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FAQs

1. Why did the Air Force revise the Air Force Fitness Program? 

Answer: In the summer of 2008, then Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney McKinley requested an Air Force audit, and it clearly revealed the fitness program needed significant improvement.

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2. What did the Air Force Fitness Audit reveal? 

Answer: The audit revealed that unit programs did not create a "culture of fitness" needed in the Air Force. In addition, it identified inconsistencies in action taken on members who did not meet fitness standards and implementation of proper fitness testing. 

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3. When will the new Fitness Program be effective? 

Answer: The effective date for the revised fitness program was pushed back to July 1, 2010, from the original Jan. 1 date. Biannual testing under the current fitness standards are still scheduled to begin Jan. 1. The 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.

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4. What is the Air Force chief of staff's vision and expectation of a new and improved fitness program? 

Answer: The chief of staff wants a fitness program that is clear, understandable and much simpler. He expects the new fitness program to support a year-round fitness culture, provide visible score increases for improved performance, and a clear message that health and fitness are directly related to mission accomplishment. Airmen should incorporate a "year-around culture of fitness" into their daily lives.

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5. I never have to run a mile and half in combat, and the enemy doesn't care how big my waist is. Why didn't the Air Force adopt a combat-performance test? 

Answer: The intention of revising the fitness program was to design a science-based test that incorporates health-based standards across all fitness components. The Air Force's goal in revising the program was to motivate Airmen to improve their health and fitness by rewarding incremental improvement and moving them from Unsat to Sat and from Sat to Excellent, thereby reducing their health risk both now and in the future.

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6. Will Airmen test more than once a year? 

Answer: Yes. Each Airman will test twice a year. Title 32 Air National Guard members (AGR/technician/drill status) will continue to test once a year.

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7. When will twice-a-year fitness testing cycles begin? 

Answer: Effective 1 January 2010, bi-annual physical fitness testing begins as the Air Force transitions to the new Fitness Program, effective 1 July 2010. EXCEPTION: Implementation variances authorized for ARC members are noted in paragraphs 2.b and 2.c.
a. RegAF Airmen: Will fitness test with the current fitness standards during the first half of CY 2010 (1 January 2010 - 30 June 2010). Effective 1 July 2010, Airmen will test again under the new AF Fitness Program.

RegAF EXAMPLES:
If the last test was January or July 2009, the next test under the current standard will be in January 2010, then again with the new standard in July 2010.

If the last test was February or August 2009, the next test under the current standard will be in February 2010, then again with the new standard in August 2010.

If the last test was March or September 2009, the next test under the current standard will be in March 2010, then again with the new standard in September 2010.

If the last test was April or October 2009, the next test under the current standard will be in April 2010, then again with the new standard in October 2010.

If the last test was May or November 2009, the next test under the current standard will be in May 2010, then again with the new standard in November 2010.

If the last test was Jun or December 2009, the next test under the current standard will be in June 2010, then again with the new standard in December 2010.

b. Air Force Reserve (AFR) Airmen: Will fitness test 12 months after their last CY 2009 test date, then again 6 months later to progress to a bi-annual cycle.

Air Force Reserve EXAMPLES: If the last test was January 2009, the next test will be in January 2010 under the current standard, then again in July 2010 with the new standard.

If the last test was July 2009, the next test will be in July 2010 with the new standard, then again with the new standard in January 2011.

If the last test was November 2009, the next test will be in November 2010 with the new standard, then again in May 2011 with the new standard.

c. Air National Guard (ANG) Airmen: Active Duty Guardsman (AGR) and drill status members will fitness test 12 months after their last calendar year 2009 test date. Those who require a Fitness Assessment (FA) between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2010 will be assessed under current requirements/scoring as defined in Air National Guard Instruction 10-248. Effective 1 July 2010, all ANG members due assessment will test under the new Air Force Instruction.

Air National Guard, AGR and drill status EXAMPLES:

If the last test was January 2009, the next test will be in January 2010 under ANGI 10-248, then again in January 2011 under the new fitness program instruction.

If the last test was July 2009, the next test will be in July 2010 under the new fitness program instruction, then in July 2011.

If the last test was November 2009, the next test will be in November 2010 under the new fitness program instruction, then again in November 2011.

NOTE: ANG Title 10 assigned to the National Guard Bureau on Statutory Tour will test under the provisions of Para 2b, "bi-annual physical fitness testing."

Effective 1 July 2010, AFI 10-248, Fitness Program, will be redesignated AFI 36-2905, Fitness Program. In the interim as we transition AFI 10-248 from a 10-series AFI to a 36-series AFI, this memo serves to provide fitness testing instructions and execution guidance.

