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Readers Respond: Is the Air Force on the Right Track with Their Fitness Program?

Responses: 282

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This is ridiculous

Some people are born with genetics that will never allow them to have a 39" waist. It is a shame to lose good, hard working people that have no control over what god blessed them with. I hope senior AF leadership pulls their heads out of their arses soon. I am a 6'5", 245lb man that once weighed 320lbs in college. I work out like a mad man, and I will never have a 39" waist. I can't wait to watch the civilians in awe as this huge man crushes the physical portion of their test, but fails the appearance aspect. I hope the AF doesn't give me the boot. I still have a lot to bring to the fight and I still love this country. I hope they at least give me the chance to transfer to another service, their tests would be much easier for me to pass.
—Guest afdude26

old MSgt

the new test is tough, and it very well may cause some to be seperated. i failed my last test under the old system. i was faced with a decision- fail my next one, and possibly face seperation, or get it in gear and get into shape. i chose to get into shape. play the game people, the military is always changing standards. in 19 years i have seen many come and go. bottom line- if you want to stay in, hit the gym three or four times a week for a couple of hours and stop eating fast food. i dont know about you all, but there is nothing that will stand in my way for me getting my retirement check
—Guest old MSgt

Doesn't anyone see what's going on here?

I've been in the military for 13 years, and I have to say that political correctness and this 'new age' crap has completely taken over even our armed forces. I'm a fireman in the Air Force (3E771), a smoker, and I enjoy my Bourbon after duty hours. I have never felt as if I couldn't do my job. When I returned from Baghdad 2 years ago, I lost 35 pounds over there. I'm 6' and I weighed 173 pounds. I looked like a skeleton! Before I left, I weighed 207, the heaviest I've ever been. I've since creeped back up to 200, but don't feel overweight nor do I look it. The funny thing is, is that when I got back from Baghdad at 174 lbs, I was considered 'ideal' weight by the Air Force. Get a life, you generals down in D.C.!!!!!!! How is a test considered valid when you can pass each area and still fail the fricken test? It is inherently flawed, and I'm missing the good 'ol days of 'taking care of your own' and 'getting the job done' and other great sayings that were lost along the way..
—Guest MSgt Hull

Some of the Science for the AC Standard

Not uncommonly I hear, or read, people claiming that there is no real science behind the abdominal circumference standard or that it should be adjusted for height. Here are just two articles: Jacobs et al. Waist Circumference and All-Cause Mortality in a Large US Cohort. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(15):1293-1301 Pischon et al. General and Abdominal Adiposity and Risk of Death in Europe. N Engl J Med 2008;359:2105-20. Both of these large, observational studies, published in major peer reviewed journals, showed that people with increased waist circumference are more likely to die even after correcting for other risk factors like BMI (BMI takes into account height). For the record, I am writing this as someone who struggles with both my weight and my waist. The new standard makes it harder for me to pass, but I believe it is a good standard. Hopefully it encourages other airmen, as it encourages me, to get healthy and control one of the risk factors for death.
—Guest USAF Flight Doc

Suck it Up Buttercup

Ok I get it, you are frustrated with having to do your job, guess what we all signed on the .... line, end of story try doing some XFit or a real exercise to train your bodies to get there and dont expect to pass a PT test when you work out once a year. Other than medical issues, if you are a able bodied and want to be in the military act as such and meet your min standards at least. WE are not civillians we are MILITARY we are not slackers we are the TOP! dont forget what you signed up for, and just think you are here to collect a pay check its the whole package not just a part- so suck it up butter cups!
—Guest Female TSGT USAF

The Issue Goes Both Ways

This issue goes both ways...it can be supported or complained about. But, like with anything new in the military, it is going to go through growing pains. Just give it some time. But, I will say this...for those AF folks that want to stand behind the whole theory of being a better "warfighter" as a result of PT and are spending a ton of time at the gym instead of doing your job, tell that pilot that had to get picked up via a SAR mission why thier aircraft went down due to mechanical problems 'cause you didn't have time to properly repair that aircraft! Come on, Air Force people!!! Even the Army is more smart about PT than you guys are being!!! All this chest thumping, wanna be Army "Hooah" stuff is just another way for otherwise worthless airman to get a chance to shine. Long before this whole crap with Air Force PT got started, our USAF has been kicking butt and taking names time and time again....no amount of push-ups, sit-ups, or fast running helped to prove THAT!
—Guest Ex-Army

PT Test is okay

I'm not gonna sit here and complian about the new test bc I really don't think it's THAT bad. At least not for me. What I do think is bad is this identity crisis it seems the AirForce has. It seems like they are always making drastic changes to everything. I say this after listening to senior enlisted and commissioned personnel talk about the Air Force. While I have no problem adapting to changes bc i'm so young and new (24, 2.5 yrs in) I think the senior troops are just tired. It would be nice to have some consistency. Hopefully they can just figure out who and what they want us to be and stick with it.
—Guest young airmen

