The effective date for the revised fitness program was is now July 1, 2010. Biannual testing under the current fitness standards are still scheduled to begin Jan. 1. The six-month delay was a result of feedback obtained from the field that found implementing the new program in July 2010 would lead to a smoother transition and allow commanders adequate time to establish installation fitness assessment cells. (U.S. Air Force graphic)
by Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
11/20/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Maintaining peak combat readiness begins and ends with healthy, motivated and well-trained Airmen.
On Nov. 19, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel announced the new Air Force fitness standards will officially begin July 1, 2010.
Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III said the service's top leaders sought feedback from commanders and senior NCO leaders throughout the Air Force when deciding to execute the updated program that will test Airmen twice during calendar year 2010 -- once under the current program and once under the new program.
"Based on feedback from the field, we are implementing the July start date so Airmen have the opportunity to excel," General Newton said. "This implementation strategy will allow for a smoother transition of the new Air Force Instruction and afford commanders adequate time to establish installation fitness assessment cells to include adequate manning for the FACs."
According to General Newton, a new AFI detailing the new fitness standards is due out within the next few weeks. This fitness AFI is the first to cover the total force of active duty, Guard and Reserve.
The general added that the July start date will provide commanders and Airmen plenty of time to be prepared and in compliance with the new AFI.
"We want to do this right," General Newton said. "It's about readiness and our continued commitment to ensure we have a fit force, ready to perform its global mission."
Col. Joan H. Garbutt, chief of military force management for Air Staff Manpower and Personnel, said the new start date for the new fitness standards will "set our Airmen up for success." She believes Airmen will excel with the new standards.
"Every time you raise the bar, our Airmen reach higher to meet the standards," Colonel Garbutt said.
Biannual physical fitness testing will begin Jan. 1 using current fitness standards. Units with FACs will use them to conduct the assessments. Units without FACs will continue to use their physical training leaders, or PTLs, to assess Airmen. Enlisted and officer performance reports will reflect fitness training scores based upon their reports close out dates, General Newton added.
According to the change, during the Jan. 1 to June 30 testing phase, unit PTLs will provide two scores -- one for the current system and one for the new standard so Airmen can gauge their performance. Starting July 1, Airmen will officially test under new requirements with the new scoring. Consistent with present policy, results of whether an individual meets or does not meet the fitness standard will be annotated on EPRs and OPRs accordingly.
Under the new standards, the aerobic run will count for 60 percent of the test. Body composition will count for 20 percent. Under the current standard, they count for 50 and 30 percent, respectively. The sit-up and push-ups remain at 10 percent each. The new standards have differently valued waist measurements and 15 seconds, rather than 30, separating run scores.
Passing the test will require a composite score of 75 while also meeting a minimum level for each component. The new physical fitness test will place Airmen in one of five age groups: less than 30, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60-plus. Results will fall into one of three categories: 90 and above, excellent; 75-90, satisfactory; and under 75, unsatisfactory.
12/12/2011 1:27:27 PM ET I don't understand why we are the only branch in which cilvilians administer PT test to the military.When the Air Force seperated from the Army Air core it was for a reason, we are not the army or mairnes or mission is not to do hand to hand combat or take a beach head. This new Air Force has set the bar high enough in which the most talented are going to leave and be left with a bunch of Forest Gumps that can run like the wind.
Mike Roberson, pope field
6/5/2011 1:29:33 PM ET The Air Force should instead implement combat fitness instead of this new PT test. Running 1.5 miles in 13 minutes is not ever going to do someone any good. You can't judge a person's fitness based on a timed run or even pushups and situps. Of course your fitness specialists are going to tell you that this is the way to find out the overall fitness of a person, because you pay them. This will not determine if someone can pull me out of a HUMVEE or emergency situation. As for BMI telling you how fit someone is, that's false. There are plenty of people who are in fantastic shape who are considered overweight by the BMI.
7/22/2010 3:56:24 PM ET when do you see any of us needing this boost in PT? 80 percent of us are not direct combat or in any physically demanding career field I mean we've only got like ten of those, we are not Marines. I see the need for pt, but not more of it and its not a matter of discipline it's a matter of time consumption in the midst of all the other stuff the air force wants us to accomplish while working 12 plus hour days. I guess I'm supposed to just have a family and not actually spend any other time than sleep with them
Mike , GA
7/22/2010 11:56:31 AM ET If this is the Air Force's new way of cutting the fat off, then congrats because its going to work and not only that but it will deter progress in our military. Sometimes some of the best people we have in charge of our biggest missions can't push 50-something push-ups in 1 min or run a 1 mile and a half in under 12 min. it's ridiculous. Instead of encouraging people of working harder to pass, they're setting the bar too high. People are going to worry, freak out and eventually fail. Not everyone is an athlete.
