The physical readiness program is not about just meeting standards; it’s about building a culture of fitness that will “enhance a member’s ability to complete tasks that support the command’s mission,” said Lt. Cmdr. Austin Latour, an exercise physiologist with the Navy Physical Readiness Office.
Surface Forces Atlantic (SURFLANT) made a decision to go beyond the letter of the OPNAVINST 6110.1J instruction to encompass the spirit of it. The instruction requires commands to “develop and implement a Fitness Enhancement Program (FEP) that meets the needs of all personnel striving for improved fitness, not simply those who do not meet standards”.
“The emphasis on fitness rather than simply passing a test is an exciting change for our entire Navy,” Latour continued. “We know regular exercise helps reduce stress but this new approach to expand the FEP to appeal to everyone will also make it easier to expand our sense of community to our civilians and our families.
For Yeoman 2nd Class Gary Sanders, assistant command fitness leader, expanding the FEP in ways “…that are challenging and fun are what make this program unique.” The FEP is for everyone interested in getting or staying in shape. Command physical training (PT) takes place Monday through Friday from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the Naval Support Activity Headquarters base gym. The workouts are open to any member of the command, civilian and military alike.
For one, a civilian paralegal, joining Sailors in exercise routine resulted in more than just getting a good work-out; it included her in another part of the Navy community in which she works. She said, “I didn’t feel out of place at all. The Sailors made me feel like I was a part of the team! They motivated me. I loved the morale and I got an excellent work out. What more can you ask for?”
“While the instruction doesn’t change many of the current PT requirements”, said Latour, “it’s the philosophical shift that promotes fitness and includes everyone in that goal that will make our Navy stronger and more fit.”