PT test

The new PT test is taking away from are real job training for the airman. We spend more time now worrying about looking good, then doing are job. I am 43 years old, I can make a 86% on he test and still fail. How is a airman that weights 180lbs thin as a rail going to pull someone to safety.
—Guest Trigger

its so easy to pass

all i need to do to get ready for the PT test is just go on some profile for back pain or something. That way I can avoid some parts of the test. And deployment too- when my bucket is getting near, I will just go on profile for some other reason. Then, when PT test is over, or deployment vulnerability has passed- I'll feel better.... Some commanders need to be clear on what the priority is... my unit is wayyyyy undermanned like we all are, and i am expected to work 12 hour days or more getting the work done. lunch- what is that? Oh yeah, thank goodness that the year of the air force family is over because now my commander doesn't have to feel guilty that I barely see my kids. I can PT- at about 9pm at night, right after I kiss my kids goodnight. I won't worry about getting more than a few hours of sleep, because mission is first... A high-ranking individual recently said to me that if he fails his PT test, maybe he won't be tasked with as much work so he can actually PT.
—Guest annoyed

Abdominal Circumference is Asinine!

I'm a 6'5, 230 officer, very fit and strong but worried about failing my next PT test due to the asinine new 39" max waistline. I'm not a speed demon, but easily pass the 1.5 run. My bp is 115/70 and my resting heart rate is 49. I can do between 3 & 4 times the min pushup standard, & readily max the situps. I look good in uniform. The idea that a 5"1 and a 6'5" person should have the same waist measurement is ridiculous. I keep hearing about the "science" but see no scientific proof of its validity--just naked assertions by those who came up with the standards. I'd lay odds that those who came up with the new standards are shorter, skinny airmen that couldn't haul a fellow airman/soldier to safety in an emergency. When tall and strong O-7s start failing the test due to waist measurement, this will hopefully change. Until then, tall, strong warfighters are collateral damage to thin, weaker policy writers’ OPR bullet success. I guess it’s time to see the Army recruiter.
—Guest Tall, Strong, Fast = Unfit

Stop whining

The new program is exactly what the air force needed. It is truly holding those individuals who are on the verge of failing accountable. But it is also motivating personnel who score in the mid 80s to achieve a 90 or better with the incentive of testing once a year. Some PTLs were lacking integrity and the civilians definitely do not feel sorry for failing someone who is not meeting standards. Plain and simple. Black and white. Passing/Failing.
—Guest Ssgt

Too Straightforward

I'm lucky. By that, I mean that I am whippet-thin and tall by nature. I'm not terribly strong, but I'm able to pass all the requirements. I understand the run time, push-up, and sit-up requirements. I've been training for a few months (starting from doing about a quarter-mile run at best and about three push-ups and sit-ups) and while I might not max out each field, I'll certainly pass, probably with an excellent rating. So I don't see much problem there. But the abdominal measurements? Ridiculous. My father is six foot six, and he was able to out-run and out push-up and sit-up me by miles at my age (twenty). But he had a thirty-six or thirty-seven inch waist. The thing is, all that was muscle. The fact that they would have DOCKED him points for that is simply ludicrous. In short, the abdominal measurements are far too cut-and-dry. Those need to go, although I agree that a body composition test should be part of the overall test. Just not this one.
—Guest James

Come on, deal with it.

I hear a lot of people crying about silly things, oh Im short and not as strong, oh Im lower enlisted I have a lot on my plate, boowhoo. Seriously a lot of crying. The AF standard is SO easy to meet. Terribly easy to meet. Who runs a mile from the enemy? You ever heard of the mogadishu mile? Yea We do. Sprints? Bull crap. Military members need to be able to clear atleast ATLEAST 5 miles on foot quickly. If anything I think everything needs to be MORE strenuous. Except the waist, that needs to go. Silly. RETARTED. Army does it SEMI-right. Give a max weight based on height and only if they dont make it, then do a body fat check. Not BMI. BMI is TERRIBLE. I break BMI at 5'8. Yet my body fat says 11% strange...its almost like muscle weighs more than fat...and that with enough physical training youll be faster, stronger, and still gain weight...Odd how that happens. For the one, 6'6" at 213. No, Should not be at all. My buddy is 6'3" 230. He will outrun you and tear your arms off.
—Guest A real SSG

your composition chart is screwed up

Your body composition chart for females 30-39 makes absoutely zero sense
—Guest Mandy

Readiness isn't optional

our main duty is to defend our nation. the way i do that is by ensuring that the war fighter has a safe aircraft to fly on.in a war zone you will hardly ever be required to run a mile and ahalf while being shot at bombed or mortered unless you would like to be killed. so a sprint style measurement is what's needed not a mile and ahalf run.as for the waiste measurement it really depends on how corrupt your pt administer is, if they let you suckin your gut till you cant breath or pull the tape so tight that you lose cerculation to your lower extremities.there will never be a pt test that will be legit.
—Guest smashed bag of jelly doughnuts

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Is the Air Force on the Right Track with Their Fitness Program?

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