Ana , KAFB
1/12/2010 3:53:46 PM ET I have to respond to TSgt. Stewart's comment as well. As a Guardsman I am a wife a mother of two small children, work full time in the financial services field as well as attend graduate classes once a week. I do exercise three times a week but as you can imagine sometimes that falls to the wayside when one of my children become ill or if I have to decide between exercise and studying for class. My job is nondeployable and although I am in pretty good shape I am not perfect. I'll be able to pass the PT eval but whose to say there isn't another Reservist or Guardsman with an even busier life than this I definitely understand everyone's frustration and I agree with the comment of one size does NOT fit all.
Capt. Thomas, CT
12/19/2009 5:07:16 AM ET There needs to be a concise decision on what the Air force needs to be mission effective. As many others have said, there is no one-size-fits-all PT program. My guys work their butts off 55 hours a week under some of the most unrelenting conditions. Often times junk food and a soda is all they can grab for dinner due to time or mission requirements and at the end of the day, its hard to fault them for being legitimately too tired to workout. You absolutely can not throw these guys and gals in the same category as someone who works a significantly less stressful job and who gets cut out after lunch three days a week for gym time. There is also the principle of what these individuals contribute on a daily basis. I would rather have a technical and brilliant individual who can fix a jet even if he or she may not be physically fit than some clown who can PT all day. Someone who is physically fit but brings nothing else to the unit and Air force as a whole does absolutely no good.
12/16/2009 1:02:54 AM ET We are not the Army and we are not the Marines. They have portions of the duty day dedicated to physical fitness. We pull 12 hr shifts in the Air Force, are supervisors, work extra hours after the duty day ends, work multiple programs in our work centers, are family men and women strive for personal self improvement through volunteering and taking classes not to mention the amount of time we need to use prepping ourselves for promotion testing and on top of all that you are telling us we are basically going to have to throw in about 7-10 hours a week at the gym Give me a break.
Fred, San Antonio
12/8/2009 6:32:36 PM ET Expect A LOT of airmen to write their senators and congressmenwomen when this gets out of hand. Not everyone is going to fulfill the Air Force's fairytale dream of being the perfect airman be it by their own doings or or by their genetic makeup. In short, this program, like the ones that preceded it, will BE DOOMED TO FAIL.
11/24/2009 9:29:01 AM ET @Nick Really Max or you're out Ok but you have fun pulling the workload left behind by everyone who would've scored perhaps an 89 or 90 including deployments.
SSgt May, RAF Mildenhall
11/23/2009 3:47:25 PM ET How about rewarding someone for scoring a 90 by giving him or her a pass on the next test. I think they proved they are fit enough.
11/23/2009 3:33:09 PM ET There is no way that a one-size-fits-all PT test will work, let alone for all branches of the military The Air Force is far different than the Army, USMC, and the Navy. The Air Force attracts different people for different reasons than all the other branches. That is why there is a minimum standard because not everyone will be able to achieve their optimum physical capabilities. This doesn't mean that they are not valuable to the Air Force. Quite the contrary I definitely could see a more stringent PT test for firefighters or security forces than for someone who works for the base historian or chapel. The bottom line is there has to be a program in place and being evaluated twice a year now is a quantum leap for the Air Force.
CC, beaufort sc
11/23/2009 3:32:44 PM ET TSgt Stewart. Actually most of the Guardsmen and Reservists I know work fulltime jobs, go to school at least part time, and come out to our unit to work in their free time. So to imply that most if not all the Guard and Reserve are lazy is misguided and an ill-conceived notion on your part. Most do not have the luxury of a free gym, paid housing, money for food and the time off granted from work and home life to perform their PT. Is it any excuse to not PT? No it isn't. What I am saying is have a little perspective and realize that some personnel have busier lives and riskier jobs than some of us. Also, they are not afforded the same luxuries that some Active Duty personnel are able to use to their advantage.
MSgt Johnson, McGhee-Tyson ANGB
11/23/2009 2:42:09 PM ET I applaud the leaders for making the standards tougher and also for the 6-month delay. It's definitely a step in the right direction. Those with negative comments really need to think about what they are saying towards those who struggle. You don't have any clue to what shifts they may work and so on.
Scott, Wright Patt
11/23/2009 1:56:40 PM ET Perhaps it is time for the service to make 2 standards. One for the pajama crew and one for the rest of us hard working folks. Or even 3. Have one just for our special forces.
