News Flash. You're not the first person to go through Basic Training and you won't be the last.
This blog entry is going to be a little off track from the traditional ‘fitness mentoring’ style posts and it’s ONLY because it’s something I get asked about ALL THE TIME.
Here’s a fun fact. The 1st Recruit Training Battalion (1RTB) was established at Kapooka in November 1951. Yep. 66 years ago.
Without knowing accurate numbers, I’m just going to guestimate that THOUSANDS of recruits have gone through Kapooka over that time. If those buildings could talk I am sure there would be some epic stories to be told. People from all walks of life transitioning into their careers as soldiers. Recruit Instructors from all corps being posted into Kapooka to lead the future generations of Australian Soldiers.
So guess what, you’re not the first to walk through the gates of Blamey Barracks ‘Home Of The Soldier’.
(Again I am referencing Army as this is my background, however the same principals apply for 1RTU and Cerbrus. It’s just easier to only write one location rather than 3 locations/ services per sentence).
So many people come to us after having issues with passing their fitness test. After 6 goes at their beep test they still can’t improve. Never mind that they didn’t do any training, ate maccas on the way to the PFA and gave up after a half ass attempt at getting to 2.3 on the beep test. A lot of the time there is a ‘victim’ mentality associated with this failed PFA. A bit of ‘Oh but poor me, I’m really hard done by, it’s not fair, they were mean to me’.
You’re not a victim. Everyone in the ADF has had to do the same test as you. This isn’t a new concept and you’re certainly not the first person to go through this testing in the last 66 years. You are not the first person to do a beep test and you certainly wont be the last.
Another issue we hear about all the time is BMI (Body Mass Index). Guys whether you agree with this method or not, it’s there. It’s the method of measurement chosen by the ADF to determine if you are fit for service, or not. If you’re over the BMI then you are not fit for service. If you’re under the BMI then the same goes. It’s black & white and it’s not something to be argued. If you don’t meet the requirements then you need to get yourself to a point where you DO meet the requirements and can be determined as someone who will be able to provide effective service. It’s black and white.
When I first decided to join I was under the BMI. There wasn’t anything wrong with me. I liked food. A lot. I exercised and I lived a fairly balanced and standard life. I was just lean and athletic. Being that bit taller meant that it put me under the BMI by a tiny bit. There was no way around it. No ‘oh but this isn’t fair’ and certainly no ‘I’m being hard done by’. It was a case of getting myself up over the BMI so that I was deemed as fit to serve. So I did that and I came in at the minimum BMI measurement and had no issues. I could have given them a million reasons as to why it was unfair and why it wasn’t accurate and why I needed to be treated differently.
I wasn’t the first person to apply for the ADF and measure outside the required BMI standard. I certainly wasn’t the last either. If you’re over the BMI, whether it’s due to muscle mass or fat mass doesn’t matter, you’re over. Do something about it because you are not the only person and you are not being treated unfairly.
Then there is the issue of ‘oh but what happens when you get your period at Kapooka’. Well obviously you get put in a cage and kept away from the other recruits for a week just in case they too catch ‘the period’ and the disease takes down the entire barracks and in turn destroys the entire Army for the rest of time….
You know what will happen? You’ll get on with your life!
You’ll just get your period and keep living. Crazy right! The Recruit Instructors are VERY much used to dealing with this sort of thing (yep…even the dudes! They have partners, sisters, daughters, mothers…its not a new concept!).
You know why? You’re not the first person to go through Kapooka and get your period! There is plenty of time to use the toilets, you’ll be able to buy tampons at the little shop on base and when you’re out field you’ll be able to take bulk baby wipes and keep yourself nice and fresh! It’s 100% achievable to get on with your training when you have your period. You know why? You’re not the first person to get it at Basic Training!
Why are we even talking about this? Because people ask us ALL the time! Whether it’s fitness, medical issues, female specific issues, family issues, personal stuff- you’re not the first to go through it! There would have been hundreds of people in the same situation before you who had gone through the same thing (Remember… 66 years worth).
You’re not the first person to do a PFA. So train hard, work hard and give it 100% on the day. You’ve got no one to get frustrated with but yourself if it doesn’t go your way. No one is treating you unfairly. You just didn’t meet the standard.
You’re not the first person to be under or over a BMI. It’s a Black & White assessment. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. If you’re over then you need to do the work to get yourself under and the same goes if you’re under!
If you’ve got your period then please just have your period and get on with your training. It’s not a war stopper, it’s not the end of the universe and you’re not the first woman to have a period at Kapooka. I promise you that. I know this because I had mine when I was there and I survived to tell the tale!
You’re not the first person to go through the Defence Force Application Process. No one is treating you unfairly. There are systems and standards in place for a reason. If you don’t meet those standards then you’re simply just not suitable for Defence life.
If you would like more advice on improving your fitness for the ADF 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.