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Being fit for your career

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Now that the new fitness program has been in place for over a year, we are truly beginning to see the fallout of those who have tested unsuccessfully.

These failures are impacting career progression and opportunities as well as preventing some of our brightest Airmen from continuing their service.

Making smart decisions on everyday choices can make a difference at the fitness  assessment and in our careers.

Be wise about fitness by beginning with the end in mind. Determine what you want to do  and establish realistic goals that are specific and measurable, e.g. running 1.5 miles in  10:30 in six months.

Striving for something tangible may give us that little lift of motivation on those sluggish  days. Utilize our resources, such as the Health and Wellness Center, to help customize a fitness program. They can help us avoid an injury setback, as well as break down our goals into incremental milestones that we can enjoy along the way.

In addition, the Fitness Center has a wide variety of equipment, classes and programs to aid in fitness improvement. Actively engage each workout. Make the decision to reach inside and push a little more towards the goal each time.

Even if the unit PT is not coordinated with your specific goal, find ways to maximize the benefits of your effort - think "cross-training" day.

Finally, don't discount the overall effects of nutrition on fitness. It is not about finding the latest diet; it is about making better decisions about healthy behaviors.

Small choices such as eating a healthy breakfast instead of skipping it makes a significant difference in how we perform on the track and in the workplace. With the competing demands of our career and personal lives, finding time to exercise on a regular basis can be tough.

However, we must remember as Airmen that we are the most important asset of the U.S. Air Force.

Maintaining a high level of fitness is more than passing the test, it is a lifestyle change and commitment to ensure constant readiness - vital to mission success.