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Readers Respond: Is the Air Force on the Right Track with Their Fitness Program?

Responses: 333


PT Test used as tool for Force Reduction

I too enjoy being fit as opposed to being out of shape. But then years physical bodily abuse have taken its tole on me, and passing is hard but not impossible. I personally beleive that the new PT standard is one of a few tools AF Leadership is using to give commanders authority to terminate/separate career Airman, particularly those close to retirement according to an article on the AFPC website. Based on what I've seen so far, AF leadership is trying to kick out members with more than 8 but less than 20 years of service in order to save retirement costs. Don't fall for the lie that physical fitness reduces medical costs; it actually increases it; THAT and with little medical compensation to cover those injuries. With heavy work loads, high ops tempo, lots of weekend duty (especially with Maintainers), and much more, the obvious goal is to destroy morale in the hopes of getting people to quit; especially those close to retirement, or eligible. YEAR OF THE FAMILY? What ever!
—Guest Joseph

What PT test?

I'm 5'8" with a 32" waist and I absolutely hate this PT test. Waist shouldn't matter. BMI... a joke because by the way I'm 170 7% body fat and I'm overweight according to that?It seems the AF is going off standards meant for the average person. We're the military not average. We are usually more active than your average citizen. Also the age gaps now are ridiculous. In general, physical peak is around 24-28 (look at professional athletes), but we expect 30 year olds and 18 year olds to do the same? I know that there are those out there that can, but I wouldn't expect a high school kid to be able to do as many pushups or run as fast as someone who 1) has done this for a while and 2) is in their physical peak. Look at the Army standards, their age break down makes sense. They've stayed the same for the past 20 years. Lets just go back to 2 minutes, 2 mile run and stop changing our PT test every year...
—Guest AF 1stLt

Fair EPR rate for Faliure of PT Test

If a referral EPR is a 1 or 2 (from AFI)but they exceed in every other block. What is the rating? I have seen 3's but even that is harsh considering the rest of the EPR. Is their a percieved feeling that people cant get 4 referrals? PT test important Yes, but to me taking care of our people and the knowledge that they hold is the most important factor. Knowledge Is Power is very important to the Flightline. Losing good people to not so important causes. The way is see it is another tool of force shapeing....
—Guest Martin (Flightline)

No Big Deal But...

Run is no big deal. Push-ups and sit-ups are no big deal. The waist is the only thing that needs to be revised, or taken out all together. In basic, my smallest waist size was around 35in. Of course that was with a basic traing workout regiment. That isn't too practical for most afsc's today. Especially those of us in the maint field. I learned this the hard way after 2 PT test failures. Now comes the part that not a lot of people like... you must take it upon yourself to keep yourself in shape. At first it was a real PITA and I hated it. But after a couple of weeks of running around my home neighborhood, it became routine and I would actually look forward to it! Now, going back to the waist measurement, it just stupid. I'm 6' tall and my avarage waist is around 38", barely passing. Keep in mind that the run, p/u's and s/u's are no problem for me, but because of my waist I nearly fail. Its crap. The waist measurement needs to go!
—Guest SrA Mechanic

Fitness Program aimed at Force Reduction

No, I do not believe the Air Force is on track. How is it legal for any agency to keep changing the rules and/or standards in order to meet it's hidden agenda? What do I believe that agenda is? To end service of a Career Airman before they reach retirement. The Air Force's main priority is in its equipment, and obviously not in its personnel. "Personnel" based on how they treat Airman, are too expensive. This expense takes away funding from their true desire; equipment, specifically, F-22 aircraft. Do we need new equipment? Yes, I agree that we do. Should this equipment come at the cost of its people? NO, not in the slightest. Do I believe fitness standards should be relaxed? No, that is not what I'm saying. But at least be consistent enough, yet it's been revised more than once in just 6 or so years, and it appears they keep getting tougher. The Air Force is demanding too much from its career Airman, yet letting new Airman get away with DUI's and CDC failures.
—Guest Joseph


You guys do realize that you all swore in to joining the Air Force right? No point in complaining because in the long run, your words mean nothing. But hey, I got no complaints I"M FIT!
—Guest AF Reservist

left it alone

If the old test was given by civilians who don't care if the SSgt/ TSgt/ MSGT's/ CHIEF's/ MAJ's/ LTC's etc. pass or not the AF would be a better place... The old test would still be working just fine. As a tester i bet less then 25% of the AF can say they took every PT test in the last 5 years ?????
—Guest JERRY

Airmen not Soldiers-Not impressed

Do you carry your tool box the distance of the flight line or 8 feet from your truck? Try 80 lbs. of gear and a heavy weapon. Then talk about the PT test. The new generation wouldnt stand a chance against the old head generation if it wasn't for technology alone. Why not add an obstacle course and 80 lbs of gear for EVERYONE. Seems to me we just like to follow in the footsteps of people who have never been where the majority of us are going. If people die in trainning somebody complains and we lay a fluffy pillow for them to fall on instead. The enemy doesnt care if someone dies in their trainning as long it remains a lethal sharpening block. I wonder what the average run time is for the average insurgent. Good thing ours is posted for them to see. We should not be doomed to repeat history, yet we pride ourselves on it. Your 92 in a males test means about a 75. Kick ass? You dont impress me and you cant outrun me but get paid the same. Why arent you questioning this inflation?
—Guest Not broke? Lets fix it.

