Posts in Category: ACFT

Equal to the Task

Preparing for the Army Combat Fitness Test

Story and Photos by Charles E. Spirtos, TMD Public Affairs

ACFTWhen a force is fit, it is more lethal and more agile in the face of threats. Whether the call is on the battlefield, or during the heat of a natural disaster like a hurricane, the men and women of the Texas Military Department maintain constant preparedness to maintain a force ready to support federal authorities home and abroad.

Part of maintaining a professional force is maintaining maximum physical fitness. A recent Army-wide innovation that will allow the force to maintain relevance and increased lethality is the introduction of the Army Combat Fitness Test as the test of record for assessing Soldier fitness.

The ACFT will be a superior metric in determining a Soldier’s readiness for the battlefield by evaluating complex actions that have direct parallels to motions frequently encountered in the battlefield, according to TMD Command Senior Enlisted Leader CMSgt Michael E. Cornitius. Cornitius also believes that the collaborative nature of the ACFT will increase camaraderie within the force: “You can encourage each other through the course of the test. You’re going to have at least four battle buddies to walk you through it--so that’s what I like about it.

The Army Combat Fitness Test may be a challenge for Soldiers who are used to the older physical fitness test. However, SSG Anthony Delagarza believes that training in support of the ACFT will allow the Texas Military Department to become the fittest, most lethal force in the country. The Army Combat Fitness Test is not easy. In fact, many seasoned Soldiers have described it as extremely daunting. This doesn’t scare us off however, this motivates us. After all, when have Texans ever backed down to a challenge?

At the Forefront of Fitness

Our Interview with Texas Army National Guard Sgt. Benjamin Magby

Story by Charles E. Spirtos, Texas Military Department Public Affairs

Sgt. Magby training. (Courtesy Photo: Sgt. Benjamin Magby)
Sgt. Magby training. (Courtesy Photo: Sgt. Benjamin Magby)

Sgt. Benjamin Magby, Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment, is no stranger to fitness. As a calvary scout in the Texas Army National Guard, he also maintains status as a competitive powerlifter with a deadlift max of 515 lbs. and a total max of 1,200 lbs. This lifestyle requires a strict regimen of physical fitness and allows him to maintain his peak performance both as a powerlifter and as a warrior in the Texas Army National Guard.

Magby likens the structure and format of powerlifting to the sort of fitness requirements that a well-prepared Soldier must maintain. He believes that his career as a powerlifter prepares him for the battlefield.

Sgt. Magby completing "The Murph Challenge", a CrossFit workout in honor of the late Navy LT and Medal of Honor recipient Michael P. Murphy. Participants in the Murph Challenge are encouraged to complete the workout while wearing 20-pound armor plates. (Courtesy Photo: Sgt. Benjamin Magby)
Sgt. Magby completing "The Murph Challenge", a CrossFit workout in honor of the late Navy LT and Medal of Honor recipient Michael P. Murphy. Participants in the Murph Challenge are encouraged to complete the workout while wearing 20-pound armor plates. (Courtesy Photo: Sgt. Benjamin Magby)

“In powerlifting, one does not win simply by mere strength alone,” said Magby.

While the amount of weight lifted is certainly a key factor, proper form and execution is equally essential. The synergy of power and form as seen in powerlifting has a direct parallel to resiliency and lethality on the battlefield, as exemplified by the fact that in combat, a Soldier must employ proper technique in tandem with force.

Magby takes great pride in operating at a peak level of physical fitness. When asked for his motivation to maintain physical wellness, Magby responds that being in the best possible physical shape directly correlates with the Army value of duty. 

“It’s my duty and responsibility to maintain the standard required of a Soldier to perform on the battlefield,” said Magby.

As a non-commissioned officer and leader, he believes it’s his duty to lead by example and model to his Soldiers what the expectations of physical fitness are and what steps are required to reach and exceed those expectations.

In order to serve as a role model for his fellow Soldiers, Magby constantly looks for new challenges to conquer. In November, he participated in a charity ruck march to support the Texas Airborne Alliance during which he rucked 42 miles in 24 hours.

“It was one of the most physically challenging activities I have ever participated in,” Magby said.

