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Fitness affects mission readiness

Tech. Sgt. Alayna DeHerrera, 50th Space Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of wing administration, performs a chest fly at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 29, 2018. DeHerrera has been body building for over two years and is planning on attending the Arnold Sports Festival in March 2020. The Arnold Sports Festival is an annual multi-sport event consisting of professional body building, strongman, fitness, figure and bikini weekend expo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Wes Wright)

Tech. Sgt. Alayna DeHerrera, 50th Space Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of wing administration, performs a chest fly at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 29, 2018. DeHerrera has been body building for over two years and is planning on attending the Arnold Sports Festival in March 2020. The Arnold Sports Festival is an annual multi-sport event consisting of professional body building, strongman, fitness, figure and bikini weekend expo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE --

Being mission ready is a requirement of the Air Force and Airmen are responsible for ensuring they remain physically fit.

Tech. Sgt. Alayna DeHerrera, 50th Space Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of wing administration, remains physically fit by body building.

She said staying physically fit is one of the four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness.

The four pillars are mental, social, physical and spiritual, and practicing them is intended to build and sustain resilience in the work place and community.

“Staying fit improves mission readiness,” DeHerrera said. “It keeps you in a fit-to-fight mindset. It’s important to always stay prepared because you never know what is going to happen.”

She said it is important to create and follow a workout routine.

“There’s overtraining and undertraining,” DeHerrera said. “By not taking care of yourself, it can lead to illnesses and diseases. By overtraining, however, you can injure yourself in the weight room, which will affect your job and ultimately the mission.”

Airman 1st Class Dominick Cuervo, 50th Space Communications Squadron defense operations trainee, studies multiple martial arts, including Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu and Judo, to stay in good physical shape and to practice discipline.

“When I started to work out, I had no clue what I was doing,” he said. “I thought I was stronger than I was, so I put on more weight than I could handle. Luckily I didn’t get hurt, but had I not asked for help while I was struggling, I could’ve hurt myself really bad.”

Although Cuervo risked injury, he said staying physically fit can be fun.

“Become involved,” he said. “Find a hobby and stay active, whether you choose rock climbing, hiking, martial arts or yoga, there are plenty of ways to stay in shape other than lifting weights.”

Cuervo said working out can be a journey where you see yourself grow.

“It takes discipline,” he said. “Start small and work your way up, there’s a natural progression to it.”

He said staying fit takes requires commitment.

“It takes no small part of dedication,” Cuervo said. “The process isn’t all sunshine and roses, but by staying fit, you’re able to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.”

DeHerrera said there is a stigma that scares people away from the gym.

“Everyone’s at the gym to better themselves,” she said. “Your focus should be on building a better you. It doesn’t matter what other people think. You’re creating a legacy. Don’t worry about what others think, you’re doing it for you”

She said having the right mindset is essential to achieve fitness goals.

“It’s not something someone will hand you,” DeHerrera said. “You have to put in the work and do it yourself. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Someone can give you all the motivation, supplements and work out plans you need, but if you aren’t willing to put forth the effort, you won’t go anywhere.”

DeHerrera said working out is only a small part of being physically fit.

“Diet is probably 80-90 percent of staying in shape,” she said. “Your diet is the major piece, if you don’t start eating right you won’t see the results you want. Your diet could be 1,500 calories a day, but if those 1,500 calories are coming from cookies, the nutritional value is very different even if the calorie count is the same.”

She said results do not come immediately and patience is important.

“Look at the long term,” DeHerrera said. “It might be tough to get off the couch, and give up an hour of your time. But if you look at the big picture, an hour is a very small amount of time compared to the 24 we have in a day. It’s better for you and your family.”

 

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