All Airmen who test between 1 January and 30 June 2010 will be provided two fitness score sheets. One score sheet will reflect a FA score calculated IAW current standards (AFI 10-248). This score will be entered in the Air Force Management System (AAFMS). Airmen will also receive a manually calculated conversion score sheet based on the new standards (AFI 36-2905). NOTE: AAFMS does not have the capability to convert scores.

a. Squadron/unit commanders will be provided a copy of both score sheets for their assigned Airmen. Commanders will compare the results of the tests scored under the current standards with scores calculated using the new standards and identify any concerning trends prior to the 1 July 2010 implementation date.

b. RegAF and AFR Airmen on profile who take the 1.0-mile Walk Test or the Cycle Ergometry test during the 1 January - 30 June 2010 time period will receive a VO2 score. Physical Training Leaders and/or Fitness Assessment Cell employees can use Attachment 17 in AFI 36-2905 to convert the VO2 score to a numerical score. This score will be used to calculate a composite FA score IAW the new fitness standards.

c. ANG members on profile who take the alternate aerobic Step Assessment during the 1 January - 30 June 2010 time period will not receive converted scores as the new standard does not include the Step Assessment. After AFI 36-2905 is implemented on 1 July 2010, the alternate aerobic Step Assessment will be discontinued.

On 1 January 2010, FA scores will be calculated IAW current fitness requirements (AFI 10-248) and scores will be used to document EPRs/OPRs. Effective 1 July 2010, FA scores will be calculated IAW new fitness requirements (AFI 36-2905) and scores will be used to document EPRs/OPRs.

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8. The other services run longer distances and allow more time for pushups and situps. Why didn't the AF change these aspects of the test to be more in line with the other services? 

Answer: Air Force officials could have increased running distance to 2 or 3 miles, and changed the pushup and sit-up times to 2 minutes instead of 1 minute. However, all it would have accomplished was creation of a longer test. Consensus among fitness experts indicates that we can adequately gauge a member's fitness with a 1 ½-mile run and 1 minute each of pushups and sit-ups.

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9. Who maintains the sole responsibility to meet and maintain Air Force fitness standards?

Answer: Each Airman is responsible for meeting and maintaining fitness standards. Commanders have the responsibility of their unit fitness program. The new fitness AFI will more clearly emphasize each Airman's responsibility to meet and maintain fitness standards. 

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10. Who will conduct fitness tests and where will the program be administered?

Answer: Trained civilian employees will conduct fitness tests. The fitness program will be administered at new centrally located fitness assessment cells, or FAC. For geographically separated units or other locations with less than 1,000 military members, Airmen may travel to the closest base with a FAC at their commander's discretion, or physical training leaders and/or unit fitness program managers will continue to administer the test at the GSU location. 

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11. Why did the Air Force create fitness assessment cells (FAC)?

Answer: FACs were created to reduce the administrative burden on squadrons and maximize objectivity in testing. 

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12. Will the component weighting on the fitness test change? If so, why?

Answer: Yes. The aerobic run will account for 60 percent and body composition 20 percent -- muscle fitness (crunches and pushups) will remain 10 percent each. The component weighting was changed to incorporate science-based criterion along the health/fitness hierarchy. As an indication of overall fitness, Aerobic > Body Composition > Muscle Fitness. 

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13. Will there be minimum requirements for each fitness test component to pass the test? 

Answer: Yes, Airmen will be required to meet minimum component requirements and still be required to have a composite score of 75 to pass the test. This ensures we have a more well-rounded test and that members demonstrate a minimum level of proficiency in all components to pass the test.

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14. How were the minimum requirements for each component determined? 

Answer: The minimum requirement for the aerobic and body composition (abdominal circumference) components was established at the cut line between moderate and high health risk associated with that component. Air Force officials want Airmen to avoid the high health risk region in order to pass the test. For pushups and sit-ups, the minimum requirements were established at the 50th and 60th percentiles, respectively, for performance among the entire U.S. population based on widely accepted fitness data.

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15. Will the Surgeon General community continue to have ownership of the fitness program? 

Answer: No. Air Force A1 now is responsible for the Fitness Program, but will continue to partner with the Surgeon General community in regards to the health aspects of overall fitness. 

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16. When will the new Air Force fitness instruction be published to the field? 

Answer: The new fitness instruction, AFI 36-2905, was published on the Air Force Publishing Distribution Office (AFPDO) website on 12 Jan 10. It has an effective date of 1 Jul 10. 

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17. Will the Air Force Fitness Management System (AFFMS) continue to support the Air Force Fitness Program?

