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One unit's PT boot camp gets results

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- What started less than two years ago as an innovative way to stay in shape, has evolved into a physical fitness tool for Airmen at the headquarters of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency here.

The agency's physical training boot camp recently capped its three-phased Fit to Fight initiative with a marked improvement in the PT test scores of participants. 

In the nine-month period just prior to the PT boot camp, the agency improved its pass rate by 14 percent, from 78.2 to 92.3, according to officials.

"We were dedicated to continuing our progress," said 1st Lt. Laura Newberg, the project officer for Fit to Fight III. "So we came up with innovative ideas and challenging events to peak everyone's interest."

The motivational boot camp targeted AFISRA members who previously scored 80 or below on their physical fitness tests, she said. The boot camp was augmented by a series of competitive obstacle course events featuring a tire rolling course, push-up/sit-up area, wounded wingman carry and a low-crawl area, among others.

Agency directorates competed in the events each quarter to promote healthy living and to earn bragging rights associated with the AFISRA Commander's Cup.

Phase III was the culmination of the Fit for Life program, and followed phase II, which focused on the fitness test itself and began in January 2010.

More than 350 agency headquarters members, including AFISRA Commander Maj. Gen. Bradley Heithold, combined to do 606,675 push-ups (which equals lifting 400 B-2 bombers), 717,776 sit-ups (more than 100 sit-ups per person on Lackland Air Force Base) and ran 28,204 miles (nearly 21 trips across Afghanistan).

The Fit to Fight vision took shape in August 2009 with phase I -- Commit to be Fit, Lieutenant Newberg said. The goal then was for the agency to shed 500 pounds by Thanksgiving. Each of the 310 participants pledged the number of pounds they thought they could lose.

After three months of monitoring everyone's weight, a total of 2,294 pounds was lost, or more than five times the pledged amount, she said.

"I'm very pleased with the success of our program," General Heithold said. "I'm convinced we started this at the right time. By holding ourselves to standards and leading from the front, we have an excellent assessment pass rate and I know we'll continue to excel."

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