Upcoming PT test? The HAWC can help
U.S. Air Force courtesy illustration
by Staff Sgt. Delia Marchick
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
8/10/2011 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Your heart is racing and your palms are sweaty. You breathe deeply to calm yourself. You remind yourself that it's only a fitness test but you still can't manage to soothe the anxious feeling. As you walk closer to the fitness center you feel a gust of wind and secretly hope that it is windy enough to cancel the test.
These thoughts are very common among Airmen. Although the fitness test has been a requirement for military members since 2004, the revised fitness assessment standards have been causing Airmen increased PT test anxiety.
Air Force PT is so important that if Airmen fail to take it seriously in accordance with AFI 36-2905 Fitness Program, by attaining and maintaining physical fitness 365 days a year, they risk negative Enlisted Performance Reports. Multiple test failures could even result in a discharge.
Just like in school, the best way to overcome test anxiety is to prepare and the Health and Wellness Center offers tools to help Airmen.One of the new classes the HAWC offers is PT Boot Camp, which combines running and functional fitness through quick, high-intensity workouts.
The PT Boot Camp class originated when the 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron initiated mandatory PT sessions with these high-intensity workouts. The sessions were so successful that it was opened as a class and offered to the entire wing.
"Since the inception of SOAMXS's mandatory PT attendance requirement, which went into effect on Feb. 14, 2011, I've counted at least 134 subsequent passes. The program has had an 84.8% pass rate," said Staff Sgt. Bobbi Belange, 27SOAMXS unit fitness program manager.
Anyone can attend this class which is held at the Fitness Center every morning from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., Monday through Friday.
"This class is basically watered-down CrossFit mixed with running and a lot of short, high intensity workouts and it is designed to meet all skill levels," said Anthony Cook, Health and Wellness Center PT Boot Camp lead, installation exercise physiologist and CrossFit Level 1 instructor.
"The best way to improve physical performance is to overload the body, "said Cook. "No matter what exercise program you are following, you have to push yourself or you won't get anything out of it."
Cook also advises using the Tabata method when trying to improve performance in push-ups or sit-ups.
The Tabata method is credited to Dr. Izumi Tabata, whose research revealed the benefits of high-intensity intermittent training. The Tabata sequence starts with 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, then repeated without pause 8 times for a total of four minutes.
Airmen need to take physical training seriously, and the HAWC can help. The HAWC is not just for remedial guidance or Physical Training Leader class. It is staffed with a registered dietician, an exercise physiologist and fitness assessors who can provide free guidance on fitness programs and healthy eating.
"With the recent changes regarding the Fitness Program, and its increasing impact on careers, personnel must realize that it's important to make time for practicing preventative maintenance. The goal should be to maintain and ultimately gear towards prevention, via pro-activeness, planning, and regular exercise," advises Belange.
For more information on the PT Boot Camp or to speak with the dietician call the HAWC at 784-1004. For more information on all other fitness classes call the fitness center at 784-2466.