MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. --
Proud, inspired and confident is how I would describe myself after graduating Air Force Basic Training. I was an Airman who could physically perform any task without hesitation or worry of passing a Fitness Assessment (FA) test. In a COVID-19-ridden world gyms, parks and gathering places have been closed for public safety reasons. This is one reason why it is more difficult for Airmen to get back into fighting shape. Across the nation many of us are finding alternative resources, supporting each other, and creating new ways to overcome staying physically fit while having mental fortitude in this pandemic.
On March 15th, the 452nd Force Support Squadron followed suggested guidelines by taking proper precautions to close the March Fitness Center. In doing so, we were left without a suitable replacement.
With my impending November FA date approaching, and no fitness center open on base, I was worried that I would achieve base-line fitness scores, which meant that I would need to test again within six months. That was not my goal. I want to be in the top percentile of Airmen who earn a 90% or better score and, as a result, are only required to test once annually.
With my goal in mind, I calculated my Air Force PT scores at http://www.airforcefitnesscalculator.com, a resource for each of us to view what specific PT goals we need to reach.
Much to my relief, other Team March Airmen are going through similar struggles. Through a social media platform we started a private, online chat that, as Airmen who understand our PT challenges because of the gym closure, help us share each other’s unique workouts we do to stay deployment-ready. From yoga, to cycling, to weightlifting, and every fitness trend in-between, we Airmen are doing it all. We motivate each other even beyond the physical. We also exercise our mental health in support of each other as needed.
Our group chat also revealed that some of our Reserve Citizen Airmen are professional fitness trainers when not in military status. Two such members are Senior Airman James Keshavarz, 752nd Medical Squadron, and Tech. Sgt. Logan Frazier, 452nd Security Forces Squadron.
“Having a 24-hour sleep cycle [,or circadian rhythm,] is key to maintaining resilience,” said Keshavarz. “Our serotonin and dopamine levels are restored during sleep which helps manage stress therefore, maintaining a sleep schedule, and exercising daily, will help regulate our hormones and promote mental health.”
The PT run is still one of the most heavily weighed portions of the PT test. Now is the opportune time to increase our cardio strength and endurance because no equipment is required.
Sit-ups and push-ups can be performed almost anywhere. However, if stepping outside to perform this portion of the test, be sure to take the proper COVID-19 precautions.
It is recommended that we record and keep an active record of our results for each area of the test so we can continue to track our progress.
Outdoor weightlifting equipment may or may not be available at each assigned location. Whatever our situation, readiness depends on our discipline. It is our responsibility to adapt and stay mission ready. As members of the Air Force, we must enhance our mental and physical abilities to answer our nation’s call at a moment’s notice if needed.
“A healthy body is only possible with a healthy mindset, so mental strength and endurance is equally important to train, as we would our muscles in a gym,” said Frazier. “We can work on our mental wellness by practicing mindfulness, setting goals for ourselves, reading, learning, choosing to create and surround ourselves with a positive atmosphere and peer group, and practicing balance between work and leisure.”
As the Air Force prepares to implement new norms due to COVID-19, Airmen we must adapt as we have always done. From yoga, to weightlifting, to cycling or running for our physical fitness needs, to getting the proper sleep or stepping outside for a break from stress for our mental health, we have the tools required to meet and even exceed our PT goals.
With my own PT test on the horizon, Airmen supporting one another through social media is how I learned extensively more about fitness, mentally and physically. I no longer rely on luck as I approach the track, but instead a familiar feeling of confidence and pride knowing that I am prepared to succeed.
Additional information for up-to-date fitness standards can be found on our mobile app at http://m360mobile.com/452mobilitywing/andriod/ or http://m360mobile.com/452mobilitywing/ios.
The March Fitness Center has reopened for DoD employees, Active Duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen to use with a reservation. Visit https://marchfss.com/fun-recreation/fitness-sports/ to make a reservation.
“**DISCLAIMER: One reservation per guest, per day** Reservations are for one hour. This time includes your shower time. |Eligibility:| CAC Card Holders, No Guests, No Dependents, No Retirees. |Required:| CAC Card, Face Mask, Full Size Towel (Bath Towel) Clothing should cover the same amount of area as the PT uniform does. (No Tank Tops, Shorts must be mid-thigh or longer) *You are required to wipe down equipment before and after use. You must wipe the entire unit, not just the top as sweat droplets land anywhere.*”
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass posted the following on her official Facebook page Sept. 16, 2020:
“Teammates – we hear you.
Continuing in unprecedented times…managing official/primary duties, childcare, virtual schooling, and a whole lot more under this pandemic.
Because we want to give you ample time to prepare and focus on making fitness a LIFESTYLE, and maintain precautions as needed, we have pushed official PT testing to 1 Jan 2021.
Additionally, this push gives us some time to look at PT tests, and fitness as a whole, to make sure it’s on-point with the Air Force we need.
Fitness builds our resilience. Resilience builds our READINESS. And all of that breeds CULTURE.”
You may read more about the postponement of FA testing at https://go.usa.gov/xGNMe.