Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

May 3, 2011 at 4:59am

Group fitness classes help 446th Reservists get fit to fight

Tech. Sgt. Ed Callahan, 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, McChord Field, Wash., leads a group of fellow Reservists in calisthenics and cardio exercises during a group exercise class at the base track on April 30, 2011. Sergeant Callahan is one of the l

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Reservists with the 446th Airlift Wing are not just encouraged to stay physically fit, it's one of the basic requirements for serving in the Air Force Reserve. Being able to incorporate regular physical activity into an already demanding work and family life can be a major challenge. That's why members of the 446th Force Support Squadron recently spearheaded the formation of group fitness classes to help wing members pass their PT test. 

Fitness improvement group exercise classes are now held twice every UTA Saturday with the main goal of helping Reservists pass their biannual fitness test. The class has been experiencing a rapidly growing number of participants since its formation in January. 

"We're held to the same fitness standard as active duty," said Capt. Vanessa Balint, 446th FSS Operations Officer. "This is our way to do what we can in the limited time we have during UTA weekends."

Captain Balint, a certified group exercise instructor, was instrumental in developing the group exercise class. She also helped seek out several highly qualified fellow Reservists to serve as physical training leaders. The results have been impressive. At the end of fiscal year 2010, roughly 60 percent of Reservists within the wing held "unsatisfactory" scores on their fitness test. 

"I knew we needed to do something to help our people that were failing," said Tech Sgt. Ed Callahan, a Reservist with the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and a wing fitness instructor who was sought out by Captain Balint. 

The latest results as of April 28 show only 19 percent of Reservists are in "unsatisfactory" status.

Sergeant Callahan, a certified personal trainer, is one of the lead instructors for the group exercise class. He leads Reservists through various workout routines including circuit training, calisthenics, speed work and various cardio exercises. He also tries to be a valuable fitness resource for fellow Reservists, offering tips and tricks to anyone that needs a helping hand. 

"Fitness is a passion of mine that has carried over from my time in the Marine Corps," said the Wenatchee, Wash. native and full-time nursing student. 

Since the classes began in January, Captain Balint said she's already received positive feedback.

"I've received about 15 emails telling me how great Ed's class was," she said. 

The instructors say they want to keep the classes fun and upbeat, even though many Reservists are mandated to be there until they improve their fitness scores.

"We're not just going to run a mock fitness test," said Capt. Carrianne Culy, 446th FSS wing fitness instructor and certified personal trainer. "Instead, we'll try to focus on targeted activities involving upper and lower body that will help us pass the fit test."

For those interested in attending, classes are held every UTA Saturday at 5:30 a.m. at the main gym, and again at 3 p.m. at the outdoor track. A nutrition and weight management class is also being held every other UTA Sunday in Bldg 1207 at 8:30 a.m.

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