Tennessee National Guard Launches ‘GRIT’ Program to Promote Fitness Among Ranks

The Tennessee National Guard is launching a new fitness initiative to help guardsmen achieve their fitness goals, according to a Tuesday release.

“The Tennessee National Guard launched the pilot program of GRIT, Guard Readiness Improvement Training, at the Volunteer Training Site in Smyrna in May,” according to the release.

The new training program is the product of a collaboration between Maj. Gen. (Retired) Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s former adjutant general, and Sgt. 1st Class Ken Weichert, whom Holmes asked to update a version of what was once called “Warrior Fit Camp.”

“GRIT is a program created by Weichert, a Master Fitness and Master Resilience Trainer, that promotes a holistic lifestyle: physical, mental, sleep, and spiritual readiness to improve soldier and preparedness,” the release said , and is described as a “high-energy, 12-day program where Guardsmen motivate each other in small groups led by trained coaches.”

“GRIT is a course that helps Guardsmen optimize human performance through physical, mental, nutritional, spiritual, and sleep readiness training. The results are intended to improve Army Combat Fitness Test scores, reduce BMI, increase morale, and take back to their units,” said Weichert.

Tennessee National Guard members also voiced their opinions on the new program.

“I wanted to work on mindfulness in my fitness,” said Spc. Sanyah Smith, a soldier from the 208th Medical Detachment in Smyrna. “GRIT has been a very good experience – very inspiring. It’s not like you’re hearing from somebody and you’re like ‘You don’t practice what you preach.’ Here, they actually do. So, it’s very motivating.”

“This course is quite uplifting,” said Spc. Carl Rickets, a soldier from the 301st Troop Command in Nashville. “Most of us are here to better ourselves, and I think we can all take it back to our units as well. ‘Sgt. Ken’ has a lot of experience. I’m learning more and I hope to better myself.”

Last week, some Tennessee National Guardsmen were deployed to the U.S. southern border to combat the ongoing border crisis.

The deployment was announced by Gov. Bill Lee (R) on March 25.

“America continues to face an unprecedented border crisis that threatens our nation’s security and the safety of Tennesseans,” Lee said in a statement at the time. “The federal government owes Americans a plan to secure our country, and in the meantime, states continue to answer this important call to service. I am again authorizing the Tennessee National Guard to help secure the Southern border, and I commend these troops for providing critical support.”

Lee visited the troops before their deployment.

“Today, I joined federal & state elected officials in Millington to visit with our guard members before their deployment to the nation’s southern border,” he said on Twitter. “These TN National Guard troops represent the very best of the Volunteer State, & we are so grateful for their service.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter.
Photo “Training” by Tennessee National Guard.


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