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‘It’s not how I thought I’d be spending the day.’
Angie Joseph is LOOK’s super-fit Art Editor, who runs four times a week as well as regularly working out at the gym. But could her strength match that of the best female soldiers the British Army has to offer?
‘Fitness is important to be able to carry out your role to the best of your ability,’ says Lance Corporal Lisa Blackburn of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who trained Angie. ‘We’re lucky that fitness is factored into our working day. We couldn’t do our jobs without it.’
Lisa’s job is to make sure her eight-strong team of medics are ready to be deployed within five days. And Angie was given a taste of Army training when she joined them for an eight-hour shift.
‘I consider myself a fit person,’ says Angie. ‘But I realised you really need to on top form if you want to be like these women. They’re incredible.’
It’s understandable. New Army recruits have free access to gyms and sports facilities. Plus, they have world- class nutritionists and dieticians on hand for advice.
‘From the layers of uniform to the helmet to the backpack, when you’re an Army Medic and you’re out on the battlefield, you carry supplies, a stretcher and that’s all while carrying a rifle and wearing a radio mic,’ reveals Angie. ‘After a few minutes my shoulders and my arms were aching. And yet these women were still running around!’
Angie’s first job was to learn how to treat patients while out in the field. That included administering morphine, bandaging wounds and learning how to tie a tourniquet.
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But the toughest part was to come when she put her new-found skills to the test in an adrenaline-pumping live battle simulation.
‘You have to be so fit to be able to help a soldier in that situation,’ says Angie. ‘You need to think clearly and defend yourself at the same time as lifting, then running with a patient on a stretcher.’
But Army soldiers are well prepared. From the get-go, they have access to world class fitness facilities and physical training instructors (PTIs). Before they become recruits, women must be able to lift at least 20kg to a height of 1.45 metres, carry jerry cans of water over a minimum distance of 30 metres and run a 1.5 mile run in under 14 minutes. But it’s not all hard work…
‘What I loved most about working with the female soldiers I met was their sense of camaraderie and banter,’ says Angie. ‘They love it and that means they really pull together as a team.’
That’s at the core of the British Army. ‘It’s one of the places where women are treated equally and given most of the same opportunities as men,’ says Lance Corporal Lisa. And unlike some industries, Army pay is based on rank and not gender.
‘These women are inspiring,’ says Angie. ‘They’re so disciplined and motivated. After spending time with them I realise how being fit is second-nature to them because it’s an essential part of being an Army Medic.’
So, what are the best perks of the job?
1. Get Fit.
You’ll have free access to gym facilities, nutritionists and dieticians, while fitness training sessions are just part of your day job.
2. Get Paid.
Salaries start at £18,125 rising to £27,324 after just five years. Plus, you’ll get paid to train, earning over £1K a month from the outset.
3. Get Qualified.
There’s loads of opportunity to become a qualified professional such as a skiing or diving instructor or football referee.
4. Get Out There.
Travel the world as part of an Army sports team. Some soldiers have even competed at the Olympics!
Have you got what it takes? Take a look at the new fitness app and see if you have.