Sgt. Magby and Cpl. Garrett Thompson completing the "42 in 24" Ruck March in support of the Texas Airborne Alliance. (Courtesy Photo: Sgt. Benjamin Magby)
Sgt. Magby and Cpl. Garrett Thompson completing the "42 in 24" Ruck March in support of the Texas Airborne Alliance. (Courtesy Photo: Sgt. Benjamin Magby)

Despite numerous opportunities to leave the ruck march, Magby nevertheless persisted and completed the forty-two miles in stride. Having risen to the occasion, Magby exhibited superior physical fitness and led by example.

When asked about the Army Combat Fitness Test, Magby expressed excitement for the Army’s evolution in assessing Soldiers’ holistic wellness. He believes these changes to the Army physical fitness program will result in fewer battlefield injuries and a force that exhibits increased resiliency and agility.

“You are not going to be able to walk in one day and max [the ACFT] out,” said Magby. “But with continuous conditioning, every Soldier will be able to succeed.”

Magby looks forward to the ACFT becoming the official Army fitness test of record because the complex motions required for each event remind him of powerlifting and also have direct parallels to activities that a Soldier may need to perform in combat.

In discussing the importance of a holistic wellness program, Magby acknowledges the importance of emotional and spiritual health in maintaining peak resiliency. These facets of fitness are all equally important, and spiritual health is especially significant for Magby, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Here, he finds inspiration for personal growth in his spirituality.

His spiritual health “gets him through hard times” and centers him during periods of stress and adversity, improving his quality of life in the civilian world and as a Guardsman, as well.

Rucksack. (Courtesy Photo: Sgt. Benjamin Magby)
(Courtesy Photo: Sgt. Benjamin Magby)

Magby’s holistic spiritual, physical and emotional wellness provides a system of support to ensure that he can balance the many demands he faces as a citizen-Soldier. 

One does not need to be a professional powerlifter, a fitness guru or a nutrition expert to reach his or her fitness goals. By setting and meeting goals for fitness as Magby has, every member of the Texas Army National Guard can be the best citizen-Soldiers they can be.


Texas Army National Guard Partners with Volt Athletics and The Peak to Enhance Strength & Conditioning Program

AUSTIN, TEXAS - The Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG) has entered into a partnership with Volt Athletics and The Peak to provide its 20,000 soldiers with individualized, state-of-the-art technology for physical fitness training.

“The Volt App, which utilizes artificial intelligence to customize workout routines to the needs of each individual, will allow troops to not only meet but also to exceed fitness goals. This is in the context of our major push to improve overall wellness within our organization, including: physical, mental, and spiritual health," says Chief Master Sergeant Michael E. Cornitius Jr., who is the Texas Military Department Command Senior Enlisted Leader at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.

Volt collaborated with Texas Joint-force Headquarters and the Texas Military Department to design an exclusive, specialized training program to help Texas National Guardsmen prepare for the introduction of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), and help the TXARNG achieve their goal of transforming their fitness culture to better avoid and recover from preventable injuries, and build cohesive teams.

Volt’s revolutionary AI technology delivers personalized 52-week training programs to soldiers wherever they are, via their mobile device. Volt then tracks and adapts each soldier’s individual training program in real-time based on their feedback, set by set. Each training session builds on the last, progressing the soldier so they can successfully pass the ACFT and stay combat-ready. And Volt’s HD video demonstrations of every exercise guide each soldier on the specific technique required to stay safe and effectively execute the training. Volt’s technology provides a fully scalable solution, empowering each soldier to take charge of their own training.

"The Texas Army National Guard is taking a proactive and unified approach towards strength and conditioning, and we're honored that our team at Volt gets to play a role," says Dan Giuliani, Co-Founder and CEO of Volt Athletics. “Because of this partnership, every soldier at the TXARNG can leverage Volt's AI training technology and will have access to world-class training to ensure they are prepared for the ACFT, and ready to perform at any time."

Volt is proud to partner with The Peak Inc., a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, who increases operator effectiveness in austere environments through operational training and human performance optimization services.

The partnership between The Texas Army National Guard and The Peak and Volt Athletics is effective immediately. Volt’s training system is currently available to all soldiers and officers.