Skip to main content

Military Health System

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.)

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness

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...

What should I eat after a workout?

Video
6/22/2022
What should I eat after a workout?

Ever wonder how to fuel up post-workout to maximize recovery and support your fitness? Check out these tips from the Human Performance Resources by CHAMP, part of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences to enhance your performance! #PerformanceNutrition #FueltoFight #USU #HPRC”

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind | Nutritional Fitness | Physical Fitness

Heart Health Month 2022

Video
2/11/2022
Heart Health Month 2022

Love letter from your heart. Happy Heart Health Month!

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit

Quality of Life

Video
1/5/2022
Quality of Life

Nearly half of people making resolutions for the new year are resolving to lose weight. While there are several long-term benefits to losing weight - avoiding or managing other chronic health conditions among them - losing just a little bit of weight right now can have immediate effects on your quality of life. From less joint pain to more energy to better sleep, you can start seeing and feeling the benefits of healthy weight loss nearly right away. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Safe and Effective Weight Loss

Video
1/5/2022
Safe and Effective Weight Loss

If you're resolving to lose weight in 2022, make sure to do it safely by avoiding crash and yo-yo diets. Talk to your doctor to make a plan for the safest and most effective way for you to manage a healthy weight in 2022. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement for even more tips.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Nutritional Fitness | Physical Fitness

Total Force Fitness Reintroduction

Video
2/17/2021
Total Force Fitness Reintroduction

The Military Health System is reintroducing Total Force Fitness. The Total Force Fitness concept focuses on a service member’s entire health throughout their career, connecting eight dimensions of fitness to optimize health, performance, and readiness holistically.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Environmental Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Spiritual Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Social Fitness | Financial Fitness | Mobile Apps

Sleep and TBI

Video
2/8/2021
Sleep and TBI

Sleep disturbances are common for service members and veterans following a mild TBI, also known as concussion.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Total Force Fitness
Showing results 1 - 6 Page 1 of 1
Refine your search
Last Updated: January 29, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery