Fitness score 100: it is achievable

Capt. Jennifer Lovett
Kaiserslautern American
  How they did it
100% enjoy running 3x a week
Averaged 3.5 times a week lifting weights
Only one took a class but all say variety is best
4 of 7 worked out in the gym
5 of 7 worked out with friends or family
6 of 7 mentioned that healthy eating was important

From an 22-year-old airman first class to a 43-year-old lieutenant colonel, seven Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing recently ran their way to a perfect score on the Air Force physical fitness test here at Ramstein and sat down with the KA to divulge their secrets.

Pumping iron or trail blazing, they each created fitness routines for themselves that include running or lifting three to five times per week, and two put themselves through brutal Airborne PT regularly. But no matter if they are on home station or on temporary duty, all of them find ways to do an hour or more of push-ups in hotel rooms or sit-ups in a gym.  

“People should get into a routine,” said Airman 1st Class Alanna Jolley, 1st Air and Space Communications Operations Squadron, who spins once or twice a week and likes to hike.  “Fitness is a lifestyle because it becomes something you need to do for yourself.”

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Renner, 86th Air Mobility Squadron commander, said that his work out varies depending on what’s available where he is but he tries to work out three to five times a week, both at home and when TDY.  “A regular workout routine is essential for better fitness and maximum scores,” he said.

All of the Airmen run at least three times a week and they agree that running more than the test requires is vital to passing the finish line under time.

“The best thing for (maxing the run) is to run for time not distance,” said Senior Airman Christopher Droegemueller, 86th Air Mobility Squadron, who runs and lifts weights six times a week. “Practice by running 15 minutes out then 15 minutes back. You will be surprised at how well you do in the actual test because your body is used to running longer.”

Colonel Renner agrees with the premise and suggests that folks run more than a mile and a half so that the legs are used to churning and the lungs are used to pumping for longer periods of time.

Almost all of them work out with friends or family and vary their routines. Senior Master Sgt. Edward Madden, 86th Maintenance Squadron superintendent, works out with his family every day. “We all work out together no matter what our daily schedule holds … including biking and playing sports with my kids.”

When asked about healthy eating habits, all agreed that watching food intake is important.  “It’s a great idea to eat healthy but reward yourself once a week for all the hard work you do in or out of the gym all week,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bruder, 86th AMS, who does Airborne PT with Airman Droegemueller five times a week.  “Pizza on Sunday … not too much, just something to say great job this week. Then it’s back to the same routine.”

Sergeant Madden and Airman Jolley both promote portion control and cutting back on sodas. “Never skip meals,” said Airman Jolley.  “I know that if I skip meals then I end up eating way too much or I lose my appetite because my metabolism slows down.”

“I stopped eating until I was stuffed and cut soda down to one a week,” said Sergeant Madden.

All of the high scorers recommend practice tests and shooting for ongoing fitness.

“You hear (it) all the time, don’t wait until the last minute to get in shape for the test,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Fligg, 86th AMS.  “Just stay active and you should be fine.”