Navy Suspends Fall 2020 Fitness Cycle

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By MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy has suspended the fall 2020 Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) to minimize risk of Sailor exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

The suspension was announced in NAVADMIN 193/20 on July 7, and is the second consecutive fitness cycle suspended because of COVID-19 mitigation concerns.

When fitness testing does resume in January 2021, the plank will replace the curl-up for the first time and the rowing machine will become an alternate cardio option as well, the message said.

“The COVID-19 situation requires that we continue to minimize risk to personnel, therefore all personnel will be “EXCUSED” from participation in Navy PFA Cycle 2, 2020,” wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s top uniformed personnel officer, in the message.

“Suspension includes both the official Body Composition Assessment and Physical Readiness Test components of the PFA.”

Sailors will automatically be marked as “EXCUSED” in the Physical Readiness Information Management System (PRIMS) for the cycle. As a result, Command Fitness Leaders must not make any official PFA entries in PRIMS for the official Navy PFA Cycle 2, 2020 because the Physical Readiness Program (PRP) office will handle those updates.

The suspension also applies to organized or group physical training at the command level, including the Fitness Enhancement Programs, until further notice.

The only exceptions allowed will be for recruit training or if unit mission training requires such physical training sessions. In those cases, the exception must come from the appropriate Echelon II commander, who can also delegate the authority down to the first flag officer in the chain of command.

Unlike last cycle, mock PFA’s will be allowed for Sailors needing to regain advancement and retention eligibility as long as any local area and installation guidance as well as COVID-19 guidelines in effect are followed.

Also, all mock PFA’s must be conducted as outlined in OPNAV Instruction 6110.1J, the governing guidance of the Navy Physical Readiness Program with modifications as detailed in the NAVADMIN.  The curl-up will not be performed to minimize risk to Sailors.

Though the fall cycle is now excused, Sailors still must make good choices in maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program to keep within Navy physical fitness standards, Nowell wrote in the message.

The message recommended Sailors use the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling 5-week conditioning plan. This is available online at The plan was developed by Navy Installations Command’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fitness Program to help Sailors maintain Navy physical fitness standards while reducing the chances for injuries.

When fitness assessments do resume in 2021, the Navy will begin phasing in previously announced testing changes. This means, for the first time, curl-ups will replace by the plank exercise along and the rowing machine will become an alternative cardio option.  To give Sailors time to adjust to the new exercise, no plank failures will be counted during the first cycle the plank is implemented. Separate guidance on the implementation of the new events will be issued separately in September.

Navy’s Fitness Test Overhaul Enters Next Phase

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Here’s a link to this article about the upcoming revised PFA/PRT:

Navy’s Fitness Test Overhaul Enters Next Phase

Physical Readiness Program Policy Changes

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Those who like reading NAVADMINs (like me) can read it here. Those who don’t (the rest of you) can read a Navy Times article about the changes here. My quick summary of relevant bullet points for readers of this blog is:

