Warrior Health and Fitness: Southwest Florida

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The Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program is a FREE, six-month program for up to 60 Post-9/11 Southwest Florida Veterans annually. Warrior Health and Fitness is designed to help Post-9/11—men and women—improve their physical health and well- being through supervised physical exercise, education about healthy eating, living, sleep hygiene, stress management and the health benefits of physical activity.

I love the program. I love the idea of the program, getting into the depths of the way exercise and eating right helps with coping mechanisms for PTSD, and bringing us together.” – Theodora ‘Thea’ Ashton, former military police officer and participant.

Sessions are currently held at Florida Gulf Coast University and Greater Naples YMCA. The Greater Naples YMCA generously offers annual complimentary membership for all graduates of Warrior Health and Fitness Program and their Families. The Collier County Public Services Department, through the Parks and Recreation Division and the Operations and Veteran Services Division, will provide sponsorships for participants by offering them and their families access to the County’s fitness centers at no charge for up to one year.

The overall goal of the Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program is to empower Warriors to take control of their physical well-being, provide tools to help manage stress and provide a portal for more complex care for those in need of treatment for the Invisible Wounds of War. Participants benefit from working in partnership with medical providers to make informed choices that promote lifelong health, while simultaneously forming a new band of ‘brothers and sisters’ through shared experiences designed around positive competition.

Utilizing trainers, registered dieticians, and mental skills coaches, the Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program experience includes:

  • Custom Fitness Evaluation and Regimen Design
  • Professional Athlete Nutrition
  • Warrior Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Training in Relaxation Response
  • PGA Pro Golf Lessons at Kensington Golf Club
  • Membership to a local YMCA
  • Health Education
  • 6 month Follow-up

Participants will also be connected to additional resources and services available to them in Southwest Florida including the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Veteran Centers in Naples,FL and Fort Myers, FL, VA Healthcare System and VA benefits if needed.

All Post-9/11 Veterans—including amputees—who live in Southwest Florida are encouraged to participate. Discharge status is not a determination for participation.

Home Base first launched the Southwest Florida Warrior Health & Fitness in Southwest Florida in 2014, in collaboration with College of Health Professions and Social Work at Florida Gulf Coast University.

It makes their mental battles easier…We try to give them things that make everyone more resilient and it gives them an opportunity to meet people going through the same set of struggles.” – Armando Hernandez, Program Manager, Home Base

The Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program is spearheaded by longtime Naples, Florida resident, General (Ret.) Frederick M. Franks Jr. General Franks was the VII Corps Commander in Operation Desert Storm, a Senior Advisor and Honorary Board Member of Home Base and the Home Base Southwest Florida Honorary Director. Among other benefits, General Franks hosts an annual golf outing at Kensington Golf and Country Club in Naples with funds going towards the Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program.

Program management, recruitment, and exercise programming is being overseen by the Home Base Southwest Florida Program Manager, Armando Hernandez, CSCS, a Post-9/11 Marine Corps Veteran, former Boston Red Sox intern and graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University.

Daily workouts are overseen by the Home Base Warrior Health and Fitness Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Jaime Fernandez, CSCS, and a Post-9/11 Marine Corps Veteran, former Boston Red Sox intern and graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University.