Think you have what it takes to join the FBI? There’s an app for that

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Editor's note: CBS4's Zach Myers put himself through the FBI's fitness test, and thus part of this story is written from a first-person account.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- If you think you have what it takes to join the FBI and become a special agent, there’s an app to test you physical fitness level against FBI standards.

The FBI’s Physical Fitness Test app is free to download in the Apple App Store, or on Google Play. It allows you to take the same fitness test required of anybody entering the FBI academy. It’s also the same kind of fitness test FBI agents must pass every year to stay in the bureau. 

Taking the test yourself allows you to score yourself against FBI standards.

“I’ve always viewed the fit test as kind of a check on yourself personally every year,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall. “Where you are from a fitness standpoint.”

I got a taste of the fitness test Tuesday morning at Butler’s Davey Track and Field complex. Special Agent Andrew Evans put me and a few others through a deceptively difficult regimen of fitness events.

How many sit-ups can you do in one minute? A male wanting to join the FBI must do 38. I missed that by two.

Next, how fast can you run a 300 meter sprint? My time of 56.2 seconds seemed okay to me, but it’s not fast enough to join the FBI.

How many push-ups can you do until your muscles fail you? Eighteen seemed low to me, but I was still huffing and puffing from the 300-meter sprint.

Finally, can you run a mile and a half in less than 12 and a half minutes? I could not.

Oh, and did I mention that you only get five minutes to recover between each test exercise? That was the killer for me, and it’s part of the deliberate design of the fitness test.

“You have the sit-ups, and it affects your hip flexers,” said Evans. “And then you turn right around and you have to go run a 300-meter sprint. You get your heart rate up, you haven’t quite recovered from the 300 meter sprint before you have to get down and start doing push-ups.”

As a jogger who has run the Indy Mini for the last 13 consecutive years, I admit I was surprised by how difficult the test proved to be. The short recovery time between different types of exercise was not something I’m used to.

“The totality of those four events together create kind of a hidden fifth event that a lot of people just don’t expect until they’ve gotten to go through it for the first time,” Evans said.

“A lot of people train for it specifically,” Mendenhall said. “Other people just kind of show up and figure it out as they go.”

I was one of the people who just showed up, and it showed in my results. In the end, I did not score high enough to join the FBI.  The test is offered every year, so I guess I have something to train for between now and then.

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