Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Are You Fit? As An F.B.I. Special Agent? Part 1

As "fitness standards" go, only a few of them are first-class citizens. Some are too easy to reach, or have been diluted to pass as many people as possible. Others pose a legitimate challenge, such as the standards for an F.B.I. Special Agent, which are freely available for your perusal. I found them recently during a random search, and took an interest.

Why do I like these? Because they are an adequate reflection of speed, power, and endurance. All three. You're required to complete a certain number of pushups, as well as sprint (after those perps down a dark alley in Amsterdam…) 300 meters, up to certain parameters. The situps, meh…but the rest of the standard is legit; a 1.5 mile run within a certain time. That's six times around a track.

I've seen "fitness standards" that involved touching your toes, walking a mile, and other things that humans should be able to do by default. Others put too much weight on being able to run a great 5k, say, at the sacrifice of strength, power, and solid lean mass.

The F.B.I. standards are actually somewhat difficult to achieve, and once you get close, you can make the legitimate claim that you have fairly bonafide, comprehensive fitness.

Another tough element is that you have to score at least one point in each of the four categories, and total 12 points, to pass. You can't knock the pushups out of the park, but fudge the others. You have to be kind of good in all of the categories, and thus reach an all-around level of fitness.

I'm well aware that in the real world, the agents probably think of these standards as a pain, and as far less meaningful attributes next to street savvy and pistol training.

But someone who can run fast in a sprint, not just jog along slow forever; as well as move over the landscape with strength, power, and flexibility (climbing, upper-body strength) is able to cope better with the physical demands of life, rather than shrink from them and sit all day. They may even be able to better extricate themselves from a tough situation. You never know…

The protocols for situps, pushups, 300-meter run, and mile-and-a-half run, are here. So have at it–I am!  Aren't these the goals we are supposed to be setting on New Year's?

Part 2 of this article will show you how to work up to meet this kind of a standard.