CFAV Fitness


i’m a CI, so i don’t quite fall into your suggestion - though i take the view that if its about showing a good example to cadets, then it should be all the staff, particularly given that CI’s make up the majority of staff in the ACO…

i’m 42, i can run 8km in 40 minutes and carry a fully loaded 80ltr rucksack for 60km through Snowdonia in 16 hours - i’m pretty fit, i would pass the RAF fitness test for a 20yo let alone that for a 42yo - so i’m not going to have a problem with whatever ACO test was devised…

however, firstly i would consider it a bloody cheek for an organisation that i give my time to to demand that i prove myself able to a job i have been doing quite ably for some years, and secondly - given the ACO’s famous inablity to do anything simply - i just know that this fitness test won’t be done during a spare 5 minutes on a Sqn sports evening, but that i’ll have to attend my ‘local’ RAF station (5 1/2 hours round trip…) on a weekday to do under the supervision of a PTI.

so, no thanks…

more importantly perhaps, is whats your cunning plan for dealing with the - wild ■■■■ guess - 70%+ of ACO staff who would fail the current RAF fitness test for someone of their age?

what happens if they refuse to take the test and tell you to get lost?

what happens if they fail the test - how many goes do they get and over what time scale? what support will you put in place to allow someone with a 40+ hour a week job, crap diet, two kids, a marriage etc… to eat healthier and do more exercise?

are you really going to kick out the fat bloke who does all the boring paperwork and drives the minibus - for free - when he tells you to poke your running shorts?

theres a Sqn about 40 minutes from me - and incidentally, about 30 minutes fast drive from the next nearest Sqn - where not one member of staff would pass the current fitness test for a 50yo man, let alone for the 30yo’s they are. if by some miracle they managed to get 50% of their staff through the test they’d have 3 members of adult staff, and the Sqn would probably have to fold. what are you going to do?


IMHO, introducing a mandatory fitness test will do nothing of the sort. You don’t encourage behaviour by introducing pass/fail tests. You encourage behaviour by proving their is a benefit to a course of action, and by making that course of action seem attractive.

If HQAC introduced free gym/leisure club membership for CFAV, and perhaps a fitness ‘bounty’ for those who take a voluntary annual test, you would gradually see an increase in fitness levels in CFAV.

Of course, all of the above completely ignores the fact that we don’t need to be fit to fulfil the roles we do, unlike the regular forces.


Chaps. It’s only my personal opinion.

I exercise regularly and too can run 10K in roughly 60mins.

All I’m doing is suggesting that a basic fitness test is done. Even the regulars get 3 attempts at passing it before a fail.

Many officers I know can’t even tie their shoe laces without getting out of breath.

I agree that we all , yes me included, give up our own time to support the Cadet Forces and why would we want to take another day out of our lives to get fit? I chose to do it as I want to stay mobile as long as I can rather than becoming a couch potatoe (I’m 44 btw) at the age of 55. No one I know in the forces likes their fitness test and dreads the day that it comes about but the way they look at it is it may be the man next to you that has to carry you off a mountain if you get injured.

Far too many times have I heard regulars in a mess comment on the appearance of our colleagues of larger stature which their shirts hanging out of their pants. They soon withdraw their comments when I say I’m also part of the ACO and we aren’t all large folk.

Sadly it appears to be a stigma that a lot of CFAV are a little unfit.


Yes, there’s a stigma - I’ve even been guilty of it myself, seeing some 400lb lump of lard whose shirt doesn’t get within a foot of his trousers and thinking ‘christ, what a lazy fat tosser…’

The problem is that trying to ‘solve’ that problem creates many more much more serious problems - cadet units won’t close because regulars think the cadet forces are full of salad dodgers, but cadet units will close when half the staff say ‘sod off…’ when asked/required to either take a test or just get a bit fitter.

You are suggesting making an omelette no one particularly wants by breaking a dozen Fabergé eggs - a plan that has a hugely unattractive cost/benefit ratio.

Do you work at HQAC?


Now that, I like. Even if HQAC were able to negotiate a subsidised gym membership fee, nationwide (and I’m sure they could exercise some ‘MOD muscle’ in this - no pun intended!), it would appear quite attractive to a lot of CFAV’s.

I like the idea of a ‘fitness bounty’ as well. Sadly though, HQAC would no doubt cry poverty if it were ever suggested.


And how does that stop then being effective youth leaders.


No I don’t work at HQAC


It doesn’t, but I have a friend who would love to be able to take cadets on expeditions but by his own admission couldn’t walk the distance.

Being fit will by no means make someone a better CFAV. End of. Those of us who dedicate our spare time to the young individuals of today deserve more than we currently get however, we are part of a ‘military’ uniformed organisation where fitness plays a key role.

I would far from suggest that a full on stage 1 fitness test be implemented as I don’t think it’s something I’d like either.


There is a review on pay in the ACO.

With gym membership with my local authority is £35 this is certainly a barrier considering every RAF station has free gym access


Can I ask where you are located? I’m sure if your parent or local RAF station had a gym and you requested use of it by contacting OC PEd flight, they’d allow you to use it.


My parent Station (Northolt) is 90 miles from me.


Interestingly, my local station has preventing me from renewing my gym membership on the grounds that we are no longer eligible. I am still fighting the case.


If it wasn’t limited to RAF parent units, then it would be far more useful - my nearest Army base is ten minutes from me.


This sort of thing has raised its head every so often in the last few years, since the inception of social media where someone gets their picture stuck all over whichever flavour is chosen without their permission and immediately they will get pilloried. Ironically I have been told if this happens in one of the local schools the one(s) making the comments are excluded for cyber bullying.

As we are all able realise there is a world of difference between the one we inhabit and the RAF/Armed Forces one and it would be nice for those in the other world appreciated it. They should remember that in a few years some of them might be grateful for a lucrative FTRS or similar role in the cadet forces and make too much noise and too many think no thanks could be cutting their noses off to spite their faces. Ironically a number may have also benefited as teenagers from the time and effort the people they seek to deride put into the cadet unit. I recall many large staff from my time as a cadet. I do what I do but fitting in more than one a week is awkward, well it’s not if I didn’t go to the sqn or do things at the weekend.


Why are you no longer eligible?


It’s worth asking the question though


Have a look on the Defense discount services website. There are loads of gym membership discounts including 10-20% discount at fitness first


Not even gym, get yourself a pair of trainers for a one off payment for as little or expensive as you like and you can use that vast area called “outside”.

Fitness is simpler than broscience, protein, gyms and all the other associated modern nonsense.





Too much is made of gyms, at work we get a discounted membership (40%) and people pay it and never use it beyond the 3rd or 4th week of January. Mind you they’re not scared of charging on top of the membership fee.

Frankly running is over rated, go swimming much better for you.