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Physical Training Leader program keeps Soldiers, Airmen ready
Sara Tansey, 673d Aerospace Medicine Squadron exercise physiologist, conducts the physical fitness portion of the Physical Training Leader class at the JBER-Elmendorf Fitness Center Oct. 9. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Ty-Rico Lea)
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Physical Training Leader program keeps Soldiers, Airmen ready

Posted 11/7/2013   Updated 11/7/2013 Email story   Print story


by Air Force Staff Sgt. Blake Mize
JBER Public Affairs

11/7/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Physical fitness is a requirement to enter and remain in the military. As careers progress and metabolisms decline, however, maintaining the standards can become more and more challenging.

To ensure all military members on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are able to adhere to physical fitness standards throughout their time here and beyond, the JBER Health and Wellness Center offers the physical training leader program.

"The purpose of the PTL program is to provide safe and effective resources for unit PT and fitness assessments," said Leyla Kelter, director of the JBER HAWC. "Commander-driven physical fitness training is the backbone of the Air Force physical fitness program and an integral part of mission requirements. The program promotes aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility and optimal body composition of each member of each unit."
The process to become a PTL is relatively simple, but does require members to complete certain steps to be considered and become qualified for the duty.

"A PTL is appointed by their unit commander and must be a military member who has received at least at a satisfactory score on their official fitness assessment," Kelter said.
Once a PTL has been selected by their unit commander, the HAWC offers qualification

"They must be certified in basic life saving techniques and they have to have the training on how to conduct official and practice fitness assessments," Kelter said.

These qualifications satisfy the requirements to become a basic PTL, but to lead group physical training and be designated as a 'PTL-A,' additional training is required.

"To become a PTL-A, you also must have, in writing, a commander-directed unit PT program that's been approved by an exercise physiologist," Kelter said. "In turn, the PTL-A is trained by an exercise physiologist on group exercise techniques."

A passion for exercise and physical fitness is not an official requirement, but could prove to be a vital asset to a PTL.

"There are quite a few Airmen who are into fitness," said John Limon, JBER exercise physiologist. "That's their personal pastime so they're passionate, but the knowledge base is not quite there. They're into it and they love it, so all we've got to do is refine them a little bit, kind of round off the rough edges, and they can then produce pretty good programs."

Although the PTL program is an Air Force initiative, the HAWC's ability to influence fitness leaders is not limited to one branch.

"The HAWC has been an integral part of the overall development of our leaders and Soldiers, specifically in the realm of physical and mental wellness," said Army Lt. Col. Richard Scott, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment commander. "The HAWC is capable of providing a comprehensive nutrition program covering all aspects of optimal health, performance and rehabilitation from illness and injury."

The HAWC has been able to assist the 1-40th Cavalry with their fitness goals in a variety of ways.

"I'd say that at this point we've got our Army brethren utilizing us more than our Airmen are," Kelter said. "They've come to the realization that we have subject matter experts to be able to actually make them fit-to-fight. They're using our gait analysis opportunities where they come and are videotaped while they're running and we're able to give them strength and conditioning training to help better their performance."

Kelter, who is also a Pacific Air Forces consultant for exercise physiology and health promotion, said the various fitness programs have allowed the HAWC to set their sights on loftier goals.

"The goal is to reduce the number of people that are on profile," she said. "We are in the process of becoming a pilot program for the Air Force, specifically for PACAF, called the combat fitness program."

She added the overall goal goes beyond the fitness of individual Airmen and Soldiers.

Being physically fit allows you to properly support ... the mission," she said. "The goal of the fitness program is to motivate all members to participate in a year-round physical conditioning program that emphasizes total fitness, to include proper aerobic conditioning, strength and flexibility training, and healthy eating. Health benefits from an active lifestyle will increase productivity, optimize health and decrease absenteeism while maintaining a higher level of readiness."

11/8/2013 8:01:43 AM ET
In todays enviroment and the ever changing need for the entire Air Force to be fit for every mission I can not understand why the management has not changed with the times. We come out of basic training to really good Physcial condition some even adding mucle mass and weight they never had before. The opertunity to continue on a daily basis before the work day begins as a unit march run and physical exercise formation could be easily accomplished. This would keep everyone in better condition with no extra time committed in their busy lives. I seen on a recent business trip to South Korea that this is what almost every company does as a group witth their employees. Our Army and Marines have done this forever why is the Air Force not thinking of doing this to strengthen their people. Thanks for your continued service to our Great Nation Have a Great Veterins day
SNCO Ret 89, SW Ohio
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