Comprehensive Airman Fitness: Diary of a wimpy Airman

  • Published
  • By Angela O'Connell
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note:  This commentary is the first in a 4-part series chronicling an Airman's pursuit to better her overall fitness and pass her PT test. She is an Air Force reservist as well as a full-time civilian employee.

     Unfortunately, my story begins like many Airmen out there. I started my career as a lean, mean, fighting machine. Eight years and three kids later I found myself on the physical training fringe. What do I mean by that? I spent the last seven years of my career barely making it by. Each test, I swore that I would get my act together for the next one. That never happened. Of course, everything else became a priority. Working out always fell victim to work, family, in general. Last month, I hit the proverbial wall and failed my test. I want to start off by saying that this is not an easy confession to make. I am not used to being in the failing category and trust me, being Type A; I am determined to get out of it as soon as I can. So, when I realized I would not pass the next test, I began to devise my plan of action. PT needed to become a priority for me.
     During the test, I was inspired by an Airman who was actually excited to take the test. He stuck out like a sore thumb because he was very eager to have the opportunity to take the test and prove what he could do. He pushed, he sweat...he passed with a 91. Why was that remarkable? Because three months earlier he was in my shoes...a PT failure. Of course, as any good American would, I wanted a quick fix and to know the magic pill he took. How can you go from failing to over a 90? His answer simply put; "Boot Camp."
     Boot camp, huh? I figured it was a class of people who hadn't taken fitness seriously so I could do it. How bad can it be? I could join the ranks with my fellow out-of-shape Airmen. This would be a walk in the park. I had found the magic pill. I strutted into class the next day ready to go. I scoped out the competition and figured I could do least I could keep up. So I thought...
     All I can say after my first week is that boot camp is not for the faint of heart. I spent my first afternoon running circuits around the track behind the fitness center with short pauses to knock out about 125 squats and 100 lunges. Once we completed that, then came that dreaded hill on Hanson's Highway. I always thought it was a pleasing feature with a cool sculpture. Now, it is my Mount Everest. I hauled myself up and down it so many times I lost count. Surely, after that we were done, right? Nope, that was followed by a healthy round of push ups and sit ups.
     And that, ladies and gentlemen, was day one. Oh, and by the way, those "out-of-shape" Airmen I spoke to you about. That turned out to be only me. I was so impressed that some made it through the workout looking like they could take on more. Later, I found out from those Airmen that I apparently started on an "easy" day. They each had horror stories of circuit training, four mile runs and the dreaded hill.
     Sadly, my story is not a success story...yet. For those of you that live on the fringe with me, don't wait. Don't become me. I am still in the back of the pack at boot camp, but I am there each day, sweating, pushing and trying. Why? Because for now, I want to be with the Airmen who are in the front of the class, not sucking wind; able to sprint up and down my Mt. Everest and still ask for more. They're the next wave of confident test takers. Will that be me three months from now? I don't know. What I do know is that I am on the road towards becoming that Airman who is confident and excited to take the test to prove what I can do.