Which academy has the best overall environment for physical training?

Which academy has the best PT 'environment'


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OiledPancakes

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Dec 8, 2023
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To be more clear: which academy has the best gym? Rec center? Nearby trails to run? Equipment?

I have lifted in the USAFA cadet gym, and it is pretty sweet, so I wanted to know how other academies stack up.

Yes, I understand this is purely an opinion. This is mostly a trivial matter. I am curious about it.
 
I think USMA places the most emphasis on physical mission and pushes its cadets harder. Facilities? Hard to know unless you have visited and worked out in all of them within the same timeframe. USNA, USCGA and USMMA, set by the water, have the least acreage, but there are plenty of places to run outside the gates.

I think this is a great example of USMA's commitment to the physical mission:


You can have aging and well-worn equipment, but it is the culture and the will/skill of the individual to excel that really matters. Just ask Navy SEALs about plyometric exercises. Dozens of google entries.
 
USCGA just opened a new strength and conditioning center a couple years ago. It's not as big as some, but there are only 1100 students at the school so there's room for all. And some teams have additional space as well, like the rowing teams' boathouse where they have their specialized equipment.


 
USMA - Arvin is a world class facility. Hills for days to run. Trails to run and bike off road. Plenty of hiking in the area. And a very infantry, run fast, lift big centric culture at its core
 
Can't sprint up a hill like Stony Lonesome anywhere but West Point.
USAFA has a few hills. That said, both USAFA and USMA have amazing facilities (never been to the others, so I can't comment on them). In the end, it is up to the cadet to use them to their fullest.

I do remember coming home on my first winter break to sea level and I could run forever. Oxygen is the best!
 
How about the facilities? Has anyone been to a few of them and can attest to one being better than another? I am sure all have a great competitive environment, but I am mostly curious about which one has the best facilities.
 
If you’re looking at local area in your definition of “environment”, I don’t think any SA holds a candle to USAFA.
For biking you have the Greenway Trail which goes right by the USAFA. I’m not sure how far it goes, but eventually the plan is for it to stretch from Wyoming to New Mexico.
Of course the Rockies have outstanding camping and hiking. DD spent the COVID semester in Colorado and spent most of the time hiking and camping. She even did the one day Pikes Peak run/hike.
In the winter skiing and snow boarding.

USMA probably has the best fitness culture if that’s what you mean by environment. I don’t think you can go four years at USMA not doing several ruck marches and as far as I know it’s the only SA where doing an obstacle course is a graduation requirement. While USAFA is at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, USMA is built in a fjord so you have a tough time finding flat terrain. On the down side bike riding at USMA is tough. Lee Gate to Thayer Gate is about 3 miles each way and I think many bikers just do that loop. The more adventurous leave post, but most of the roads off post are not bike friendly.
But if you are into fitness you won’t be out of place at any of the SAs as they all emphasize fitness to some extent.
 
If you’re looking at local area in your definition of “environment”, I don’t think any SA holds a candle to USAFA.
For biking you have the Greenway Trail which goes right by the USAFA. I’m not sure how far it goes, but eventually the plan is for it to stretch from Wyoming to New Mexico.
Of course the Rockies have outstanding camping and hiking. DD spent the COVID semester in Colorado and spent most of the time hiking and camping. She even did the one day Pikes Peak run/hike.
In the winter skiing and snow boarding.
Don't forget this:


I can't imagine a better "environment" than Colorado Springs. DS is stationed at Ft. Carson. When not deployed, he does the incline every Saturday morning.
 
If you’re looking at local area in your definition of “environment”, I don’t think any SA holds a candle to USAFA.
For biking you have the Greenway Trail which goes right by the USAFA. I’m not sure how far it goes, but eventually the plan is for it to stretch from Wyoming to New Mexico.
Of course the Rockies have outstanding camping and hiking. DD spent the COVID semester in Colorado and spent most of the time hiking and camping. She even did the one day Pikes Peak run/hike.
In the winter skiing and snow boarding.

