Tips for Taking on the AFM FITTEST Team Challenge

By Leah Fisher Nyfeler – March 1, 2014

Taking on the AFM FITTEST as part of a team is a great way to experience the 12-test challenge.

In the first year, teams consisted of ten people, each of whom completed one of the ten tests; in 2013, we introduced two mystery tests, dropped the members of the team to four, and required each team member to complete three events. This year, we’ve added some spice to the team competition.

Yes, the teams are still comprised of four members, one of whom is the team captain. Yes, each member of the team takes on four events—two of the 12 will, again, be mystery tests, while the rest can be viewed and practiced in advance (visit for helpful videos and additional commentary from AFM FITTEST test designer and international fitness expert Diane Vives).

So what’s new? This year, there are three categories to the AFM FITTEST team competition. When the team captain registers your team, s/he will need to select the appropriate category. This determines what teams your team is competing against.

Open Division—This category is for you if you answer “yes” to the following:

The four people on your team are all more than 19 years of age (gender and specific age doesn’t matter)
Your team members are not affiliated with any specific gym or business
You aren’t related to each other in any way (you could even be complete and total strangers who met that morning)—though if you are, that’s cool, too
You’re not really interested in duking it out with any certain group—you just want to compete

Lionheart Health teams, from left to right:JP MacFarlane, Carey Rouse, James Erwin, Parveen Dsouza, Brandon Cartwright, Nic Avena, Gordon Smith,  Deric Leon Williams, and David De Leon.

Corporate Challenge—Do the following statements fit you?

The four people on your team are all more than 19 years of age (gender and specific age doesn’t matter)
Your team is made up of employees (or family members of employees) who work at the company you are representing (for example: Sally works at National Instruments, Jack is Sally’s husband, Joe is Sally’s son, and Susie is Jack’s niece)
People on your team could be pro athletes, company trainers, or other fitness professionals—as long as they are employees of or related to employees of the company
You want to compete against the other teams in the Corporate Challenge in hopes of earning bragging rights

Gym Challenge—Everyone on your team is sharing a workout room!

The four people on your team are all more than 19 years of age (gender and specific age doesn’t matter)
Your team is made up of employees and members of one specific gym or training facility as well as family members of those employees and members (for example: Sally is a trainer at Pure Austin, Jack works at the coffee bar at Pure Austin, Joe is Sally’s son, and Susie has been a member at Pure for the last six months)
You want to compete against the other teams in the Gym Challenge for company bragging rights
You like that you will specifically compete against other people who may be fitness professionals, such as trainer, coaches, and gym owners

Now that you’ve decided what category your team wishes to compete in, here are some tips and comments from a few of the 2013 AFM FITTEST team captains. Check out for more advice and feedback from team captains.

Kevin Hines
National Instruments

Hines was about to have knee surgery last year when he saw the information about the AFM FITTEST in a copy of Austin Fit Magazine at his doctor’s office. He immediately sent an email to people at work—he got enough response to put together six teams, some of which were out there for fun and some that were out to be competitive. Hines used two methods to determine who did what tests; he utilized benchmark testing and simply asked folks what they felt the most comfortable doing. This year, he hopes to have ten teams from NI at the event.
“The only thing I would do differently is start training earlier, especially if you want to do well. There are great athletes that do this competition, and they are really prepared. The CrossFitters dominated the event last year.

“I am going to make a few changes to make the teams more competitive. While we plan to dominate in the Corporate Challenge, we are also going after two-time champion Dane's Body Shop. They are a great group of athletes.”

When asked what advice he had for team competition newcomers, Hines laughed and responded, “No way. I am keeping all my secrets to myself. Just kidding. Here is my advice: Watch the videos, practice your form, and be prepared to have a great time. That being said, I am headed to the gym and I will see you out there in 2014.”

Deric Leon Williams
Lionheart Health

Williams decided that the AFM FITTEST team competition was the best way to introduce the events to newcomers without the commitment of the individual competition. “I chose strong individuals from my morning camp from one of my corporate contracts,” he said. “These people are engineers and many are managers who spend most of their workday behind a desk.” Even so, Williams is proud to say that “it would be hard to distinguish them from personal trainers out on the field.”   

Like Hines, he let individuals decide on events where they were most comfortable.  “My strategy was to let people focus on their strengths and participate in the events they felt strong in,” he explained. In 2013, they prepared more generally; this year, Williams is tailoring his training, “specifically for events such as the Agility Cone Run and the Interval Run, which was a BEAST!”  

Williams and team will be back year—and many of his team members had so much fun that they’ve decided to take on the individual competition as well.


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