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Getting Fit

As an Army Officer you will be expected to lead from the font, and to do this you must physically fit enough to get to the front. You would be shocked by the number of Potential Officer candidates who rock up at the Army Officer Selection Board who have made next to no effort to physically prepare themselves. Having previously been involved in selecting and assessing Army Officer candidates I was frequently shocked and occasionally appalled by the level of fitness of some of the individuals who fancied their chances as Army Officers. You cannot bluff this one - failure to prepare is most certainly preparing to fail.

You will no doubt be aware that during the selection process you will be required to undergo various fitness assessments  to confirm that you  are at the basic minimum standard required. I am not suggesting for a second that you will be expected to be a superhero when you go to the AOSB, but to give yourself the best possible chance of achieving success you must ensure that you have made an effort to prepare.

But who am I to talk about fitness? After completing the Sandhurst Commissioning Course I went on to pass the All Arms Parachute Selection Course, more commonly known as P-Company, an arduous physical selection course that you must complete to earn the coveted maroon beret.  After months of training, dragging myself to hell and back, I successfully completed the course, and went on to serve with Airborne Forces in 16 Air Assault Brigade.

But enough of me -  this is about you. This section will provide you with guidance, advice and resources based on my experience, to enable you to develop your fitness and pass AOSB - first time.

Developing your fitness

There is no great science to developing your fitness, it simply requires you to have the will, determination, time and effort. The fact that you are reading this has already proven that you have the will. You must however be determined enough to get fit to take positive action - to get out of the house and go for a run come wind, rain, or snow and consider your diet and what you shove down your throat. You will also have to find the time to train, which can sometimes be a struggle to balance with work commitments or university studies. If you are serious about wanting to sail through AOSB on your first attempt and secure your place at Sandhurst it is essential that you make time to train. Finally, once you have gone to the effort of doing all this, for best results you must ensure that you squeeze as much value out of your training sessions as you can and make the effort to push yourself - this is the only way you will improve.

The first thing you need to do is come up with a training programme. A comprehensive training programme will enable you to structure the development in your fitness in a progressive and structured manner. It will dictate exactly what activities you need to do each day to develop your fitness to reach a specified goal. To get an idea of the level of fitness that you need to be at you should refer to the section on Fitness Tests which explains all the fitness assessments you will have to complete during AOSB.

You will be able to find plenty of free fitness training programmes on the Internet but having used a few of these myself, it is best to have a specific program that is specifically adapted to preparing you for the physical exercises and activities you will be assessed on during AOSB. The Official British Army Fitness Guide provides all the guidance you need to physically prepare yourself for Army selection. It has been put together with input from Army Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) and is recognised as being one of the best training guides available (read the reviews on Amazon). It provides straight forward advice to get you started immediately together with recommended training programmes together with sensible nutrition and recovery advice.

With this guide you do not need to waste your money signing up to a gym. All of the training you need to do can be achieved using the resources that you already have access to. What I find most useful in this guide is the advice that it provides about injury avoidance. Injury is one of the most common reason for candidates either failing to complete or being back-termed at Sandhurst. The Official British Army Fitness Guide is currently on sale at Amazon, click here to find out more.

Get More from Training


A key piece of equipment you will need before you can even think about training is a good pair of running shoes. This is probably one of the most important items that you will buy to assist with your fitness programme. During my time in Army Officer Recruiting I was shocked by the number of Potential Officers who turned up for a fitness test wearing completely inappropriate trainers such as plimsolls or skater loafers. There is absolutely no way on earth that you are going to be able to demonstrate your physical fitness is you don't have the right training shoes.

You do not have to spend loads of money to get a good pair of running shoes - remember you want functionality not fashion. If you are buying trainers that you will be taking with you to Sandhurst you will want to go for something robust, lightweight and supportive (you will be doing a lot of cross country running in wet and muddy conditions).

In my experience the best brands of running trainer are Asics and New Balance. In general I find that these brands produce far better trainers which are designed for functionality and purpose. It is not surprising that the majority of Army Officers use these brands of trainer - if you mean business these are the brands I would stick to.

If you know your shoe size the cheapest way to get some quality trainers is at a website called SportShoes.com. I always find that high street shops tend to focus more on fashion trainers but to get through Officer Selection and Sandhurst you need trainers that are going to look after your feet and do the job. SportShoes.com have a huge selection of Asics at much lower prices that your going to find anywhere else. They also do free delivery which is a bonus. You can click on the link below to visit the site.