USMA probably has the best fitness culture if that’s what you mean by environment. I don’t think you can go four years at USMA not doing several ruck marches and as far as I know it’s the only SA where doing an obstacle course is a graduation requirement. While USAFA is at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, USMA is built in a fjord so you have a tough time finding flat terrain. On the down side bike riding at USMA is tough. Lee Gate to Thayer Gate is about 3 miles each way and I think many bikers just do that loop. The more adventurous leave post, but most of the roads off post are not bike friendly.
But if you are into fitness you won’t be out of place at any of the SAs as they all emphasize fitness to some extent.
CO is an outdoorsman dream! My cadet already has 9 days on the slopes this year and has found out he actually likes hiking and camping (he endured years of Boys Scouts in TX). I do love hiking around USMA too...it is beautiful (and easier to breathe). We aren't cyclists, but what you said totally makes sense.
 
and as far as I know it’s the only SA where doing an obstacle course is a graduation requirement.
Ask your sibling (?) who went to USNA about that one. During my stay at USNA, the Obstacle Course was a MANDATORY test
every semester. It was CONVIENIENTLY located on Hospital point so that the people with ruined knees or other injuries were closer
to the ER and then could watch the next potential victims (hospital roommates) from the windows of their hospital room.

NOTE: Also conveniently close to the USNA cemetery although I know of no admissions to THAT facility from the O' Course.
 
I think a lot of it is Company / Squadron / Cadet / Mid dependent. If you’re a cyclist or mountain biker, USAFA would be near ideal with miles of trails, roads, and hills without the need to even leave USAFA grounds. Plus you have the Manitou Incline and Pikes Peak to challenge you.

West Point and surrounding area also has excellent riding. USNA you have to travel a bit out of town to get good riding roads.

DD loves running around Annapolis and the Yard. Wes Brown indoor track at USNA is amazing with the banked turns and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Severn.

DD loves to run, but there’s not much of a running culture in her company. She’s finally found a group of 2 or 3 other like minded Plebes who like to run as well and they have a good time working out together.

All three places have excellent, government approved physical fitness facilities. The key is finding what you like to do and getting with a group of like minded folks and making the most of it.
 
Ask your sibling (?) who went to USNA about that one. During my stay at USNA, the Obstacle Course was a MANDATORY test
every semester. It was CONVIENIENTLY located on Hospital point so that the people with ruined knees or other injuries were closer
to the ER and then could watch the next potential victims (hospital roommates) from the windows of their hospital room.

NOTE: Also conveniently close to the USNA cemetery although I know of no admissions to THAT facility from the O' Course.
My ‘78 brother claims that in his day of “iron men and wooden ships” he had to take it twice a year.
Of course this is the guy who was your typical P-3 bubba and didn’t have to throw courses on purpose to avoid the gaze of Rickover. So knowing him he found a way to sham out of it.
Sadly, my ‘83 brother isn’t around to ask, but I’ll add that to the list of things I want to ask him on the other side.
 
The obstacle course on HP is gone. There is a USMC obstacle course across the River that plebes run during PS and sea trials. The typical non-USMC motivated mid is not required to run it again after plebe year.
 
If trying to decide which SA to attend and assuming you got an appointment to all of them, the decision should be more about your career interests. Where you go for 4 years is only the start of your time as an officer in the military. Since this is the WP forum, I would imagine most responding to your survey are associated with WP.
 
The obstacle course on HP is gone. There is a USMC obstacle course across the River that plebes run during PS and sea trials. The typical non-USMC motivated mid is not required to run it again after plebe year.
Yes, its been gone for over 20 yrs now. I for one do not mourn its passing.

Fun fact: At the time that I graduated, the course records, both male and female were intercollegiate sailing team members.
 
I did a semester exchange at USMA and I liked Arvin but still I thought it wasn't as good as USAFA's CFC. Arvin does have more racks but they had multiple smaller gyms while the CFC is one huge gym which I preferred. For running I also preferred USAFA since our base is huge and therefore has various routes/trails to run. USMA wasn't necessarily bad for running but there were limited routes and were shorter. USAFA being at 7258ft also makes running harder but better in terms of cardio improvement.
 
I’ve heard good things about USMA’s facilities, the votes might be slightly skewed since you posted this on the USMA thread though. In reality you’ll be fine regardless, the gym culture at USAFA is alive and well. The training you’ll do freshman year will be an added level of physicality you can look forward to, at 7,258 ft above sea level… far far above that of West Point and Annapolis.
 
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