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by Diana Strock, MAT, ATC

As a part of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus introduced the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System (NOFFS) in March 2012 as the U.S. Navy’s SECNAV-directed performance training system. NOFFS has enabled the Navy to provide standardized, evidence-based exercise performance and nutrition information to more than 425,000 Sailors worldwide.

NOFFS employs a new methodology to keep Sailors ashore and afloat in top physical condition. Based on sports science training philosophies that have produced multimillion dollar athletes, NOFFS is designed to improve operational performance, decrease the incidence and severity of musculoskeletal injuries, and provide foundational nutritional guidance for Sailors. This world-class performance training system was developed using the latest sports science methodologies combined with the foundational operational movement patterns of Sailors.

Example of how NOFFS movements prepare Sailors for
SUBFOR operational performance

“Developing a performance training system for the submarine community was our greatest challenge,” said Capt. John Newcomer, Commanding Officer of the Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD). “The confined space and equipment limitations are, by far, the greatest with our Submarine Fleet.”

The Navy’s NOFFS development team includes over 45 human performance, physical fitness, nutrition, and injury prevention experts, as well as Athletes’ Performance—a recognized international leader in the human performance industry. All of the aforementioned experts worked closely with over 750 Sailors from the submarine and surface communities to identify the very specific needs of this population. Sailors aboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Boise (SSN 764) provided specific guidance and recommendations for performance training while underway on a submarine.

“The NOFFS system offers every Sailor, regardless of fitness level, the ability to personalize a training regimen specific to their nutrition, strength, flexibility and cardiovascular training goals,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman (SS/FMF) Eric “Billy” Staley, former staff hospital corpsman for Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic. “As the Sailor’s fitness level increases, the program is easily adapted for continued gains in fitness.” The native of Clayton, Ind., recently transferred to the Gold Crew of the Ohio-class guided- missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) in Kings Bay, Ga. “On board submarines, little space is available for large amounts of fitness equipment,” said Staley. “The NOFFS system’s platform-specific training series allow Sailors to be able to maintain, or improve their fitness level in any operational environment regardless of the amount of fitness equipment that is available.”

Example of how NOFFS movements prepare Sailors for
SUBFOR operational performance

NOFFS was initiated as a response to a demand signal from the fleet to improve the operational performance of Sailors by linking fitness to their daily tasks, with due consideration given to space and equipment limitations. Lifting, pushing, pulling, and carrying require strength training, multidirectional movement training, movement preparation, cardiovascular training, and recovery training.

“There is a consummate paradigm shift in physical development from a traditional fitness model of isolated, single-joint resistance to an archetype in integrated training systems based on movement including: Restoring Movement, Training Movement, Fueling Movement,” said Cmdr. Denise Gechas, director of population health at Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center.

The focus of this system is optimized operational physical performance and fueling (nutrition). NOFFS includes more than 90 exercises that eliminate the guesswork for Sailors when exercising, with an underlying focus on the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. “NOFFS training has been very helpful in keeping Sailors in the mindset of living a healthy lifestyle. Proper mechanics in exercising will prevent injuries that can cause loss of man hours and training, and cost the medical system a lot of money. NOFFS is working well and is being introduced at the right level,” said Master Chief Culinary Specialist Scott Brody of Naval Submarine School, New London, Conn.

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