Functional Fitness Incorporated in Navy's New Program

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA — The Navy's new fitness program, scheduled for fleet-wide adoption by this summer, incorporates many functional fitness exercises that can be performed on all of its fleet ships.

The new Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series (NOFFS) includes customized physical training programs tailored to sailors' specific duty roles, as well as a nutritional component.

“We've tailored part of the [NOFFS] program so it could be performed everywhere and on the Navy ships,” says Lisa Sexauer, fitness, sports and deployed forces commander, Navy Installations Command Fleet & Family Readiness. “We're going to implement a Navy-wide fitness program with functional fitness as a focus that works more with gyms and group ex rooms. We see fitness moving to some degree more outside facilities than inside, though we'll certainly provide the kind of equipment where people can challenge themselves effectively.”

The program was designed to increase operational performance through proper exercise, injury prevention and nutrition, Navy officials say.

NOFFS was designed as a series of four separate physical fitness programs that replicate movements sailors use every day and eliminate the guesswork for developing workout routines.

“It combines human performance, injury prevention strategies and proper nutrition that will result in safer training and improve human performance,” Diana Strock, senior advisor for health and fitness, Center for Personal and Professional Development, said in a statement. “Each series of instruction is tailored specifically for duty aboard submarines, surface ships, large decks and for group physical training. NOFFS addresses the two most common detractors that sailors face while exercising during deployments and in group settings: confined spaces and limited equipment. The exercises recommended by NOFFS are designed to duplicate the activities that sailors carry out during their daily routine: lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying.”

Each of the four programs is divided into three levels of difficulty. NOFFS includes training in movement preparation, multidirectional movement training, strength training, cardiovascular training, recovery training and nutritional fueling strategies.

Sailors will be able to use NOFFS laminated exercise cards as guides during physical fitness training. To help Navy personnel correctly perform the 90 exercises identified in NOFFS, officials conducted a photo shoot for the cards last September. The Navy also is developing a video to further explain the exercises.

“The step-by-step instructions for each exercise, along with the demonstration photos, provide sailors with an outstanding resource for maintaining fitness in all environments,” Strock said.

The Navy worked with Athletes' Performance Institute to develop the system and also conducted focus groups with more than 750 sailors. More than 65 fitness, nutrition and operational experts throughout the fleet also reviewed NOFFS and gave their feedback to Navy officials last fall.

Personnel in the Navy's Commander, Naval Installations Command will be trained on the new program first. Then, command fitness leaders and assistant command fitness leaders will be trained to perform the new exercises correctly at their individual commands.

NOFFS will be required by more than 6,000 command fitness leaders and assistant command fitness leaders Navy-wide by the end of 2010.

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