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- 15-05-12, 23:17 #1
Fitness then and now
I've been musing over recent stuff about relative fitness of matelots past and present and sense a bit of a paradox.
I am amongst the many oldies that mock the apparent inability of young men and women to run a mile and a half in less than a forenoon, but on reflection there seems to be something wrong with my musings.
I was certainly not a super-fit shining example of Britain's youth when I joined in '77, but had little problems with the fitness regime at Raleigh when I joined - I don't know how it compares to the current one, though I can't remember much being measured as it is now. We just did whatever the (then masculine, tattooed and well hard) club-swingers told us to until we threw up or whatever. My first draft was Yeovilton where my killick taught me to drink about four pints most lunchtimes, and on Saturdays go to the Albion and drink into oblivion before returning to the base and have an incredibly dangerous game of 17 a-side in the gym with everyone completely bollocksed (sp?). By 22ish I prided myself on being able to drink industrial amounts of alcohol - a pride shared by many of my colleagues. Fortunately for me I pulled out of it, and from killick's leadership course onwards my liver, lungs and kidneys returned to only severly damaged, and I distance ran, played football and did other splendid healthy stuff.
Now there is a far more organised and measured fitness programme and the (scrawny, effete and hair-gelled) club-swingers note everything down on a blue clipboard. However, I get the impression that many of those joining now are, as I mentioned above, unable to run at anything faster than an asthmatic snail's pace, yet soon after they join the fleet many matelots are now as fit and healthy as one should expect from a military organisation.
This isn't a fight provoker (sorry), and I can envisage theories such as cold war v real war, general (civvy) culture, more 'moral fibre' in us unhealthy but determined coffin dodgers and/or an improvement in attitudes within the forces, but be interested to read the views and insults of others.
Would say more but need another bottle of rum before bed as I'm up at six for ten smokes and a 'real' field-gun run.
(Not checked for good English as it's not an exam so why should I bovver? I mean I can speel things right but why should I eh?)Wit lent from heaven but vices sent from hell
16-05-12, 07:30 #2
I see where you're coming from Guzzler. My view is that the whole ethos has changed - I sometimes wish I was in the RN of old where you worked in the morning, went to the Mess at lunchtime and sank a few then spent the afternoon either doing nothing or a bit of phys. I suppose the reality is that society has changed - drinking at lunchtime is frowned upon and the health & safety culture has meant that every activity has to be risk assessed, hence the possibly slightly tamer PT sessions.
At the same time, the RN of old was not a healthy thing. There were plenty of fat knacker CPOs and Lt Cdrs kicking around who would have had bother getting through a kidney hatch if anything ever did kick off. Sure they were good at their job and could drink anyone under the table, but were they the image of a fighting force? I think today's RN is fitter and more task-focussed and probably a hell of a lot more productive. RNFT standards arn't terribly difficult, but the RNFT has helped get rid of a load of people who weren't fit for much.Opinions stated are those of a Service Medical Officer acting in good faith and a personal capacity.
Opinions stated are not necessarily those of the Royal Navy or HM Government.
16-05-12, 07:52 #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
- Sunny, southern Spain
This is an interesting one. I too do not recall Raleigh as being physically hard, though I was an outdoor type lad and also played rugby. I do remember when they introduced the Fitness Test first time round that there were folk dropping like flies and one poor chap actually died.
I also recall my first boat chief being told he was overweight and called back aft to get weighed - he was to diet and be weighed again in a fortnight to monitor his progress. When he returned to the Cab Space he said he'd piss it.......... as he removed copious heavy items from all his pockets! His 'weight loss' was praised and he was not bothered any more!
Submariners seldom cheat, and NEVER lie!
Why is it acceptable to cry at a wedding but not to laugh at a funeral?
Age and treachery will always overcome youth and fitness!
16-05-12, 07:58 #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
The main difference is lifestyle before joining. I joined in 1960, limited TV (not everyone had one and it didn't get broadcast 24/7. No computers on Playstations etc.
Most joined the RN straight from school where it was PT for everyone. Kids were out and about most of the time rather than sat in the house. Most lads had part time jobs whilst still at school and age restrictions weren't really bothered with.
I spent the majority of my 12 years service in Boats, we drank and played hard whilst ashore, but for anyone to drink to excess at sea was rare in the extreme. I'm talking about the regulation two cans of beer.
I frequently read on this forum about drunkeness at sea, I can only say that I very rarely saw it in Boats, perhaps it was a general service problem. The problem drinkers that I came across in Gens. were in the main time serving Senior Rates.
