MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Pull-ups, crunches, and a three-mile run. At first glance,, these exercises are just three basic ways to improve fitness. In the Marine Corps, these three exercises make up the physical fitness test, a pivotal measure that determine a Marine's path in their career.
The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit has made it a priority to maintain readiness while, slowly but surely, increasing the unit's operational tempo. Through the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, obstacle courses, and swimming qualifications, the MEU has prepared Marines to succeed in annual physical requirements like the PFT. On March 22, Marines with the 11th MEU participated in a PFT here.
Marines often have different motivations for wanting to earn the highest score possible, Marines like Lance Cpl. Joseph Lowe, a small arms repair technician, is looking to use this PFT to move up in the ranks.
"I know for me this PFT is the difference between me getting promoted and me not getting promoted," said Lowe, a Harrisburg, Pa., native. "Sometimes when I'm running a PFT I use competition as a motivator. Even if it's not for score, I still want to stand out as a Marine.
During the PFT, a Marine's goal is to earn as many points as possible in the three designated exercises. Although the standard to pass the PFT may seem low, Marines strive to achieve the maximum score. The points from a PFT score may be one of the only things separating one Marine from another.
For an event as important as the PFT, proper planning is an essential element for success. Lance Cpl. Alexander Eckley, a supply clerk with the 11th MEU, has his own way of preparing for the PFT.
"The two main things I do is hydrate properly and eat a lot of carbs," said Eckley, a Bakersfield, Calif., native. "A common thing that people do wrong is train as hard as they can and wear their body out. For a PFT you have to kind of find that balance between training hard and training light so that you're gaining something, but at the same time your body can heal."
Future PFTs will be ran until the end of PFT season. After the PFT Marines returned to the plan of the day.