The Performance Triad - Readiness and a Healthy Lifestyle
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US Army Advocates

Apr 11, 2018 | U.S. Army Elite Athletes & Healthy Lifestyles

Dear Army Advocate,

The world was watching as the Olympics took the spotlight in South Korea earlier this year. Eight athletes who represented their country on Team USA also serve their country as U.S. Army Soldiers.

This newsletter highlights the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) and how the Army supports its elite athletes as well as the health and determined mindset of all its Soldiers. I invite you to read about Sgt. Nick Cunningham, a three-time Olympian who applied his Army skills of readiness, teamwork and preparedness to his bobsled training.

Watching elite athletes like Sgt. Cunningham inspires us all to lead healthy lifestyles, which can be difficult due to the demands of work, family and other commitments. Obesity continues to be an ongoing epidemic in the United States. Learn how the Army’s Performance Triad aims to combat this problem and serve as a guide for healthy living in and out of the Army.

As always, we value your interest and continued support as a U.S. Army Advocate. We look forward to connecting with you further on LinkedIn and encourage you to join the U.S. Army Advocates LinkedIn Group if you have not already. We’ll be posting new discussion topics on the platform and welcome your comments.


Ms. Liz Wilson
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army
Director, Army Marketing Research Group

U.S. Army Olympians

U.S. Army Olympians
The U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) is a military program run by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command. WCAP was established in 1997 to give all Soldiers an opportunity to train for and participate in Olympic and Paralympic competitions while maintaining a professional military career.

Eight WCAP athletes competed in the bobsled and luge competitions at the 2018 Winter Olympics that took place Feb. 9-25. You can read about them here.

WCAP Soldiers are important to the Army’s mission because they help reinforce a positive image of the Army’s strength and discipline. WCAP Soldiers assist with the instruction and training of thousands of troops in combative or hand-to-hand combat techniques.

WCAP also works with the Joint-Service Para-athlete Program, which provides wounded warriors with training and opportunities to qualify for the Paralympic Games. This program supports resiliency, providing wounded warriors with the means to pursue new goals and dreams in spite of their battle injuries, inspiring other wounded warriors and the world with their accomplishments.

Readiness and a Healthy Lifestyle – The Performance Triad

Readiness and a Healthy Lifestyle – The Performance Triad
To help Soldiers stay on track – whether they are athletes or not – maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to combating obesity and ensuring a ready state of mind. A key tactic used by the Army is the Performance Triad, which is a comprehensive plan that aims to positively impact and sustain the health, readiness and resilience of Soldiers.

The Performance Triad isn’t just for Soldiers. It can be applied by civilians to improve readiness and increase resilience through public health initiatives and leadership engagement. Three key components to leading a healthy lifestyle that the Triad embraces are sleep, activity and nutrition.

It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from sleep deprivation and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity. Soldiers and military leaders consistently associate lack of sleep with accidents, poor morale and impaired judgment. Under the Performance Triad, the Army is taking steps to improve performance while addressing root causes of poor sleep and fatigue, including the impact of caffeine and energy drinks. It’s important for Soldiers and civilian adults to get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep every 24 hours to maintain their mental edge.

Read more about healthy sleep habits here.

Physical Activity
Physical activity is another major component of the Performance Triad and is vital to combating obesity. Less than 3 out of 10 young adults ages 17-24 are qualified to join the Army today, primarily due to a lack of physical fitness. Unless there are large-scale changes in physical activity across the country, we’re putting our national security at risk. Physical fitness and activity are crucial to ensuring Soldiers are able to perform the duties and responsibilities of their jobs. This is an ongoing focus area for the military, schools, families and communities across the country.

Read more about physical activity here.

Lastly, healthy nutrition improves Soldier training, increases energy and endurance, shortens recovery time between activities and improves focus and concentration. Soldiers often face barriers to obtaining optimal nutrition, citing a lack of access to healthy foods, time constraints arising from working through meals or working late and low motivation to make healthy choices. The Army’s Performance Triad advocates for eating a balance of protein, carbohydrates and at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Meal prepping can help alleviate the stress from lack of time or motivation to cook healthy meals.

Read more about maintaining a healthy diet here.

The featured photo is of Former U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsledder Steven Holcomb (front right) who led "The Night Train" team of Sgt. Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler and Curtis Tomasevicz at the Olympic four-man bobsled event at the Whistler Sliding Centre in 2010.

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