I be up in the gym just working on my fitness, he’s my witness (oh-weee-oh)…
Look, if Shakira is still relevant, then I can DEFINITELY quote Fergie.
In all seriousness though, fitness is a huge part of my life. I’ve been an athlete since I was young – club gymnastics in elementary school (pics for attention), track and field through college, and marathons and hot yoga beyond. I also have an annual fitness test for the Air Force, which is actually…
I want to talk a little bit about the AF Fitness Test, but also about fitting the gym into a law school schedule. To be completely honest, it was a LOT easier when college track practice was both daily and mandatory. But during first semester, I absolutely noticed a difference in my mental health when I was being consistent with exercise and when I wasn’t. Consistency (with yoga specifically) was one of my goals for 2020, and not just so I can pass my fitness test.
AIR FORCE FITNESS STANDARDS Fitness Standards
Okay, I’ll start with the only “mandatory” part of my physical well-being as a post-collegiate athlete: the Air Force Fitness Test, aptly named the AFT. Each branch of the military has their own fitness test, which (somewhat) correlate to that branch’s role and physical needs. Yes, the “Chair Force” still has standards – they’re not super difficult, but enough to make sure you’re paying attention to your physical health.
The AF test has four parts: a waist measurement, push-ups, sit-ups, and 1.5 mile run. The waist measurement and run are exactly as they sound; the push-ups and sit-ups are performed a minute each, until failure.
There are prescribed maximums and minimums in each category, depending on your age and gender. Right now, I’m squarely in the “Females < 30 years of age” range. These are my maximum and minimum requirements –
WAIST MEASUREMENT: Max score (20 pts) is for a waist measuring < 31.5,” min score (12.8 pts) is for a waist measuring 35.5.”
PUSH-UPS: Max score (10 pts) is for 47 push-ups, min score (5 pts) is 18 push-ups. YEP.
SIT-UPS: Max score (10 pts) is 54 sit-ups (the same for guys < 30), min score (6 pts) is 38.
1.5 MILE RUN: Max score (60 pts) is for a run under 10:23, min score (44.1 pts) is for a run over 16:22.
The test is out of 100 points – if you max everything, you get 100 points. Easy. Anything over 90 points is considered “good,” and you wait a full year before testing again. If you’re below a 90, but at/above a 75, then you’re still safe but will test again in 6 months. The real trouble comes when you’re under a 75 – and this is the craziest part. If you hit the exact minimum on every category, you actually won’t pass. This gives people a little breathing room if they’re weak in a particular area, but not enough to excuse low fitness across the board.
Luckily, the mile and a half is the only even I don’t max, so I don’t really worry about the fitness test. But it definitely sneaks up on people, which is one reason I make sure to work out consistently!
If you want to see the standards for your own age, here’s a link to all the charts: https://www.afpc.af.mil/Portals/70/documents/Home/AF%20Fitness%20Program/FITNESS%20CHARTS.pdf
After college, it was HARD to go from mandatory team practices to nothing at all. And with my crazy Air Force alert schedule and terrible North Dakota weather, it was too easy to blow off the gym. But I love to work out. LOVE IT. I like to sweat, I like to challenge myself, and I get straight up irritable when I miss a few days. After a few months of slacking, I knew I had to suck it up and get something going.
There are just two problems with me as a Fitness Anything. First, in college I did a lot of sprints, pole vault drills, and lifting every week – all things that aren’t necessarily available to me on the day-to-day. Yes, all Air Force gyms have a weight room…but ugh I do not want to share the weights with those gorillas. I like to interact with other people AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.
Second, I get bored. Very easily.
In my four years since graduation, I’ve tried just about every type of physical activity: olympic lifting, cardio, lifting AND cardio, HIIT workouts, running long distance, running short distance, yoga, walking, light-weight-and-machine lifting, and intramural sports. See below for my BRIEF stint of marathon-running. After a while, I concluded that I don’t have a “thing” – I just have THE thing that I’m into at the moment. Right now, my thing is hot yoga.
Let me preface this with, if you haven’t tried hot yoga – YOU MUST. It is SO hard, SO rewarding, and SO doesn’t involve aligning chakras and breathing exercises (nothing wrong with those, but I like to sweat). You also get a free week at Corepower when you sign up, so you can try a few classes before you commit to paying for it.
I’m a big fan of the Corepower classes called “C2” and “Yoga Sculpt,” which are offered multiple times a day and therefore, are easy to fit into my schedule. C2 is a heated, fast-flowing class with just a little bit of core – guaranteed to make you drip with sweat. Yoga Sculpt, on the other hand, is done with weights and involves yoga poses AND squats/arms/abs/a cardio session. I feel like dying every time but…in a good way.
The membership is kinda expensive, so I don’t let myself miss more than 2 days in a row. (When I was on break in Minnesota, I still managed to go 2 out of 4 days!) Additionally, I REFUSE to give up sleep for anything – I’m in bed by 10 and up no earlier than 5:30, so I have to juggle studying with the 1.5-2 hrs to get to the yoga studio, do an hour-long class, go home, and shower. But the variety of class times and close proximity to my home have made it fairly easy.
Sometimes I go at 6 am; sometimes I do a 5:30 or 7 pm. And sometimes, it just doesn’t work and I make myself go run a mile or two BEFORE eating a sleeve of girl scout cookies.
Balance, am I right?
I had a tough time transitioning from intercollegiate athlete to normal person athlete, and AGAIN going back to a full school schedule without track practice. But prioritizing my health made a huge difference during first semester – I was less tired than some of my classmates, more engaged in class and less dependent on coffee, missed no class due to illness or sleepless nights, and wasn’t totally burned out by finals period. It’s an ongoing struggle to use my time wisely and fit everything into a tight schedule, but I’m determined to keep it going.