Great eight: Highlighting perfection in fit to fight
Senior Master Sgt. Terry McCabe (center), runs with Maj. Jeff Prindle (right) and Chief Gordan Caviness of 916th Security Forces. Sergeant McCabe was one of eight Airmen associated with the 916th to earn a perfect score on the new fit to fight test in 2010. (USAF courtesy photo)
by Maj. Shannon Mann
916th Public Affairs Office
1/21/2011 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Eight names grace the list. That's not many considering more than 1,400 were eligible.
Their stories and backgrounds are relatively different, but one accomplishment makes them the same. They all achieved a perfect score on the new fit to fight test.
For the two active-duty, 911th Air Refueling Squadron members on the list, achieving excellence is just what they do... what they've done.
Lt. Col. Dave Pike, operations officer and Senior Master Sgt. Dan Michener, operations superintendent, don't know that anything less than perfection is an option.
"I strive to reach the maximum points. I don't know the minimum score, only the max," said 47-year-old Sergeant Michener.
Both he and the lieutenant colonel have been maxing out the test for years.
"I kept my perfect streak alive--whew," said 37-year-old Colonel Pike. "I have never not maxed an Air Force Fit Test."
While both maintain active workout regimes that include the track and gym at least four times a week, they both commented that the required form for the pushups on the new test was more challenging.
"I worked on strict pushup form for five to six weeks prior to ensure I could do those right," said Lt. Col. Pike.
Tech. Sgt. Dave Durning, 567th RED HORSE Squadron, said he didn't do anything different in preparation for the test. "If you train for it you will pass, not everyone is going to get a 100, but 75 is reachable," he said.
The 43-year-old Durning believes that excelling at the test is part of his job with the Air Force Reserve. "I never got good grades in school, so I had to excel somewhere," he said. "Lead by example."
The oldest member of the group, Senior Master Sgt. Terry McCabe, 916th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply superintendant, echoed the sentiments of excellence and training.
"The key is to have an understanding when you start your workout plan, not at the last minute," said the-50-year-old Sergeant McCabe. "Make sure you understand your numbers on the fitness chart. Understand how to perform the proper sit-up and pushup and start training at least six months prior to your test if you don't normally workout."
All four men combined core strength training with cardio workouts to achieve their maximum results. Lt. Col. Pike said that he also maintains a strict diet to ensure peak performance.
"I believe that athletic performance is 80% diet and 20% smart training," he said. "Keeping carbs, protein and fat in a 40-30-30 ratio, trying to eat mostly organic foods, staying away from too many processed foods or fake sweeteners, and supplementing with 2000 mg of pharmaceutical grade fish oil are my "secret" weapons making up the 80% part."
They all agree that diet and exercise have to be a part of one's daily life to pass, and excel, at the fitness test.
"Exercise and diet are both a life style change," said Sergeant Michener. "I tired of constantly gaining and losing weight, the cycle continued for 10 years. I found that the more I ran the less I hated the activity."
While not everyone is as disciplined as these Airmen, Sergeant Durning knows that fitness is a personal choice and a goal that can be accomplished. "The body will do anything the mind tells it," he said.
Editor's note: In addition to these four Airmen, Col. James Hurley, Mission Support Group commander, Capt. Donnie Shelton, 77th Air Refueling Squadron, Capt. Matthew Lynch, Operations Group, and Staff Sgt. William Dunn, Aircraft Maintenance Generation Squadron, all achieved perfect scores. Their ages ranged from 31- to 50-years-old.
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