My transformation

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark Koehler
  • 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief
When I was asked to write something about my recent fitness success story, I was not sure how to approach the subject.

Obviously I did a lot of hard work and sacrificed my time to get in better shape, but that is no different than any other person.

I believe that my success is derived from mental resolve. I chose to succeed and better myself for myself, not just for the Air Force physical fitness program. I believe that is the key in my story.

On April 14, 2010, I had to take my physical fitness test prior to deploying to Southwest Asia from May to July. I had prepared for the test a little, but assumed that I would pass the test with a little better than the minimum score. I had reasons like everyone else why I could not work out more such as: work, family, community involvement and everything else we all face.

The truth is, I did not prepare myself the way one should for a test of this magnitude. I left my future as an Airman in the balance resting on my, "I always do the job when it needs to get done mindset."

I had always achieved success in my career and felt this day would be the same. I ended up failing my PT test by .05 of a point. I felt enraged that I had not succeeded, and I even disputed the count of a single push-up with the monitor. I went home and thought to myself, "How I could have let this happen?"

I decided at that moment I would take steps to better myself and never allow myself to be in a situation that I did not control my fitness test.

At the time, my PT statistics were roughly: 35 years old, 70.5 inches tall, 226 pounds, 38.75 inch waist and a 14-minute and 26-second mile and half. These statistics led me to score a 74.95 percent on my PT test. Looking back on it, this is not a person who is prepared to take at PT test and succeed.

I came up with a program on my own to drastically improve my score and overall fitness in 90 days. This would coincide with my deployment to Southwest Asia, and when I returned, guarantee success on my next test.

I trained five days a week after work and on the sixth day, I did a light workout and rested on the seventh day. I did all of this after a 12 to14 hour work shift.

I combined simple nutrition with aerobic and strength training. I ran four miles three days a week, and did three-mile intervals two days a week. I did push-ups, sit-ups, flutter kicks, squats, lunges and several other exercises daily. I ate a lot of fruit and vegetables and consumed protein with each meal for muscle recovery. I drank no carbonated beverages, and avoided all wasted calorie snacks.

It was not the most desirable diet, but it was my plan for success. I refused to weigh myself until I got home to keep my spirits high, even if I did not lose any weight. I noticed after a month my run times were steadily going down and my strength exercises kept increasing. After three months, I knew I was in much better shape, but did not know how much they had improved until I got back to McConnell and stepped on the scale at home.

My new PT stats on Aug. 30, 2010, were as follows: 36 years old, 70.5 inches tall 190 pounds, 34-inch waist, and an 11-minute and 56-second mile and a half I scored a 92 on this test even though I had been sick all weekend. I still have a little ways to go to hit my overall one year target of losing a total of 50 pounds, and being able to run the mile and half in under 10 minutes. I continue to run almost 20 miles a week, and do strength training twice a week.

I look at my story as a transformation not only of my physical being, but of my mental outlook. I don't believe that what I did can't be accomplished by everyone else if they choose to succeed.

I no longer buy into the idea of not enough time to work out anymore. In fact, in the time it took to type this word document, I could have run a 5K. I take every opportunity to ask others to join me for a run, before or after work, to ensure I am doing my part to help my fellow wingman so they won't suffer the embarrassment and frustration of a failed PT test. I let everyone I work with know that I will be at the track in the morning if they want to run before work.

All in all, I believe each of us is in control of our fitness and have to look at ourselves first when we fail to succeed and not at circumstances and events around us.