Time to get fit is now

  • Published
  • By Col. Randal L. Bright
  • 512th Airlift Wing commander
For many of us, the New Year is a fresh start - a time when we resolve to improve ourselves and our lives. Losing weight and getting fit are some of the most frequently made resolutions, especially considering the alarming statistic that more than 63 percent of Americans are overweight with a Body Mass Index in excess of 25, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As Air Force members, being fit is a requirement placed upon us by our leadership, because it impacts our readiness, productivity and quality of life.

To further enforce a culture of fitness, implement better fitness standards and encourage all of us to engage in a year-round fitness program, the Air Force made some changes to the current physical training program. Beginning this month, we will have two assessments per year, a different waist measurement standard and a new score chart.

According interim Air Force Guidance Memorandum for AFI 10-248, Fitness Program, dated Jan. 4, regular Air Force Airmen will take their fitness assessment using the current fitness standards until July 1.

For example, if a regular Air Force member took their last fitness assessment in February or August 2009, their next assessment will be under the current standard in February 2010 and then again with the new standard in August 2010.

For Air Force Reserve Airmen, they will take their next fitness assessment 12 months after their last 2009 assessment, then again six months later to progress to a bi-annual cycle.

For example, if a reservist took their fitness assessment in February 2009 they will take their next assessment in February 2010 under the current standard and then again in August 2010 with the new standard. If a reservist took their last assessment in July 2009, their next fitness assessment will be in July 2010 with the new standard and then again with the new standard in January 2011.

The new fitness program scores Airmen by age and gender based on the following maximum component scores: 60 points for aerobic, 20 points for body composition, 10 points for push-ups and 10 points for sit-ups. Airmen must achieve a minimum of 75 points and must meet the minimum requirements for each of the four areas. The previous fitness assessment just required a total of 75 points to pass, which meant some Airmen could pass the assessment without doing any crunches or sit-ups.

A score of 90 or above is an excellent; 75 to 89.99 is satisfactory; and, anything below 75 is unsatisfactory. Airmen who have medical waivers and are exempt from a portion of the assessment will receive a pass or fail score.

The Air Force also changed how the fitness assessments will be administered. Civilian proctors will administer the PT assessments at locations called fitness assessment cells. Dover is expected to have the FAC up and running in early February and will begin testing all personnel immediately. In the mean time, we will continue to have our physical training leaders conduct assessments.

Maintaining and meeting AF fitness standards is a year-round responsibility that falls upon all of us. So, I encourage you to start and maintain a fitness program now.

The first step to prepare for this assessment is to view your fitness chart, so you know what the standards are for your age and gender. This chart, as well as information on the new fitness program, can be downloaded at http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/affitnessprogram/index.asp.

Based off your fitness requirements, develop a plan that incorporates cardio and strength training at least three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes. For those Airmen who are not sure where to start, I encourage you to work with your Unit Fitness Program Manager and Physical Training Leaders to develop a plan. They can provide you with information on how to prepare and train for the assessment, which will increase your chance of success.

Being fit is something we need to take seriously. Not meeting this Air Force mandate can negatively impact your career as failing fitness scores will be annotated on your performance evaluations, resulting in a referral officer or enlisted performance report. This can impact your eligibility for an assignment and your ability to get promoted, retrain or re-enlist.

So, if you have not yet made your New Year's resolution, I encourage you to make fitness part of your daily life. Do this not just for the Air Force but for yourself, as you are the one who will ultimately benefit from a healthy and fit lifestyle.