FITNESS ACTIVITY STANDARDIZED TESTING

New Applicant & BIT Student Guidelines

Fitness Activity Standardized Testing

The Fitness Activity Standardized Testing (FAST) Program is a mandatory United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) program to test and assess new Postal Inspector applicants’ and Basic Inspector Training (BIT) students’ level of fitness. The FAST Program aims to determine an individual’s state of readiness to participate in the physical demands of the BIT Program and Postal Inspector position.

  • FAST Program Overview

    The FAST Program provides a measurement of upper-body and lower-body muscular endurance as well as aerobic and anaerobic endurance. It is a performance test that indicates an individual’s ability to perform physically and handle their own body weight. FAST standards for new applicants and BIT students are gender adjusted.

  • FAST Protocol

    FAST consists of three (3) exercise events:

    • 1-minute timed push-ups.
    • 1-minute timed sit-ups.
    • 1.5-mile timed run.

    The FAST exercise events are required to be completed in the order listed above during one (1) testing period. One testing period is defined as the period of time that elapses from start to finish of all three exercise events (i.e., from the first push-up performed until the 1.5-mile run is completed). New applicants and BIT students are allowed a minimum of one minute to a maximum of five minutes of rest between each exercise. FAST scoring and exercise event minimums are mentioned later in this guidance; however, each participant must achieve a minimum score in each individual exercise event and a minimum cumulative score to successfully pass.

    New Applicants
    Applicants in the selection process must successfully pass the FAST to proceed in the hiring process. Applicants will be provided three (3) separate opportunities to pass the FAST. The initial testing will be administered at the Assessment Center. If this initial testing is not passed, arrangements will be made for future testing if necessary. Failure to pass the FAST events will result in a pause of the applicant’s progression, until a testing is successfully completed. If an applicant fails to pass three (3) consecutive FAST attempts, the applicant will be removed from the application process. An applicant removed from the application process for failing to pass the FAST may re-apply for future postings if still otherwise eligible. A passing FAST score is valid for one year from the date of the testing. If for some reason a candidate does not enter a BIT academy class within one year of taking the initial test, they will have to re-take and pass the FAST prior to entering BIT.

    BIT Students
    While attending BIT, students will be administered the FAST periodically throughout the BIT program as follows:

    • Testing 1 will occur between Weeks 1 and 4.
    • Testing 2 will occur between Weeks 5 and 8.
    • Testing 3 will occur between Weeks 9 and 12.
    • Testing 4 will occur between Weeks 13 and 16.

    Students must pass one of the first three FASTs and Testing 4 to successfully complete BIT. Students who fail to pass one of the first three FASTs and/or Testing 4 will be removed from the BIT program. A student removed from the BIT program for failing to pass a FAST may apply for future Postal Inspection Service employment if otherwise eligible.

    Medical Issues
    Applicants who have an illness or injury at the time of their scheduled FAST are to advise testing staff of the situation as soon as practicable. This applicant will not be allowed to take the scheduled FAST. If an applicant cannot take a FAST due to illness or injury, the applicant will be provided an opportunity to take the FAST at a later date. Any applicant who does not disclose an injury or illness, participates in a FAST, and does not achieve a passing score, will not be allowed to claim the preexisting injury affected the applicant’s performance. The failing score will stand.

    If an applicant suffers an injury or illness during a FAST, the applicant must immediately report the injury or illness to the testing staff. The applicant will be allowed to re-take the FAST on a later date.

    Applicants who would like to request a reasonable accommodation for FAST should contact the Postal Inspection Service Applicant Processing Unit via e-mail at PIRecruitment@uspis.gov.
    No medical information should be provided in this initial e-mail. Applicants will be contacted by the Postal Inspection Service Medical Services Department for additional information and requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    A BIT student who has an illness or injury is to advise the training academy staff of the situation. A BIT student will not be allowed to take a scheduled FAST if injured or ill.
    Any BIT student who does not disclose an injury or illness, participates in a FAST, and does not achieve a passing score, will not be allowed to claim the preexisting injury affected the student’s performance. The failing score will stand.

    If a BIT student suffers an injury or illness during a FAST, the student must immediately report the injury or illness to the testing staff.
    A BIT student who cannot take a FAST due to illness or injury, or who suffers an injury or illness during a FAST will be allowed to re-take the test on a later date once medically cleared.

