So you can pass the PFA? Great! Will that be enough to get you through basic training or will you just be another number that never got to wear the uniform?
The PFA (Preliminary Fitness Assessment) is a standard that the Defence Force has put in place as a MINIMUM bench mark that everyone needs to achieve in order to go through to basic training.
Key word here- Minimum.
I’m going to tell you right now, if you’re only JUST getting yourself to a pass mark on the PFA you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt when you get to basic training.
The PFA is actually the LOWEST level of fitness within the Defence Force.
Put simply - It’s the LEAST fit you ever want to be.
You need to be striving for the PFA as your first goal and then striving to get well beyond that. You want to be at a standard to handle ANYTHING they throw at you when you get to basic training.
Once you get to beyond basic training you’ll hardly ever do a beep test ever again. When you get to Basic Training and need to do a BFA (Basic Fitness Assessment) you’ll actually need to do MORE push-ups and sit-ups than in your PFA. So if you’re only ever striving to get 4, 6 or 8 push-ups, by the time you get to your BFA, you’re not going to pass.
Basic training is made up of so many components. There’s the need for strength so that you can carry a stretcher and conduct activities like battle PT. There is a requirement to have a strong core and upper body so that you can manage to carry heavy loads like a pack, a radio and first aid equipment. You obviously need to be able to run so that you can pass your fitness assessments but also to ensure you’re fit enough for general PT in the Military.
There is more to Defence Force physical training than the PFA. If you’re getting yourself to the PFA and then stopping your training then you’re going to struggle through basic training. You’re going to struggle at IETs and you’re going to struggle once you’re posted to your unit.
So, how do we get around this?
1. Start training early.
Start training for the PFA before you even put in your application. That way you can get yourself PFA ready, breeze through it and continue to progress your training beyond this standard.
2. Understand that the PFA is the LEAST fit you need to be.
It is actually LOWER than the lowest level of fitness. So the BFA is the most basic/ lowest level of fitness in the Defence Force and the PFA is less than that. Is that all you ever want to strive for?
3. remember, you're representing australia on the world stage.
You need to strive for MORE than the bare minimum. Remember that you are going to be serving your country and that it’s important to take pride in that responsibility. Just accepting the bare minimum standard doesn’t keep your country safe whilst your family sleeps at night.
4. I'm only Applying for the navy, i only need 6 push-ups.
WRONG! You don’t need 6 push-ups you need to do as many as you possibly can! Don’t just get to 6 and stop. Get to 6 and keep going! What are you going to do if 1 or 2 push-ups are the incorrect technique and the PTI deducts them from your final score? You’re screwed. This is only one small reason that you need to be able to do MORE than the bare minimum.
5. Conduct relevant training.
It’s so common for people to be training and training and just not even getting to that minimum standard because their training isn’t relevant to the PFA or the military. You’ve got to make sure that your training will actually be effective towards improving your ability to serve in the military.
In conclusion you really want to ensure you take pride in your standard of fitness.
You want to make sure you’re working hard to get beyond the basic standard.
At the end of the day you want your peers to know that they can rely on you when it’s required.
Aim high, work hard and get yourself well beyond the minimum standard of fitness.
If you would like more advice on getting yourself beyond the bare minimum fitness level then please feel free to get in touch with The Barracks Gym.
Michael and Carly both have walked the path you are about to take and are commited to help you get started with your training for a successful enlistment with free tips and articles.