On track: push yourself to meet fitness standards

DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga., -- Wheezing, sputtering, stinging and sweating like a champ... Am I dying? My brain couldn't compute the fact that what I thought to be a decent workout regiment in the gym wasn't translating out here on the track. I consoled myself with the fact that at least I hadn't had a cigarette in a year and this final lap would have been a heck of a lot harder if that wasn't the case. 

Trust me friends when I tell you that this running thing is no joke and if you're a slacker and think you're working out hard enough, you're not. And, if you're thinking about putting off getting in shape...don't. As Robin Williams once said in a movie that had absolutely nothing to do with running, "Carpe diem, seize the day!" 

The Air Force fitness standards aren't new. They have been around for awhile now. The mile and a half run, the push-ups, the sit-ups and the dreaded waist measurement should be familiar to anyone who has worn a blue uniform in the past couple of years. Switching from the old "bike test" to the more staunch and demanding "Fit to Fight" program was more than a Pentagon-level competition with the other services, it's about fostering a warrior ethos in Airmen of all ranks and specialty codes. 

These continued requirements should be a priority to all of us, especially since there will now be space for the results on the new, forthcoming Enlisted and Officer Performance Reports. The space won't just be there for looks either... continued failure could send an evaluation to a commander for referral. As the fitness program grows and permeates our Air Force culture, its standard will and should be taken more and more seriously by everyone. 

Those of us in the military are used to being held to a standard. Just like wearing a pressed uniform is expected, we should look at staying fit as another requirement of being servicemembers. Am I Adonis? No. Do you need to be Carl Lewis? No, you don't. You just need to get in shape enough to pass the test. If you don't, the commanders looking at promotion packages will say. "Great troop, sharp person, respectful. ...Too bad they failed the fit test." 

I went to the gym regularly and still had a hard time on the track come test time. I wasn't pushing myself enough. I stayed in my "comfort zone." Also, remember that the waist measurement counts for a large portion of your combined score, so limit your cannoli intake. 

If you scored marginal or below on your last fit test and need help getting started in a program, call 678-655-4872 for a personalized workout from Services health professionals. 

Here are a few tips from around the fitness world: 
· Start slow, but don't stay there. You can't run marathons the first day, but you can work your way up. 
· Set a goal. Push yourself little by little until you achieve that goal, and then keep pushing. Don't get discouraged. Change will come with patience and consistency. 
· Take care of your body. Eat breakfast, drink plenty of fluids, make sure you stretch, warm up and cool down during exercise periods. 
· Vary how and where you work out. When boredom sets in, it becomes harder than normal to get motivated.