Hello everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty busy. I had reserve duty this past weekend and on Sunday, a very important test: The Air Force Fitness Assessment also known as the “PT Test”.
For those that are not familiar with the Air Force PT Test, it is broken into 4 components. Waist Measurement (20%), Push-ups (10%), Sit-ups (10%) and a timed 1.5 mile run (60%) for a max total score of 100 points. Score 90 points and above and the member doesn’t have to take the test again for a year. Score 75 to 89 points and the test is taken every 6 months. Below 75 is failing and have to take the re-test within 42 days (active duty) or 3 months (reserve). In order to pass the test, each member is required to meet a minimum standard in each component (varies by age group and gender). If one (or more) of the minimum standards is not met, then the member fails the ENTIRE test even if a passing score is achieved. The reason for this is to emphasize the importance in all components. Years ago, there wasn’t a minimum component standard. Under the old test rules, a member can score well on the waist measurement, do horrible on the push-ups/sit-ups, ace the run and end up passing the test. As you can see, those days are long gone. In recent years, the Air Force has taken a serious stance on fitness. Fail 4 times in a 24 month period, and it’s possible for the member to be discharged. It’s that serious and it’s one of the reasons why I decided to get serious over a year ago.
For the first time in my career, I was not nervous about the test but eager to take it. I had it marked on my calendar to take the test during the October Unit Training Assembly (UTA – it’s the former term for our once a month drill) however I noticed on the unit calendar that I was not scheduled for PT testing. The old me would have let it go and postpone it as long as I could but when I noticed the error, I made sure I was on the list to test this month. I knew going in that I was ready. The last time I took the test was last April where I scored 87.80 points. Here is a breakdown on how I did:
- Waist Measurement: 30 inches/20 points
- Push-Ups: 47/9.10 points
- Sit-Ups: 51/9.50 points
- 1.5 Mile Run: 12:32/49.20
From the time I tested in April up to test day this past Sunday, I ran about 550 miles. I did a little bit of strength training but not as much as I should have. Another thing I did in preparation was I treated the test as a “race”. The night before the race, I usually eat Chinese, Japanese, or Italian cuisine. I ended up eating lasagna on Saturday night. I normally do not eat before the race. When I set a goal, I usually say I just want to do better than my last race PR, even it’s a few seconds. I did the same thing for the test. I could have set a goal of 90 points or above but I would have been happy if I scored 88 points. (I know weird but that’s the way I think)! Finally, I was considering turning on the virtual pacer on my Garmin but I decided at the last minute to keep it turned off.
Before I knew it, it wast test day. The morning temperature was in the mid 40’s. Even with the cooler temperatures, I dressed for the test the way I have been training all summer: shorts and a t-shirt. After we all signed in, the test administrators began with our waist measurements. Now I am small in stature and already knew I was going to pass this part. 20 points. Second, we did our push-ups. We have one minute to perform as many push-ups as possible. I struggled towards the last 15 seconds but I managed to crank out 51 for 9.40 points. Then, we performed our sit-ups. Again, we had one minute. I struggled towards the end but I was able to perform 50 sit-ups for 9.40 points. I passed 3 parts of the Fitness Assessment. I am in pretty good shape. Now came the most important part: the 1.5 mile run. Even though I struggled a bit with the push-ups and sit-ups, I knew my strength was in running.
The run takes place at the outdoor fitness track. Before, I use to hate running 6 times around the track but for some reason, it didn’t bother me this time around. After we were formed and briefed behind the starting line, we began our run. I didn’t think about my pace or pay attention to my watch. I just ran. At first, I was in the middle of the pack but I ended picking up speed and was in the lead group. Each time we completed a lap, the test administrators would yell out our time. I didn’t pay attention. I just ran around the track without thinking about anything. I could tell I was pushing myself because I was hurting slightly and it felt like I was slowing down. Final lap. As I was making the final turn, I literately SPRINTED to the finish line. I crossed the finish line and started a cool down walk. Was I finished already? That does not seem right!
I got my test scores and here is the final results:
- Waist Measurement: 30 inches/20 points
- Push-Ups: 51/9.40 points
- Sit-Ups: 50/9.10 points
- 1.5 Mile Run: 11:23/53.70
TOTAL POINTS: 92.50!!
Yes you read that correctly. I scored over 90 points!! I shaved over a minute my overall run time from April. My average pace was 7:35 per mile, which is the fasted I have recorded to date. This the also highest score I have in achieved in my Air Force career. Since, I have scored over 90 points, I do not have to test again till OCTOBER 2015! Also, since I will be turning 40 next May, I will be in the 40-49 age group. The scoring and standards are adjusted every 10 years. For example, if I were to apply the same test results in the 40-49 age group, my score would be 97%!
I guess you can say I am still shocked of what I accomplished this past Sunday. When I set the goals the way that I do, I end up surprising myself. I remember when I didn’t “study” before my Fitness Assessment and ended up with disastrous results. I could have been kicked out several years ago but was given a second chance. I haven’t failed a PT test since January 2013. When I tested in January 2013 and August 2013, I needed a pacer to help me pass. I haven’t used a pacer this year and will not need one again. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone asked me to pace them for an upcoming PT test. I would consider it an honor to help someone as someone has helped me.
I am glad I made some lifestyle changes in August 2013. It has benefited me personally and helped preserve my Air Force career. I can now check off “Take my Air Force PT Test once a year” on my goals list. I feel confident that if I maintain what I am doing (which I plan too), I’ll be testing once a year till the day I retire from the Air Force! Thanks for reading and allowing me to share with you my latest accomplishment!
Till next time,