Health and fitness program transition, goal remains the same

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joe Laws
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
In 2004, the Air Force launched a revamped physical fitness assessment standard that was more closely aligned with the readiness requirements of the post 9/11 deployed environment. Since its introduction, the program has changed the way it measures the individual components, but the goal of ensuring America's Air Force is fit-to-fight has never changed.

Juli Bailey, the health promotion coordinator on Holloman, is leading the charge toward healthier lifestyles and increased readiness by providing tools and information to all Airmen, regardless where they work, or what shift they work.

"We try to reach as many people as possible with our different classes such as our fitness and nutrition classes and our tobacco cessation classes," said Bailey. "If a commander or a squadron has a particular need, we will come to them, to make sure they get the information they need. If you are a night-shift worker, we will make sure you get the information you need to be successful in your fitness goals."

Active duty Airmen have the same difficulties with fitness and health as their civilian counterparts, but Baily and the health promotion program are making a difference. According to Baily, about 58 percent of Holloman Airmen have a body mass index that indicates they are overweight and 11 percent that are categorized as obese. That coupled with the 22 percent of active duty members who use tobacco products. Baily and her staff are busy year round.

"The number one area where the Air Force spends money on its Airmen is their Health," said Bailey. "If you are more fit, physically, mentally and spiritually, then you're going to be a more productive Airman. Our main goal is to promote health across the base."

Master Sgt. Andrew Yates, the superintendent at the fitness and sports facility, oversees the Domenici Fitness Center and manages the base's intramural and varsity sports programs as well as the aerobic classes. Yates has led the base's transition from Air Force sponsored classes to fee based classes such as yoga, Zumba, Body pump, and spinning while maintaining the no-cost access to a state-of-the-art fitness center that recently has expanded to include a new cross-fit training facility.

"Unfortunately, due to budget cuts we now have to charge for our instructed classes," said Yates. "We still offer about 25 classes a week. Keeping the prices low and affordable and available to our Airmen is our top priority."

Yates takes personal pride in his facility and staff. "We offer a lot, not just to the military, but their families as well," he said. "Just take a look around. We have a great facility, a great staff here, and we provide the best customer service on base."

One of the fitness programs that directly impact the Airmen is the PT 101 class, which has recently transitioned into the Fitness Evolution program and provides intense remedial physical training for the Airmen that haven't done well on their PT assessments or just need additional help meeting their fitness goals. The fitness evolution classes remain free and open to all active duty and family members while other fitness classes cost $2 per class.

"We have classes every day that focus on getting those guys ready for their next PT test. We just want our guys to stay physically fit and ready to accomplish the mission," said Yates.

In response to the current fiscal constraints of the Air Force, the program has shifted toward Airmen taking personal responsibility for their fitness and physical readiness.

"With budget cuts we are no longer called the health and wellness center, and it has become an individual's responsibility to make sure they maintain their fitness and their health, themselves... We are here to assist them with meeting those goals," said Bailey. "My personal goal for Holloman is to be the fittest and healthiest base in Air Combat Command."