When fitness is a matter of life and death
TEAMS might liken playing a tough sporting match to being in battle, but for army reservists based at 41 RNSWR in Lismore, their fitness focus really can be a matter of life and death.
On Tuesday evening Corporal Alaric Coulter, 31, and Private Tim Kilroy, 33, gave an insight into the work they need to do to stay fit for their job.
Coulter whose civilian professions are as a primary school teacher and retained firefighter and Kilroy who works a paralegal, said the fitness part of their army role is very enjoyable.
Standing in the mezzanine gym at the Lismore army base, the pair who have been reservists for six and three years respectively, talked about how important physical fitness is to staying mentally healthy and being able to undertake their work in and out of uniform.
Coulter who has played Aussie rules and Kilroy whose sporting background includes endurance events and rugby union, agreed that not only are they the fittest they have ever been, it’s the healthiest they have ever felt.
“This is harder, much harder than playing sport,” Coulter said.
“I run the PT on a Tuesday night and we do a warm up, dynamic stretch, probably do a 2.4km run or beep test then some weights or body exercises.
“Then we go battle fitness where we put on our gear and it’s like very arduous boot camp.”
Kilroy said you need to be strong, nimble and have good flexibility.
“In the infantry, the expectation is that you are fit and are able to undertake some pretty arduous activities,” he said.
Coulter said they must be able to go out on exercise for weeks.
“Your'e sleeping on the ground, you have to carry all your rations and a weapon which could be at least 40kg,” he said.
“I have always said the day I stop enjoying it is the day I leave.”
Kilroy said the functional level of fitness involved encompasses muscular, aerobic and mental endurance.
“Yes this is challenging,” he said.
“But being in the Army Reserve is very fulfilling, a lot of our work is also directed towards the community.”