Celebrate great physical fitness

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Janelle Quinn
  • 4th Medical Support Squadron
Have you ever wondered what makes the perfect birthday gift?

If your birthday falls in the month of your annual physical fitness assessment, then a passing or excellent score would be it.

As a squadron physical training leader for the past year, I've witnessed several 4th Fighter Wing Airmen celebrate their running assessment in various ways. From leaps in the air, to high-fives and shouts of joy, one would assume some had just received news of being awarded their number one assignment preference. In actuality, they had just received a passing score on their assessment.

On the other hand, I've seen some Airmen with heads hung low, eyes downcast and defeated looks. I couldn't help but overhear the conversations between the downtrodden and their supporters:

"If only I had done one more push-up." 

"If only I had come in one minute sooner." 

"If only I had tested in the morning and not in the hot afternoon." 

As members of the Air Force, we must all be physically fit to support the Air Force mission. 

Are you "fit to fight?" Do you have what it takes to be a combat-ready Airman? If you were called upon to deploy, would you be ready and able to cope with the stressful days and nights in the desert? Are you physically fit enough to endure the rigors of six to eight months working 12-hour days? 

Total fitness includes proper aerobic conditioning, strength and flexibility training, and a healthy diet. The benefits of total fitness will increase productivity and optimize health. 

Equally important, being fit and passing the fitness assessment begins with you. My goals as a PTL and a wingman are to prepare and encourage you to do your best. 

As one who has completed 11 annual fitness assessments, I would like to share some words of wisdom to help you perform at your best: 

Get ready now. Trust me, there's no time like the present to start training. 

Identify fitness goals and then work hard to achieve them. I'm no "spring chicken," but even I know my limits. I practice what I preach and work out to ensure I'm fit to fight and ready to pass my assessment. 

Face fitness challenges. If running six laps around the track is the weakest part of the assessment, then start running now. Walking around the track will lead to a healthier lifestyle, but it probably won't help shave time off of the run. 

Take one day at a time. We all should know when our physical assessment is due. Don't wait until the week of the test to start dieting or training for a marathon. 

Include some type of physical activity into your everyday lifestyle. Running to your car because you're happy it's the end of the day doesn't technically count. 

Focus on what's truly important. Your health and your career are important. It's up to you to prove it. 

Help others in their quest to be fit to fight. I am impressed by the deep sense of teamwork exhibited when I see squadron members cheering for their co-workers during their assessments. On numerous occasions, I've seen wingmen, some in uniform, running around the track with testers. For this and many more reasons, I'm proud to be an American Airman. 

Track progress to help improve your score. You'll do much better on testing day if you've consistently prepared for your assessment. 

I received my birthday gift early this year when I tested in April and passed my assessment. If you want to treat your fellow Airmen to a "free" birthday gift then help them be fit to fight. 

As a PTL and an Airman, I'll take this opportunity to proudly say American Airmen are wingmen, leaders and warriors. You will not falter, you will not fail, and if you heed my advice you will succeed on your next fitness assessment.