Your Air Force Physical Training test is in exactly two weeks. You’ve been training hard all year and you are ready to pass the test with room to spare. The battle buddy you’ve been training with is taking their test as well, and you have a little friendly competition going. Luckily, there are some little things you can do before a test to help you get that extra pushup or shave a couple seconds off your run.
In the weeks leading up to your test, nutrition is a major factor. Davis-Monthan Health and Wellness Center registered dietician, Cindy Davis, doesn’t recommend a drastic change in diet so close to the test, but small adjustments, such as smaller portion sizes, can make a difference.
“Different things work for different people,” Davis said. “Pay attention to your body and how certain foods make you feel. This will teach you what fuels your body best. And smaller portions will help because you can work harder if your body is not using energy to digest a big meal.”
Fruits and vegetables are an essential way to nourish the body before any physical activity.
“You want to eat the whole fruit and not just drink the juice,” Davis said. “That way you get that fiber content to help regulate the blood sugars, which will allow you to maintain a good energy level during physical activity.”
Nutrition is only one factor when preparing for a PT test. The way you train can also give you that extra boost in the weeks leading up to your test.
For the run, acclimating to the outside climate where you will be running your test helps immensely.
“If you’ve been inside, you should start running outside a few weeks before your test to acclimatize yourself to running in the Arizona heat,” said Guy Leahy, HAWC exercise physiologist. “If you have to take your test outside and you usually train indoors, you are not going to do as well if you don’t get used to the heat.”
Mr. Leahy also suggests knowing your target heart rate.
“Knowing your target rate will let you know the running pace you can sustain for the longest time,” Leahy said. “We see a lot of Airmen who start too fast and stagger home, or take it too easy and have to try and sprint the last couple laps.”
The pushup portion of the test is always stressful because you want to push them out as fast as you can, but you don’t want to sacrifice form for speed.
“Have someone record you while you are doing your pushups,” Leahy said. “This will let you see your pushup from a counters point of view and give you a better idea of your form.”
The morning of the test you may want to skip the yoga stretches.
“There is evidence that static stretching right before your test can be detrimental to your run time,” Lehy said. “Dynamic stretching, like jumping jacks or skipping, is the best way to warm up your muscles before a run.”
Instead of the stretching in the morning, use that time to ingest a cold treat.
“Pre-cooling the body, or dropping the core temperature, can increase endurance,” Leahy said. “You can do this by sticking a Gatorade in the freezer, moving it around until it’s in a slushy consistency, and drink that before the run. You may want to practice this before the actual test because you don’t want to overdo it.”
The HAWC offers many free services to Airmen and their families to help with physical fitness. It is located in Bldg. 2303, next to the Benko Fitness Center, and is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact the HAWC at 228-2294.