11/23/2009 1:35:04 PM ET These standards are still pathetic. Everyone should be required to max the PT test or leave the AF. I'm a fitness program manager at Tinker and I see people who can't even pass the current test. The AF should be held to the same physical standards as our Marine, Army and Navy brethren. It's called discipline.
11/23/2009 9:46:49 AM ET Add pull-ups and body fat percentage loss the waist measurement. Pull-ups are the best feasable method of measuring strength relative to body weight. Body fat percentage more accuratly classifies ones composition as healthy or not.
MF, Shaw AFB
11/23/2009 8:34:54 AM ET This is great. I don't come due until March but for some strange reason my leaders are having everyone test in January. After all the eating going on for the holidays I was afraid of having to test with the new standards in just less than 2 months. Good call.
11/22/2009 7:44:36 PM ET The Air Force needs to make a truly fair test once and for all. Stop this fighter jock mentality that everyone should look like a Tom Cruise Top Gun flyboy. The new PT program discriminates on waist size and height. You can be 4' tall and have a 39 inch waist and pass the other components and be fit. Then someone who is over 6' tall with a 39.1 inch waist and passes the two other components is not fit and fails. If the AF wants to truly know fitness it should be fitness work time. A heavier person who performs more push-ups and sit-ups and has a low run time is more fit than a thin light weight person who walks the 1.5 mile and makes a 90. Maybe the Inspector General needs to investigate.
Eric, Robins AFB GA
11/22/2009 6:53:42 PM ET Americans have lots of free time. I'm sure most reservists are not working 15-hour days. Take some of that free time, say TV watching time, and choose to do PT instead. Working out only once a week will get you fit enough to pass the test.
TSgt Stewart, Soutwest Asia
11/22/2009 9:35:10 AM ET We should not be applauding that the extra 6-months will help people who need to get in shape get in shape. The AF has had this increased focus on PT for over 7 years. If a person cannot meet the minimum standards on either the current or upgraded standards by now then they have simply been screwing off. The PT assessment should be the easiest workout Airmen ever complete. I am not sure about anyone else but I am tired of seeing Airmen who look like marshmallows wrapped in dental floss or cannot even make one lap around a track without walking. It does nothing for our prestige or dignity. Clearly some Airmen need a swift kick in the butt and the program kicking off on 1 Jan. would have been a good start.
Chief Smith, Hill AFB
11/22/2009 9:11:25 AM ET The new standard is a small step in the right direction. I think it should have been 55 and 25 instead of the 60 and 20. I understand the need to be physically fit but we also need to remember we must provide a good image. Too many times I have seen a airman pass the PT test but yet had a hard time seeing his shoes due to the spare tire around his waist. I also think the Air Force should not make commanders give people time for PT. The Security Forces' work schedule does not allow for any extra time to get off work and PT. I think that if you are part of the best Air Force in the World and you want to continue, then you will find time on your own to PT. Soon someone will be asking for an hour or two a day in order to complete their school work because the Air Force wants you to get an education.
Forrest, Buckley AFB CO
11/22/2009 5:55:11 AM ET Shouldn't we already be excelling in our PT program?
Mike, In the AOR
11/21/2009 1:01:00 PM ET Good call by General Newton especially given the Air Force Times report that as many as 40 percent of our Airmen might have failed the test if the standards had been implemented in January. Hopefully the extra six months will make a difference.
Donald Branum, Colorado Springs
11/21/2009 10:48:57 AM ET Now this is a VERY good idea
J. Boss, Washington D.C.
11/21/2009 1:08:36 AM ET This is a great move by all of our leadership. We could have easily had the standards being enforced by January 1. With implementation of the new testing standards of 1 July there should be less failures and more Airmen will be given the time to excel. Hopefully we will take advantage of this extra time we are being given and increase our overall fitness.
SSgt Blackwell, Kansas
11/21/2009 12:21:58 AM ET A step in a slightly better direction. Clearly the date slip indicates that Air Force leadership thought better of their initial plans to begin the entire new program in January and allows for monitored progress as to the success of the program in terms of old and new standards. A real concern exists for the reservists. How does the Air Force expect civilian employers to afford their citizen airmen the opportunity to PT at the same rate as the Air Force Air Force leadership is aware of this concern. That said little decisive action has been taken. It may be time for Congress to monitor this well intentioned but somewhat misguided new program.
11/20/2009 6:07:17 PM ET Body composition cannot be accurately depicted through one's waist measurment. I still have a hard time believeing that waist measurment weight is even important in regards to a person's physical fitness level. If one can meet the requirements of the rest of the PT test than what is the problem with having a bigger waist?