Get Fit does just that

  • Published
  • By Sarah Olaciregui
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
Master Sgt. Jamie Williams thinks the Air Force has figured it out when it comes to physical fitness. She thinks the new standards really indicate how fit an Airman truly is. But how an Airman gets fit is up to him or her, with a little help from a physical training leader (PTL).

"The Air Force tells everyone how to do everything," she said, "but we need to do a better job in telling them how to work out."

That's where Sergeant Williams' role as a PTL comes in. The service has trained her as a fitness leader and she feels it is her obligation to help people get or stay in shape. She and a group of people, both military and civilian, gather together most Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Fitness Center to "get fit."

"It's not a class," she said. "It's exactly what it's called. It's a group of people getting together to get fit. I'll be at the gym whether other people show up or not. If they do show up, we'll exercise together."

Sergeant Williams takes information she has learned from the Health and Wellness Center (HAWC) and incorporates it into each session.

"People like the obstacle course and boot camp exercises the best," she said. "I try to keep it fun and interesting. It's hard, but people walk out of the gym feeling energized."

Sergeant Williams emphasizes that Get Fit would not be possible if not for the help of the HAWC and Fitness Center.

"If I have an Airman that comes to me with a fitness question that I don't know, I can call up the HAWC and speak to Mr. [Will] Carpenter or Mr. [Dale] Bennett to get some answers. They are a wealth of knowledge."

In addition, the Fitness Center allows the group to have space to work out.

"We always try to be respectful of space at the gym. There may be some days when 30 people show up and we are taking up a room where other people may want to play basketball."

On nice days, Fitness Center employees let the group take cones outside for safety precautions or borrow other equipment to help with their fitness routines.

Sergeant Williams instructs exercises that help endurance so Airmen can run one and a half miles. She focuses on muscular strength to help with pushups. Her main target is core strength exercise which she says can help with all components of the PT test, especially crunches.

"If your core is not strong, nothing else matters," she insists.

She wants everyone to overcome all doubts.

"I want you to know you can do it. I'll help you do more pushups."

So far, the strategy has been successful. Maj. Julie Freilino began Get Fit in June soon after deciding to make a lifestyle change.

"Sergeant Williams is inspirational," said Major Freilino. "She tailors things for each person and she helps you get to a place where you can do things you never thought you could. She changes things each time, and is always doing something different to help us progress even more. I walk out feeling so energized, with greater mental clarity. There's also a sense of camaraderie with all the other people at Get Fit because we accomplished it together."

Senior Airman Stephanie Williams began Get Fit in May after a PT failure. Three months later and 30 pounds lighter, she passed her next test.

"I started going to Get Fit on Mondays and Wednesdays," she said. "The other days of the week I put myself on a strict diet and fitness plan."

Airman Williams said the benefits of the class are much more than being able to pass the next PT test or help increase core strength.

"We all have struggles when it comes to working out," she said. "Get Fit is a good environment to come and not feel judged."

Sergeant Williams makes it a point to make sure everyone who attends Get Fit feels like they belong.

"I won't point anyone out," she said. "I want everyone to have fun. At the end of each class we 'clap that day away.' We all clap to signal another success. We all completed another class together."