Faces of Fitness

Master Sgt. Frank Lubas, 17th Training Support Squadron, forces another teeth-clenching pullup during the Commander’s Challenge fitness competition June 1 at the base track and field. Master Sgt. Lubas finished first among male competitors with 21 pullups, earning a two-day pass. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Randy Mallard)

Master Sgt. Frank Lubas, 17th Training Support Squadron, forces another teeth-clenching pullup during the Commander’s Challenge fitness competition June 1 at the base track and field. Master Sgt. Lubas finished first among male competitors with 21 pullups, earning a two-day pass. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Randy Mallard)

Tech. Sgt. Tenny Sharp, 316th Training Squadron, cranked out 179 crunches to go along with the 86 pushups she pumped out at the challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Randy Mallard)

Tech. Sgt. Tenny Sharp, 316th Training Squadron, cranked out 179 crunches to go along with the 86 pushups she pumped out at the challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Randy Mallard)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- "Fit to fight" has become more than just another catch phrase in today's Air Force; it's become a way of life. Gone are the days of passing your PT test without having a regular fitness plan in your daily routine--it's absolutely critical to not only getting a passing score, it can save your life in a combat situation.

Merely passing the PT test shouldn't be the only reason people work out; there are obvious health reasons and benefits to incorporating exercise and healthy eating into one's life. And now the 17th Training Wing offers one more reason for people to excel at the PT...to claim bragging rights in the Commander's Challenge fitness competition.

The first challenge was held June 1 between the 17th Training Support Squadron and the 316th Training Squadron. Teams consisting of four males and one female met at 6 a.m. at the wing PT pad to begin the grueling challenge. Master Sgt. Frank Lubas, first sergeant for the 17 TRSS, got the idea for the program from a similar one he participated in earlier on his career. Perhaps his familiarity with the program attributed to the TRSS claiming victory, but the team of five pulled out some impressive results.

The requirements for the challenge are way more intense than the standard PT test. Participants are given five minutes to do each of three types of exercises prior to completing a three-mile run. The three exercises were pull-ups, push-ups and crunches. Most people didn't use the entire five minutes for pull-ups, but they really pushed it to the limits with the other two exercises and used all of their time.

The clear stand-out from the timed exercises was Tech. Sgt. Tenny Sharp from the 316 TRS who managed to complete 179 crunches, surpassing all of her competitors. She said she participated in the challenge to see where she stood compared to last year's numbers, although she claims weight lifting, not running has contributed to her high level of fitness.

"I attribute my fitness level to my squadron's PT program and lifting weights three times a week," she said. "I think it's important for all of us as Airmen to be in shape because we are in the military and the probability of deploying is pretty high."

After completing the timed exercises, the teams made their way to the base perimeter road to embark on the three-mile run.

After completing the run, the results were tallied and the winner was the 17 TRSS.
The winners received one or two-day passes depending upon their scores. Not all the athletes were there to compete.

There were several people participating in the challenge just to test themselves and see where they stood alongside the actual competitors. One such person was Staff Sgt. Sarah Sullivan, who came out to see just what she was capable of and finished in pretty good shape. She said she wanted to see how much people could really push themselves.

"Our squadron is going to take our PT up a notch," she said. "And this seems to be a good incentive. When you are doing your regular test, most people will stop when they reach their maximum points, but here there was no maximum. Five minutes is a long time to do as many pull-ups or crunches as you can and I like to see people really push themselves." 

And push they did, according to Lt. Col. Robert Ehlers, commander of the 17 TRSS.
"This was a hard-fought and very enjoyable competition. I saw a group of warriors out there today, living the warrior ethic, giving everything they had," he said. "I look forward to seeing more contenders at future Commander's Challenges."

If squadrons are interested in participating in the next Commanders Challenge, they should call Master Sgt. Lubas at 654-5240 by Aug. 1. The next challenge is set for Sept. 7.