Proaction-- key to AF Fitness success

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Olufemi Owolabi
  • 65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Lajes Field's physical training scores lead in U.S. Air Forces in Europe with a 97.04 percent pass rate, according to Col. Dave Parr, 65th Air Base Wing vice commander.

However, physical fitness doesn't come easily to everyone.

The ultimate responsibility falls on every Airman to learn the proper way of executing the three fitness components, because it could later become a boomerang to one's career.

Staff Sgt. Alohilani Perry-Peters, 65th Medical Group diagnostic imaging technologist, did not pass her fitness assessment last year, and she had to stand in front of her commander and supervisor to explain why.

Despite working out regularly, Perry-Peters went from being able to do 30 push-ups in a minute to performing less than ten, when a Lajes Fitness Assessment Cell staff member administered the test.

In compliance with Air Force instructions, the test coordinator personally demonstrated the proper push-ups and sit-ups prior to administering the test.
It was then Perry-Peters realized most of her push-ups wouldn't count, and she'd been doing them wrong all along.

"It was a very frustrating experience when I failed my PT test, more specifically the push-up component," Perry-Peters said.

The mother of two gave up on some extracurricular activities and continued pushing herself with more rigorous workouts. She worked out twice a day for four hours, with two hours in the morning in the Lajes Reconditioning Program, known as RECON, and two hours after work.

"I worked out six times a week; I took one day off," she said.

Despite failing because of the push-ups, she intensified her cardio and leg workouts, and she added more weights. She also sought help.

"Tech. Sgt. Tammy Butler helped me a lot," Perry-Peters said. "Sergeant Butler helped me mentally and physically. She mentored me every step of the way, until it came to my PT test. I noticed a change when I was working out with her because her workout was geared towards my weak areas (core and leg) versus focusing on just upper body and push-ups. She really paid attention to my body."

Even the Lajes leadership and her supervisor stepped in to support her. Her supervisor ensured Perry-Peters worked out during lunch and conducted a mock test. The flight commander and her first sergeant would go to her office to do push-ups with her. Most times, they would challenge her to a push-up contest.

To crown it all, the wing commander, Col. Jose Rivera, showed up on the day of her recent PT test to provide moral support.

"Colonel Rivera and Chief Dowler ran half way with me on the last lap," she said. "And my friend Sergeant Robinson finished my last lap with me."

She passed the test, scoring 88.4 percent and performing 29 correct push-ups.

Perry-Peters still continues her workout routine and, as a Hawaii native, said she plans to run the Honolulu Marathon in the future.

"I strongly believe physical readiness is important to the Air Force mission," she said. "In order to get the job done at home and in deployed locations, we need to be mentally and physically fit, and the physical fitness program is one of the ways to achieve this."

Her advice to members going through a similar experience is, "be truthful to yourself and do not give up. I had to be true to myself and swallow my pride and ask for help," Perry-Peters said. "My family is my biggest support group, and it's because of them I didn't give up. I realized that this was just another hurdle in my life that I had to conquer. I needed to focus on the task at hand and press on."

She considers herself "blessed to have been stationed here" because of all the support from Team Lajes.