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This article provides an overview of the United States Army Master Fitness Trainer Course (MFTC).
The US Army is currently transitioning to the Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) initiative.
2.0 What is a Master Fitness Trainer?
A Master Fitness Trainer (MFT) delivers training relating to US Army Physical Readiness Training (APRT) system and the H2F initiative.
3.0 What is the Role of a MFT?
The role of a MFT is to:
- Assist commanders in developing physical readiness training (PRT) programmes to improve operational readiness and minimise injuries.
“Certified MFTs are expected to increase Soldier physical readiness, decrease accession losses, reduce injury rates and standardize unit training in accordance with Army training doctrine.” (Fort Carson Mountaineer, 2015).
4.0 What is the Purpose of the MFTC?
The Master Fitness Trainer Course (MFTC) trains selected non-commissioned officers (NCO’s) and commissioned officers in all aspects of the APRT system and H2F initiative so they can be unit advisors on physical readiness issues and monitor unit and individual physical readiness programmes.
5.0 Where is the MFCT Delivered?
The MFTC is delivered by the United States Army Physical Fitness School (USAPFS) via a two-phase online and residential programme:
- Phase 1: A self-paced (distance learning) online training programme delivered as a one-week (46 hour) distributed learning course.
- Phase 2: A residential or mobile training team (MTT) training programme delivered as a two-week (96 hour) course.
These two phases are discussed in further detail below.
5.1 Mobile Training Teams
The MFTC has six Mobile Training Teams (MTT), with each consisting of (Jones, 2013a):
- An NCO leader (typically a Master Sergeant);
- NCO team member (typically a Staff Sergeant); and
- A civilian contractor.
6.0 Brief History of the MFTC
The latest MFT programme is a retooled version of the programme that existed in the 1980s and 1990s but was discontinued in 2001. The end of that programme, combined with the high operational tempo that came with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, left the US Army in need of a systematic approach to physical readiness.
In 2013, the US Army resurrected the MFT programme (Jones, 2013a).
7.0 Eligibility and ATRRS Enrolment
Eligibility for the course includes:
- Being recommended by the battalion commander (or equivalent).
- Recommended candidates are required to have an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) score of 240 points or higher, with a minimum of 70 points in each event (down from 80 (Jones, 2013b)).
- Active or Reserve component soldier.
- Enrolled in the Army Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS).
- dL School Code: 805P.
- o dL Course Number: 9E-S16P/920-ASIP5 (DL).
- NCO’s: First priority of acceptance given to NCOs in the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG) and above. Second priority of acceptance given to Drill Sergeants in the rank of Sergeant (SGT).
- Officers: First priority of acceptance given to officers in the rank of second lieutenant (2LT) to Captain (CPT). Second priority of acceptance given to senior officers.
- Candidates who are 40 years or older must provide proof of having passed a medical screening and participation in a PRT programme for at least 90 days prior to the course start date.
- This is a non-waiverable prerequisite.
- Candidates with a temporary profile will not be allowed to attend the course.
- Candidates with a permanent profile, that prevents them from executing exercises in FM 7-22, will not be allowed to attend the course.
- Candidates with a permanent profile, that does not prevent them from executing exercises in FM 7-22, will request a waiver from the USAPFS. Upon USAPFS approval, the candidate can attend the course.
- Compliance with body composition standards as specified in AR 600-9.
- General Technical (GT) Score:
- A GT score of 110 or higher is recommended for candidates, by the USAPFS, due to the higher learning content for exercise science.
8.0 Outline of MFTC Syllabus
Topics covered on the MFTC include:
- Army fitness regulations and policies;
- Exercise science;
- Physical fitness assessment;
- Exercise training principles;
- Sports/performance nutrition (Fort Carson Mountaineer, 2015);
- Running form analysis (Fort Carson Mountaineer, 2015);
- Exercise prescription;
- Exercise leadership; and
- Development of individual and unit physical readiness programmes in accordance with current Army doctrine and regulations.
Lessons are a mix between classroom-based instruction and practical demonstrations/practices.
9.0 MFTC Phase 1
All instructions for MFTC Phase 1 are provided by email upon a candidate’s successful enrolment in the Army Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS). Candidates should contact their school’s personnel office for enrolment.
Once enrolled onto Blackboard, a candidate will have 45 days to complete MFTC Phase 1.
