Future Airman Aunie of
|Authorized? Yes. Smart? Debatable. [Source]|
This is a biggie, folks! I don’t expect BMT to start issuing you black socks for PT gear, but it’s nice to know that you have that option now for the future, if you prefer black socks. Just earlier this month when I was taking my test, I was reminded by my supervisor that my socks had to be white or I would not be allowed to test.
As for athletic shoes, this should hopefully put many of you at ease and minimize the number of “Are these shoes ok?” questions that start flying around the web. Use some common sense though. BMT is probably not the time to debut these fabulous New Balance 890V3s. Save your loudest pair of kicks for that half marathon when you come home, and find a more subdued pair in the meantime. Remember that even though they might be authorized, you’re not going to want the attention that they bring to you by the MTIs. Be smart. Color is fine, but don’t go overboard.
This may or may not affect you at tech school, depending on the rules enforced by your squadron. This definitely won’t apply to you while at BMT. While at Keesler (back in 2011), we were not allowed to have our phone on our person during the duty day. The biggest change here is that if you’re not wearing your cell phone on your waistband or visible on a purse, then the case can be any color. If your phone is visible, you must adhere to the limitations of the case color as described above. Pretty simple to follow.
If you want read about the other changes to the AFI, which won’t likely affect you until you become permanent party, you can read a concise description here.
Aiming high and making a comeback! Was that too much of a tip-off about the subject of this post? Oh well, if you’ve been following me on my The FAC staff won’t tell you your total score. You sign off on your sheet, but must either calculate the score on your own or look back online later once they’ve entered it. When I was trying to get a quick calculation on my own later, I was shocked to realize that, holy crap, I think I may have gotten a 90! Sure enough, my final score was a 91.20! If that’s not reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is! Going from an unsatisfactory to an excellent after having a baby? Game on! Quick recap – a score below 75 is a failure (as well as if you don’t meet the minimums in each category), between 75 and 90 is a satisfactory and requires a retest in six months, and a score above a 90 is an excellent and doesn’t require a retest for another year.
Needless to say, I pigged out at lunch. What you don’t see on my DFAC tray is the ice cream sandwich behind that red sports drink and the second cookie. 😉 Yes, yes I did! And I deserved it!
The new strategy I tried for this test? Stopping short of the minute time limit during the pushups and sit-ups. I had heard it from someone else, the idea that you should figure out on your charts when it’s “not worth it” it to proceed further because of the point values, for the sake of saving your energy. After 23 pushups and 40 sit-ups for me, it required too many more repetitions to get the next point, so I just stopped and saved my energy. Let me warn you – don’t try this strategy at BMT. This is more one for the operational AF, since the MTIs will be yelling at you if you stop short versus giving it your all until the very end.
Hope you had a great weekend! Keep positive when thinking about your PT tests – if I can do it, you can do it! Take time to encourage each other too. During each step of the way, I tried to keep my wingmen motivated to meet their own goals. We all need our cheerleading sections!
|Source: Enlisted on FOX|
When the promotions team from the new FOX show Enlisted reached out to me to check out their new show, I jumped at the opportunity. I’d seen a preview or two on the TV, and had a good feel for what to expect. I finally had the opportunity over my winter break to sit down and watch four uncut, preliminary episodes, including the pilot. The show started a bit slow for me, as I was wrangling my daughter, but as I kept at it I found that I really enjoyed it. What was even more surprising was that DH was just as transfixed by the program, which had him laughing through numerous comedic moments. Whoa there! My husband is a hard man to please when it comes to military-based shows, being a veteran of three branches of service. Media representations of the military that fall short annoy him, and he can’t see past inaccuracies to buy into the plot, no matter how well written. He used to roll his eyes and make negative comments when I would settle in with Army Wives on the DVR.
|Source: J. Boone Pooler Photography|
Not everyone enlists in the military with a background in running or a passion for running. I know I didn’t. I couldn’t run a solid mile when I first started. The reality is, running is 60% of your PT score. If that freaks you out and/or you have testing anxiety, this post is aimed at you and how to better prepare yourself mentally and physically for the running portion of your fitness assessment. Please keep in mind that I am not an athletic trainer/coach and/or a doctor. These are some things that have worked for me and may just work for you!
