IDF’s Health and Fitness Month: Soldiers will drink only water

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz will run in popular race to open the IDF (Zahal)’s Health and Fitness Month. General Staff to sign an agreement promoting a healthy lifestyle

Date: 16/10/2012, 11:04 PM     Author: Jonatan Urich

Tomorrow (Wednesday, October 17) marks the beginning of the IDF (Zahal)’s Health and Fitness Month. The month will open with one of the marquee events, the IDF (Zahal) Officer’s Championship, where senior IDF (Zahal) officers, such as Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, will compete in a fitness competition. For the first time, reserve battalion commanders will also participate in order to improve the fitness of the reserve system.

“As a part of our effort to improve the fitness of the reserves, we have invited reserve battalion commanders to participate in the competition,” explained the Head of Combat Fitness, Col. Oren Gil.
“Fitness alone will not put us in better shape. We also need to incorporate being active and proper nutrition,” said Col. Gil. Consequently, only healthy food will be served at the event. In addition, for the next month, soldiers will forgo sugary drinks and stick to water.

The event itself will span multiple events, with officers pledging to participate in multiple events. “We estimate that 80% of officers will participate in the event,” said Col. Gil.

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz will lead the popular jogging event in the morning. The day will culminate in the General Staff basketball game, where the senior officers of the IDF (Zahal) will face off against the veterans from the famous Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team. Noam Gershoni, winner of a gold medal at the Paralympics, will also participate in the day’s events.

The General Staff will also sign a new agreement, declaring the IDF (Zahal)’s intention to lead a cultural change in military life that will place a new focus on fitness, health, and nutrition. “We want to see a healthier, fitter army,” said Col. Gil.

Combat units fitness will be tested

After a break of two years, the IDF (Zahal) will resume surprise checks of combat unit’s fitness. “We have one goal- to fight and win. It’s the reason the IDF (Zahal) exists. Combat fitness is the basis of a combat unit’s qualifications. We a bringing the focus on combat fitness back to the forefront for the entire IDF (Zahal),” said Col Gil.

In the coming months, various units in the IDF (Zahal) will undergo combat fitness training. Many will train in advance, and their results will be ranked accordingly. In addition, each officer serving in either a combat or combat support unit will be required to undergo a yearly fitness test. “In the past we used to only require combat officers to undergo these tests, but now we have decided to introduce it to all officers connected to combat forces,” said Col. Gil.