JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
Service members are encouraged to keep up with their respective core values whether U.S. Air Force Airmen or U.S. Army Soldiers.
Although all the branches have a set fitness test that includes basic workouts, training for fitness tests doesn’t have to be a boring or redundant task. According to Tony Arroyo, 633rd Force Support Squadron fitness center director, there are seven principles of fitness: Regularity/Consistency, Progression, Overload, Specificity, Balance, Variety and Recovery.
Variety is especially important for service members looking to not get bored in their workouts. It also ensures members won’t plateau.
“The reason variety is so key and so important is because the body is built to adapt,” Arroyo said. “That’s a good thing. We get stronger and we get better.”
Back when he was just 17, now 23-year-old Senior Airman Chandler Stewart, 27th Intelligence Squadron client systems technician, began jump-roping as a form of cardio.
“I absolutely hated running,” Stewart said, “A personal trainer at the gym I had been going to suggest jumping rope, and I tried it and took to it.”
Stewart said he runs only once a year, and that’s for his physical training test. Not only does he always pass it, but he passes with above 90 average.
According to Arroyo, the best combination to stay consistent in working out is to do enjoyable workouts about nine months out of the year and the three months before a test, sprinkle in specificity. This means specifying workouts to what the test requires,
“Specificity is still important,” Arroyo said, “I have known Airmen to condition with a limited amount of running or no running but still be fit enough to go and do well in their 1.5 [mile run] and push-ups and sit-ups. The misconception is that ‘I have to run every single day’ and another is ‘I have to run long distance for a 1.5.’”
Along with the physical part of being fit, Arroyo says mindset and nutrition also help. Staying consistent in conditioning throughout the year can only get someone so far if the fuel they put in their bodies is bad or if they don’t keep a motivated attitude.
Stewart found a passion for jump-roping and through that has been able to stay fit to fight in the military.
“You have to find what you enjoy doing because if you don’t find what you enjoy, you won’t stick with it,” Stewart said.
For resources on fitness tips, Arroyo suggests visiting https://www.hprc-online.org/page/physical-fitness on a web browser. Service members can also go to their fitness center on base and talk to a specialist about mixing up their workout to establish an enjoyable fitness routine.