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1.0     Introduction

This article provides an overview of the United States Navy’s (USN) Command Fitness Leader (CFL).

2.0     What is a Command Fitness Leader?

A CFL provides physical training and guidance to members of their unit, as well as conducting the personal fitness assessment.

A CFL is appointed in writing by the commanding officer, with only one CFL at a time.

3.0     What is the Role of a CFL?

CFL’s play an integral part in the overall fitness and readiness of US Navy Sailors, providing the tools and motivation to help their colleagues maintain a healthy physical fitness programme, succeed physically, and maintain good health.

With this in mind, the role of a CFL is to:

  • Provide exercise programming and guidance to command members on proper nutrition, weight management, physical conditioning, and test safety; schedule, administer, monitor, and report on physical fitness assessments (PFA) for all members;
  • Ensure members take completed Physical activity readiness for fitness questionnaire (PARFQ) to their preventive health assessment (PHA) appointment;
  • Conduct the bi-annual PHA for their commands; and
  • Work closely and advise the chain of command, safety officer, Command Master Chief, and Command Career Counsellor.

4.0     Brief History

CFL’s superseded Command Fitness Coordinators (CFC) (Hodgdon, 1999). CFC’s were first established in 1982, with 1990 seeing a definition of the qualifications required (Hodgdon, 1999). CFC’s were encouraged to pursue standard American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) exercise leader certification and a CFC reference and training manual was provided to aid this.

From 1998, training for CFC’s became mandatory and attendance was required on a BUPERS-approved training course, which also included CFC certification (Hodgdon, 1999). Commands were also encouraged to appoint departmental and divisional CFC assistants, who were encouraged to attend the CFC certification training.

5.0     What is the Total Sailor Fitness Branch?

The Total Sailor Fitness Branch (N170) is a branch of the Twenty-First Century Sailor Office (N17) organisation which was established in 2013 (NAVADMIN 153/13). It is led by the Director, a Rear Admiral (Lower Half) (OF-6), and is responsible for:

  • The integration of the Navy’s objectives for sailor personal and family readiness;
  • Physical readiness;
  • Substance abuse prevention;
  • Suicide prevention;
  • SAPR;
  • Equal opportunity; and
  • Hazing Prevention policy.

The N170 branch, previously Physical Readiness Programme Office (N135F), is responsible for managing the policies that build and sustain resilience in the force, and is comprised of:

  • N170A: Navy alcohol and drug abuse programme (NADAP) (N170A).
  • N170B: Physical Readiness.
  • N170C: Family Readiness (e.g., community support, family advocacy, exceptional family member, and retired affairs policies).

The Command Fitness Leader Programme Manager, a Lieutenant Commander (OF-3), sits within N170B and is responsible for the management of the CFL curriculum.

6.0     What is the CFL Course?

The Command Fitness Leader Certification Course is the process by which the USN trains personnel for running the Physical Readiness Programme (PRP) for their respective command.

7.0     Who is Eligible to Attend the CFL Course?

Criteria for the CFL course includes:

  • Petty Officer First Class (PO1) (E6) or above (preferred);
  • CFL/ACFL designation letter;
  • Non-user of tobacco products;
  • Overall PRT score of excellent or higher (evidenced via PRIMS report);
  • Being within body composition assessment standards; and
  • Maintaining current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillator (AED), and first aid qualifications.

Personnel nominated or volunteering for a CFL role must complete an OPNAV approved 5-day CFL certification course within 3 months of assignment as CFL.

8.0     Where is the CFL Course Delivered?

The CFL course is delivered at Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department navy fitness centres located at various worldwide USN bases.

9.0     Who Delivers the CFL Course?

The CFL course is delivered by appropriately qualified MWR navy fitness professionals at the various MWR fitness centres.

Since January 2009, MWR navy fitness professionals have been given the responsibility of delivering the CFL course to prospective CFL’s and Assistant CFL’s.

10.0     Outline of the CFL Course

In 2011, there was a comprehensive revision of the CFL course (NAVAMIN 118/11) to meet the Navy’s education and training requirements for a certified Navy curriculum. The CFL course also received an official number (CIN S-562-0612) and a new CFL page was created on Navy Knowledge Online (NKO), under the personal development tab. Concurrently, a new physical fitness website [LINK: navyfitness.org] was created.

All CFL’s must be trained and certified through the five-day Command Fitness Leader Certification Course, which covers the administrative actions and duties of a CFL, basic exercise physiology and nutrition principles and basic PRIMS training, as well as intense daily gym sessions teaching various methods for exercise programming.

The CFL course is a mix of classroom instruction and practical application. In general, there are 25 students per course with two CFL instructors. During the course, candidates will undertake/receive:

  • 5 gym sessions:
    • Dynamic warm-ups, cool-down, and stretches.
    • Strength training.
    • Cardio-respiratory conditioning.
    • Navy operational fitness and fuelling system (NOFFS) (Taught by a certified NOFFS instructor).
    • Circuit training/group presentations.
  • 3 homework assignments.
  • Physical fitness assessment (PFA) and test (PRT): demonstration of proper conduct and practical application (day one).
  • Leading physical training.
  • Exercise principles and programming.
  • Nutrition and weight management.
  • Medical screening and waivers.
  • Body composition assessment (BCA): demonstration and practical application (day one).
  • Fitness enhancement programme (FEP).
  • Health promotion and wellness.
  • Physical readiness information management system (PRIMS).

As part of the assessment process, candidates will:

  • Be required to complete an 8-week fitness programme as a team project based on a provided scenario; and
  • Complete:
    • A 30 minute pre-test (open book) followed immediately by,
    • A post-test (open book) followed immediately by,
    • A post-test (closed book).
    • Candidates must score a minimum of 80% on the post-test to graduate and receive a CFL certificate.

