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AF offers incentives for physical training excellence

Senior NCO Academy students participate in “Fit to Fight” at the Gunter Bowl last year. Beginning July 1, the Air Force will implement more rigorous standards for PT testing.(U.S. Air Force photo/Donna Burnett)

Senior NCO Academy students participate in “Fit to Fight” at the Gunter Bowl last year. Beginning July 1, the Air Force will implement more rigorous standards for PT testing.(U.S. Air Force photo/Donna Burnett)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- With the July 1 kickoff for the new, more rigorous standards mandated in the Air Force Fitness Program, Air Force leadership is offering incentives for those who exhibit physical fitness excellence across the board.

According to a communique from Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton, deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel, active-duty, Reserve and Guard personnel who score a 90 or above in all four categories - cardio, abdominal circumference measurement, push-ups and sit-ups - can test once a year instead of the required twice-a-year testing. This incentive will be effective July 1, at which time Airmen must test under the new, more rigorous standards mandated by Air Force Instruction 36-2905, which promotes aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility and body composition.

Airmen with medical exemptions will still have to test twice a year even if they score excellent in all their nonexempt categories. There will be no changes to the scheduling requirements for Air National Guard members.

Beyond serving as a reward for Airmen with excellent physical fitness the incentive is also expected to help reduce the testing burden. About one of every five fitness scores documented in 2009 was "excellent" for those Airmen who tested in all four categories, said Capt. Sean Brazel, the chief of officer promotions, evaluations and fitness policy, as reported in an Air Force article.

At Maxwell, "we average approximately 870 members scoring in the excellent category each month, and we do expect to see that number decrease but are uncertain by how many," said Michele Pittman, fitness program manager, about the more rigorous testing.

The Maxwell Health and Wellness Center has hired a Fitness Assessment Cell, consisting of three civilian employees. to conduct all the fitness testing at Maxwell starting July 1, said Ms. Pittman. "At the July 1 new program transition, physical training leaders will no longer be conducting testing."

Physical training leaders were used to augment the fitness assessment cell as needed.