Tag Archives: fitness

Running a Marathon? Last-Minute Tips Before the Big Race

By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Marathon photo
Dr. Mark Cucuzzella during the 2014 Air Force Marathon.

It’s that time of year – marathon time! Some of you might be running your first one, too, which can be daunting. Here are some tips to get you through your final days of prep and to make it to the finish line.

One of the most important things first-time runners need to know: How to use food as fuel correctly.

“To run a marathon, you need to be a butter burner, not a bagel burner. You have to be able to efficiently use fat as fuel,” said Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, the Air Force Marathon’s chief medical consultant.

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What personal readiness means to me

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

One of the biggest challenges facing the Air Force today is maintaining operational readiness and warfighting capabilities to meet the requirements of combatant commanders. The statement above includes many “strategic” words we hear from leadership at commander’s calls and other events, but they should impact every Airman wearing the uniform. All of us are work to accomplish the mission daily, which ensures the Air Force is ready to fight and win the nation’s wars.

Air Force senior leaders have the daunting task of getting us the right equipment and resources to meet and exceed the nation’s expectations. But, as Airmen, we are responsible for getting our personal readiness aligned with our leader’s strategies and vision for the future.

For me, personal readiness encompasses performing my job to the best of my ability and making sure my family and other aspects of my personal life are in order so I’m always ready to deploy or go on temporary duty assignments. This can be a difficult if you try to tackle it all at once, but I’ve found that breaking it down into groups of smaller tasks has helped me more easily manage work and family issues. When you have a plan to sync up your Air Force and personal responsibilities, it will help you reach your goal of attaining personal readiness that’s good for you, your family, the Air Force and the nation.

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Overcoming and avoiding running injuries

By Bill Goins
Kunsan Air Base Health Promotion Program

Readiness in the military is critical to success. Part of being “ready” is being as fit as possible at all times. We never know when we may have to call on our physical fitness to support contingency operations around the world.

One of the most popular ways to improve and maintain our fitness levels is through running. While injuries can occur during all activities, running carries with a few common injuries that must be dealt with appropriately. I’ve compiled a few strategies to help someone overcome common running injuries so they can continue to strive toward their fitness goals.

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100 pounds later: The new me

By Master Sgt. April Lapetoda
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

lapetoda picI never used to push myself physically. Even as a high school athlete, I didn’t feel the drive to push harder. I spent my first 10 years in the Air Force getting by just fine as a smoker who barely exercised. I steadily gained 10 pounds per year during the first four years.

Then, I got pregnant with my first child and gained 70 pounds, and I lost all but 10 without trying.

I hovered around the same weight until four years later when I gained 70 pounds again while pregnant with my second child. This time, the weight didn’t come off. I looked at the scale and realized I had to lose 100 pounds to return to a healthy weight.

I stared at the number each time in disbelief. “Where do I even begin? It’s impossible,” I would think to myself. I didn’t believe in diet pills, and I thought a little bit of physical activity would do the trick.

It didn’t.

I hated for people to see me in my Air Force uniform. I was embarrassed. I knew I didn’t meet standards, and at six months postpartum, I failed my fitness test miserably with a score of 51.

Everyone at work gave me sympathy and assured me I was a “good Airman.” I hated it. I just felt fat and knew I needed to change. The fitness test failure and the desire to show everyone that I didn’t need their sympathy proved to be my turning point.

Fortunately, I was provided with extra gym time. I started going four days per week using my co-workers’ sympathy as fuel. I soon started making time to jog on the weekends as well.

I began to see a change in me. Not just in weight, but in energy and self-esteem. I passed my next fitness test, but I wasn’t done. I knew I could do much better. I began to count calories and practice a more portion-controlled diet. I pushed myself harder in the gym too. On my next fitness test, I scored a 93.8 percent – an excellent score.

There was no turning back at that point. I knew I had to maintain that excellent score, but also find new ways to challenge myself. I did so by running farther — first the Army Ten Miler, then half marathons, and I started incorporating weight training into my routine to increase my strength.

Now, almost five years after I began the change, I’ve kept that 100 pounds off for two years. But, more importantly, I’m in the best physical shape that I’ve ever been in and feel better and healthier. I continue to set new goals to challenge myself.

I’ve maintained an excellent score on my last four Air Force fitness tests. During my deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, I quit smoking. During my current deployment, I was afforded the opportunity to train for and complete a full marathon, which I did. My next goal is to get my half marathon time to less than two hours.

For me, finding new goals and signing up for races helps me stay committed to fitness and allows me to set goals to continue to challenge myself.

I found it within me – not in a pill or weight-loss surgery. Once I began challenging myself, I met every single challenge. I have proven myself to me. There’s no going back.

PHOTO: A before and after photo of Master Sgt. April Lapetoda, who lost 100 pounds and has since completed a marathon and several half marathons. She is the superintendent of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing public affairs office. (Courtesy photos)

DoDLive bloggers roundtable: Healthy Base Initiative

by Meredith March, Defense Media Activity Air Force Production

Air Force Week kicks off in New York City

If we better understand how to make healthy lifestyle choices, will we be more likely to make them?

The Healthy Base Initiative, a recently announced demonstration project for the Defense Department’s Operation Live Well, aims to determine just that.

At a recent DoDLive bloggers roundtable, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and Charles E. Milam, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, revealed that the year-long demonstration project will evaluate 13 installations to design a cohesive program that empowers service members, their families and civilians to take charge of their health by making informed choices.

Many of the services’ and installations’ longstanding programs will be evaluated to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Best practices across participants will be shared with the services for further implementation throughout the force.

“The idea is to reach out into the communities [and] link projects that build health and environments where our men and women in the service and their families and civilians can make healthy choices,” Woodson said.

Because obesity-related health issues not only affect service members’ readiness, but also increase the risk of early military discharge or serious illness, the initiative will emphasize the importance of programs that encourage making informed nutritional food choices, weight management, tobacco cessation, and increased physical activity.

“We hope to … determine which programs really make a difference in bringing down obesity, promoting living healthy lifestyles, and increasing level of fitness,” Milam said.

Listen to the bloggers roundtable audio (MP3)

Learn more about the Healthy Base Initiative.