If you are currently serving in the Army National Guard or Army Reserves and you fail your record APFT, I have some suggestions for you. These are things you can do to get yourself back in shape and get your career back on track as quickly as possible.
# 1 Man Up (or Woman Up)
The first thing you need to do if you fail a record APFT is man up or woman up! Don’t place the blame on anyone else. I know it’s the American way, but do the right thing and accept responsibility for your actions and performance. Realize that you are the problem. Look yourself in the mirror and accept the fact that it’s your responsibility to stay in shape.
# 2 Ask for Help
As Soldiers, we are taught to be tough. While that has its merits in most cases, I personally don’t believe there’s anything wrong with asking for help, especially when you need it. If you struggle with your weight, visit a dietitian, or your doctor. If you aren’t good at the exercises on the APFT, hire a personal trainer and create a customized fitness plan. If you don’t do either of those things, at least sit down and talk with your supervisor, a trusted peer or someone who consistently maxes their APFT. Ask them for some helpful tips. If you need to find a workout buddy to keep you accountable, do it!
# 3 Create an Exercise Schedule
As a Citizen Soldier, you only do Army training 2-3 days each month. The other 28 days, it’s up to you to exercise on your own and stay in shape. I’ve found that most people don’t want to exercise after they come home from a long day at work. If that describes you, you need to create an exercise schedule that works for you. Schedule time in your day planner and “to do” list covering when you will workout each day. Either wake up 30 minutes early to exercise, do it on your lunch-break, or schedule it in at night. Just find something that works for you, create the schedule and stick with. You have to make exercise a daily discipline so it becomes a habit. Otherwise, you will revert back to your slacker ways.
# 4 Prepare for Your Next APFT
After you fail a record APFT you normally have 30 days to take your next one. I’ve personally known plenty of people who got prepared for an APFT in just 30 days. During the next 30 days, make it a point to practice the push-ups, sit-ups and the 2-mile run. Sure, you can do other exercises too, but your best approach is to train for the actual events. Take a diagnostic APFT half way through the month to measure your progress and make any necessary adjustments.
In summary, these are four simple things you can do if you fail your record APFT. While you might temporarily be FLAGGED for your poor performance, you can turn the negative experience into an inner motivation that makes you a better Soldier, person and leader.
What are your thoughts? What tips do you have for people who fail a record APFT? Leave a comment and let us know. I look forward to hearing from you.