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The concept of fitness is a focal point in today’s Navy. It is also one with many dimensions, ranging from getting in and staying in shape to meeting job-specific training standards to being actively involved in sports and athletics.
Consider how dramatically eight weeks of Boot Camp can physically transform an individual. Or the sort of preparation that goes into making Navy SEALs so incredibly capable.
Whether training to be a SEAL or just trying to stay active in your free time, the Navy provides a variety of healthy living options to its Sailors, and wants all of its Sailors to live an active lifestyle.
Learn more about how fitness can be part of your experience in the Navy:
An official evaluation of physical health, ability and endurance – known as the Navy Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) – is conducted throughout each servicemember’s Navy career (twice each year). This process begins in Recruit Training (Boot Camp) or Officer Training. Basically, you need to meet established fitness requirements in order to be part of the Navy.
Specifically, the PFA consists of a standard medical screening, a Body Composition Assessment (BCA) and the Physical Readiness Test (PRT).
Download the Physical Fitness Assessment Checklist to learn more about the process.
Servicemembers must first receive appropriate medical clearance prior to BCA and PRT testing. This clearance involves successfully completing the Annual Periodic Health Assessment (PHA), a Physical Assessment Risk Factor Questionnaire (PARFQ) and pre-physical activity questions prior to taking on the actual Physical Readiness Test.
Waivers are available under certain conditions. A Navy Recruiter can provide details.
Download the Medical Clearance/Waiver Guide for more information.
Body composition is determined by height and weight measurements. These are evaluated according to established Navy standards (in some cases, circumference measurements are also required).
The maximum allowable Navy body fat limits are as follows:
Standards and requirements for BCA vary by gender, age, height and weight (waivers are available under certain conditions). A Navy Recruiter can provide details.
Download the Body Composition Assessment (BCA) Guide for more information.
The Physical Readiness Test (PRT) is a standard Navy fitness test consisting of push-ups, curl-ups (sit-ups) and a 1.5-mile run.
Participants have two minutes to complete as many push-ups as possible and two minutes to complete as many curl-ups as possible. The 1.5-mile run is also timed.
Outside of Recruit Training (Boot Camp), general Navy PRT requirements allow for a choice of the timed 1.5-mile run, a timed 500-yard swim, or one of the following events:
1) Riding a stationary bike for 12 minutes
2) Performing cardio on an elliptical machine for 12 minutes.
Performance standards and requirements for PRT vary by gender and age. A Navy Recruiter can provide details.
Download the Physical Readiness Test (PRT) Guide for more information.
While fitness is important for all Navy Sailors, it is imperative for those who make up communities like Special Warfare/Special Operations – which includes SEAL, Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician, Navy Diver and Aviation Rescue Swimmer (AIRR) professionals.
The qualification standards and training programs for these specialties – referred to as Navy Challenge Programs – are far more demanding.
The chart below highlights the current minimum Navy Physical Screening Test (PST) requirements for Navy Challenge Programs – for aspiring servicemembers who are in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), in Boot Camp or already serving in the Navy.
Physical Screening Test
|Swim 500 yards|
(450 M) - breaststroke or sidestroke
|REST: 10 MINUTES|
[in 2 minutes]
|REST: 2 MINUTES|
[in 2 minutes]
|REST: 2 MINUTES|
[in 2 minutes]
|REST: 10 MINUTES|
|Run 1.5 miles|
* AIRRmay use sidestroke or breaststroke and utilize American crawl/freestyle or a combination of all.
NOTE: You should consult your physician or other health-care professional before starting any exercise regime or other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. This is particularly true if you (or your family) have a history of medical illnesses or ailments that could be made worse by a change in physical activity. Do not start a fitness program if your physician or health-care provider advises against it.
*AIRR may use sidestroke or breaststroke and utilize American crawl/freestyle or a combination of all.
NSW/NSO Training – For more details about the specific training pipelines and qualification standards for the Naval Special Warfare/Operations specialties, choose the area you are interested in.
The average Navy Seal carries gear weighing up to 75 pounds. Man down? Add another 180 pounds. Now climb over a ten foot wall. Yeah. Core Strength is important. Take your workout to the next level.
Check out the Naval Special Warfare Physical Training Guide for workouts, tips and plenty of other useful information, including videos, that can help you get into tip-top physical shape.
Find specific programs that cover everything from running, swimming and weight lifting to calisthenics and core and flexibility training. Plus, be sure to look into the information on nutrition and injury prevention that is provided in the training section.
Consistent training, flexible workouts and good nutrition are key to any fitness program – and certainly in the Navy.
Often referred to as PT, Navy physical training provides a foundation for all Navy servicemembers. Basically, it’s a program that involves integrating exercise into the workweek.
Here’s an example of the type of physical activity associated with PT:
Download the Navy Command Fitness and Fitness Enhancement Program (FEP) Guide to learn more about Navy physical training.
In the Navy, exercise-related activities can take place in just about any setting – from a state-of-the-art gym to an open field to the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Workouts can encompass everything from muscular fitness training to agility fitness training, weight lifting to cardiovascular conditioning.
And facilities and resources are accessible in some capacity whether you’re on base or on deployment.
Check out some Navy Sample Workouts for staying in shape.
Following proper nutritional guidelines is integral to any physical fitness regimen. Whether looking to improve performance, body composition or general well-being, the Navy is committed to helping servicemembers reach those goals.
Download the Navy Nutrition Resource Guide for useful tools, tips and advice.
Maintaining optimal fitness is as much a part of “mission readiness” as it is a part of each Sailor’s overall quality of life. The overall Navy Physical Readiness Program ensures that this philosophy is a focus.
You might be surprised just how many sports the U.S. Navy has to offer. From working out to general fitness, we have something for everyone, including:
Navy physical training also consists of on-base sports at all skill levels for men's, women's and co-ed competitions. Many tournaments and leagues are offered on a year-round basis for anything from softball to flag football, basketball to volleyball, soccer to tennis, racquetball to running, and much more.
To learn more, go to All-Navy Sports where you'll find Navy Sports calendars, answers to frequently asked questions and information on how to apply to participate.
Interested in Navy Athletics at the collegiate level? Look into the United States Naval Academy (USNA), and get details on USNA Athletics.