SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – It’s an unusual sight to see a group of civilians going through what the U.S. Army calls the Army Combat Fitness Test, which measures the physical strength and cardiovascular endurance of a Soldier.
On the afternoon of Feb. 25, 2020, a group of Schofield Barracks Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, hosted 16 personal trainers from the UFC Gym in Mililani in order to familiarize them with all the events included in the ACFT as well as put them through the test at full speed.
The idea for this event came from observations made by 1st Lt. David Hart, 25th Infantry Division ACFT Level II Certified Trainer, as he visited his significant other who was a personal trainer at the gym.
“I noticed she had a large amount of Soldier athletes coming to her stressed out about the ACFT, and what they could do to prepare for the future physical fitness standard,” said Hart. “I realized I was in a perfect position to better develop these trainers as professionals by introducing them to the rigors of the test with the standard equipment that those same Soldier athletes would be using in the coming months.”
Introducing the test to the trainers was about much more than them understanding the difficulty of doing well on the test. Cameron Murayama, a UFC Gym Personal Trainer, stated that he will benefit professionally from this experience.
“Being able to experience the ACFT gave me a complete insight on how I can test and improve my Soldier client’s strengths and weaknesses and it has given me ideas on exercises I can prescribe to them.”
Melissa Lehano-Iosefa, a personal trainer with the gym, echoed the sentiment of professional growth she will take away from this event. “I will definitely increase different levels of intensity when working with Soldiers, and I will be able to train specific muscle groups to help improve their scores.”
Hart expanded on the benefits of this event to Soldiers, “I know that for every trainer that experienced the test, dozens of their Soldier athletes will be in a better position to be trained correctly, and will be that much closer to reaching their ideal score on the ACFT.”
While both the Soldiers and trainers stated they had a great time during this event, many of the trainers were surprised by the difficulty of the new test. “I honestly thought this was going to be easy, but it turned out harder than I was expecting and I’m happy it’s harder than the previous test giving more confidence in our Soldiers,” said, Ryan Mondala, a personal trainer with the gym.
The six-event ACFT becomes the new test of record for all Soldiers beginning Oct. 1, 2020, and is considered a more complete assessment of a Soldier’s physical readiness as each of the six events directly relates to actions a Soldier would execute on the battlefield.
“I thought the event was fantastic, and the transitional period of Fiscal Year 20 is the prime opportunity for more units and civilian entities to take part in developing training plans together,” said Hart. “This leap towards full-body fitness and athleticism in the ACFT, compared to the calisthenics based APFT, is what I, as a leader, want my Soldiers to embrace.”