JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — As the Army transitions to the Army Combat Fitness Test to assess Soldier fitness levels, the Alaska Army National Guard’s master fitness trainers have implemented a new group physical fitness program to assist Soldiers preparing for the new test.
The Army’s current physical fitness test has three main events— two-minutes of sit-ups, two-minutes of push-ups and a two-mile run. Each Soldier is scored based upon their gender and age group.
The ACFT, set to unveil in 2021, is a six-event test.
Unlike the current test, a Soldier’s score is neither age- or gender-based, as Soldiers are evaluated on a neutral scale. The ACFT’s featured events must be completed in 50 minutes: strength dead-lift; standing power throw; hand release push-up; sprint, drag and carry; leg tuck; and a timed two-mile run.
The ACFT preparation program, dubbed GetFit, is a voluntary program facilitated by certified Soldiers t coach functional fitness and nutrition with a focus in overall health, wellness and resiliency. It’s been implemented in order to provide a holistic approach to help AKARNG Soldiers adjust to the new strength and performance standards.
“I began attending GetFit because of its convenience, plus I was tired of being out of shape and having low energy,” said Sgt. Joshua Peer, the automations non-commissioned officer for the Recruiting and Retention Battalion. “I also wanted to be able to crush my physical fitness test and not allow it to hold the weight of fear over me prior to taking them.”
GetFit is held during lunch three days a week at the Alaska Army National Guard’s Armory Drill Hall Floor.
Instructors include Staff Sgt. Jason McDermitt, who is master fitness trained and creates the fitness programming for the classes.
“Ultimately, we are supporting Soldiers by giving them trained cadre at a convenient time and location,” stated McDermitt. “We train to improve on all facets of fitness through high intensity functional movements that are scaled to the Soldier’s abilities and limitations, setting the Soldiers up for success as standards change.”
McDermitt said the program has been well received. Plans have been set in motion to purchase additional equipment in order to resemble the new PT test movements more closely, and to train more Soldiers as master fitness trainer instructors.
“The coaching is both professional and informative, they help explain why we’re doing certain warm-ups and how the stretches and workouts will help us in the long run,” explained Peer. “The GetFit classes have been wonderful — they push me to my limits every time.”