The Army has approved a new physical fitness test and Capt. Collin Richards, the battery commander for Alpha Battery, 3d Battalion, 43d Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, earned the maximum score of 600 points on his Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) March 12, 2020.He deadlift 340 pounds, threw a 10 pound ball up and backwards a maximum distance of 13.6, completed 60 hand release push-ups, completed the sprint-drag-carry event in 1:24, completed 20 leg tucks and completed the two-mile run in 13:30.The Army vision is to recruit and retain high quality, physically fit, mentally tough Soldiers who can deploy, fight and win the nation’s wars.“Physical Fitness is critical to me and my lifestyle not only because the Army requires me to be spiritually, mentally and physically fit, but also because I truly enjoy watching how positive fitness habits affect people’s lives,” said Richards. “I love hearing the stories of people reaching their goals and becoming healthier individuals overall in all facets of their life.”Soldiers are challenged to reflect physical requirements needed for combat including muscular strength, muscular endurance, power, speed, aerobic endurance and agility.“Maxing out is simple to me in any physical event,” Richards added. “‘Why settle?’ Is the question I ask myself before anything physical. In my mind, the goal is physical dominance and to continue to challenge myself.”Richards’s motto is, “If you look good, feel good, then you will perform well,” and physical fitness has played directly into his roles and responsibilities as a leader and as an officer in the Army ever since he joined back in March 2009.“Somebody is watching and may need to see my level of motivation in order to believe in themselves,” Richards continued. “As a leader, no matter your age, it's important to give 100% effort even if it doesn't yield the results you expect.”For Soldiers who find the test difficult to accomplish, Richards is currently putting together a physical fitness plan for Soldiers to train for the test and he will share his strategy throughout the brigades.“Soldiers struggling with the ACFT should get back to the basics,” Richards noted. “Find a gym and start focusing on strength and mobility. There are quite a few programs that train you for overall strength and mobility.”The ACFT is expected to enhance readiness through better physical fitness training while working on their balance, flexibility, coordination and reaction time.“Stop training for the test and start training for your health and the gains will come,” said Richards. “Watch what you eat and really be disciplined about it. Ask yourself before you get the burger, fries or cheat meal, “Did I really earn this?”The ACFT is designed to supersede the current Army Physical Fitness Test which originated in 1980, with a gender and age-neutral assessment based on the physical demands of combat.“This test really is a solid measure of overall fitness not predicated to any person’s stronger ability,” said Richards. “If you're a runner it will test your strength and muscular endurance. If you're a lifter, then your ability to be mobile and have higher levels of cardiovascular endurance will be tested. If you're a former collegiate athlete or semi-pro athlete, it will feel familiar as it did for me. At the end of the day, I still have to find balance in my training.”The test will improve Soldier’s physical readiness, change the Army fitness culture and enhance mental toughness and stamina.“Give this test all you have each time, and you will reap the benefits,” Richards concluded. “Just stay war-ready!”