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December Shirt Blast

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Perri Peraz, first sergeant assigned to the 169th Medical Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Nov. 8, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Perri Peraz, first sergeant assigned to the 169th Medical Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Nov. 8, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Do you remember the first time you tackled uncharted waters on your own? Was it during college? Tech school? Moving out on your own? Many times when we experience uncharted waters the routines and schedules we are used to shift and sometimes not in the healthiest ways.

During college, many students gain the dreaded “freshman 15” because they can eat at all hours, it’s usually not the healthiest food and fitness typically isn’t high priority. Going through tech school is the first time many Airmen are on their own and making their own decisions. When one moves out on their own, all of life’s responsibilities falls solely on them. Each situation is an example of unfamiliar and possibly stressful times. The same is said for the Corona virus pandemic. The routines and norms we had before the pandemic have shifted to allow for safety protocols to be put into place, which is an adjustment for all of us.

One aspect of Air Force norms and our fit to fight culture that has been put on hold due to the pandemic is fitness testing. However, just because fitness testing has been postponed, we still have a duty to be fit to fight. It is part of our job as Airmen. Stay the course if you have continued working out through the pandemic, and if not, now is the best time to pick it back up. I’m not talking about a “go big or go home” mentality. I’m referring to small changes and goals that are sustainable over a period of time so bigger goals can be achieved in the long term. Typically there are two parts to maintaining fitness: 1) the fitness/workout aspect, and 2) the nutrition aspect. Just like in anything that you want to be sustainable over time, small achievable goals need to be set. In terms of fitness or working out, this could be something as small as walking or jogging for 15-20 minutes three times a week, or setting a realistic push up goal to complete each day. There are also great fitness apps on your mobile device to help keep you on track. Two popular ones are the Couch to 5K program or the 7-Minute Workout. Nutrition is often the forgotten puzzle piece when it comes to a well-rounded fitness or workout routine. What we fuel our body with is just as or possibly more important than how we train our body. What we eat and drink determines how well our body responds to our workouts. Just like with fitness, goal setting is a great strategy when it comes to nutrition. There are many ways to make small nutritional changes for the better. This might include drinking more water than soda, reaching for fresh fruit rather than something processed as a snack, or filling your dinner plate with as many different vegetable colors as possible.

With the end of 2020 fast approaching and a new year upon us, we are all experiencing our own uncharted waters. And with the start of 2021, Air Force fitness testing resumes. Don’t let fitness or nutrition be a stressor, but rather a stress reliever. Set small goals for what works for you and over time you will be able to accomplish bigger ones. All you have to do is start.