Physical fitness has become a huge part of the Air Force way of life. The Air Force has taken it so seriously that four failed fitness assessments in a 24-month period will force the commander to recommend discharge or retention of an Airman.
It has become increasingly difficult to retain an Airman who continues to fail to meet standards. As long as the Air Force has been pushing fitness as a common standard, Airmen still don’t seem to realize the impact it has on their lives and careers.
From a first sergeant’s perspective it appears that many Airmen only train just prior to their fitness assessment or just try to “gut out” the fitness assessment once or twice a year depending on their previous score. Airmen always have excuses as to why they don’t work out consistently to stay fit, but the truth is, if someone wants something bad enough, they will figure out a way to make it happen. We understand that some Airmen have medical problems that prevent them from doing certain exercises; however, there are a variety of exercises and programs available so there is really no excuse for not doing something to keep in shape.
Another huge factor to take into consideration is diet and hydration. If Airmen are not sure how to eat properly, the Air Force has individuals who can provide assistance. The Air Force has nutritionists who teach people how to shop and prepare meals to remain healthy. Instead of drinking coffee, sodas and energy drinks that contain caffeine, which dehydrate, substitute them with water to rehydrate and assist in keeping joints operating smoothly.
Fitness is also about a mental aspect. Working out can help clear the mind of the frustration Airmen deal with daily. Airmen should focus on the exercises and get everything out of it they can rather than staying distracted by what they have gone through or what they think they will go through.
Set goals high, shooting for the minimum is an overall failure. Setting and going for the maximum provides a better mind set and urges Airmen to exceed the minimum standard which is what the Air Force is looking for. Only working out around test time will easily result in a lower goal and not being able to meet the minimum standard.
Maintaining fitness year-round will prevent injuries, keep bodies functioning better and enable Airmen to live healthier lives. The Air Force pays Airmen to maintain their fitness. Make fitness a lifestyle and your body and the Air Force will appreciate you for it. Want it, do it, live it.