  • All commands will discontinue processing members for separation as a result of Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) failures.
  • Officers with approved separation orders for PFA failure with a directed separation date prior to 1 March 2018 can request their separation orders be cancelled in order to remain in the Navy by contacting PERS-834, subject to Secretary of Navy (SECNAV) approval.
  • MILPERSMAN 1910-170, Separation by Reason of PFA Failure, is cancelled.
  • The following applies to all officers who:
    • Fail one PFA will:
      • Not be eligible for promotion. Commands are required to delay promotion and inform PERS-833. Members will regain eligibility for promotion by passing the next command-directed monthly FEP mock PFA.
      • Be issued a Letter of Notification to inform them of the PFA failure.
      • Be enrolled in the FEP until passing the next official PFA.
    • Fail two or more consecutive PFAs will be submitted to PERS-834 for administrative separation processing under reference (e).
      • If SECNAV determines the officer is to be separated (or retired), this action will occur at the PRD of the officer or upon the determination of SECNAV, whichever is later.
      • If an officer passes an official PFA prior to the decision of SECNAV on retention or separation, processing will cease and the member will be retained upon notification to PERS-834. A special fitness Report may be submitted to document the officers satisfactory physical readiness status
        under reference (c).
      • Additionally, officers who fail two or more consecutive PFAs will receive an adverse report that states Significant Problems on their fitness report under reference (c).
  • Additional information that applies to all members:
    • Effective 1 January 2018 all PFA failures will reset to zero only for enlisted reenlistment policy and officer administrative separation policy as outlined in paragraphs 3.a and 4. No other records will be changed such as PRIMS, Fitness Reports or Evaluations.
    • All members must have a Body Composition Assessment (BCA) completed within five work days of reporting to a new command. This BCA spot-check will not count as the official BCA for newly reported members during the command PFA cycle, regardless of the status of the official command PFA cycle. Members exceeding Age Adjusted Body Fat Standards (AAS) during spot-checks must be enrolled into Command FEP.
    • FEP enrollment and disenrollment determination: Upon either a BCA spot-check failure or PFA failure, members must participate in FEP until they pass an official PFA and are within AAS.
    • All members who have regained promotion/advancement eligibility are reminded of their ability to communicate in writing to promotion and selection boards as outlined in MILPERSMAN 1420-010 of reference (b) and reference (d).
  • Anyone with questions about these policies is referred to Physical Readiness Program, Mr. Bill Moore at
    (901) 874-2210 or PRIMS < at > For all other personnel related policies: NAVPERSCOM at 1-866-827-5672 (U-ASK-NPC).

Navy Incentivizes the PRT for Sailors

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WASHINGTON (NNS) ­­ The Navy announced several changes Tuesday to its Physical Readiness Program in NAVADMIN 141/17, including an incentive for Sailors to validate one physical readiness test (PRT) each year based on their fitness performance.

Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke said that during his fleet visits he often hears ideas from Sailors on how to improve the Navy’s PRT process.

“I want Sailors to know we’ve heard them,” Burke said. “Many Sailors work hard to maintain high levels of physical fitness year­ round and I believe this provides an incentive to continue to excel. This effort is aimed at both incentivizing physical fitness and also reducing administrative distractions throughout the fleet.”

Those Sailors who pass the body composition assessment (BCA), are within the Navy age­ graduated body fat standards, and score an overall “excellent low” or better on the PRT, with no single event lower than a “good low,” will be exempt from participation in the next test. These changes will be effective Jan. 1, 2018, but be based on a Sailor’s performance during the second PRT cycle of 2017.

All Sailors, regardless of PRT performance will still be required to participate in the BCA each cycle. If a Sailor who is exempt from taking the PRT fails the BCA, they will be required to participate in the PRT that cycle.

Additionally, the Navy is also eliminating the use of elliptical machines as an alternate cardio device for use because of low­ usage across the fleet during the PRT. This decision was based on two factors. First, less than 4 percent of the Navy uses the elliptical for the PRT, and maintaining PRT ­compliant elliptical machines was becoming increasingly cost prohibitive. Shifting to non­PRT­ compliant elliptical machines will allow for more modern elliptical machines in Navy fitness facilities. While the 1.5 mile run remains the service standard, commanding officers may still authorize the use of approved stationary bikes, treadmills or allow Sailors to swim as alternate cardio.

The Navy is also exempting post­partum Sailors from participating in the physical fitness assessment (PFA) for six months following the Sailors’ maternity/convalescent leave. This change reflects an increase to the Navy’s increased maternity leave policy of 84 days following child birth. This will ensure Sailors have adequate time to return to weight standards and pass a PRT following a pregnancy.

“We want to ensure our Sailors have adequate time to recover and succeed post pregnancy,” said Burke. “This extended time will help Sailors return to fitness levels and standards in a safe and healthy way.”