SSG Amanda Rose, the District of Columbia Army National Guard, Army Combat Fitness Test/Master Fitness trainer, Non Commissioned Officer in Charge, preps soldiers to get fit and suggests gun owners do the same. (Photo: Amanda Rose via Instagram)
Staff Sergeant Amanda Rose knows a thing or two about fitness. A volunteer firefighter, federal law enforcement officer and now Master Fitness Trainer for the DC Army National Guard, Rose has dedicated her time to training soldiers on food and fitness.
Guns.com chatted with Rose, who also happens to be one of the Guns.com brand ambassadors, to get the scoop on the new Army Combat Fitness Test and to find out how gun owners can also benefit from staying fit.
GDC: First off, how did fitness and a healthier way of living come into play for you?
Rose: When I was 17, I joined the New York Army National Guard with ambitions to go to Penn State to study communication. During training, I fell in love with the military. I deferred college and got picked up for my first deployment at Guantanamo Bay. It was there I learned I had a huge passion for fitness and nutrition. I spent a lot of time diving into it and reading about it. When I came back after my deployment I decided I wanted to go to school for exercise science. I was recruiting so I had people coming to me who were out of shape and weren’t physically capable of passing the test in order to join the military. I was able to take what I was learning in school and apply it to help them reach their health and wellness goals.
GDC:So you did the military thing and then I understand you were a volunteer firefighter and federal law enforcement officer. Now you’re the Master Fitness Trainer for the DC Army National Guard helping prepare soldiers for the new Army Combat Fitness Test. What was the evolution of that?
Rose: Each state needed a project coordinator to execute the new ACFT. I got called one day to meet with leadership and they asked if I would be the coordinator for the District of Columbia. I had to make the choice between an overseas assignment or this Master Fitness Trainer position. I thought a lot about it and I loved the opportunity to directly impact soldiers. I love meeting soldiers. I love training soldiers. It was a no brainer — I wanted to help pioneer this program.
GDC:What are some challenges you’ve faced as the Master Fitness Trainer?
Rose: One of the main challenges is education — informing soldiers of what the new Army Combat Fitness Test is and how important it is to their success and their future. It’s important to their own health and wellness. You have to make daily decisions to be successful like choosing what to eat, getting enough sleep and doing the right exercises. This new program indirectly forces people to live a better, healthier life. You can’t just prepare 30 days out like with the old APFT. The big challenge is getting soldiers motivated and inspired to live a better lifestyle.
GDC:So you mentioned the previous PT test, the APFT. For the civilians out there, can you break down what the key differences are between the old fitness test and the new one?
Rose: The old test, the APFT, was three events — two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a 2-mile run. There were male and female standards and also age standards. The new test is a six-event test. The standards are the same across the board. The only difference with the new test is it’s MOS specific, but there’s no discrimination based on age or gender.
The test itself is six events designed to test your full body. There’s a three repetition maximum deadlift. There’s a standing power throw where you’re throwing a ball back over your head for distance. There is the arm extension where you extend your arms out like an airplane before bringing them back in and performing a push-up. Then there’s the sprint-drag-carry which is five, 50-meter shuttles for time. In this one, you sprint and drag a 90-pound sled. You do lateral sprints, then you carry two 40-pound kettle-bells down and back. After that, you sprint again. That’s the real killer out of everything. After that, it’s a leg tuck which is a pull-up on a bar, but you have to bring your knees to your elbows. Then the ACFT finishes with a 2-mile run.
GDC:That’s no joke but it sounds like the Army is encouraging fitness that directly correlates to the military life.
Rose: Yes. The military has been working with other organizations and scientists, both within the military and outside, to create events that relate to specific movements, tasks, jobs and responsibilities of military personnel. For example, the kettlebell sprint is the application of a soldier being able to lift heavy loads across distances like carrying ammo cans or multiple weapon systems. A push-up doesn’t really prepare you to do that.
GDC:Do you think civilian gun owners would be wise to take some cues from the APFT and incorporate into their own routine?
Rose: Absolutely. The military has the FM 7-22. In that, there are a ton of exercises that the training center has shown will increase readiness to perform the different events. Those exercises can help civilians increase their own strength and endurance.
GDC:Why is it important that gun owners or civilians take their wellness and health seriously?
Rose: You will see it come together when you’re out on the range. When you’re moving and shooting, reacting to contact, in full gear and you’re exhausted, that’s when you really see how your fitness, your health and your cardio endurance work together.
You have to be disciplined if you’re a gun owner — from locking up guns if there are kids present to finding the right training. Fitness and a healthy lifestyle require the same type of discipline. You have to be disciplined to get up before work and go to the gym or exercise after a long day. It’s also about making healthy decisions in the kitchen and when you go out to eat. Be conscious in all areas of your life.
GDC:So basically what you’re saying is that like the gun lifestyle fitness is a lifestyle too. You don’t just buy a gun — you take a class, you train, you go to the range. You make decisions that ensure successful gun ownership. Same with fitness, you are exercising but also making good decisions about food, drinks, etc.
Rose: Yes, that’s a good way of putting it.
GDC:What about the gun owner reading this who wants to get fit, wants to do better health-wise, but doesn’t know where to start? What advice do you have for him/her?
Rose: There’s so much information online and in books. Go to your local library and check out some books. Get some free ones from Amazon. There are tons of trainers, myself included, who post workouts and information on social media or on their personal webpages. If you’re a gun owner and you want to start making positive changes to your lifestyle, you can find these resources.
The best thing to help you commit is to reach out to friends and family and find battle buddies who you can work out with before going to the range or after you’re done at the range. If you can shoot and train at the range when you’re already exhausted, tired or sore imagine how much better you’re going to perform when you’re at your optimal level.
For more information about SSG Amanda Rose check her out on Instagram.
**Article updated Friday May 14, 2019 at 4:45 EDT.