By Jeff Vaughn, 19 th Aerospace Medical Squadron
/ Published August 25, 2016
Heather Baxter has transformed her body and health by regulating her diet and dedicating time to fitness. The Vital 90 class helped Baxter take charge of her health after the birth of her second son. (Courtesy photo)
Heather Baxter works as a captain in the 19th Force
Support Squadron civilian personnel flight through the week and serves as a
on the weekend in the Air National Guard. She is another person who’s transformed
her body and her health with diet and
So Heather, what made you decide to become consistent
with diet and exercise routine?
have always been into fitness, however over the years my routine was up and
down. I would stick with something for
while, especially preparing for the PT test and then drop off shortly afterwards,
only to do it over again. I worked
to get in shape after the birth of my first child and preparation
to attend commissioning school. Not long
after returning from
commissioning school, I became pregnant with my second
child. It was after his birth, that I
realized that I needed something
that I could stick with for the long run and
my boss told me about the Vital 90 classes on base. I decided to try it and was
there. It had a sense of community that
made you want to do better and show up every day. I no longer wanted
to be in the cycle of 6
months on 6 months off preparing for my PT test and knew this type of approach
for exercise was going
to be the turning point for me to stay fit all year
long. While attending Vital 90, I began
to learn more about proper nutrition. I
have always considered myself a healthy eater, but quickly realized what I
thought was "healthy" was not necessarily as
healthy as I had
thought. I have learned a significant
amount about nutrition over the last couple of years and continue to
along my journey. Most namely, Whole30
has been eye opening for me when it came to nutrition.
you tell us the difference between how you previously trained to get ready for
your PT test and how you train now?
would train to the test and feel like working out was a chore. Running 2-3 miles a day and practicing
push-ups and sit-ups.
Since doing V90
and CrossFit I now understand how other forms of exercise can help you achieve
your goals and as a result
have improved my fitness score significantly.
is the most significant change you’ve made in your training program?
strength training is the most significant change I’ve made. My former routine did not include strength
training at all.
Strength training is
the core of my program now.
is the most important lesson you’ve learned through your fitness journey?
have learned that you don't have to be the picture perfect fitness model to be
fit. Everyone's body is different and we
come in different shapes and sizes.
is the most difficult battle when it comes to fitness: the mental of physical
would say mental. There are many times
that I view a workout and sometimes tell myself there is no way I can do that,
have a support team of friends and coaches in my community that quickly
help me realize YES I CAN! Never under
the power of a great support TEAM.
you have a favorite training method?
because it’s something different all the time and has really help me increase
you have a diet strategy? Explain.
Yes. I try to make the healthiest choices I can in
any given situation. I am not perfect by
any means, but see food way
differently than before. I meal prep for the week to keep myself on
is the most significant change you’ve made in your diet?
stopped eating processed food. When I
thought I ate healthy before, it was a lot of so-called "diet food",
portions, cereals, low-fat, etc.
Those things don't have a place in my regular diet any longer and
learned that eating the right
kind of healthy fats and good carbs (vegetables) are
actually better for you. I am much more
cognizant of what I choose to put
in my body now.
you have a go to food and what is it?
potatoes, I eat so many! Oh and a good
steak to pair my sweet potatoes with.
has being consistent with exercise changed your life?
don't cycle in and out of being fit anymore, which in turn makes me ready for
my PT test all year instead of leading up to it. I
have more energy to play with my kids and
for life in general. It also helps me
with everyday tasks through functional fitness
advice do you have for Airmen who are struggling with their fitness assessment
is a journey, not a destination, you must continue for the rest of your
life." Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH
quote finally set in for me. My
destination was always my PT test or losing a certain amount of weight. I would tell
airmen struggling to never give
up; we all have to start somewhere and you have to want to take that first step
out advice if you need help
from peers, friends, your PTL's, HAWC Staff, etc. Finding a friend that will work out with you
encourage your fitness goals. My best
friend and I attend CrossFit together and look forward to our time together
push each other to be better.