To remain a CFL, the individual must complete a CFL seminar or CFL certification course every three years. An example seminar can be found here.

11.0     CFL Instructors

CFL Instructors may be navy or MWR personnel with the following credentials:

  • Must possess, at a minimum, a current fitness certification from such organizations as American College Sports Medicine (ACSM), Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research, National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), American Exercise Council (ACE) or other NCCA or NOCA accredited agencies.
  • Current CPR/AED/first aid qualifications.
  • Must have completed and passed the CFL instructor course hosted by OPNAV (N17) and CNIC-N921, including the mock PFA conducted during the course.
  • Must be physically-able to instruct and participate in the physical activity labs conducted throughout the course.
  • Must have a clear understanding of OPNAVINST 6110.1 Series.

12.0     Assistant CFL

Commanders can designate (in writing) one assistant CFL per 25 command members.

ACFL’s are to:

  • Be CPR certified;
  • Be competent to conduct PRT, BCA, FEP, and command PT;
  • Be non-smokers; and
  • Meet the same PFA requirements as a CFL.

CFL’s are responsible for training and supporting ACFL’s, who may work independently of the CFL. ACFLs are authorised, but are not required to attend the 5-Day CFL Certification Course. The CFL is also responsible for assigning ACFL access to PRIMS, of which there are two levels:

  • ACFL1 access allows for the management of Departments and Divisions PFA records; and
  • ACFL2 access allows for the management of Divisions.

13.0     Civilian Credentials

Graduates of the CFL course can attain civilian credentials via the Navy’s COOL website (see Useful Links below).

14.0     Useful Publications

  • OPNAVINST 6110.1 Series:
    • Guide 01: CFL Administrative Duties and Responsibilities (10 March 2016).
    • Guide 02: Command Inspection Self, Assessment Checklist.
    • Guide 03: PFA Checklist 2016.
    • Guide 04: Body Composition Assessment (BCA).
    • Guide 05: Physical Readiness Test 2016.
    • Guide 06: PFA Medical Clearance/Waiver.
    • Guide 07: PFA Administrative Actions/Administrative Separation (14 March 2016).
    • Guide 08: Managing PFA Records for Pregnant Service Women 2018 (30 October 2018).
    • Guide 09: Managing PFA Records for IA/OSA/GSA/PEP/Mobilised Reservist.
    • Guide 10: Alternate Cardio Options Procedures 2018 (10 April 2018).
    • Guide 11: Member’s Responsibilities 2016.
    • Guide 112: Glossary of Physical Readiness Programme Related Terms.
    • Guide 13: Command Fitness and Fitness Enhancement Programme (FEP) Guide (21 March 2016).
    • Guide 14: Nutrition Resource Guide 2018 (11 January 2018).
  • Navy Administrative Messages (NAVADMIN):
    • NAVADMIN 193/10: Change to Physical Fitness Assessment Documentation on Fitness Reports (28 May 2010).
    • NAVADMIN 118/11: Command Fitness Leader Certification Course Update (06 April 2011).
    • NAVADMIN 203/11: OPNAVINT 6110.1J – Physical Readiness Programme Policy Changes (11 July 2011).
    • NAVADMIN 153/13: Establishment of Navy’s Twenty-First Century Sailor Office (04 June 2013).
    • NAVADMIN 231/13: Physical Readiness Programme Policy Changes (12 September 2013).
    • NAVADMIN 178/15: Physical Readiness Programme Policy Changes (03 August 2015).
    • NAVADMIN 233/15: Physical Readiness Programme Policy Changes Update 1, Enlisted Policies (Corrected Copy) (07 October 2015).
    • NAVADMIN 061/16: Implementation of Physical Readiness Programme Policy Changes Update 2 (09 March 2016).
    • NAVADMIN 124/16: Physical Readiness Programme Update 3, Physical Readiness Information Management System (26 May 2016).
    • NAVADMIN 141/17: Physical Readiness Programme Policy Changes (Corrected Copy) (05 September 2017).
    • NAVADMIN 304/17: Physical Readiness Programme Policy Change (21 December 2018).
  • Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV):
    • OPNAV N17: Establishment of Navy’s Twenty-First Century Sailor Office (April 2013).
  • Commander Navy Installations Command Instructions (CINCINST):
    • CINCINST 1710.3: Operation of Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programmes (14 June 2013).
  • CLF Instructor Training Guide.
  • Trainee Guide for Command Fitness Leader Certification Course. S-562-0612A, Change 4 (January 2016).
  • Command Fitness Guide: Command/Unit Physical Training (PT) and Fitness Enhancement Programme (FEP) 2011.
  • Navy Fitness. Standard Operating Procedure: Facilitation of the Command Fitness Leader Certification Course (May 2016).

15.0     Useful Links

  • US Navy Installations Command (Fitness, Sports & Deployed Forces Support): https://www.navyfitness.org/.
  • Navy COOL:
    • Group Fitness Instructor (GFI) certification: https://www.cool.navy.mil/usn/search/CERT_GFI866.htm.
    • Certified Personal Trainer: https://www.cool.navy.mil/usn/search/CERT_ACE-CPT868.htm.
  • US Navy Personnel Command – Physical Readiness: https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/21st_Century_Sailor/physical/Pages/default2.aspx.

16.0     References

Hodgdon, J.A. (1999) A History of the U.S. Navy Physical Readiness Program from 1976 to 1999. Technical Document No.99-6F. San Diego, California: Human Performance Department, Naval Health Research Centre.

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