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5 easy steps to improve your PT performance

Airmen are required to pass a physical assessment of pushups, sit-ups, and a mile and a half run. Airmen can improve their testing scores by identifying areas of improvement, setting goals, creating workout plans, finding ways to keep themselves accountable and starting a food journal. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Codie Collins)

Airmen are required to pass a physical assessment of pushups, sit-ups, and a mile and a half run. Airmen can improve their testing scores by identifying areas of improvement, setting goals, creating workout plans, finding ways to keep themselves accountable and starting a food journal. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Codie Collins)


Why did I eat that entire bag of chips last night?

Should I have run more or something to prepare for this?

Am I even going to pass?

These are the thoughts of ill prepared Airmen about to take their physical assessment.

"As Airmen of the U.S. Air Force, there should never be a time where an able-bodied Airman should not be able to pass a physical assessment of pushups, sit-ups, and a mile and a half run," said Aaron Leach, 19th Force Support Squadron fitness center director. "You cannot undo 11 months of poor diet and exercise in one month before physical assessment. In addition, preparing only one month out of the year increases risk of injury."

These five steps can help push yourself into a direction to improve your score.


#1. Identify Areas of improvement

Look at your overall performance and identify a portion of the physical assessment you are struggling with. Once recognized, you can then take action for improvement. This step seems simple, but you cannot begin to fix what you aren’t aware of.


#2. Set goals

Set one goal and then proceed to break your goal into smaller targets you must make to accomplish your one large goal.

For example, a female Airmen whose mile and a half run time is 12 minutes wants to get her time down to 11 minutes. She plans to decrease her run time by 30 seconds every month until she reaches her desired time. The 11 minute mile and a half run time is her ultimate goal. Her targets are the 30 second decreased time every month.


#3. Make a plan

If your problem area is the sit-up or pushup portion of the assessment, set an hourly alarm on a cell phone. Every hour when the alarm sounds, drop and complete 25 pushups or sit-ups.

In addition, Health Promotions, previously known as the Health and Wellness Center, located at the fitness center on base offers their clients Vital 90; a high intensity, group fitness program held at the Fitness Center. The class focuses on exercises that help Airmen improve their official physical testing scores. Classes are held at various times of the day, making it more accessible to fit into any busy schedule.

For more information on Health Promotions, visit them at the Fitness Center or call (501) 987-7288.


#4. Keep yourself accountable

A workout plan is useless if you don’t use it. Find different ways to keep yourself accountable, whether it is getting a workout partner to actively push you during your exercises or finding a friend to keep tabs on your progress.


#5. Start a food journal

It’s no secret that what you fuel your body with impacts your physical performance. If you log your daily intake of food, there is a visual acknowledgement of what you are consuming and it may make you think twice about eating unhealthily.

For those who have questions on what is considered unhealthy, Health Promotions offers free appointments with a registered dietitian.

Every Airman is responsible for their own score on a physical assessment.  Being physically fit is one of the four components of being prepared.

Are you going to struggle every time you test or are you going to learn how to navigate this requirement successfully?

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