Answer: Yes. The Air Force Fitness Management System is undergoing modification to support the changes to scoring that become effective July 1, 2010. Additionally, in the future AFFMS will be enhanced to provide detailed, "dynamic" feedback on fitness results with the goal to help Airmen improve in targeted areas. The "dynamic" feedback element will be ready shortly after Jan. 1, 2010.

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18. Why did the point scale range go from five to 10 year age groups?

Answer: Yes. Age groupings will change to 10-year groups (< 30, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+) which are based on the underlying scientific data and they are simpler. There is no science or health-based rationale for five-year age groups. Since the Air Force's stated goals are to change the culture on fitness and to simplify the program, the fitness program has 10 new charts vice the current 16 charts. Also, this moves away from the fallacy that advancement in age should permit a reduction in physical fitness and a corresponding increase in health risk. 

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19. Will there be new commander guidance on administrative actions for failed fitness tests? 

Answer: Yes. Commanders will now be allowed to take administrative action for first time failures if they feel it's warranted. Commander are given an available options table in the Air Force fitness instruction to provide clear guidance and focus on recommended actions based on the number of failed tests.

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20. I've heard that there will be "random" or "no-notice" fitness tests. Is that true? 

Answer: No, that is not true. Members will be required to test twice a year. However, members may be required to complete an "out of cycle" test in order to ensure currency for a deployment, assignment, etc. Commanders may institute "practice" or "diagnostic" tests in order to gauge a member's progress, but these tests will not count as an "official" test or entered into the Air Force Fitness Management System for documentation purposes. Members will always know when their next scheduled test is required.

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21. How will the Air Force senior leadership keep fitness on his radar and as a top priority?

Answer: Air Force leadership will remain keenly aware of the service's state of fitness through metrics reported in regular increments from unit to wing to major command.

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22. In what other ways will the Air Force measure fitness compliance? 

Answer: Air Force officials will measure compliance by continuing to incorporate fitness into the inspector general unit compliance inspections (UCI). This will ensure overall compliance in the administration and execution of the fitness program, not whether all members in a unit or wing can pass the test. 

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23.Can an Airman have a documented failed fitness test as of the close-out date of their evaluation and still receive an overall "5" Enlisted Performance Report?

Answer: No. The revised Air Force Instruction 36-2406, Officer and Enlisted Evaluation Systems, will ensure no Airmen with a referral report, for fitness or other reasons, will receive an overall "5" rating.

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24. How will other personnel actions be affected by a member's fitness category? 

Answer: Officers and enlisted members will be required to have a passing, current fitness score to be selected for or attend professional military education. All members must have a current fitness test in order to deploy. There are other restrictions regarding retraining, reenlistment eligibility and assignment eligibility that could be impacted by a failed fitness score, especially if such a score results in a referral OPR or EPR. The appropriate Air Force instructions will be updated to reflect the impact fitness results have on these personnel programs. 

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25. Will commanders still be required to provide fitness time during duty-hours? 

Answer: Commanders will continue to emphasize the importance of fitness and provide Airmen fitness time during duty hours when the mission permits, but will no longer be mandated by AFI 10-248 to allocate fitness time during "traditional" duty hours. Again, it is every Airman's responsibility to achieve and maintain Air Force fitness standards. 

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26. Will the new program allow Airmen who fail a fitness test to retest prior to 42 days? 

Answer: Yes. The current rule that mandates a 42-day waiting period following a failed fitness test will be eliminated. With the new program, commander may approve Airmen who volunteer to retest prior to the 42-day period if they are medically able and ready to test. Airmen failing the test have 90 days to retest, while some have up to 180 days to retest. 

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27. What fitness categories will be used? 

Answer: Since fitness is a readiness issue, the Air Force will use ORI/UCI-type scoring categories to reflect members' results. Excellent (> 90.0), Satisfactory (75.0 - 89.9), and Unsatisfactory (< 75.0) will replace the current categories of Excellent, Good, and Poor. 

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28. Will there be any incentives for members who clearly demonstrate fitness excellence? 

Answer: Yes. Patches are being designed for wear on the PT uniform. Patches will recognize both one-time and sustained (four consecutive tests over 2 years) performance in the Excellent category (composite score of > 90), and for scoring a perfect 100. The initial plan is to have the "optional" patches available for purchase through AAFES clothing sales channels. 

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29. What if I have a profile that prevents me from doing one or more components of the test? 

