This Merit Badge
is Required to earn the Eagle Scout Rank

Until April 1, 1999, either this Merit Badge
or Swimming MB or Sports MB
was Required to earn the Eagle Scout Rank

REQUIREMENTS were REVISED as of 04/01/99
New text is in bold underlined text like this sentence.
Deleted portions are struck through italic text like this sentence.

NOTE: The changes indicated below were made AFTER the
1999 Requirements Book was issued, and were documented in
BSA Publication 18-083, released in late March, 1999.
They also appear in the 2000 Requirements Book.

A new Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet has been produced
and is now available.

Scouts could continue to earn Personal Fitness
using the old requirements  until April 1, 2000.

They could use the either the existing merit badge pamphlet, or the new one, to fulfill either the old or new requirements.

Click Here for the OLD requirements,
which could be used until April 1, 2000

To see these requirements without the changes highlighted, Click Here

To see the CURRENT requirements, Click Here.

To get a copy of the Personal Health and Medical Record Form,
(the Scout medical examination form mentioned in requirement 1a)
CLICK HERE for the Class 1 & 2 form (34414) ,
or CLICK HERE for the CLASS 3 form (34412) .

To view and print the medical examination forms, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be obtained by clicking on the icon below.

Get Acrobat Reader

If meeting any of the requirements for this merit badge is against the Scout's religious convictions, it does not have to be done if the boy's parents and proper church officials state in writing that:

  1. To do so would be against religious convictions.
  2. The parents accept full responsibility for anything that might happen because of such exemption. They release the Boy Scouts of America from any responsibility.
    1. Before you try to meet any other requirements, have your physician health-care provider give you a physical examination, using thorough health examination. He or she is to use the Scout medical examination form. Describe the examination. Tell what questions you were asked about your health. Tell what health or medical recommendations were your doctor made. Report and report what you have done in response to the recommendations. about them. Explain the following:
      1. Why physical exams are important
      2. Why preventative habits are important in maintaining good health.
      3. Diseases that can be prevented and how.
      4. The seven warning signs of cancer.
      5. The youth risk factors that affect cardiovascular fitness in adulthood.
    2. Have an examination made by your dentist. Get a statement saying that your teeth have been checked and cared for. Tell how to you care for your teeth.
  1. Explain to your merit badge counselor verbally or in writing what personal fitness means to you, including:
    1. Components of personal fitness
    2. Reasons for being fit in all components.
    3. What is means to be mentally healthy
    4. What it means to be physically healthy and fit.
    5. What it means to be socially healthy. Discuss your activity in the eight areas of healthy social fitness. several healthy social traits.
    6. What can you do to prevent social, emotional, or mental problems.
  2. From the PERSONAL FITNESS merit badge pamphlet, answer the questions titled "Evaluating Your Personal Fitness" and list several signs of poor personal fitness. Describe your activity in the eight areas listed.
    With your counselor answer and discuss the following questions:
    1. Are you free from all curable diseases? Are you living in such a way that your risk of preventable diseases is minimized?
    2. Are you immunized and vaccinated according to the advice of your health-care provider family and school physicians?
    3. Do you understand the meaning of a nutritious diet and know why it is important for you? Does your diet include foods from all the food groups?
    4. Is you body weight and composition what you would like them it to be and do you know how to modify them it safely through exercise, diet, and behavior modification?
    5. Do you carry out daily activities without noticeable effort? Do you have extra energy for other activities?
    6. Are you free from habits relating to nutrition and the use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and other practices that could be harmful to your health?
    7. Do you participate in a regular exercise program or recreational activities?
    8. Do you sleep well at night and wake up feeling refreshed and energized for the new day?
    9. Are you actively involved in the religious organization of your choice and do you participate in their youth activities?
    10. Do you spend quality time with your family and friends in social and recreation activities?
    11. Do you support family activities and efforts to maintain a good home life?
  3. 5. Explain the following about physical fitness:
    1. The components of physical fitness
    2. Your weakest and strongest component of physical fitness
    3. The need to have a balance in all four components of personal fitness. How the components of personal fitness relate to the Scout Laws and Scout Oath.
  4. 6. Explain the following about nutrition:
    1. The importance of good nutrition
    2. What good nutrition means to you
    3. How good nutrition is related to the other components of personal fitness
    4. The three components of a sound weight (fat) control program.
  5. 7. From the PERSONAL FITNESS merit badge pamphlet, perform the physical fitness test (chapter 8) with your patrol leader, Scoutmaster, parent, or adviser before doing the next two requirements. Be evaluated above the 50th percentile in the aerobic endurance test, flexibility test, and muscular strength test.
    Before doing requirements 7 and 8, complete the aerobic fitness, flexibility, muscular strength, and body composition tests as  described in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Record your results and identify those areas where you feel you need to improve.

