An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

It's a Balancing Act

  • Published
  • By Maj. Karen Kramer
  • 380th Expeditionary Medical Group
My boss warned me about the physical training test changes and to prepare for a more rigorous test as the fitness program was going to see significant changes. I never thought twice about what he said as I had always passed my PT test. I had always focused my free time on fitness and had been a good fitness role model for years as a certified Spin Instructor.

As the year quickly passed, time I had previously devoted towards fitness became consumed with long work hours, countless meetings, and excuses for ignoring this part of my life. Fitness was not a priority in my daily routine. I was no longer the positive, energetic leader of fitness. I had not attended squadron or flight PT in months. I had not taught, nor attended, a single spin class in over a year. My certification lapsed and I totally lost my focus on fitness. In fact, I had gained 30 pounds.

It was disheartening to think I had not taken what my boss said seriously a year earlier, and when the time came to take my PT test, I didn't pass. I had not fully embraced the new fitness culture or balanced work with other dimensions of wellness. As such, I began to balance work with a daily fitness regimen. Shortly after this, I received orders to deploy.

A deployment was a chance for me to get back on track, to balance my priorities. This was my opportunity to get back within fitness standards.

During the past five months, I have taught over 80 spin classes and have even led a 450-mile bike race in eight days that inspired and motivated many to go on to take spin classes upon re-deployment. I have lost the 30 pounds I had gained and have scored an excellent on a recent mock fitness assessment.

There are many lessons to be learned from my personal experience. First, fitness is here to stay and our inclusion of it as part of our lifestyle benefits us all. Once an Airman embraces the fitness culture, it simply becomes a part of life and the stress associated with not complying and/or meeting the Air Force standards diminishes. Second, we each need to ensure we balance our lives in a healthy manner. The four dimensions of wellness incorporate physical, social, emotional, and spiritual wellness. If we are out of balance in any of these areas, we are not truly taking care of ourselves, and ultimately, the mission suffers.
I encourage everyone to take an inventory of their own personal wellness and ensure that your life is balanced accordingly.