Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

TFF: A holistic approach to health and performance

Image of Silhouette of man climbing a hill. Air Force Senior Airman Erick Requadt climbs a dirt incline during the 2019 Moody Mud Run in Ray City, Ga. For service members to meet and excel in their performance, it’s important for them to pay attention to all eight life domains, including physical fitness. (Photo by Air Force Airman 1st Class Eugene Oliver.)

What does it take to reach and sustain an optimal level of military fitness, health, and performance?

As with any journey, a roadmap can point out the best path. Total Force Fitness provides the military community with that roadmap to reach their peak performance.

Introduced to the Department of Defense in 2009, Total Force Fitness is a framework that helps warfighters, their family members, and military units reach and sustain optimal, holistic health and performance in a way that aligns with their mission, culture, and identity. By taking a holistic approach to improving warfighter performance, Total Force Fitness also serves as the Military Health System’s connection to first line of effort in the current National Defense Strategy – building a more lethal force.

“The DOD is increasingly recognizing that people represent our greatest asset, and the human weapon system is the priority investment to ensure readiness, said retired Army Col. (Dr.) Francis O’Connor, professor in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University and the medical director of the Consortium for Health and Military Performance. “Total Force Fitness is the framework that links the vision with practical implementation.”

Total Force Fitness suggests you reconsider what it means to be healthy beyond just physical fitness by focusing on your whole self and those life domains that are key to holistic military wellness. Your total fitness includes eight domains: social, physical, environmental, medical and dental preventive care, ideological and spiritual, nutritional, psychological, and financial health.

In any given situation, you may draw on each Total Force Fitness domain to perform well. For example, if you’re getting ready to take your physical fitness and physical readiness tests, the emphasis is on your muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. However, many other things — such as the quality of your sleep, what you’re eating, and reactions to any supplements you might be taking—can impact your performance. Your mental focus, environment, and support system of training partners play a role too.

“Total Force Fitness has become a priority across the DOD because leaders understand the importance of looking at our people as the greatest asset,” said Dr. Patricia Deuster, professor at the Uniformed Services University and executive director of the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP). “That means taking care of them in every domain of TFF – from nutritional and physical fitness to social and spiritual fitness – as they service and sacrifice for our country.”   

Total Force Fitness gets away from a one-size-fits-all model for health and performance. It allows your identity, culture, and mission to shape your quest for total fitness. Everyone’s mission demands, occupational risks, culture, and mission-essential skills are different, so their approaches to sustaining health and performance need to be different.

"For service members to meet and excel in their performance, it’s important for them to pay attention to all eight life domains. Understanding the intersection of the Total Force Fitness domains is crucial to optimizing performance and readiness,” said O’Connor. “For example, it’s possible to assist in the management of depression by leveraging your social relationships, changing your diet, and getting more exercise. In addition, your mental health can boost your cardiovascular health and physical fitness—mental imagery can help.”

The Human Performance Resources by CHAMP (HPRC), at the Uniformed Service University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, is one great resource for TFF information. Its website is there to support your fitness needs, and even boasts an “Ask the Expert” feature if you don’t find answers to your question right away.

As a warfighter, participating in your own total fitness contributes to your readiness and helps achieve Total Force Fitness. You’ll know you’ve reached peak performance when you’re performing at your best and thriving in all aspects of your life. When you have great relationships with the people around you, and you feel happy and fulfilled.

And when you’re physically healthy and fit, you feel a sense of purpose in the things you do, and you’re able to bounce back and grow from the curve balls life throws at you.

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
Dec 12, 2022

Aviation Soldiers Volunteer to Lead Functional Fitness

Military personnel training at a CrossFit gym

It's not uncommon to find soldiers continuously performing their own workout routines while deployed. The U.S. Army's new Army Combat Fitness Test continues to serve as the fitness requirement for all components, and soldiers stationed overseas are doing everything they can to keep physical fitness standards in check across their formations.

Article Around MHS
Oct 26, 2022

Exoskeleton to Enhance Safety, Retention for Aerial Porters, Others

Military personnel pushes exoskeleton robotic fitness machine

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Center for Rapid Innovation, or CRI, held an event Oct. 6 with the U.S. Air Force Reserve Commander’s 445th Airlift Wing for a robotics team to demonstrate the latest Forge System, a pneumatically powered exoskeleton that augments leg strength to reduce fatigue, increase endurance, and offset weight.

Article Around MHS
Oct 6, 2022

Getting Back to the Fight

Military personnel working out

Training for America’s next battles will always involve risk. Creating an environment that simulates the many elements of warfare is an ever-changing obstacle, but the Marine Corps has always adapted to these obstacles.

Article Around MHS
Sep 30, 2022

Army Builds Tool to Save Lives at High Altitude

Military researchers in the mountains of New Mexico

Mountain climbing is risky business. When unacclimatized individuals rapidly ascend to altitudes greater than 8,000 feet, they put themselves at risk for suffering from high-altitude illnesses. The addition of hard physical exercise, typical of a military mission, increases this level of risk. Detecting these illnesses prior to occurrence has the ...

Article Around MHS
Jul 21, 2022

August Performance Triad Month

Color graphic depicting aspects of wellness.

As part of its August “P3 for All” campaign, the U.S. Army Public Health Center is encouraging all Army leaders, soldiers, family members and soldiers for life to embrace the synergy of sleep, activity and nutrition, the core components of the Performance Triad, along with the important elements of mental readiness and spiritual readiness.

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery