News: Air Force leader advocates fitness, taking risks
Story by Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Physical activity, in conjunction with sleep, nutrition, tobacco-free living, mental and integrative wellness, is a key facet of the Department of Defense’s Operation Live Well campaign. Service members deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, have a variety of fitness options to include sports, weightlifting and cardio equipment, routine exercise classes and monthly fitness challenges or competitions.
In recent years the mixture of high intensity interval training, calisthenics, plyometrics and weightlifting, sometimes known as “CrossFit,” has become a popular exercise go-to for civilians and service members looking to challenge themselves and increase their overall fitness levels.
For Air Force Lt. Col. Carol Miller, 386th Expeditionary Mission Support Group, who has served for more than 20 years, this type of workout, although not for the faint of heart, has brought the results she had been looking for.
“While to some it may seem like this program is reserved only for a select few, I encourage individuals to try it out. The training, in principle, is a strength and conditioning program designed for all types of people,” said Miller, a Wapello, Iowa native. Miller’s personal goal for this deployment is to run a 7-minute mile and increase her strength.
Taking on the “Kettlehell” challenge at Camp Arifjan in April, Miller and other participants tackled a two-mile kettlebell run, a 90-second goblet squat challenge and a farmer carry distance event. Sportsmanship was a big aspect of the event, with each person cheering on their fellow competitors. Miller did not place in the top three for the women’s category, but she said she enjoyed herself and the group dynamics.
“The challenges bring out the spirit of competition, which helps people to do more,” she said.
Prior to a workout, she said she met another airman named “Mike.” While talking, she learned that he had arrived at his deployment overweight and his Air Force physical fitness test score was only 36. After following this type of exercise regimen three times a week for four months, he lost 40 pounds and improved his AFPFT score to 95.
“‘Mike’ built a fantastic relationship with the coaches and other ‘crossfitters.’ Besides learning good techniques, he found a group of people to encourage him as well as push him to do better. I’m proud of my accomplishments, but hearing other people’s life changing accomplishment is nothing less than inspirational,” she said.
Miller said the key to staying in good shape was varying workouts and keepings things fun. She also likes to hike, bike and play sports. She is passionate about being involved with Team Red White Blue which keeps veterans involved in their community through physical and social activity.
Her biggest advice on fitness: “Take that chance and get started!”