One of the most obvious differences between a traditional job and a career in the army is the high standard that all aspects of the defence member’s life is held to. Instead of my partner’s job ending when he comes home, he has to constantly stay on top of his health and fitness, be able to pass medical and dental tests, maintain proficiency in both general army knowledge and that information that is specific to his job within the army.
The part of this that impacts my life and my relationship with my partner the most is the high level of fitness he has to maintain.
In the army there is something called a Basic Fitness Assessment, or BFA, and let me tell you it is anything but basic. At any point, with very little warning, my partner will have to pass this assessment with a combination of sit ups, push ups, and a timed run.
Passing this is essential, and failing is pretty much a non-option. Being fitness compliant is essential to my partner’s career and his place in the army.
At the moment my partner is doing PT sessions five times a week, as well as playing sports. As you can tell, for any other person, this would be considered a pretty high level of exercise.
Now let me just say, my partner really is fit and he really is strong. He can outrun me and pick me up with one arm and he completes his PT sessions and passes BFAs, but he is a big person, and this can cause him trouble.
When I say big, what I mean is big built. He is incredibly tall, but not in a lanky way. It’s more like a broad shouldered, muscly, built way. And I love that so much.
But when he has to do push ups, his big arms make it hard for him to get super close to the ground, and his chest fills out his shirt more than some of the people he works with.
Last week there was a little bit of an issue with his size, that he seemed to count as a bit of an annoyance but nothing major, but which made me absolutely furious.
It was after a pretty miserable PT session (even though most sessions are pretty miserable in the weather up here), but a person who was only one or two ranks above him decided to give him a friendly lecture about how to change his diet and become more fit.
Mind you, this happened without asking my partner about his diet or how his health is. The advice that came out of it was to cut down on sugars and fats. And sure, if my partner had been asking for advice or really needed to lose weight this might make sense. But as I’ve posted about before, my partner and I eat quite healthily. It’s mostly a plant based diet, with meat protein added in for my partner. We don’t snack that much, don’t drink sugary drinks, and he even drinks low carb beer!
It just frustrated me so much that someone was making judgements about my partners health based on a few hours of contact with him at work. I understand the importance of health and fitness in the army, particularly where exercises and deployments are concerned, but this targeting of my partner when he already doing everything that he needs to be doing.
Maybe this is just my protective nature, or maybe this really is something that was a bit unfair, but it was definitely one of those moments that made us both feel the pressures of army life.
Has anything like this happened to you or your partner? Does your job put pressure on you in other ways? Let me know in the comments below!