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Military Muscle Foundation seeks to bring awareness to PTSD, veteran suicide

Military Muscle Foundation seeks to bring awareness to PTSD, veteran suicide

Military Muscle Foundation seeks to bring awareness to PTSD, veteran suicide

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The military provides a sense of pride and purpose to service members across the globe. When service members get back from a particularly difficult deployment, temporary duty or retire from the military, that sense of purpose can disappear and present a real threat, such as depression or suicide.

The Military Muscle Foundation hosted a Veteran Suicide and PTSD Awareness Tour event May 17 at the Peterson Air Force Base Fitness Center, with the intent of bringing awareness to veteran suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder.

This event was one of 50 scheduled this year to take place at military installations across the United States, said Robert Principato, retired Air Force and Military Muscle CEO and co-owner.

Each event consists of a “22 workout” consisting of 22 repetitions of 22 exercises in response to the statistic of the number of veterans who commit suicide every day, he said.

“We use (the number 22) as a symbol for a problem,” Principato said. “It’s (an icon) of a problem and an issue. How can we solve it? How can we provide and be of service to those individuals.”

Randy Cole, active duty Army and Military Muscle elite athlete, created the workout and said people struggle together through the intense exercises and accomplish things they didn’t believe possible.

“The point is, it’s hard enough where you want to quit,” he said. “When you’re out there as a group, you’re not going to quit. We’re not going to let you quit. We’re going to be there supporting each other to finish.”
The completion of such an arduous task, coupled with the sense of belonging associated with fitness makes people more open to discussing a sensitive subject.

“It’s about breaking down mental barriers with fitness,” Principato said. “You can lower somebody’s mental walls physically. They’re able to accept information on a different level. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish with fitness therapy.”

Not only was their goal to provide a workout and start the conversation, but also provide resources to service members. He said some may not feel comfortable going to see mental health professionals or a chaplain.

To increase awareness of veteran suicide and help build resilience, Military Muscle hopes to return to Peterson for the event again. In addition, plans are in the works for a much larger fitness event for the military community of Colorado in hopes of a garnering more participation and, as a result, awareness.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui