Reservist shares passion for fitness, promotes readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shayna Hodge
  • 512th Airlift Wing

When she isn’t in uniform, Tech. Sgt. Katrina White said she enjoys sweating it out during the group fitness classes she instructs throughout the week.

In January 2020, the 512th Airlift Wing inspections coordinator became a certified group fitness instructor through the American Council on Exercise.

White’s passion for group fitness began in 2014, when she took a dance-inspired aerobics class.

“I had never gone to a fitness class before, but when I went to it, I loved it,” she said. “I enjoyed the energy and the camaraderie; it was so fun.”

When White’s class instructor could no longer teach twice a week, White said she decided to become an instructor herself.

“I wanted to be able to do the dance class as much as I wanted, and I realized I wanted to have my own class in a gym.”

With her intentions set, White said she set out to become a group instructor, but the COVID-19 pandemic began soon after she became a certified instructor.

White said she didn’t let the gym shutdowns stop her. During the pandemic, White led in-home and virtual classes for her family. She said her son-in-law was a faithful student during this time, which helped her fine tune her skills as an instructor.

With gyms now open, White instructs her own dance-style fitness class and other strength building classes. Her favorite class to teach is a martial arts-inspired combat class that combines moves from karate, taekwondo, boxing and kung fu.

White highlighted some of the benefits of participating in group fitness classes, such as making friends and developing accountability partnerships.

“When you work out with other people, it makes exercising more fun,” she said.

She also mentioned she’s proud to support individuals across all fitness levels and be a part of their fitness journeys.

White shared some of her own fitness journey. She said she faced a challenge when she joined the Air Force Reserve years after separating from active-duty service.

“I remember I was told I’d need to take a (physical training) test,” said White. “I thought, ‘I got this’”; but when I went home and tried to do a push up, I couldn’t do one. I’d lost some of my strength after being out of the service for so long.”

With a few weeks of preparation, White said she was able to pass her first fitness assessment.

White added she is now fully confident in her ability to pass PT tests since incorporating cardio and strength into her workout regime.

“I’m always ready for a test, because the physical activity I do outside of my military duty keeps me in shape,” said White. “The workouts I do along with my students enhance my cardio and strength.”

With over 14 years of active-duty and reserve service, White said she understands how significant physical fitness is to Airmen’s readiness.

“We’re supposed to be ready to do our jobs and deploy at any single moment,” said White. “If you’re not working out consistently, how can you be ready?”

White recommended Airmen exercise at least three times a week to maintain their fitness.

She recognized the hesitancy some have toward exercising in gyms or as part of a fitness class due to poor confidence in their fitness capabilities. However, she said she wants others to know that starting is the first step to improving fitness.

“Fitness is for everyone,” said White. “Never compare your fitness to someone else’s. It’s only you against you.”

White encouraged Airmen to consider hiring a personal trainer or following fitness videos if they don’t know how to create a workout routine. She also advocated for base gyms, stating the accessibility Airmen have makes them a great place to exercise.

In the future, White said she hopes to hold group fitness classes during the unit training assemblies.

“I want to provide Airmen with a way to keep up with their fitness during the UTA,” said White. “Hopefully, members will be inspired to join a fitness class and exercise regularly to strengthen their readiness.”