Answer: Effective 1 Jul 10, The Air Force will no longer use the ergo cycle, the 3-mile walk, or the STEP test as alternate aerobic tests. Instead, members who cannot run based on a profile will perform a 1-mile walk that will determine VO2 max capability. Also, if an Airman is exempt from any component, they will only be categorized as "pass" based on an adjusted composite score of 75 or higher or "fail" based on an adjusted composite score below 75. 

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30. Why did the service make the run scores harder to max out for certain age groups? 

Answer: Air Force officials chose to use proven databases used by the Cooper Institute and recognized by the American College of Sports Medicine. New 1.5-mile run times that assess the most important physical fitness component, cardiorespiratory endurance or aerobic fitness, are based on the most current scientific data for age and gender.

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31. How did the service determine the risk levels? 

Answer: Air Force exercise physiologists and preventive medicine physicians developed a new health-related physical fitness test with science-based criterion standards for aerobic fitness and body composition, a first in DoD history. These standards provide health risk ratios that indicate a susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers; diseases that affect Air Force medical care cost; and member productivity and lost duty time. The health risk ratios indicate high, moderate, and low risk for disease using published scientific data as the basis for age and gender specific thresholds. Movement from High to Moderate or Moderate to Low health risk signifies an improvement in fitness and a reduction in health risk with a corresponding important reduction in health care cost. The critically important Moderate zone identifies "creeping" health problems earlier in a servicemember's life cycle providing a genuine window for successful intervention and prevention. 

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32. How did the service determine the different point scales and who determined them? 

Answer: Air Force officials determined point values based on the mathematical inverse to the above health risk ratios. The lower the health risk, the more points a member will receive in that component. A change along the point scale is directly tied to the amount of increased or decreased health risk associated with that component.

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33. Do you expect these numbers to change? 

Answer: No. The point scales are based on current, scientifically published data and are a historical first for the Air Force and DoD.

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34. Why is the Air Force no longer using the cycle ergometry bike test? 

Answer: The Air Force will no longer use cycle ergometry bike test as an alternate means of assessing aerobic fitness due to the excessive number of invalid scores that often resulted from the test. During the past year, 40 percent of a large sample (3,325 of 8,372) of cycle ergometry tests resulted in invalid scores. Air Force leaders looked for a more reliable means to assess aerobic fitness for those members who could not complete the 1.5-mile run. The 1-mile walk test was best suited to meet these needs.

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35. Will actual scores be annotated on enlisted and officer performance reports as a stratification tool?

Answer: No, actual passing scores will not be annotated on performance reports to serve as a stratification measure for promotion. However, fitness will continue to be a key component of whether an individual meets military standards. Consistent with current policy, failing scores may be annotated in performance reports if an Airman is not meeting the standard.

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36. Why did the Air Force establish a biannual testing requirement?

Answer: The Air Force Chief of Staff mandated testing for all Airmen within the first six months of 2010. Increasing the test frequency emphasizes the importance of maintaining year round fitness vice a brief "fitness cram" and one time annual test. Also, the mandatory test months were established to balance the workload in the newly created fitness assessment cells. This will prevent an excessive number of Airmen testing in January and then again in July and so on as well as avoiding the same scenario with individuals being allowed to delay testing until June 2010.

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37. How were the point values assigned?

Answer: Points were established with the advice of biomedical experts to indicate levels of fitness throughout the components. While points assigned below the minimums might not help the Airman achieve a passing score, it does account for the increased health benefits one receives as he or she improves his or her fitness level. The overall minimum passing score of 75 was established by the Air Force as a composite of minimal overall fitness. 

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38. Why was the high altitude option removed?

Answer: The high altitude calculation was removed as all individuals are already given a temporary exemption of six weeks to adapt to the altitude differences between locations. After the first two weeks at a higher altitude, adaptations occur in the lungs, circulation and muscles. This allows a member to perform aerobically at levels comparable to sea level. With six weeks to acclimatize and continue training at altitude, members' 1.5 mile run performance should not be appreciably degraded

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39. Why was the body mass index removed as a factor when calculating scores?

Answer: Body mass index has been removed from the fitness calculation for body composition as current science indicates abdominal circumference is a significantly better predictor of health factors.

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40. If there are no funds for a fitness assessment cell, who will conduct testing?

Answer: Until the fitness assessment cell is established at your location, PTLs and UFPMs will continue to administer the fitness assessment. 

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41. When will an official test calculator be available to measure the new requirements?

Answer: The official fitness calculator are available in the Air Force Fitness Management System along with all the required system changes. Some individuals may have created tools used to predict an individual's score under the new fitness program. These are not officialand should only be used with caution as an estimation of official results

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(Current as of Jan. 21, 2010)