in Athletes & Blog

30 01 2022

In this blog we are speaking to Sgt Willis of the RAPTC and how he has transitioned from an Infantry Soldier to Royal Army Physical Training Corps.

Firstly tell us who you are?

Hi Combat Fuel readers, I’m (Sgt) Tristan Willis, firstly I’m an infantry soldier who has served for just under ten years. I’m now a Royal Army Physical Training Instructor within the RAPTC, my career began in Catterick at the Infantry Training Centre. Here I spent six months going from civilian to soldier, a tough course but a rewarding process that taught me so much about myself and resulted with me passing out as an infantry soldier (front line doorkicker) ready to deploy to Afghanistan.

What did you do in the infantry?

I went to the sand (Afghanistan) twice, I first deployed as a Battlefield Casualty Replacement for a short period in 2013 returning again in 2014 for a nine month stint in the sandpit. This was an eye-opener but it was something we had been preparing for so when we did deploy to undertake the ‘job’, I felt prepared and ready, it was like I was meant to be doing this since the day I was born. I loved every second because I was living on the edge and ready to react to any contact / situation that we encountered. These were some of the best and also worst days of my life.

My first 8 years within the military was spent alongside some of the best leaders and soldiers the army has to offer. I spent most of my career in the reconnaissance platoon, we were the platoon that would head out the door first to find and fix the enemy if called upon. I was part of a group consisting of 24 individuals that wanted to be the best they possibly could be, we deployed to Ukraine , Canada & Oman as a platoon and it was some of the best days of my military career.

I got to the rank of corporal within the infantry through the means of promotional courses in the Brecon beacons and completing the Section Commanders Battle Course, long arduous courses but great none the less becoming a leader and learning my stripes. It was an experience no one forgets, the cold dark mornings in wales before you head out for the week on the back of a troop carrying vehicle. I love being a soldier but I then found a passion for teaching and developing soldiers, this lead my to Aldershot where I attended the All Arms Physical Training Instructor Course. this is were I excelled, used my knowledge and teaching skills I develop within the infantry and gained my red belt and white vest, enabling me to take physical training within my unit. This allowed me to help soldiers prepare for courses through physical and mental testing to make sure they were ready to go on their promotion course.

Why have you transferred and was it hard?

The road then changed and my plan was to Transfer into the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, I received a distinction on my course report from the Army School of Physical Training which then allowed my to attend the famous RAPTC Selection course. I took 1 year to prepare for this course which was a week of physical, mental and academic tests where you essentially sell yourself to an interview panel of high ranking soldiers, of whom are well established within the RAPTC. A number of different test that allow the soldier to show themselves and how they deal with self induced pressure, there is no feedback throughout the week and not only physical but mentally demanding assessments that really test the individual.

I felt the week went very well for me as an individual and this was down to my preparation and with my reconnaissance back ground, I had been in a no feedback scenario a fair amount of times so at the end of the week and a year of prep, I got the great news that I had been selected for the RAPTC! Training would be in 6 months time at the Army School of Physical Training. The course is 9 months long and if successful, the soldier then transfers to the RAPTC, changes their respective cap badge to then be part of the RAPTC for the remainder of their career.

What does the RAPTC do?

We, the RAPTC are the soldiers and officers that look after, develop, teach & study all aspects of physical training, physical & mental development. We conduct a variety of beat up / preparation courses for courses such as P company and the All Arms Commando Course. We thrive to teach and develop all over the world through the means of mental resilience training along side of course physical training. We run & lead all sport & adventurous training within the military, so you could say the ‘jack of all trades’. At around 400 strong we have soldiers all over the world in pretty much every location where there are troops. Self motivated individuals that have a passion for teaching and developing soldiers to unlock their potential as the soldier athlete. We have soldiers running gyms and physical development within units, soldiers who look after running the adventurous training centres and we have exercise rehabilitation specialists (ERI’s) looking after those who become injured on their path to recovery. Without a doubt we all love what we do, having the opportunity to lead and develop at the forefront of fitness within the British army, we play a huge role within the development of our soldiers and officers. Ultimately ready to go to war.

Whats next for you?

As mentioned above I’ve served ten years in April 2022 within the military and I do not want to stop there, I have more to give, a lot more to learn & many things I would like to do within the military. I see myself as a very fit individual who uses the outdoors, physical training and hiking as a way to stay ready, to stay ready for anything. I aim to be the best RAPTC instructor there is and promoting through the ranks with a prospect of achieving the rank of WO1 before my time is up. That aside, I simply wish to make a difference to physical training within the army.

The military and supplements…

As a soldier I believe supplements are necessary but you must first understand that before supplements you must have a healthy lifestyle, a good balanced diet. There are three key supplements I use daily to aid my training and recovery. Whey protein is my number one go to within the military as we are always moving, training and active within our daily roles. Especially if you struggle to get your protein source in via food this can aid recovery and we look to get in typically 1g of protein per lb of lean body mass.  My second supplement would be creatine, creatine is hugely researched supplement and it could give you the boost in your prep for the military or maybe the boost you need to get through a long day or even whilst going through as long physical course. My third and final supplement would be vitamin D, another widely researched supplement and simply put… We don’t get much sun but when we do it makes us happy, this supplement would give you that boost on the dark days or as we get a lot of rain potentially where we go as soldiers to train then this is a must for me. All three supplements are fantastic for us as soldiers however being soldiers we need to make sure they are safe. COMBAT FUEL are the Number 1 military safe company and have never failed a CDT. Alongside many other variables and essentially a good balanced healthy lifestyle these supplements will aid you as a soldier athlete or if you are potentially joining the forces or training for something big.

Thank you for reading!


Article by: Tristan Willis Combat Fuel Athlete