Lt. Shai Ya'akobovich is a combat fitness officer at the IDF Infantry Training Base, from Maccavvim-Reut
I am responsible for thousands of soldiers and every infantry commander in the IDF must go through physical training and a variety of fitness tests. At least three times a week the soldiers exercise with full gear, and I am in charge of everything.
Since taking on this position, everybody asks me for tips on how to eat right and stay fit. I tell my friend which muscles he should work on while exercising, and advise people on how to lose weight, even close friends and family. My younger sister (11) runs six kilometers with me!
I have numerous fitness instructors, Krav Maga instructors and life guards who are all doing a great job. I love that I have this position and the responsibility it entails. I'm basically responsible for the combat fitness of IDF infantry commanders, who then convey what they learned here to their soldiers. If he or she understands the importance of physical training, I accomplished my mission. Otherwise while in battle, they will be tired and out of shape. I love working with people and training the best of the IDF. Work never ends. People train from dawn till dusk. But we're not afraid of a physical challenger. This is a large brigade and I hope to reach every single one of them.
Since they day I enlisted to the IDF as a fitness instructor I knew I wanted to become an officer. This mind set comes from both my family and the community I grew up in. Starting off with the Givati Brigade, I joined the soldiers during every march. My first positions as an officer was with the Artillery Corps where I server for a year. We made a huge change there- instead of just relaxing during breaks we started running every day.
The positions I have now- fitness officer at the IDF Infantry Training Base- is commonly held by a man. This is an extremely intense and fulfilling job. The fact that I am a girl and am still able to complete all the physical tests motivates the soldiers.
The physical challenge isn’t easy. We train the best of combat soldiers and some of them will run faster than I can regardless of how hard I try, though setting an example is more important. I have to prove myself, after seeing me running with the Brigade Commander, they start taking me seriously.