JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --
Last month I talked about the importance of diet and nutrition when preparing for the Air Force Fitness Assessment. Of course that is only one component of achieving excellence. This month I'll address another important piece of the puzzle - physical activity.
The FA is designed to measure your individual fitness level, but how do you get to that excellent score? Let’s talk about who we are and what works for each of us independently by exploring some views and experiences of Airmen and professionals that have made fitness transformations both in themselves and for others.
Technical Sgt. Baker of the 477th Fighter Group Aircraft Maintenance Squadron set the group run-time record in 2016 with a time of 7 minutes, 39 seconds. I asked him what his tips for training were.
"Make a plan, follow that plan and be flexible with your plan," he said. “I believe the first thing to understand about physical training is that it isn't something that you do just because you have a scheduled fitness assessment test. I believe that is the wrong mentality. Physical fitness should be a part of your daily routine and life."
According to Baker, making a plan for each week, deciding what you want to accomplish ahead of time, being reasonable and starting easy will help you build up your fitness levels and prevent you from burning out. "Next, you have to follow through with that plan. The more consistent you are about following through, the easier it becomes," Baker said. "When you miss a workout don’t try to make it up. Just pick up where you left of and stay focused on the remaining goals for the week.”
That's advice from a fitness buff, but what do the experts have to say?
Nicole Goss is a certified personal trainer for the Elmendorf Fitness Center on JBER, and she suggested getting and keeping motivated are some of the most important aspects of physical training.
“Some things I like to have my clients do is write down SMART goals,” she said.
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
S - Specific, significant, stretching
M - Measurable, motivational
A - Attainable, achievable, acceptable
R - Realistic, relevant, results-oriented
T - Time-based, tangible, trackable
“The list of ways to keep yourself motivated goes on and on," said Goss who points out there is no one-size-fits-all type of fitness plan. "It's ultimately up to you to be proactive and get creative to maintain your own motivation."
The final advice from Goss? Hire a qualified trainer if you're really struggling.
“I love the way Dr. Mike Israetel put it, 'A good coach can support you, help you, and guide you to your goals. A good coach can even give you a kick in the pants or a cheer-up heart-to-heart when you're being sluggish. But a good coach cannot PROVIDE you with your motivation. That part is, and always will be, on YOU,'" she said. "Everyone has different interests, different needs, and different circumstances which ultimately determines the appropriate fitness program for them. Fitness is fitness so find something that you enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with it. Be consistent and stay persistent and the results will come"
Following the lead from Goss, I spoke with a professional trainer for military members, Airman Shannon Darby from the 477th Force Support Squadron, who works as a trainer in the Elmendorf fitness center.
“As far as training, my job is to know how all the equipment works in our facility," said Darby. "I know every major muscle in the body and how to strengthen it, as well as proper form which is an essential part of being safe and getting what you want out of the exercise. I instruct/demonstrate to individuals that come into the fitness center what they are working on, how to work on it and the best way to have the results they want."
For Darby, fitness isn't just her career, it;s a way of life.
“Staying active has helped me in many different ways. I feel better about my physical appearance, my energy and mood is at its best.”
Besides offering personal trainers at the fitness centers, the JBER Health and Wellness Center also offers various fitness education classes including running and speed workshops, push-up and sit-up fit classes and gait analysis.
What route to your fitness goal will you take? No matter which way you decide to go, there are endless opportunities as a military member.
Let’s make this New Year epic with goals of making a better healthier you and helping each other make our resolutions possible.