  • FAST Scoring & Standards

    1–Minute Push-ups:
    The 1-minute push-ups are scored on a 100-point scale. (See Attachment 1.) Minimum scoring is as follows:

    • Males must receive a minimum score of 34 points or complete at least 29 push-ups within one minute. (See Attachment 1, yellow highlight under “Push-up (M).”)
    • Females must receive a minimum score of 36 points or complete at least 10 push-ups within one minute. (See Attachment 1, yellow highlight under “Push-up (F).”)

    1–Minute Sit-ups:
    The 1-minute sit-ups are scored on a 100-point scale. (See Attachment 1.) Minimum scoring is as follows:

    • Males must receive a minimum score of 50 points or complete at least 30 sit-ups within one minute. (See Attachment 1, yellow highlight under “Sit-up (M).”)
    • Females must receive a minimum score of 42 points or complete at least 22 sit-ups within one minute (See Attachment 1, yellow highlight under “Sit-up (F).”)

    1.5–Mile Run:
    The 1.5-mile run is scored on a 100-point scale. (See Attachment 1.) Minimum scoring is as follows:

    • Males must receive a minimum score of 34 points or complete the 1.5 mile run in 15 minutes 46 seconds (15:46) or less. (See Attachment 1, yellow highlight under “1.5-Mile run (M).”)
    • Females must receive a minimum score of 39 points or complete the 1.5 mile run in 17 minutes 54 seconds (17:54) or less. (See Attachment 1, yellow highlight under “1.5-Mile run (F).”)

    Combined Score:

      Each exercise must be completed to obtain an overall passing score. (See Attachment 1 for the FAST Ability Group scoring chart.) The minimum Ability Group scoring is as follows:

    • All individuals must obtain a combined score of 140 points or at least score in the Advanced Basic Ability Group. (See Attachment 1, yellow highlight under “Ability Group.”)
    • Note: Meeting the minimum score in each exercise will not reach a combined score of 140, the minimum passing score.

    Ability Group Score Chart PDF

  • Preparing for FAST

    The Postal Inspector position requires a commitment and dedication to physical fitness and physical preparedness. Physical fitness and physical preparedness should not begin when you become a Postal Inspector; it should be a part of a candidate’s daily life.

    To prepare for FAST, USPIS recommends all applicants and BIT students follow a disciplined workout program. USPIS recommends the following types of workouts:

    • Muscular strength and endurance training.
    • Aerobic training.
    • Circuit training.

    Some examples of suggested trainings are provided below:
    Muscular Strength and Endurance Training:
    USPIS recommends incorporating some type of muscular strength and endurance training in a workout program. This type of workout will increase the ability to exert force and combat fatigue. USPIS strongly recommends consistently practicing and performing push-ups, sit-ups, body weight squats, body weight leg lunges, and pull-ups as primary exercises. These exercises will prepare the candidate for the FAST exercise events and will build the core muscle groups needed to successfully pass FAST.

    Aerobic Training:
    USPIS recommends incorporating some type of aerobic training in a workout program. This type of training will increase the cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal system’s ability process and deliver oxygen for needed energy. It is strongly recommended to build up to and maintain sustained running (at least two miles or more) during training sessions. It is also recommended to incorporate sprint running (short distances with maximum effort) into training sessions. These exercises will prepare the candidate for the FAST exercise events and build the cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems needed to successfully pass FAST.

    Circuit Training:
    USPIS recommends incorporating circuit training into a workout program. This type of training will combine muscular strength and endurance training and aerobic training with limited periods of rest in- between. This type of training will increase the ability to perform at maximum levels with limited rest in- between exercises. An example of a circuit style training routine is listed below:

    • Run for two minutes (moderate pace).
    • Maximum number of continuous push-ups.
    • Run for two minutes (moderate pace).
    • Maximum number of continuous pull-ups.
    • Run for two minutes (moderate to fast pace).
    • Maximum number of continuous sit-ups.
    • Run for two minutes (moderate to fast pace).
    • Maximum number of continuous body weight squats or lunges.

    Note: This complete circuit should be repeated three to five times in one workout session with one to two minutes of rest between exercises and three to five minutes of rest between each complete circuit.