- Find a track. Ideally, find a standard, artificial turf track in your local area, like at your nearest high school. One lap is a quarter mile, and six laps will give you that 1.5 mile distance that you’re required to do for your PT test. Start practicing on that track. I find that when I hit a track after not being on one for a while, I get really anxious. I like to train for my PT test on an actual track to help reduce the anxiety on testing day.
- Start easy. It’s really easy when you’re nervous to take off way faster than you’re comfortable with. Start off at a comfortable pace. Most running sources recommend that you be able to talk while running to determine if you’re pushing yourself at an appropriate level. If you can’t talk, you’re overexerting yourself. Heads up, the MTIs will try to tell you differently.
- Focus on form. If it’s a day where I’m exhausted and not running at my normal/fastest pace, I slow it down and think about my form versus thinking about how slow/fast I’m running. Practice working on your form so that it becomes natural for you.
- Hydrate. This goes without saying and you’ll get it hammered into you at BMT. You need to hydrate. Not the day of your run either, the day prior. The hydration you do the day before affects your performance the next day. Keep that in mind if you’re training heavily.
- Pace yourself. See if you can make it around the track in 2:15. If you can keep up that pace, you’re in good shape. That’s the time of the timed run down at BMT. If you have a hard time of gauging this, go ahead and grab a buddy to run with you. During a PT test in the operational AF, it is permissible to have a pacing buddy to keep you motivated and to help you keep time. If you can’t do it just yet, go as slow as you need to, just don’t stop running. That’s the biggest thing, since once you start walking down at BMT, the MTIs are all over you. It’s easier to pick up the pace from a slow jog than it is to start running again after you’ve been walking.
- Mind over music. While MP3 players are allowed in the operational AF while testing, you will not be allowed to listen to any music while at BMT. That may be an adjustment for you if you typically use music to relax or motivate yourself while running. I used the time while running at BMT to think about my goals, envision myself running races back home, or to “race” the person just ahead of me and see if I could get past them. Keep your mind busy, it’s some of the only time you have to think.
- Countdown to finish. Being a mathematician, I like to spend my time on the track calculating just how much more I have left. Rather than thinking of each lap as “I just finished my 3rd,” I mentally say to myself, “I’m on my 4th!” It’s the little things for me, mentally. Here’s how I break it down while on the track:
- 1.5 Laps – 25% down!
- 2 Laps – 1/3 of the way done!
- 3 Laps – Halfway done!
- 4 Laps – 2/3 of the way done!
- 4.5 Laps – 75% done!
- Treat your feet. I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating. If you can afford to purchase a new pair of shoes before you leave, do it. Go to a local running shop and get properly fitted for running shoes based upon your gait and foot strike. Break them in before you go down to BMT. Your feet will thank you.
Happy New Year! Three years ago, I made the decisions to contact a recruiter and begin the process to serve my country. I made January 1st my suspense date, and held myself accountable.
Perhaps you’re in that same position this year. There’s so many factors up in the air during this process. Will they have a position for you? Will you get a high enough score on your ASVAB? Will your medical history hold you back? Will they find something wrong with you at MEPS?
One thing you can and must do is to get in shape, if you’re not already. Not a runner (like me when I started – I couldn’t do a mile nonstop at this altitude )? Well, it’s time to become one! Being in good physical shape is a requirement for the military, and plus, it’s going to make your life much easier while at BMT if you go in there with some level of conditioning under your belt.
Not sure what to do or where to get started? If you’re one of those individuals that needs a plan that you can follow, versus trying to come up with something on your own, you’re in luck!
Designed for those already in the Air Force, the Fit For Duty program of conditioning is meant to prepare you for your fitness assessment.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas, the Air Force way! You know, that involves Chuck Norris, naturally. Can’t knock one of the most famous Airmen around! Aim High, Chuck! I love me a
C-17 C-5 too! [Thanks Bryan for calling me out on that one!]
