The Norwich Corps of Cadets PFT is modeled after the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), since Norwich is an Army-based military school.
“Remedial PT was set up so we could basically slim out the corps and not have overweight upperclassman,” said Chad Jeffers, 21, a senior criminal justice major from Lowell, Mass., who is a regimental physical fitness instructor (PTI). “And so we didn’t have to deal with situations such as junior ring and people scrambling to pass a PT test.”
The cadets in charge of the program wanted to establish a means to enforce the University’s core value of being physically fit from the very beginning of freshmen year, to prepare those future cadets for all of the physical fitness tests they would take at Norwich, according to Jeffers. The program runs Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Daniel Feyler, 21, a senior political science major, from Marshfield, Mass., and fourth battalion PTI, said the program was established to combat what he called a “disgusting” fitness appearance of some on campus.
“We’re a senior military academy and it’s not right that we have people who are un-sat in uniform,” he said. He added that if the cadets “do not have a physical fitness appearance in uniform, it looks bad for our university.”Matthew Coston, 21, a criminal justice major from Boston, Mass., explained that the program was created “basically to provide a set standard for what admission and retention in the corps looks like from a physical side.”
“Every year you’ll get cadets who gripe and moan and complain that there’s no PT standards,” he said, “or they’re tired seeing individuals that are too large in uniform.”
The standards for being put onto the remedial PT program differ for upperclassman and freshmen according to various PTIs.
“Freshmen need to get a 150, upperclassman need a 180 to pass,” said Payton Warner, 19, a sophomore criminal justice major from Harwich, Mass., the assistant fourth battalion PTI.
However, Warner said that both upperclassman and freshmen should be held to the same standards.
The reason behind the different scoring is because “at army basic you can go through the first phase with a 150 PFT but to graduate you need a 180,” Feyler said. “So the standard will change in the coming weeks to 180.”
Feyler and Coston agree that most cadets come back from summer vacation not being able to pass a PFT because of a lack of discipline about staying in shape.
“If you want to go to PT you’re going to go to PT,” Coston said.“If you don’t you’re going to find a way to get out of it.”
Feyler explained that the physical training conducted at remedial PT is focused on the PFT. “It’s mainly push-ups, sit-ups, and run,” Feyler said. “It’s not a full-body workout, it’s to get them passing the PFT.”
According to Coston, remedial PT aims to get freshmen or cadets to pass a PFT by the army standard.
“It varies, usually push-ups, sit-ups, and running, but it’s not just the normal technical training of just the regular push-ups and regular sit-up,” said Luke Davis, 19, a freshmen studies of war and peace major, from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, who is on the remedial PT program. During the hour dedicated to remedial, they do sprints, sit-ups, and, sometimes, yoga stretching to help with flexibility, he explained.
According to Davis, remedial PT seems to be improving his and other individuals’ push-ups, sit-ups, and run time. However, there is some debate among PTIs whether remedial PT will not improve the participants’ overall fitness, just their performance on the PFT.
“Lifting and doing other exercises is going to build up your muscles and muscle memory,” Warner said. “Running a mile or two a day is not going to shorten your time when you’re running two miles for a PT test, you need to be doing other things like sprinting and doing interval training.”
“They need to start (exercising) on their own,” Jeffers said, “If they want to better themselves they need to do that because remedial PT will better your PT score but not a lot.”
According to the PTIs, in order to get off remedial, an individual must pass a PFT after 30 days of the program. The individual may elect to take a PFT 15 days in, with no penalty if the indivdual fails. However, if they pass at the 15-day mark, they are no longer on remedial PT.
If the individual does not pass after the 30 day mark, there may be consequences.
“If you fail that PFT you will then be assessed based on your entire performance while you’ve been in remedial,” Coston said. “Have you been showing up, do you have a poor attitude, are there other DAFs and counseling forms that go with whatever problems you may have besides PT? All of that gets put into a packet.”
That packet gets sent to a commandant and the cadet colonel, according to Feyler. He explains that for freshmen, they can wait until a week before their recognition until a packet is sent in requesting administrative leave. However, not every person who fails the 30 day PFT gets a packet sent in for administrative leave.
“If they show at least a five percent improvement from their first PFT to their next one, then they can stay. But if they’re continuously failing after 30-day increments then I believe they should be separated from the university,” Feyler said.
“They’re trying to get better, they¹re trying to put out,“ Coston said. They’re out there working at it.”
Davis was pleasantly surprised after attending remedial PT for the first few weeks.
“I was expecting remedial to be a punishment for not doing well, but they’ve made it into kind of a reward, they not only encourage but they push you,” he said, ”I feel like everyone’s not only getting the training they need to pass it, but also the motivation to do more after.”
Remedial PT is a program dedicated to enforcing a physical fitness standard by encouraging and motivating individuals while conducting various physical training activities. Such programs exist in military environments in order to hold individuals to a standard.
“You won’t wear ranks in any armed forces if you can’t pass a PFT. We’re training to be officers and leaders, so we should be able to pass a PFT.”