Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Culture of Fitness II: Command PT

I remember being annoyed with this particular idea while on shore duty, but appreciative of two things: that my command built time into the very tight schedule to allow students time to PT, and that physical training resources were available to those who sought them out.

I want to see the statistics on number of workdays lost to athletic activities. I don’t know how well founded in reality my complaint is due to lack of ability to find the data. I personally have injured myself chronically while exercising, and so perhaps I expect that many others have done the same. I hurt myself due to lack of training and overexerting myself. Once I got on a program that a friend who is also a personal trainer helped me develop, I became better able to exercise without exacerbating my injuries. My tendonitis, shin splints and bad ankles will likely stay with me the rest of my life though, and get progressively worse.

My gripe with the Navy’s “Culture of Fitness” is that there is no training for anybody on how to achieve physical fitness or how to avoid injury. Just go do pushups. Go lift wieghts. Go run. Thanks for nothing. I am an advocate of personal responsibility, but one doesn't know what one doesn't know. If Big Navy wants to dictate PT three times a week, Big Navy better be prepared for the consequences of people not knowing what the hell they are doing.

My gripes with Command PT are several:

- Time taken away from work day. Today, we had Command PT. Liberty now expires at 0600 for all hands on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in order to prevent lost work time. So I need to wake up at 0400, and leave my house no later than 0500. I got here today and the gate was still locked. It remained locked until after 0600 and after a couple of guys who were already onboard came down to the gate admonish the 100 or so of us (including the CO, XO and all Department Heads) standing there for not going around to another gate. This, after we had called the quarterdeck and said someone was on their way. In the time it took to get to the other gate and back, the gate should've been open and the majority of us waited.

So we started late, finished on time, but had quarters an hour later as planned. I had to wait half an hour for the shower (one for 25 officers, imagine berthing with 50+ guys sharing 3 showers).

- Personal Responsibility. What is the incentive for people to exercise on their own. I have several people who make a habit of working out in the morning who now have to cut their workout short to get to command PT. Others of us exercise later in the day. Why should I do that now? I've wasted enough time and have too much to do to be a gym rat all day long.

- Idiocy. If you're going to out in public and yell cadences and run in formation, at least you could try to run a huge group PT, you should have some idea what you're doing. I thought we looked ridiculous today. You have to go at a slowish pace so that everyone can keep up, but you call cadence faster than the pace you're going. Your guide goes into the middle of the formation where no one can see him, let alone guide off of him, and the whole crew accordions down the pier while other ships look on. It's embarrassing. Plus nobody sings cadences about the surface Navy. There's a reason for that.

Look, I understand that Command PT can build esprit de corps and camaraderie if done well. I have personally never seen it done well in my entire time in the Navy. Except in ROTC, when the Marines were running it.

Go figure.

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Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin bloody well said...

Anyone ever think about "importing" Marine trainers?


03 May, 2007 09:44  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

We used to have marines on some ships in the past for guarding national assets, but I think they've better things to do than lead sailors on formation runs.

I've also learned that big-deck ships, like carriers and LHAs actually get underway with civilian fitness instructors. I've never been stationed on a bird farm, and hopefully I never will, but I hear there are some nice perks. Us tin-can sailors only hear about these things and shake our heads.

03 May, 2007 10:23  

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