Chief Petty Officer June Cunningham leads a regular aqua-aerobics class. Photo: ADF
Chief Petty Officer June Cunningham leads a regular aqua-aerobics class. Photo: ADF

Fitness help on hand and free - but you have to do the work

WOMEN keen on fitness: What do you say about a chance to have all the physical training gear you could ever need, with medical professionals and nutritionists on hand and a fitness instructor with decades of experience to help you reach your goals. And you don't have to pay a cent.

Navy personal fitness instructor Chief Petty Officer June Cunningham's message is clear:  "Having an ADF PTI is probably better than having a personal trainer outside, and it's all for free."

CPO Cunningham enlisted in 1978 and qualified in 1981 as the first female physical training instructor.

"When we first started, (having) females in the branch was a bit of a new thing because it was a male-dominated branch," she said.

"It was a step forward for women to be treated equally … it's well accepted now."

Women don't get an easy mark from CPO Cunningham, who has trained men and women from the navy, army and air force for 33 years.

Female recruits have to reach the same minimum standard as men - except for the push-ups requirement. The number of required sit-ups is always the same. The beep test is the same.

"Fitness is the base that we work from," she said.

"Being at sea, the days are very long and very arduous. It's not a case of 'you do eight hours and then go in and put your feet up and relax'. It's 24/7. You've got to be ready for anything and everything.

"Your fitness gauges your ability to fully do your duties without ill effect to yourself

"Having that bit of extra fitness helps with mental stress.

She has seen many failures among would-be women recruits in push-ups and beep tests. "We encourage them to increase their levels of interval training, speed work, sprints, hills, cardio-vascular activity, boxing, aerobic classes, rowing," CPO Cunningham said.

Successful candidates "take a stern look at themselves and say 'this is who I am, this is where I can go'.

"We can give them so much. We can't hold their hand. It's up to them to go out and push themselves."

ADF fitness app

ADF fitness programs are available online and in the ADFactive iPhone app.

Users can log in and be given a program - a rough guide of what to do each day with a week-by-week progression.

By the end of a four to six-week program, keeping a diary and doing the fitness test each month, the user should be ready to meet the minimum standard of entry for ADF recruits.

It's not a bad standard of fitness for civilians, either.

The minimum standard is one thing. CPO Cunningham recommends doing a bit more so recruits hit the ground running at training school.

ADF fitness requirements

Each service has a fitness test including push-ups, sit-ups and a shuttle run or beep test. There are special requirements for some roles, eg divers and Special Forces.

Navy

Men: 15 push-ups, 20 sit-ups (feet held), 6.1 shuttle run score.

Women: 6 push-ups, 20 sit-ups (feet held), 6.1 shuttle run score.

Army

Men: 15 push-ups, 45 sit-ups, 7.5 shuttle run score

Women: 8 push-ups, 45 sit-ups, 7.5 shuttle run score

Air Force

Men: 10 push-ups, 20 sit-ups (feet held), 6.5 shuttle run score

Women: 4 push-ups, 20 sit-ups (feet held), 6.5 shuttle run score

BMI

Candidates are advised that a body mass index between 18.5 and 30 is ideal.

Maximum BMI for entry to the ADF is 32.9 (29.9 for pilot candidates who also have additional weight requirements).

Candidates with a BMI less than 18.5 are also potentially at risk of injury in training and may be deemed temporarily unfit by DFRC medical staff.



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