PSP focuses on operational fitness with Tactical Athlete program
By Ryan Melanson,
PSP Fitness and Sports staff have a unique challenge in offering fitness programs tailored toward CAF members. Classes need to be focused on the operational demands that come with a military career, while also being accessible to clients along different levels of fitness and training expertise.
That’s part of the idea behind the Tactical Athlete program, a new initiative at the Fleet Fitness and Sports Centre. It started as a six-week trial earlier this year, and has grown into an ongoing program that’s getting great feedback from participants.
Tactical Athlete classes are currently offered three times a week over the lunch hour, with strength-focused sessions on Monday and Thursday and a conditioning class on Wednesday. Conditioning includes instruction in rowing, kettlebells, and other exercises to help members put together a well-rounded workout, while the Tactical Athlete Strength class brings the barbells and squat racks out to help members get comfortable with weight training.
“The strength component has been particularly beneficial. Prior to attending this course, I had never lifted a barbell in my life,” said LCdr Jennifer McGean, who’s been attending regularly at the Fleet gym since the program began.
Instructors can adapt the exercises and give individual instruction for different experience levels or for those recovering from injury, and LCdr McGean said this allowed her to get the most out of the classes and learn proper techniques in a setting that can be otherwise intimidating. She expects that learning to train more efficiently will pay off when performing physical tasks at work or during FORCE Testing.
“I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my own abilities and comfort level,” she said.
PSP Fitness Coordinator Lucas Hardie said the goal is to help CAF members get more comfortable in the gym with safe, efficient workouts, and that results have been positive so far.
“We have members who are telling us they can finally go work out in the weight room by themselves, because of what they’ve learned with barbell movements on the gym floor. That’s exactly what we want,” he said.
But the program isn’t only for beginners; PSP staff are highly trained and can offer expertise to veteran gym goers as well. Maj Rod Doucet said he was humbled by the focus on application of proper weightlifting technique when he started attending, and the classes have led to the correction of bad habits he’s had through years of training.
“It’s been humbling, but it has resulted in significant gains,” he said.
“One of the best features of this program is also that all the exercise routines are planned out for you – all you have to do is show up and commit to sweat.”
Classes start at 12:10 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Fleet gym, and though the program runs in six-week cycles, members can feel free to drop in any day. PSP staff hope to begin also offering the Tactical Athlete program at 12 Wing Shearwater later this year.