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June Chief's Perspective

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Charles Cook III, 169th Maintenance Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, May 2, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Charles Cook III, 169th Maintenance Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, May 2, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

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

The much anticipated post pandemic phase of the COVID-19 crisis is just about upon us. Recent developments have seen a large portion of the country relax or cease to enforce laws, regulations or policies that were implemented in the early stages of the pandemic. Although many aspects of our lives will return to “normal”, there will inevitably be lingering effects that constitute a new state of normal. With that being said, life at McEntire too will return to a pre-pandemic sense of normal. That means programs, processes and procedures that were temporarily suspended due to concerns for the health, safety and welfare of our Airmen will return. One particular program slated to re-emerge in July is physical fitness testing. Are you ready?

When testing resumes in July you will notice some modifications to the fitness assessment that were implemented during its suspension. The majority of the changes fall within the scoring component of the program. The waist measurement has been removed as a point driven component but will remain as an overall body composition standard. The redistribution of points across the three remaining components (aerobic, pushups and sit ups) will be determined later in June. In addition, the tiered age scale was overhauled from ten years to five. The initial grouping will begin at less than 25 years of age and progress up the scale in five year increments (25-29, 30-34, etc.)

Whether a requirement of our jobs or not, we should always strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a high level of fitness. If a yearly testing requirement is not enough motivation to engage in a consistent training regimen, then seek other forms of inspiration. Your family, your friends, a chronic condition that might be alleviated by physical activity, can all serve as a catalyst to get moving. If you need further evidence or motivation look no further than the past fourteen months. COVID-19 took a heavy toll on individuals with underlying health conditions. As with many diseases or ailments, a successful outcome can be directly related to your general physical condition and overall health. 

Unfortunately there is no “magic bullet” for achieving a high level of fitness or improved health. Hard work and consistency are the only two ingredients in my humble opinion. In this matter I can only offer the following bit of advice:

   1. Be disciplined in maintaining your PT schedule. 

   2. “Show up” every day. In other words, don’t just go through the motions. Intensity wins the day.

   3. On PT days, exercise a minimum of twenty minutes at a high intensity level.

   4. Be conscious of what you eat, as well as when you eat it and how often. It is that simple. It is old advice from an old Chief but it is true and time tested. 

Many Americans utilized the time during the pandemic to either begin a fitness program or add variety to an already established routine. It is my hope that our members have taken it upon themselves to maintain their own personal levels of fitness. For those of you who kept up with your physical training, good job. For those that may have relaxed a bit during the hiatus, I encourage you to resume your training now.  Remember, it is our duty as a member of the Armed Forces to always keep ourselves physically ready to answer our Nation's call and perform our mission.