  • FAST Testing Events

    Proper Attire
    Participants in FAST tests should wear appropriate athletic attire and running shoes.

    Starting FAST
    The testing staff will read the instructions for all three events prior to the start of the testing and will demonstrate the push-up and sit-up. Please see the examples below:

    1.5 Mile Run:
    Participants will assume a good running position at the starting line. On a high school track, the participants will complete six (6) full laps, ending at the starting position, unless otherwise directed by the CDU FAST Coordinator or designee. If an alternate location or running trail is used, the participants will run 1.5 miles from the start to the finish line. If an alternate location or running trail is used, the CDU FAST Coordinator or designee will show all participants the start and finish lines before the 1.5-mile run begins.

    On the “BEGIN” command, each participant will run 1.5-miles as fast as possible, beginning and ending at the appropriate points. Although the CDU FAST Coordinator and/or designee(s) will be monitoring all participants, each participant will be responsible for keeping track of the laps or distance ran. The CDU FAST Coordinator or designee(s) will make a final determination if a discrepancy arises. If it is determined a participant did not complete the entire 1.5-mile distance, the participant will automatically fail the 1.5-mile event and subsequently fail the FAST.

    Push-Ups:

    Participants will assume the push-up position by placing their hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. The feet may be together or apart, but are fully extended, where the body is seemingly in a straight line from shoulders to ankles (when viewed from the side).

    On the “BEGIN” command, bend the elbows, lowering the entire body towards the ground maintaining a straight line until the chest is approximately three (3) inches from the ground. Then raise the body back to the starting position, with arms fully extended.

    Repeat this movement in a continuous motion until unable to perform another push-up with the proper form. Failure to maintain the proper form (body generally straight with chest lowering down to approximately three (3) inches from the ground, and then full extension of arms back to the starting position) will not count as a full repetition.

    Sit-Ups:

    Participants will assume the sit-up position by lying on their backs and placing their hands across their chest, with their shoulder blades on the ground. The knees are bent with feet on the ground. The feet may be together or shoulder-width apart, but contact with the ground must be maintained. A partner will hold the feet in place during the exercise.

    On the “BEGIN” command, raise the upper body towards the thighs, in a crunching motion. Then lower the upper body back to the starting position. The elbows must touch the upper part of the thighs before lowering the upper body back to the starting position. The arms must stay attached to the chest when raising and lowering the upper body. Shoulder blades must touch the ground when returning to the starting position before beginning the next repetition.

    Repeat this movement in a continuous motion until unable to perform another sit-up with the proper form. Failure to maintain the proper form as mentioned above will not count as a full repetition.

  • Sample Workout Routine

    USPIS is committed to supporting any efforts towards physical wellness and overall wellbeing.

    Avoiding Injuries:
    To avoid injuries, USPIS recommends the following:

      Include Warm-ups and Cool-Downs – Each workout session should begin with a warm- up period of at least 5-10 minutes. This will prime the body for the workout to follow and increase performance while lowering the risk of injury. Each workout session should end with a cool-down period of at least 5-10 minutes. This will allow the body to transition back to a resting state and lower the risk of injury.
      Choose Proper Footwear – It is recommended to choose the proper footwear when engaging in physical activities, especially when running. Every effort should be made to find the proper running shoe fit.
      Don’t Overtrain – Gradually increase the intensity level during training. Too much training in a short period of time or beginning a rigorous workout routine before the body is physically ready can lead to serious injury.
      Use Proper Technique – Bad exercise techniques can lead to injury. Every effort should be made to use the proper technique while exercising. Never sacrifice proper technique for faster times or increases in strength.
      Heat Index Guidance Chart
      Maintain Muscle Balance and Overall Flexibility – Overall health and physical performance will decrease over time if muscles on one side of the body are substantially weaker that the other side. Joint and muscle inflexibility will also compromise overall health and physical performance. Engage in training that will promote muscle balance and overall joint and muscle flexibility. Stretching should be included in every workout.
      Awareness of Overall Workout Conditions – For every workout, be aware of workout conditions, such as location, surface, potential hazards, and weather conditions. Avoid extreme conditions such as training in excessive hot or cold temperatures, harsh running surfaces, and areas with frequent automobile traffic.

    Heat Index Guidance Chart PDF