Aerobic Fitness Test

Record your performance on one of the following tests:

  • Run/walk as far as you can in nine minutes
  • Run/walk one mile as fast as you can


There are several tests that can used. They are the 9 or 12 minute run and the 1 or 1+ mile run. In the timed run, the objective is to run as far as you can in the allotted time (9 or 12 minutes). In the distance run, the objective is to run the given distance (1 or 1+ miles) in the shortest time. Walking is permitted but the Scouts should not stop. If they need to stop running, they should walk until they can continue to run.

Flexibility Test

Using a sit-and-reach box constructed according to specifications in this merit badge pamphlet, make four repetitions and record the fourth reach. This last reach must be held for 15 seconds to qualify.

Click here to see how to build a Sit and Reach Box.


By using the sit-and-reach test, boys should remove their shoes and sit down facing the sit-and-reach box with knees fully extended and flat on the floor and feet up against the end of the board. The arm are extended forward with the hands placed on top of each other with palms down. The boy bends at the hips and reaches forward along the measuring scale four times. Record the farthest reach.

Muscular Strength Test

You must use the sit-up test and EITHER the pull-up or push-up test.

  • Sit-ups. Record the number of sit-ups done correctly in 60 seconds. The sit-ups must be done in the form explained and illustrated in this merit badge pamphlet.

Click here to see the illustration from the merit badge pamphlet

  • Pull-ups. Record the total number of pull-ups completed consistent with the procedures presented in this merit badge pamphlet.

Click here to see the illustration from the merit badge pamphlet

  • Push-ups. Record the total number of push-ups completed consistent with the procedures presented in this merit badge pamphlet.

Click here to see the illustration from the merit badge pamphlet


Using timed sit-ups, the boy lies on his back with knees flexed, feet on the floor, and heels 12 to 18 inches from the buttocks. The arms are crossed on the chest with the hands on the opposite shoulders. The feet are held by partners to keep them in touch with the floor. The boy curls to the sitting position until the elbows touch the thighs. Arms must remain on the chest. The number of sit-ups that the boy can correctly do in 60 seconds is the score.

Body Composition Test

Have your parent, counselor, or other adult take and record the following measurements:

  • Circumference of the right upper arm, midway between the shoulder and the elbow, with the arm hanging naturally and not flexed.
  • Shoulders, with arms hanging by placing the tape two inches below the top of the shoulder and around the arms, chest, and back during breath expiration.
  • Chest, by placing the tape under the arms and around the chest and back at the nipple line during breath expiration.
  • Abdomen circumference at navel level (relaxed).
  • Right thigh, midway between the hip and the knee.

If possible, have the same person take the measurements whenever they are recorded.

  1. Outline a comprehensive 12-week physical fitness program using the results of your fitness tests. Be sure your program incorporates the endurance, intensity, and warm-up guidelines discussed in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor and parents.
    8. Outline a 4-week physical fitness program using the results of your physical fitness tests. Use the guidelines in chapter 8 to write your program. Use exercises to develop aerobic endurance, upper body muscular strength, and flexibility of the lower back and legs. Have the program approved by your Scoutmaster or adviser and your parents.
    1. Fulfill requirement 1 for this merit badge
    2. Complete one of the four aerobic endurance tests, the flexibility test, the muscular strength and endurance test, and the body composition measurements.
    3. Fill in your results on the record sheet and chart your percentile ranks for each test (using the norms found in the appendix) on the progress chart.
    4. Determine the types of exercises you want or need to do, the amount of time you have to exercise, and the equipment or facilities that are available for your use.
    5. If muscular strength exercises are to be a part of your program, determine how many push-ups and pull- ups you can do.
    6. Use the guidelines discussed in the text concerning cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and muscular strength and endurance to determine the frequency, intensity, and duration of your exercises.
    7. Write your exercise program out for each day of the week on a sheet of paper. Have it approved by your adviser or Scoutmaster and parents.
    8. Retest yourself after 2 full weeks of exercising. Also retest for the number of pull-ups and push-ups you can do. Record the results of this test on the record sheet and graph the percentile ranks on the progress chart.
    9. Retest yourself after another 2 full weeks of exercising and record your results on the record sheet and progress chart.
  2. Complete the physical fitness program you outlined in requirement 7. Keep a log of your fitness program activity (how long you exercised; how far you ran, swam, or biked; how many exercise repetitions you completed; your exercise heart rate; etc.). Repeat the aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility tests every two weeks and record your results. After the 12th week, repeat all four tests, record your results, and show improvement in each one. Compare and analyze your preprogram and postprogram body composition measurements. Discuss the meaning and benefit of your experience.
    9. Carry out the physical fitness program you write in requirement 8. Keep a log of all your exercises (i.e. How long you exercised; how far you ran, swam, or biked; how many exercises you did; your exercise heart rate; etc.). Test yourself again after two weeks of exercise on the information sheets provided in the PHYSICAL FITNESS merit badge pamphlet. Compare improvements. Describe your experience.
  3. 10. Describe your long-term plans regarding your personal fitness.

BSA Advancement ID#: 10
Pamphlet Revision Date: 1999
Requirements last revised in 1999

Page updated on: November 28, 2017

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