Personal fitness: What is it?

A 56th Fighter Wing Airman runs laps at the base track for morning physical training as the sun starts to peek over the horizon. Airmen have accepted the Air Force policy of being “fit to fight” and Luke Air Force Base is an example of a base adapting to the fitness culture. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Wolfe)

A 56th Fighter Wing Airman runs laps at the base track for morning physical training as the sun starts to peek over the horizon. Airmen have accepted the Air Force policy of being “fit to fight” and Luke Air Force Base is an example of a base adapting to the fitness culture. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Wolfe)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Sure, anyone can crack open a dictionary and read that fitness is "the state of being fit" but really, what is fitness? 

Luke Air Force Base fitness gurus would say there's more to fitness than being fit; and fitness is only one part of the process in achieving this "state of being fit." 

"Personal fitness is an individual thing, whether you're training for a particular sport, for next year's CrossFit Games or to pass your physical training test," said Sherri Biringer,
56th Force Support Squadron Fitness Center recreation aide. "There has to be a driving factor. It can be a medical thing or just to look better. It's different for everyone." 

Ms. Biringer believes nutrition is equally important as physical exercise in the process of becoming fit. 

"Nutrition is the other half of personal fitness," Ms. Biringer said. "You have to remember, your body is your vehicle in life. The cleaner you feed it and the better you take care of it, the longer it will run with less of a chance of a breakdown. Some examples of clean foods are lean meats, fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds, and water. Stay away from refined foods like white sugar and flour." 

For many, properly fueling the body is often harder than finding time to exercise, according to Ms. Biringer. "Nutrition is so hard in our fastpaced life," she said. "It seems easier to run through the drive-thru than to cook a well-balanced meal. Once we learn how to make our meals with the right ingredients and right portion size, it becomes second nature. Guidance is the key." 

Staff Sgt. Gabriel Phillips, 56th FSS fitness trainer says, to him, fitness is being in the best shape possible to complement what a person does in his or her daily life. 

"It varies for different people," he said. "For me, fitness is all about how I feel when I get up in the morning and what I see when I look in the mirror." 

While some people link physical fitness to a sense of well being and having energy and vitality, Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit founder, prefers a definition of fitness that can be backed by a mathematical formula developed and used by several CrossFit professionals. 

"Fitness is work capacity measured across broad time and mortal domains," he said. "[It's] how much force you can move, what distance and in how much time while doing a multitude of different things from short duration to long duration. [Fitness] is something that can readily be graphed so that you end up with a visual of your output. That's the power output. A mathematical formula empirically determines the measurement." 

Whether a person's definition of fitness is a mathematical formula or how they feel when they get out of bed in the morning, the Luke Fitness Center personnel are available to help Thunderbolts develop a training routine that works for them. 

For more information about classes offered or personal training assistance, call the fitness center at (623) 856-6241.