Candidates will receive/undertake:
- 17 lessons.
- Two exams:
- 70 is the minimum score.
- Graduation certificates are automatically generated for successful candidates, and sent via email.
- Two homework assignments:
- Last slide of lesson for Performance Nutrition (Diet Recall PE).
- Last slide of lesson for APFT and Alternate Events (Preparation Drills, Recovery Drills and Four for the Core).
- Must be completed prior to day one of Phase 2.
Phase 1 must be successfully completed before a candidate is enrolled in Phase 2.
10.0 MFTC Phase 2
To be eligible for MFTC Phase 2, candidates must:
- Have completed MFTC Phase 1 within 120 days of MFTC Phase 2.
- Achieve a minimum score of 240 points (with a minimum of 70 points in each event) for the APFT which is administered on day one of MFTC Phase 2.
Candidates will undertake MFTC Phase 2 via:
- A residential course at USAPFS; or
- A MMT within their unit.
Candidates should receive confirmation/welcome letter approximately 3-4 week prior to the start date, which will also provide additional course information.
To graduate from MFTC Phase 2, candidates must:
- Attend 100% of the course.
- Complete all graded requirements with a 70% minimum passing score or a ‘GO’:
- Two written quizzes (Jones, 2013b).
- PRT assessment;
- MFT oral presentation; and
- MFT written exam (is a scenario-based, open-book test with 50 questions (Jones, 2013b)).
11.0 Additional Skill Identifier
Candidates who successfully complete both phases of the MFTC will be awarded the additional skill identifier (ASI) of:
- P5 for NCO’s; and
- 6P for officers.
12.0 Useful Publications
- TRADOC Regulations (TR):
- TR 350-6 – Enlisted Initial Entry Training Policies and Administration (18 December 2015).
- TR 350-10 – Institutional Leader Training and Education (12 August 2002).
- TR 350-16 – Drill Sergeant and Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant Programmes (23 January 2015).
- TR 350-36 – Basic Officer Leader Training Policies and Administration (01 September 2015).
- TR 10-5-8 – Initial Military Training Centre of Excellence (02 October 2012).
- TR 1-8 – U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Operations Reporting (16 November 2010).
- Army Regulations (AR):
- AR 600-8-10 – Leaves and Passes (04 August 2011).
- AR 612-201 – Initial Entry/Prior Service Trainee Support (04 August 2011).
- AR 635-200 – Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations (06 September 2011).
- Field Manual (FM):
- FM 7-22 – Army Physical Readiness Training (October 2012). The US Army is currently undertaking a comprehensive rewrite of FM 7-22 to include a proposed title change ‘FM 7-22 – Holistic Health and Fitness’ due to be published in 2019.
- Funkhouser, A.C. (2017) Holistic Health and Fitness: A Better Way to Readiness. ARMY Magazine. April 2017, p.41-44.
- East, W.B. (2013) A Historical Review and Analysis of Army Physical Readiness Training and Assessment. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combat Studies Institute Press. Available from World Wide Web: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a622014.pdf. [Accessed: 12 December, 2018].
- USAPFS (United States Army Physical Fitness School). (1990) Master Fitness Trainer Course. Minnesota: University of Minnesota.
13.0 Useful Links
- Official Website: http://usacimt.tradoc.army.mil/ltb/pfs/index.html.
- Open Page: https://www.facebook.com/PhysicalFitnessSchool.
- Closed Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/armymasterfitnesstrainers/.
- MilSuite: https://www.milsuite.mil/book/groups/army-master-fitness-trainer-course.
- APRT Exercises & Drills on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ArmyPhysicalFitness.
Fort Carson Mountaineer. (2015) Master Fitness Course Builds Tactical Athletes. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.fortcarsonmountaineer.com/2015/07/master-fitness-course-builds-tactical-athletes/. [Accessed: 12 December, 2018].
Jones, C.K. (2013a) Master Fitness Trainer Course Explains Whys of PRT. Available from World Wide Web: http://ncojournal.dodlive.mil/2013/05/21/master-fitness-trainer-course-explains-whys-of-prt/. [Accessed: 12 December, 2018].
Jones, C.K. (2013b) The New MFTC: How Do I Get In? Available from World Wide Web: http://ncojournal.dodlive.mil/2013/05/23/the-new-mftc-how-do-i-get-in/. [Accessed: 12 December, 2018].