are faced with,” said Potts. Staff Sgt. Potts wanted to be that positive representation for his branch and show that the Air Force does have tactical athletes amongst their ranks.

“Airman that come here will benefit more by coming to this course because we can take the knowledge we gain here and take it back to our units. You won’t find many H2FIs in Air Force units and if we send more airman, there can be more of us with that tactical knowledge the instructors provide during the course,” stated Staff Sgt. Potts.