Lies of leadership and bias of the desk

Frankly the AF Fitness test is a joke. If they wanted us to be in shape not look good in uniform, base it on times and repititions. Put the fitness score on your OPR or EPR. Add pullups so it really is about strength. A LtCol who tells us were whining is also the same guy who'll throw you under the bus to make O-6. I support a realistic PT program, not a modelling agency program -so we look good in uniform. Lastly, those skinny little bastards, after the 1.5 mile run, I want a cage match, last guy standing passes. That's also fitness Air Force blue falconeers. Just give me a realistic assesment, not a modelling tryout. Let's celebrate fitness, not shape. I know three guys who run marathons - not making this up - and they are all going to have problems passing the fitness test for their waist. They also eat fine. The AF discriminates. Oh, and to the buck up or shut up LtCol, you're a damn fool, I doubt you could lead people anywhere, you get out of the way.
—Guest Demoralized Airman

Proud to be in the AF AND be a soldier

Not only am I proud to be a woman in the technical maintenance field of the AF but I am proud to be a soldier as well. Im 26, been in for over 6 years and the changes since have been amazing. We were always known as being soft; being the "chair-force" but with our new missions and a heavy, extended AF presence in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan I think we should be able to perform our jobs AND hold our own. Im not knocking the old heads. Yes, this is a different service than what you signed up for 20 years ago but time brings change and we ARE a different force. We are the best of the best because with our new standards we prove that not only do we have the brain but the brawn and I personally think there is nothing wrong with that. As far as turning us into a weaker force because we are all a bunch of "pansy runners who cant lift anything"; Im 5'6", 116 lbs, kick ass at my pt (92) even with the new standards and still have no problems carrying my own 50 lb toolbox to my aircraft.
—Guest Still in n lovin it


Ok, I understand not everyone has the same fitness abilities. That is still no excuse to not comply with standards. When we enlisted we were saying I want to represent my country, I want to show the world that America is proud, strong and hard working. Well people lets do it fitness is simple. It may not be fun at first but people I promise you it will make you a happier healthier person. It is proven to release endorfinse creating a natural high. Now I'm not talking a "stoner high" I'm talking about feeling energetic, happy, and it will highten your abilities with work, school, family, sports and the list goes on and on. Now if fitness isnt your thing then maybe you would be better off in a civilian job. I am usually a kind a thoughtfull person but hay if your fat and lasy get out of the Air Force your just slowing us down and us fit people are sick of picking up your slack.
—Guest MC

Not everyone sits behind a desk.

If you are a nonner (If you don't know what it is you ARE one) I can see why you have no problems with entertaining this new PT test. You work 8 hours a day, same time every day most likely, and therefore have time to do PT in your day. As a former crew chief (now in MOC) I know both sides of this story. Crew Chiefs seldom ever work less than a 10 hour day, most of the time you're lucky if you get out by 12 hours. Most of the time you spent eating your lunch at your tool box. You go home, exhausted from working out in the elements all day, smelling like crap, and now your supposed to chalk up the energy to go work out? I wish that you officers would spend a day in a crew chief's shoes and see what that slavery is like. (Although I'm sure the expeditors would cover their ass and be more fair with you there.)
—Guest SrA Was-a-Crew Chief

Change is good, but it went the wrong wa

If they took the emphasize from the waste and put it towards push up and sit ups, and not the run, the new PT test would make much more sense. I love seeing the scrawny guys that can run like the wind but can barely lift anything over 20lbs. I think the PT test should be about overall fitness and not just those who can run. However, if those scrawny guys can't meet the minimums in the strength section then they fail; that makes me happy.
—Guest SrA


Please look at this page, the results don’t make sense: http://usmilitary.about.com/od/airforce/a/bcfemale.htm I do think the waist measurement is a joke. And many times it is measured at the hips, not at the actual waist. NEW Running Standard is not too bad; I worked out for 2 weeks and can run 1.5 mile in 14-16 min. which is a passing for females under 30. Keep in mind that I am a smoker and haven’t worked out for 5 month. Best suggestion is start working out; complaining will not change anything. Sitting and making excuses like college, work, kids, etc will not improve your run time. Run 3 times a week for 15 min, you would be in the better shape and will improve your run time. Yes it hurts, but keep in mind you are doing it for yourself – especially females – think how much nicer your legs will look, think about those skinny jeans that don’t fit anymore. Motivate yourself. Anyways, good luck to you all.

Adapt and Overcome

Do I 100% agree with having third-party non-biased individuals proctoring the PT test, yes. Do I 100% agree with the new raised standards, no. They might be a little excessive. But then again, no test will be 100% fair for everyone. It's an imperfect test for an imperfect system. I think the AF will, in the long run, be better for it though. We, as Airmen, need to adapt to the changes. Standards are standards. However, I believe the AF could use a good deal more of adapting itself to reality. Body composition by waist measurement alone? Seriously? Leadership needs to open their eyes and look at what some of the other services are doing. We don't need to mirror them, but we sure can learn a few good lessons on how to do things better.
—Guest Lt Adapting

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Is the Air Force on the Right Track with Their Fitness Program?

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