Warrior ethos puts will to test

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- It is important for us as warriors to put our physical fitness test in proper perspective. Airmen need to be physically able to do their job, and currently the Air Force measures their fitness with a simple test.

This article is not to debate if the current test actually gives an accurate indication of fitness but more importantly the attitude with which we approach it. Attitude is everything.

With the Air Force slimming down, a competitive attitude is going to demand peak performance to achieve the best results. Moreover, if Airmen approach this test as a go, no-go evaluation, Airmen might not get the desired end results.

First, let me get one thing straight. I am not a doctor. You should always consult a physician when you start a fitness program. All I am offering is some information to steer Airmen in the right direction in learning the difference between muscular discomfort and serious injury. It's important to find the balance between running through the fatigue and developing a competitor's mindset.

Running is tough and Airmen will endure some discomfort to complete the test. However, Airmen have an obligation to train how we fight and not fall victim to a mindset to quit quickly. On lap four, a person's body will scream for them to stop and they will want to stop. The body will be tired and will tell the mind to quit, but this is a decision point. A warrior's mindset is to push through the battle between "I will" and the "I won't," or  "I will push through" or "I won't." The discomfort should be expected and the decision to continue on regardless should be the attitude we develop. It takes dedicated training to break through the wall.

Some may say that "it is just a physical training test." I believe PT is more than that. Those of you who did high school or college sports can attest that you learned valuable lessons through those experiences. It was more than just a game. You developed a work ethic, discipline, a team mentality and a "never quit" attitude. So when it comes to your PT test, it is more than just push-ups, sit-ups and six laps. It is an arena where the "wills" are in intense competition. It is an opportunity to condition your mind to push through. It is a venue through which resiliency and discipline can be developed. So "will" you or "won't" you?