16-05-12, 08:21 #5
Echoing previous statements I can't remember anyone being taken to school by car which seems to be the norm these days, we all walked or cycled in. I never had too much of a problem with the phys at Ganges however on my first ship there were the hard core 3 badge AB's who were good for fuck all most afternoons and many SR's never appeared in the afternoon either. I recall one CPO who couldn't get down kidney hatches and was allowed to wear slippers or sandals as his gout meant he couldn't wear bats.Sh1t shot, pumping slop.
16-05-12, 11:21 #6
I wasn't particularly fit when I joined Raleigh in '71 but was a lot fitter when I left having marched/doubled/run everywhere! But having said that I didn't find the phys particularly difficult or arduous!
I also didn't find a great amount of drunkeness at sea with very little drinking done away from the wall ... but yes once alongside everyone played reasonably hard. There are obviously exceptions to the rule and there were a couple of Chiefs who still lived in the age of sail and had a tot whatever and yes there was an alchoholics or two turn up now and again but it didn't appear to be the norm.
Shoreside there were a couple of SR's who liked to go to the mess for a few sherbets lunchtime who hopefully retired to their cabin to sleep it off but occasionally came back to the dept and gave us a beasting ... you learnt to keep your head down and not attract attention!
As for being fit ... plenty of "Old Salts" down the Falklands who in todays modern Navy would probably have been discharged medically unfit, but they worked as hard and as long as the next guy and fought the ship effectively. So really I don't know if the Navy of today does need to be so fit as the rules appear to demand ... certainly systems were more muscle powered then rather than automated or mechanical so less effort required by the operator now than in my Navy ...
But I could be wrong ... thats just how it appears to me after reading the posts on BFT's etc.Smother me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians!
16-05-12, 11:58 #7
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
I suspect that modern diet makes for chubbier recruits now.
Also I suspect that most recruits will now worked or been to college / uni or both before joining. As most courses and jobs are now sedentiary they will be out of shape by their early twenties.
I am a case in point worked on a local farm when at school, cycled everywhere and spent my spare time hillwalking, fishing and playing football. There was a lot of drinking as well but all that activity more than compensated. fast forward ten years and univeristy in the city followed by a desk job and I was one fat knacker.
When I decided that I wanted to join the RNR it was more than a year of effort on fitness and eating to get into a position where I thought that I would pass the RNFT and mdeical.
A lot of the helpful comments on here and Arrse for new recruits who are struggling with their fitness are often not particularly useful, as if you went in straight from school you will most likely never have gone through the challenge of regaining your fitness after having lost it. Going from fit to fitter is much easier than going from unfit to fit.
With hindsight the trick is never to have lost it in the first place.My parents told me I could be anything that I wanted to be, so I became an arsehole.
16-05-12, 12:00 #8
Maybe it's because we don't tend to have a lot of manual work nowadays that has reduced "natural" fitness so it's had to be made compulsory. Even storing ship is done with conveyor belt machines these days although it still gets humped about once struck below (standfast boats where it's still done manually AFAIK)Sh1t shot, pumping slop.
16-05-12, 12:15 #9
16-05-12, 12:47 #10
I'd had one civy job after leaving school involving hard work loading and unloading trucks before joining up in the 1950s. I'd walked or cycled or ran to and from school and work. I was a junior cross country champion at county level, a keen road runner, member of Ross On Wye A.C. I did not have to pass a fitness test back then and had no trouble with P.T.took everything the club swingers could throw at me. After training I pissed up and bagged off at every chance but still gave my oppos the shits by rising before call the hands to run from The Hard to Eastney and back. No designer trainers just pumps and tennis shoes. In later drafts I was appalled by the state of some obese senior rates. Its a whole new ball game today I know nothing of the ratings of this time, but feel that fitness tests are a good thing and were long overdue.This was all fields when i were a lad! Fcuk em all bar one and bollocks to him.I am a 73 year old. Teddy Boy and.Rock N Roll will never die, so there! NOW ELEVATED TO THE STATUS OF THE R.R. OFFICAL BIG SCREAMING O.D". ORDAINED BY RUMRAT.MY LIFE HAS NOT BEEN WASTED AFTER ALL ! P.S. A STROPPY NO BADGE FCUK ALL WITH NO MEDALS, BRING 'EM ON AND LETS SEE WHAT THEY'VE GOT MY QUALIFICATIONS ;- LONG HAIR, TATTOOS AND EAR RING AND ;- ALF TUPPER AND WILSON ARE REAL O.K>!!!!