Doing a practice PFA is an excellent idea. It gives you the opportunity to gauge where things are at, see what you need to work on and allows you to redirect your training into that deficiency. You don’t need to do PFAs every week though, you don’t even need to do them every fortnight! Continue reading to find out why.
HOW DO PFAs WORK?
Practice PFAs are an excellent opportunity to gauge where you’re at with your pre - enlistment fitness. They are offered through recruiting centres to those of you who are medically cleared.
The commonly used terminology is a ‘practice’ PFA and a ‘real’ PFA.
Practice PFAs are open to anyone who is medically cleared after their Assessment Day. You can attempt as many of these as you want to. You don’t need to pass these but they are always recorded on your file.
Real PFAs are attempted 6 weeks out from your enlistment date. Your Enlistment Coordinator will tell you if you are attempting a practice or real PFA. You DO need to pass these and they are also recorded on your file (regardless of the results).
An important point to note here is attendance. If you are booked to a PFA and do not attend, this is noted on your file. It’s always a good idea to call your Enlistment Coordinator if you can’t attend and give them a heads up. If you don’t attend and don’t give anyone a heads up, it’s not a good look. If you do this too many times then it will be assumed that you’re not serious about your application!
SO HOW MANY PRACTICE PFAs CAN YOU DO?
As many as you want. Being able to conduct a practice PFA is a great opportunity and you should take it if you get offered. In Brisbane, the PFAs are run on a Tuesday. You could do a PFA every single Tuesday if you wanted to. There is no limit to how many practice PFAs you can do. When Michael & Carly were going through the recruitment process there was no such thing as practice PFAs! We just rocked up on the day and did our real PFA.
HOW MANY PRACTICE PFAS SHOULD YOU DO?
Doing a practice PFA is an excellent idea. It gives you the opportunity to gauge where things are at, see what you need to work on and allows you to redirect your training into that deficiency.
You don’t need to do them every week. You don’t even need to do them every fortnight! Here’s something to think about. The PFA is an Assessment. It’s a Test. It’s not a method of training. If you conduct the PFA every week, it’s not going to make you any fitter for PFAs. The PFA is a test and it is a chance for you to gauge where you’re at.
In order to improve each time, you need to do some training. Training that is consistent and relevant to passing a PFA. If you’re doing a PFA every week then you don’t really give yourself a chance to test that consistent training.
At The Barracks Gym we recommend that you attempt a PFA every 8 weeks. 8 weeks of consistent training will allow you to see decent results. You’ll have a chance to actually make some improvement and get your body in the right state to be able to handle the standard of a PFA pass. 8 weeks is the right amount of training time required to gauge effective results. All training done at TBG is done in 4 and 8 week blocks and we only ever conduct a PFA every 8 weeks. Our training in the gym and our online coaching is all conducted in blocks for this exact reason- the need to obtain results.
So we recommend that you conduct a practice PFA every 8 weeks whilst you’re waiting for the real thing. An 8 week training block is the right amount of time to improve and start to see results.
There are a few other reasons as to why we recommend 8 weeks. Mindset!
If you do a PFA every week then you’ll run the risk of driving yourself nuts! If you don’t improve as much as you’d hoped each week, then that can be really disheartening! If you constantly achieve that same beep test result your positive mindset will start to dissolve and self doubt will creep in.
This is why we recommend you step away from the PFA (namely, the Beep Test) and conduct other forms of relevant training. It gives you a break from the monotony of the PFA and it gives you a chance to work on your skills and fitness level. You then come back after 8 weeks and try again. It’s healthier for your mind to take a break from the testing environment.
A PFA in total, when conducted to an Army pass standard is about 10 minutes of work. It’s not much of a training session. If you’re using this each week as a session then you are missing out on the opportunity to put your body through a higher intensity, more effective session!
In conclusion, the practice PFA is there for applicants to do. You can do as many as you want. At The Barracks Gym we only conduct them every 8 weeks and our members are making exceptional improvements as a result!
Most importantly, start training now! What you do now will give you results in 8 weeks so best to get started yesterday!
If you’d like some additional guidance regarding practice PFAs, please contact one of our expert coaches.
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