I often see folks wondering what to get their favorite Airman for graduation from BMT. Trust me, your mere presence at graduation weekend is a gift enough! Your freshly minted Airman is thankful to have you there to celebrate their accomplishments and take them out for a real meal on the town. Remember, they haven’t been able to eat a meal in peace and at their leisure in weeks, let alone indulge in dessert, most likely.
That being said, if you’re wanting to drop some coin, I’m here to help with some ideas to get you started!
**My favorite gift couldn’t be included in the collage above, but it’s worth a look. The Airman Legacy Paver. For $55 you can have a personalized paver on the bomb run at Lackland AFB. The pavers that your Airman will march over during parade? Very significant, very meaningful. This is where your Airman’s career started – help them make their mark. These pavers support the construction and development of the Airman Heritage Museum.**
Garmin Forerunner 210 – This is a GPS watch for running that also monitors your heart rate. I have a similar watch for my own training, and they’re fantastic. I purposefully selected this watch because it is all black, meaning your Airman could wear it while in uniform as well. That next PT test will be here before you know it, and why not keep the momentum going, since your Airman is probably in fantastic shape right now!
Air Force Wreath – This may seem a little different, but what about an AF wreath to show some pride at home? If your Airman has already bought everything they need/want and you need to think a little out of the box, this is a great way to tastefully fly your colors at home.
AF Museum Membership – Is your Airman more culturally minded, or upholding a long family tradition of AF/military services? What about an annual membership to the National Museum of the United States Air Force? Even if they can’t make it out to Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, that often, they would still appreciate receiving their quarterly journal and supporting the preservation of our history.
3 Day Pass Bag – This is a fantastic backpack that will serve your Airman well whether they’re toting study materials around their tech school base or their gear once permanent party. I purposefully picked black (versus the ABU style that I own) because it’s not only cheaper but more versatile. Solid black bags must be worn/carried when a member is wearing their blues. Tons of storage, tons of organization, this is a solid buy and can be personalized if you buy a name tape to go across the front.
ABU iPad Case – If your Airman is an Apple-lover, they’ll enjoy this iPad case. It’s a trifold style with slots for a pen/stylus and cards. Your iPad is zippered into its section and there’s a microfiber cleaning pad included. The trifold style allows you to prop it up for viewing and you can personalized it with a name tape across the front. I bought this for my iPad and my DH quickly commandeered it. With so many maintainers using iPads now, this is a great option.
Challenge Coin Rack – You’d be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate challenge coins while in the military. I have always loved these AF logo shaped racks, and the open top allows them to accommodate irregularly shaped coins. Keep in mind that your Airman will need desk/table space to accommodate this item, as it is not a wall-mountable rack.
Harley AF Pin-Up Pilsner – The AF crowd is no stranger to a craft beer, as you’ll soon learn. If your Airman is also a Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiast they’ll really get a kick out of this pin-up pilsner set. Just remember that they’re not allowed to drink until tech school, and only if they’re of legal age and not in uniform/not during the duty day.
AF Toiletry Bag – Another recommendation from personal experience, this toiletry bag is perfect for vacation or a short TDY. Tons of pockets and organization loops inside, this has a hanging hook and a mirror inside. Ladies, you’ll love the elastic loops on the inside for makeup brushes and other small items. I can get out of town with just this one toiletry bag, rather than having a separate bag for makeup. Again, buy a plain name tape to slip in the front to personalize!
New Boots – Chances are, your Airman will be ready to ditch their issued boots once they finish BMT in favor of a more comfortable pair. The two pairs shown are mine and DH’s boots of choice. As a maintainer, he loves these Reeboks with their side-zip and composite toes for safety. Easy on, easy off, no lacing required, and a sturdy, comfortable sole for all day on the flightline. While I’m not on my feet all day like he is, these Rocky boots are comfortable, have great traction for our snowy conditions, and offer great padding through the shaft of the boot.
Keep in mind that your Airman will have very limited space and restrictions on what they can bring along to tech school. Worse come to worst, you can always mail items to them at their tech school location.