Linda Maye Adams

Soldier, Storyteller

Daily Life in the Military: Physical Training


I picked up a book on what it’s like to be a sous chef, so I thought it would be interesting to follow through the “Daily Life in the Military.” Of course, this was a number of years ago, so some things may have changed and others may not have.

Mondays, we’d start the day with physical training, called PT, since the Army likes its acronyms. Normally we did it Monday, Wednesday and Friday, though later, the post commander decided everyone was going to do it five days a week.

Formation for PT was at 6:30. A few hardy souls would get up at 5:30 a.m. to get ready, banging doors and flushing toilets. The rest of us dragged our zombie selves out of bed and changed into PT uniforms.

The full uniform was gray sweat pants, gray, sweat jacket, gray t-shirt, gray shorts, black watch cap, calf high socks, leather gloves, and running shoes. During winter, we wore all of that, and some of the women who hadn’t styled their hair yet would hide it under the watch cap. During spring and summer, we went down to shorts and t-shirts.

It also didn’t matter if it was too cold, too hot, raining or snowing. We went out and did PT, no matter the weather conditions.

We’d get out to formation ten minutes prior and line up in our platoons. Most of us were still half asleep, so the designated PT instructor that day (usually one of the sergeants) would start out with some stretching and then warmup exercises.

The stretches were your basic ones like bending over and touching your toes or

The warmup exercises were the horrid things. We always had pushups and sit-ups. The guys could always knock out the pushups, but grunted, groaned, and strained for the sit-ups. The ones I hated were the side straddle hop and the flutter kick. The side straddle hop is a jumping jack, and it was always very hard for me to do, probably because of my flat feet. The guys were always making fun of me. The flutter kick was just plain hard. This is what it looks like (shirtless guy alert):

No fair! He makes it look easy!

It would take about half an hour to finish that part of PT. The last half hour was the run. We always did it in a formation, which was supposed to encourage to slow runners to run faster to keep up. Amy logic. That never worked.

We ran on the streets of Fort Lewis, as cars drove past us.   When I was on main post, we would run through the housing areas, where it was kind of nice, and definitely quiet. If it was hot out and the person leading the formation spotted a sprinkler, we took a trip through it.

But someone would always get the idea to go up to Engineer’s Bluff, which was a steep hill and a killer to run up it.

With my flat feet, I was such a clumsy runner that I probably took at least three times the effort to run and came back exhausted. Once we stumbled back to the company, all sweaty and hot, it was off to the next scheduled event of the day: Breakfast.

6 Comments

  1. PT is the only organized activity I miss about the military – the rest was too rigid. Pt was a great way to start the day and contained enough variety to keep things interesting. I still work out, running long distance races, but the workouts aren’t the same. Thanks for posting this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was able to give up PT, I was ready to party. I truly hated it.

      Like

  2. livrancourt

    Forced physical activity? Hmm…perhaps there was a reason I never joined the military.
    😉

    Like

  3. I’m grateful that I can go back to bed if I want to!

    Like

  4. Lisa

    The Navy calls it PT, also. I always hated jumping jacks because I have always been large chested and no bra out there ever contained my bounce. I may have been wrong, but I felt that everyone was staring.

    Like

    • I ended up having to tell my squad leaders about one of the guys because his comments about the side straddle hop were clearly inappropriate. I’m sure he thought they were funny, but then another guy also thought it was great fun to tell me he could make me run faster by strapping raw meat to my back and setting a Doberman on me.

      Like

%d bloggers like this: