All This Fitness

#1
After reading all the posts on various boards, it would seem that you have absolutely no chance of getting in unless you can pass a BFT (or whatever they call it), do a couple of hundred situps/pressups/chinups/squats or whatever. How come it was never like that for us lot? We had some real fat ******* in my intake and I'd never run more than 400 yards for a bus, let alone several miles. We were always told the PTIs would get us fit and I don't recall having to pass any of these fitness tests. Yeah, we had PT in basic, we had squats and indoor football and basketball etc but going for a run? No chance. In fact, I even remember our young 2Lt getting a bollocking from the CSM after he'd made up walk (well, march but more of a walk) 5 miles back to camp as we were doing the passing out parade in a couple of days and he didn't want us getting blisters. Mind you, nobody used to run in them days. Jogging hadn't been invented and we used to think those odd few who did go out running were, well, odd, if you know what I mean. I know that when they did bring the BFT in it improved the fitness of the Army megafold, but we still had desk wallahs who get in their cars to go from one end of camp to the other. I don't think the BFT was compulsory for the first year or two. Prior to that, the 10 mile bash was an attendance thing. If you failed, I can't remember anyone having to do retake the test. Mind you, this was the REME at first followed by R Signals so I can imagine it was rather different for the combat arms. I also remember a girl telling me, back in 88, that she had been refused to be allowed to sign up in the Int Corps because she'd failed her BFT. This really would be "running for your life" as she was very intelligent and would have pissed through any other type of exam.
Did you lot have all these fitness (not medical, obviously) tests before you joined up?
 
#2
I joined Sigs in 84 and it was made clear then that failing the BFT and CFT was mega shit hit the fan time, you have started your journey toward leaving the army. Probably scare tactics.
 
#3
84? Bloody hell, I'd got my LSCG on the old qualifying criteria by then. Are you sure you're on the right board?
 
#4
When I joined in '59 as a Junior Bleeder I was a seven stone wimp. There's no way in this world (or the next) that I could have run a mile, let alone ten!

We were give PT, forced into cross-country running and regularly taken on ten to fifteen mile walks. In less than a year I'd put on four stone of muscle and gained an enormous amount of self-respect, self-reliance and confidence.

Mind you, all I can remember feeling at that time was hungry!
 
#5
The new redundancy cuts are based in part on fitness. Nowdays if you fail-you're looking at a 3 month bender.
 
#6
In August 1969, and about week 12 of what was Basic, the Brigadier inspected us. Asked for our views of the training. Bombardiers terrified me, Brigadiers for some reason didn't. So I told him. " I don't think the fitness is nearly demanding enough, Sir " or words to that effect.
" Indeed ", said he. The Colonel went pale, Battery OC puce, and I just didn't understand what I'd said. He'd asked a question, I'd answered it.
Problem? Later in the NAAFI our own Bdr. bought me a pint of milk.

Hearing from Young Rat recently, I've no doubt that today's soldiers are immeasurably fitter than we were.

But, Grandfather Rat defeated the Nip wearing a string vest, trousers, suede shoes, two ammunition pouches and a water-bottle. (So he said) Can anyone tell me why our young men are required to trot everywhere carrying a pack the size and weight of a freezer these days?
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#7
I watch the young ' uns running round the sandpit and wonder how much weight they have to carry that makes them run like pregnant ducks. It was never like that for me in NI. Yet I know people complain that the NI flak jacket was heavy. I never felt the weight of it. And when I (rarely) had to sprint, knees smacked into chin.
 
#8
It was those soddin' Paras going a yompin' in '82 that fecked everything up.
 
#9
Thinking back to the 10 mile bash, the emphasis in those days was on teamwork, the squad cajoling the weaker ones to keep up (or even helping out - was it within the rules for me to return webbing/rifles etc 50 yards before the finish line?).

Nowadays, it's all self. The BFT, in either of its guises (squadded or individual) left the fit laughing at those who fell by the wayside. The CFT is the same, as is the PFT. (Feel free to change the abbreviations to suit the current fashion, AFT, BPFA, etc, it's all just decoration).

Now, log runs, stretcher carries and so on, they were personality-building exercises. If you fail, you're not just letting yourself down, but also your mates. What better incentive is there to get fit than to avoid being a burden on your mates?
 
#10
It was those soddin' Paras going a yompin' in '82 that fecked everything up.
BFT came in in 1981 (for me, at least), so you can't blame the Paras/Argies for that. You could argue that it was lucky that they'd been brought up on 10 mile bashes. If the same thing happened today, you'd see soldiers strewn all over the countryside as those at the front put in "best effort" during the close to contact.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#11
As far a I can remember, in early '67, I was checked to see if I had two eyes, a limb on each corner & could cough.
Plus as for all this waiting to get in, I went for an initial 'look' in the March, final interview 3 April, attested 4 April & arrived Guards Depot 10 April.
 
#12
BFT came in in 1981 (for me, at least),
Yes but after the Yomp of '82 it was decided that fitness levels across the board should be increased along with the weight of personal equipment. FFS our OC at the time thought it would be a brilliant wheeze for an hours PT every morning at 6am.
 
#13
As far a I can remember, in early '67, I was checked to see if I had two eyes, a limb on each corner & could cough.
Plus as for all this waiting to get in, I went for an initial 'look' in the March, final interview 3 April, attested 4 April & arrived Guards Depot 10 April.
So the MO never checked your starfish to see if you had piles or was gay?
 
#14
Yes but after the Yomp of '82 it was decided that fitness levels across the board should be increased along with the weight of personal equipment. FFS our OC at the time thought it would be a brilliant wheeze for an hours PT every morning at 6am.
For the last 4 years we've been doing it at 5am.:pissedoff:
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#15

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#16
Mid 70s we were expected to 'maintain your own fitness'.
But
Every Wednesday the Battery went for a 6 mile run before work, anyone who came in after the BC went again after duties.
 
#17
.
Plus as for all this waiting to get in, I went for an initial 'look' in the March, final interview 3 April, attested 4 April & arrived Guards Depot 10 April.
67 for me, too. I think I only decided it might be a good idea to join around Easter and, middle of June, I was walking through the depot gates (after calling what I now know is a Sergeant, Sir...still, you learn pretty quickly).
 
#18
Joined mid 65, lots of PT as my misty memory recollects, and I remember having to do runs in the old black plimmies etc, and of course we marched double time a lot, we also had the equivalent of the 10 mile bash in full 37 pattern. That with compulsory sport made eveneryone in training fit as hell .. pity it went down somewhat when you arrived in the units. Mind you if you were being sent on an active tour the PT went up quite a number of notches for a few months beforehand to get everyone up to a level where they would not break down if they had to run to the Naffi etc. - but back to the thread, I had my medical in May 1965, two arms, two legs, you'll do.(mind you I was 5'9" and only 9 stone,- left training same height but 10.5 Stone and none of it fat!! - so my Number twos didnt fit)
 
#19
I think my medical in '59 was much the same - two of everything down the side, one of everything down the middle; you're in! As far as weight goes, I was 7 stone when I joined and 11 st 7lb six months later.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#20
Our issue of No2 dress was deliberately held back (I joined in 81) so as to ensure only those passing out were issued it and also that it would fit. I put on a stone in training at IJLB and also went up a shoe size!
 
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