I am not in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, but on a whim, I chose to take Army Physical Training (MSL 099 CM-01) in my first semester of college for a PE credit.
Though I could have chosen not to take a PE class this semester, I chose to do so primarily because the class fit my schedule and secondly because I wanted to get into the rhythm of working out on a weekly basis. After more than two months into the course, I can confidently say that I do not regret my decision. Here are four compelling reasons why you should consider taking Army PT:
1. You get very fit.
Of course, the purpose of a workout is to get fit. But PT really pushes you to challenge yourself further than a normal session at the gym. You have to commit to the entire workout and, as much as possible, keep yourself accountable to “army standards” because everyone else is working by that measure. This does not go to say that other PE classes allow you to leave class mid-way, but there is definitely more wiggle room in a self-directed PE class where a check-in/attendance system counts for participation.
2. Your days start off more productively.
Truth be told, the only thing I do not enjoy about PT is the early mornings. Although the session is scheduled for 6:30 – 7:30 a.m., army standards for reporting time means I have to be at Bauer by 6:20 a.m.
On some days, depending on the workout scheduled, reporting time could be as early as 5:45 a.m. (Yes, 5:45 a.m. is an ungodly hour to wake up at.) While there have been days that I have attempted to sprint on an unhealthy three to four hours of sleep, Army Physical Training has pushed me to plan my time more efficiently.
From forcing myself out of bed and actually working out to the refreshing morning shower and fulfilling breakfast, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much in the morning already that I feel more motivated to keep the momentum going and finish more tasks throughout the day.
3. You meet new friends.
Even though you cannot exactly socialize during workouts, bonds are somehow developed with the people you see (and struggle with) three times a week. Perhaps it’s because the nature of PTs are “solo but together,” meaning we all perform the exercises individually but also split into groups where we motivate and encourage one another to finish the exercise.
Not to mention, the cadets always treated me (and other non-ROTC people) as equally important members of the group. Although I don’t interact as much with my ROTC cadets outside of PT, there is definitely a sense of camaraderie cultivated from overcoming workouts together — whether it be heading to Roberts Pavilion at 5:45 a.m., or marching for six miles up a mountain carrying 35-pound rucksacks, we’re all in it together.
4. It’s a unique experience.
When else would you be able to experience a glimpse of the ROTC life, especially if you have never had experience doing national service prior to university and nothing in your future concerns the army?
The ROTC family take you as one of its own even though you’re only there for PE credit (you even get PT uniforms!). The master sergeant runs with you during sprints if you’re falling behind. We joke and banter with one another just as much as we cheer each other on during squad competitions.
When else would you see a senior cadet come in as Uncle Drew from the Pepsi ad, wearing both a fat suit and a bald wig while playing basketball? Under what other circumstance would you experience a company commander narrating the entire introduction of Avatar: The Legend of Aang while having a plank competition on the wet grasses of Parents Field at 7 a.m.?
At the end of the day, you should go with whatever floats your boat. But in all honesty, Army Physical Training is a boat worth considering.